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Judeo-Arabic languages

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A page from the Cairo Geniza, part of which is written in the Judeo-Arabic language
A page from the Cairo Geniza, part of which is written in the Judeo-Arabic language

The Judeo-Arabic languages (Arabic: عربية يهودية‎; Hebrew: ערבית יהודית‎) are a continuum of specifically Jewish varieties of Arabic formerly spoken by the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa. The term Judeo-Arabic can also refer to Classical Arabic written in the Hebrew script, particularly in the Middle Ages.

Many significant Jewish works, including a number of religious writings by Saadia Gaon, Maimonides and Judah Halevi, were originally written in Judeo-Arabic as this was the primary vernacular language of their authors.

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Thank you very much first of all for being here today it's a great pleasure to see students both from the University of Florence and from NYU and colleagues here to listen to this talk today by Professor Benjamin Hary which who is the director of NYU Tel Aviv who is visiting us we're very privileged to have him here so before I will give you a couple of info and the bio of our speaker and these publications before that I'm just announcing that there will be on the 21st of March there will be a discussion group and on Israel and Palestine here which I will coordinate to be followed by a lecture a similar format on 1948 Israel and Palestine which will be held by myself and professor Arturo Martin from the University of Pisa that's on the 21st of March and the Israel Palestine discussion group will will be a series of three meetings which is also in connection with the Middle East Film Festival which will take place in Florence between the tenth and the fifteenth of April so you're all welcome to take part and info will follow on this having said this it is my great privilege to introduce professor Benjamin Hary today who as I said is the director of NYU Tel Aviv and is also at the Skirball department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at York University before that he was to 2014 he was at Emory University the research and teaching interests of Professor Benny Hary include Jewish language varieties in general and Judeo Arabic in particular Jews in the Islamic world politics of Arabic language used in Israeli society corpus linguistics language and religion dialectology and social linguistics and he developed a subfield which he called religion linguistics that investigates the connection between language and religion and views religion as linguistic variable similar to ethnolinguistics which investigates the connection between language and ethnicity there are many many publications that I cannot least because otherwise we'll be here until tomorrow and then it snows and you know it's better not to stay too long but I certainly will mentioned the multiglossia in Judea Arabic of 1992 translating religion 2009 daily life in Israel 2012 more than 50 articles and book reviews on Judea Arabic but I think that he's especially proud of his co- edited volume here which is called languages in Jewish communities past and president present to be published this year by de Gruyter so I should also mention that professor Hary was the organizer of a fantastic program which in Sephardic studies which involve traveling throughout the whole continent in search for Sephardic roots and lost languages or practice languages so thank you very much for being here today and the floor is all yours thank you buona sera Eric toven sono così electrizzato di essere tornato a NYU Firenze e di continuare con voi qui il mio viaggio nella lingua ebriaca voglio cogliere l'occasione per ringraziare la mia collega ed amica Marcela Simoni per avermi invitato a tenere una conferenza nelle serie sugli studi ebraici. Voglio anche ringraziare la mia amica Ellyn Toscano per la sua generosa ospitalità. Don't worry I'm not going to break my teeth for for long so I have to switch to English but I can also do if you wish later maybe we'll do a little bit of examples from Judaea so so this is what we'll try to do this evening I'm going to try to take you first through some some sort of discussion of what do we call people who speak today or a big I'll talk a little bit about the what I call religio Licht I'll explain a little bit the history we will talk about the politics this something recent that I've been doing work and you'll see what I mean by politics I take you deep into social linguistics and politics and then I'll use some multilingual I'll talk about language policy and how it's all connected and you'll see by the end I hope so Judea Arabic is a language varieties spoken by a religious community what I term a religion that has been written and spoken in various forms by Jews throughout the arabic-speaking world a religious act is a language variety with its own history and development that is used by religious community a Jewish religion act is written always spoken variety employed by the Jewish population of a specific area at a specific time although it may extend later to other communities are in areas as well this is very similar to other sociologists that exist in minority areas where they develop their own sociolect and then later it can extend outside the community maybe for the Americans in the in the world I will give example from gay English in the 60s in New York City Stonewall your before story so they so they have their own phrases which today we all know but it used to be within the community come out of the closet nobody knew in the sixties what it means and today it's used you know by by the whole population so this is very Commons situation coming from minorities dude Arabic literature deals mostly with Jewish topics and is written by Jews for Jewish leadership several important features distinct shit from other varieties of Araby these include a mixtures of elements of classical Arabic post classical Arabic dialectal components hyper Corrections and even standardization of hyper correction this is unique because in Arabic especially from medieval time and even until today you have the issue of what diglossia or what I call continual glossy well-spoken elements are not in the written language well engine Arabic it was all together mixed mixed language variety Judea Arabic possesses a number of specific additional sociolinguistic and socio-cultural features that set it apart the use Hebrew characters not only characters is a symbol of of the religion various tradition of photography and even elements of Hebrew and Aramaic vocabulary and grammar so this is common to all Jewish languages in Jewish English you could hear people in na in deep Jewish English that is people who are religious very religious I would say I went on Shabbos to daven insured with the Rebbe okay so people who are not used to it this is totally English what I said now but you have to be a religious Jew in order to follow this is part of Jewish English this lecture uses methodologies of social linguistics and language policy to examine the development and politics of today Arabic within Jewish linguistic spectrum so dude Arabic speakers let's talk about the speakers now have been a topic of discussion academically and politically for many years in Israeli and to some degree in American societies many designations for speakers of Judea Arabic exist including the term misra him or Mizrahi sometimes you hear in English in Hebrew a totem is rock the communities of the east sefa redeem literally spaniards and some people even call it Arab Jews on the one hand the term is rahim is is a misnomer since think about it how can it be Easterners if you're a Moroccan Jew and you're considered a Mizrahi and then you live in Israel it's hardly the East no it's hardly the East so it's a Miss no if you think of this point of reference however an imaginary line is drawn diagonally across the Mediterranean from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Black Sea has historically distinguished the Jewish West which in fact is the north from the Jewish East which in fact is the south now think of geographical terms of no South East Western you you get to Edward Sayid Orientalism very easily from there this raises a number of questions regarding such concerns as who said this imaginary line who used it what purpose does it serve on the other hand the term is rahim need not allude to a specific geographical origin but can refer to geopolitical discos particularly that of the 2nd and 3rd generation of Jews of Middle Eastern and North African origins who were engaged beginning in the early seventies of the last century in gaining political awareness and raising raising our public consciousness of the Israeli ethnic problem whereby systematic institutional discrimination of the group was part of the practices of Zionism in the State of Israel as we speak there is a series on Israeli TV which called Sulaco Eretz Israel salad which you should really see Salah this is the land of Israel where it shows the systematic discrimination of Jews who came especially for Morocco adopted accepted by Ashkenazi Jews in the 50s etcetera but this is an old story and and we are here thank you we're here to discuss it academically even within the category of Mizrahi there are many different subcategories for example Jews who came from Iraq managed to find a way into the so-called middle class within only a decade of their arrival in Israel in the late 40s Iraqi Jews did suffer from discrimination and racism as did other misurkin however the Iraqi Jews possessed human capital that allowed them to make the shift back in Iraq they employed modern education in schools established by them in the second half of the 19th century and after the Iraqis arrived in Israel there a young communist and Zionist leadership began to organize demonstrations in the early 50s to demand better housing and indeed they insisted on moving to Tel Aviv they didn't want to live in the development towns and they did they did much better the terms for oedema go to the second term has its own problems strictly speaking it refers to Jews whose ancestors had been expelled from a barren Peninsula up to and especially in 1492 who then settled in the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere including here in Italy you know this fella Dean came to Italy you know and settled here although many Jews of the Ottoman Empire especially in Arabic speaking communities adopted the religious ways and liturgical customs of the ex-police from the Iberian Peninsula please safar the traditions also survived in many areas including North Africa finally let's talk about the term Arab Jews already existed in various documents from the 19th century I have manuscripts from 19th century Cairo Oasis and Nara be a hoodie I'm an Arab Jew so we have documentation that this term was used but now used only sporadically in the general media and more frequently in the academic circles this term may be misleading because the word Arab could be perceived as an ethnic molecule the term Arab Jews Bell controversial practical connotations in Israel for example it may suggest a connection between Arab Jews and Arabs Raley's whose identity constructions seem similar on the surface but in fact differ profoundly on various levels for example Arab Israelis and general feel less connected to the State of Israel than Arab Jews then so-called Missal him also calls for adding whatever we want to call them in addition many so called Arab Jews object to that and identification sometimes very strongly when I used Arab Jews and their armies love him in the crowd some people really object to it of course because of the arab-israeli conflict because of the connotation of the word in if you do if you do look at I used to do corpus linguistics if you go to the corpus of modern he bow to the corpus of even of English and you put the word Arab and you you know in the Bank of English we have over 600 million words and if you put in context you know they take all of the New York Times put it all online so it's so it's so it's very easy to find look at the connotation of Arab and you will see immediately tell always everything is negative when it's connected in the mind same thing with in Israel same thing so the connotations when you call people and rejoice there is objection to that ok the multiplicity of terms that refer to today Arabic speakers revealed that a categorization of these speakers represent a dynamic field and that the various names imply different political positions that subject the categories to rethinking furthermore this multiplicity explore the efforts of political activists and scholars to engage in making visible a category that of Arabic speaking Jews that has been conceived by the category Sephardic Jews so we used to say so follow me to everything that is not Ashkenazi but this is misleading because there is so many other things there which was and still is the one-size-fits-all such efforts tell us a lot about the discomfort and anxieties in which marginal groups find themselves at the same time the majority or the dominant groups clearly wish to assert the position of default normalcy normality this exposure is a fascinating area of investigation of the genealogy and emergence of Arabic speaking Jews and there are different political and the ideological positions in the past I have used the term Jews of Arab lands but in retrospect this designation may not be the most appropriate I don't like it anymore I don't use it anymore the expression associate lands with a nationality since the term Arab may be used to refer to a specific pen nationalism the term need not necessarily be identified with nationalism a Syrian for example may ask yourself I am a Syrian or am I an arrow however there have been attempts to demonstrate that use that use of the term Arab in the context of pan nationalism to encompass all Arabic speaking groups thus the use of the term Arab lands would seem to establish a link in a romantic sense between just one population group and a specific territory so such a link is virtually it's factually inaccurate so if we think of Arab lands we think of I don't know if Africa Saudi Arabia etc but many minorities live in Arab lands verbals jews kurds and others so have their own national movement so how can we call it arab lands what's the connection we could say majority Arabic speaking places yeah we could say that we can say Arab lands this is this is gonna create a lot of anxieties among minorities today such Arab Jews are almost exclusively multilingual Israeli French or North American nationals who except for summer okuno Tunisia Jews do not hold any Arab citizenship this is of course because of the huge and equation expulsion whatever you want to call it of Arab Jews from Arab countries around the fold is the 1940s with a surge of Jewish and Arab nationalism in some I've been puzzling and struggling with categories that are deployed by the public and the academics sometimes use controversially and conventionally and standardly who and what comprise these categories each of the aforementioned terms would merit a separate essay or book each has a historical trajectory either continues or perhaps more often fragmented in this regard it is important to view excuse me Amin Maalouf 98 wonderful meditation on identity a little book entitled identity Maria may melt clear murderous identities in which you abuse the identities he held while growing up in the mountains of Lebanon where he was raised by a Christian family of South Arabian origin supposedly originating in the second or third century well before Islam the numbers the members of his family were all speakers of a variety of Arabic which has since become the language of Islam in that sense the term Arab can refer to a question in Norman or a mount om mano arrow bite a Muslim as the designation of the term Rav can be held in Israel or an Arabic speaking Jew the difficult question remains what method will help us distinguish among these varied identities and this is not this is not an easy question to answer and you get into a lot of issues if you really explore it in this respect it's important to cite the book do Jews Christians and Muslims worship the same God news about it in 2012 at a first glance the answer to the question is clearly yes of course but as one continues to be confronted with this question on a daily basis one begins to be less convinced of the correct answer or even whether there is an answer at all there is of course the point of news no book in this regard I've been struggling over the years with a question dude Arabic speakers in Arabic speakers speak the same language again at first glance the answer is clearly yes but upon further pondering this becomes less I become less true of the answer is the question at issue simply how much of Judaea Orbach is Arabic or is it more than that are we saying that the speakers of Judaea Arabic varieties from pre-islamic time until today have thought of themselves as Jewish speakers rather than of speakers this is an interesting question I asked a lot of people I don't get similar answers when did the term today become to denote the speaker's own understanding of the difference in Morroco people say look at the end now our language is supposed to Alou cattle miss Li mean the language of the Muslims both Arabic but is it the same Arabic what are the implications of their development people have different access of belonging but our some of these access more important than others and is that relative importance are constant clearly I've noticed all these questions in this section of the lecture but every place indicated some of the issues I want to move to the history history of Arabic of Judaic because of the period of Jewish cultural creativity in Muslim controlled lensing I called it Muslim controlled lands you see I didn't call it Muslim lands call it Muslim controlled lands predates the rise of modern nation-state it offers intriguing alternative examples to modern forms of group identity and self definition now listen to this during the Middle Ages the vast majority of Jews lived under Muslim rule it's very important to remember approximately 90% up until 1200 CE II so if you think about it the most 90% of the Jews of the world spoke Judea robic is the native language amazing today we think that Ashkenazi Ave you know and they are with Yiddish of course from the 19th century onwards but in around 1200 90% of the Jews of world spoke Arabic or Judea is the native language this means that the Arabic speaking Jews were responsible for forging the crucial links between rabbinic literature in Late Antiquity the Midrash and the Talmud and the ever expanding and growing communities of the Diaspora thus setting the stage for Jewish continuity over the course of more than a million one of the major debates in the field is where the Jews of Muslim controlled lands enjoyed greater freedom communal autonomy and cultural integration than their co-religionists under Christian Europe the fortunes of Jews waxed and waned along with those of Christians and Muslims under Caliphate rules whenever the Jews were the smaller of the two or three minority religions they were not singled for house treatment this we know that during the High Middle Ages a period of great cultural efflorescence in the Middle East the Jews and Joy's formed enjoyed forms of communal autonomy that contributed to their economic and demographic growth as well as their cultural creativity under Muslim rule this communal autonomy was a principle enshrined in religious law but under Christian rule the autonomy was a principle to be renegotiated at each juncture of power so you see where I'm getting it right it was probably much easier to be Jew under Islam than other Christianity and I have an interesting example from the Karaites the cow it's are a sect or some people call it not necessarily a sect of Jews and if you look at the carrots in Egypt they would call themselves trifocal Ali who darker in the the community of carry Jews and in Russia the columns of the carrots it was a disaster to be Jew in Russia it was okay to be doing Egypt so even their own designation that in columns of Jews in Russia and they're both the same and the columns of Jews in Congo tells you something so own designation of a minority tells you a lot what they feel on what the anxiety is all about the majority it's an interesting example to look at the carrots you could transform it to many other communities that you think of the Middle Ages the Middle Ages we're an immensely fertile time for Jewish religious creativity in fields such as hahaha Jewish law mysticism theology philosophy Hebrew grammar and biblical studies and translations some of the classics of medieval rabbinic literature that are widely studied today were composing today Arabic saadia gaon you see what his book of beliefs in opinion eliminate well later cadet in in Baghdad in the 9th in the 10th century and translated the Bible in into Judea Arabic you dar levy Judah excuse me Julia let me compose his 12th century classic work the kuzuri in a part of the Iberian Peninsula that had recently been rican cured by the Christians the Reconquista but he nonetheless voted in today Arabic the language of the educated Jewish classes the work was later translated into Hebrew and Yiddish and became one of the most widely read works of Jewish literature in history writing in Cairo another huge figure at the close of the 12th century Moses Maimonides Rambam used today Arabic for his guide for the perplexed more whenever him which went on to become not just the greatest Jewish philosophical work of the Middle Ages but one of the greatest philosophical works of all time as a matter of fact Maimonides wrote only in judea arabic when you go to his core religions he wrote in arabic also in classical Arabic his medical medical books are amazing he wrote only Mishneh Torah in Hebrew so most of his writings even shallowed which I wrote the response we're all in Judea at 3 points look at the history of maybe I'll say a few words so if you look at you the Arabic you can divide it to medieval late and modern so I I believe in and and some people object to my my designation here I see a direct link I see a mini link between the periods of Judaea epic we're talking you know about before clearly before 622 7/8 century here we starting at the 10th century with Sargon 1516 and contemporary this is what what I see there are there are three dramatic changes in the structure of the religion like the first change occurred in the first half of the 10th century you see first change change one after Sadia published the translation of the Bible into Judea because of seal in the Arab Jewish world the Alister seal was held in enormous respect and admiration throughout the region his stuff still in the Arab Jewish world was like the Internet today everybody would look at his his translation of the Bible into Arabic in fact others translation profoundly impacted our judea big orthography the spelling system it actually changed the spelling system the system now becomes less phonetic and more following Arabic Arabic itself mechanical transfer so if anybody knows Arabic in Arabic you have the sword I mean he and so he would write it with its Adi that makes sense Saad Sadiq what's that yeah so in arabic you have the sword it's a phone name so on and he would write on inside you wrote you know mechanical transfer static in hebrew now the dog in arabic no connection phonemic lee saudade it's only assad with the dot on top so he would took this study and he put its attic with the dot on top so mechanical transfer whereas in the phonetic alphabet which was before the dog would be written with a dalit because it sounds like a darling okay so it's really profound change between they are between those those two periods the second change ensued during the 15th century when the Jewish world reduced its contact with a Muslim counterpart although a great number of Jews settled in the Ottoman Empire after the expulsion from Spain in 1492 and experienced even more intense contact with the Muslim world in some ways many curtail their conduct contact with the Muslims the language and the culture Jews felt the need for more separation from their Muslim and Christian neighbors and began to congregate in exclusively Jewish neighborhoods sometimes with active encouragement of the authorities with a result the Jewish isolation became more complete so you have heartily hood in Cairo you have in Casablanca the mela in Sun our colony hood call the different different even today until today if you go to any big North African city you will see the medina which is the old anybody been to Morocco you know what I'm talking about the medina which is the medieval town and then of course do you see a Novelli ville-nouvelle didn't overwrite the villain well and then in the medina you see a small shaken section that's called mela these are no Jews there anymore but this used this used to be the Jewish neighborhood why me laughs ah a lot of stories about it Malak means the good mean salt so some people say the Jews were selling sold I don't know I could not figure really we don't have a definite answer why me laughs today these areas are really very very poor but if you go there and if you're interested if you look at some of the houses you will still see whores on the doors which were the mezuzahs the Jewish symbols we're there and people took the mezuzahs with them when they left so this is interesting to see finally the religion again experienced dramatic change in twentieth century with the rise of Arab and Jewish national movements the outbreak of the arab-israeli conflict and the consequent immigration of Jews for mostly Arabic speaking areas the religion late lost ground due to migration and struggle in this change brought about the loss or near loss of the religion late let's hear a little bit today Arabic ok let's hope I don't have look here why don't the the mouse disappeared okay good where are needed I'll need him again soon it's better if he so this is translation they used Yemenite Jews that's Hebrew clearly let's animate now you see the Arabic again I'll make well so so you you heard the Arabic and also you saw the script is in Hebrew and you even could see I I cut it a little bit they said girl back for callback for your heart because it's Yemeni pronunciation and the calf is is Express with a girl girl but but it would write it with a goof so it's interesting ok I want to talk a little bit about politics because I see that we started to be played but I think yeah I I'll talk a little bit about politics and I think I'll cut something so we can do we can have another discussion today Arabic is one of the more more significant Jewish religious in general however Yiddish and judeo-spanish Allah Dino enjoy much greater recognition and prestige there are several reasons for that the dominance of Ashkenazi Jewry throughout the 20th and 21st century in two influential Jewish societies United States and Palestine in Israel has advanced the prestige of Yiddish over other Jewish illegal acts and varieties in the United States the evil Institute for Jewish research was re-established to support the teaching and study of Yiddish culture despite competition from Hebrew especially in 20th century Palestine Yiddish continues to enjoy the greatest prestige than any other Jewish religion looks acceptable of course the tragedy of the Holocaust coupled with stalin crackdowns on Irish and the consequent loss of a large number of yearly speakers in a fair numbers of Jewish Spanish speakers help to increase nor Stalley nostalgic interest in these two religions during the end of the 20th century and beginning of our century in 1996 you see we have maybe I'll rather than reading I'll talk to you in 1996 we have the law of the National Authority for Yiddish culture clearly nostalgic and they try to study the language etc and the same thing for Latino culture not okay no they didn't establish it okay that's question number one now question number two the film industry regulation 2001 I'll read it to you a film is considered Israeli if the main language in the original copy of the film is either Hebrew Arabic Yiddish or Ladino or some combination of them this is important because you get a lot of money from the Ministry of Culture now they don't mention today only now to be fair if a movie is done in Judah Arabic they'll consider it Arabic but it's the symbolic thing they don't put today Obachan the regulation there was a movie in 2004 that was totally shot in Judea big my free AHA your name the door flyer or they called it farewell Baghdad in English wonderful movie and he did get the funding from the Ministry and it was not only in Judea all of it in Iraqi today early but so so he didn't have much meaning but I'm talking about this symbolism in yet another example look at this this is a very interesting example of the Israeli Postal Service's Israel arm still issues wonderful stamps I don't know if you've seen really they have artists and they do lots of stuff very nice stuff they do it quite frequently and they issued in when was that in 2005 Yiddish in Ladino look this is even with the Rashi with the washi Yiddish and Ladino not to the end of day so I was a guest I forget when a Tel Aviv University in ours we were talking about this so one of my students wrote a letter to the chair of the of the postal service's it's hard or something granite and he said why isn't a Judea big so he wrote back and I have his answer is so interesting of 2006 I think he wrote no 2000 you hold you hold something like very good idea we will do something in Judea Arabic 2004 we're 2018 you know they have enough time nothing nothing was done so it's these are these are it's not awful or terrible but it raises questions it raises questions of a concealed language what is it what do we have here ok let's do more the Israeli public has at most a limited acquaintance with the term Judea Arabic an average graduate of high school or university in Israel would likely recognize the words Yiddish or Ladino but would be puzzled if confronted with the term today or people in his asking what do you do as I studied you day what is that that's very common I get this question if I said that I studied it nobody would ask me that question so it weighs this issues here even within the Judea Arabic speech community in Israel there is little awareness of the linear link between medieval late and modern today Arabic or the connections between the various varieties of Arabic for example where is the example oh I lost one yeah this is what I want to show the Israeli player a soccer player Haim Raviv oh he was very famous in aim from 1996 to 2000 he played in the Spanish professional soccer league and was very popular there so he was asked in an interview about his extensive knowledge of languages he was off if he was asked if he spoke Arabic in addition to Hebrew in Spanish no no no I don't speak any Arabic and sobrevivir but I thought that you spoke Arabic with your grandmother who came from North Africa continued the interview oh that's very different answered Raviv oh I only spoke Moroccan with help so there are probably several reasons for the public's lack of familiarity with the term today Arabic in Israel is exemplified in Revere was answer people Moroccan Moroccan today Arabic another variety of Arabic or other variety of Judea Arabic is that it's possible that the Israeli Jews may wish to avoid the term Arabic because of its connotations in the context of the arab-israeli conflict another reason may be the fact that the various today Arabic geographical varieties are markedly different from one another and that's differ all so from the familiar local Palestinian dialect that's also could be could be the issues in Israeli let's look at some other things the the study of medieval dude Arabic is much more prominent in Israel than modern late or modern Judeo a big and you ask a question sometimes why and sometimes you think of elitist approach there is late and on modern Judea big is much more of the texts are different they are not as philosophical and to the elite as in as in medieval Arabic maybe much more interested by anthropologist there is much more of a dialects in the in the texts as well so they ask this this question I'm asking these questions as well do they Arabic in academia in Israeli Academy you would think that there would be that they would create lines for Judea a big and there hasn't been any line in Judea Arabic for the last 15 or 20 years so that's also and and there have been lines for Yiddish and for for the DLO so I'm trying to look at at all of these all of these questions see something else Bible translations so I have even interesting quotes the history of Jewish Bible translations would summarize the history of the Jews well that's that looks very interesting but look what will spawn white in 2006 it is particularly striking to note those languages in which there are several Jewish translations these include Greek Aramaic it is German and English which constitute the major centres of diaspora Jewish life further illustrating the intimate connection between the history of Jewish Bible translation and the that of the Jews these huge projects of Bible translations in Arabic look at this this is really a striking example of scholarship very good scholarship they totally ignores this huge project of Bible translation which started with saadia gaon in the 10th century it's going all the way to the 19th century including some of my publications which which are owned own translations of the Bible into Judea Arabic so we have plenty plenty examples to see this silent thing almost I would say silencing of the of the of the dialogue so Judea Arabic Allah julik is endangered and close to being extinct the extensive immigration of Arabic speaking Jews from the late 1940s through the 1960s the main reasons for this situation most of these Arabic speaking Jews came to Israel although some immigrated to finds North America and other places where they may are they were under great pressure to talk today we can adopt Hebrew or in Canada English or in France French today there are still significant Jewish communities in Morocco maybe 3,000 people and in Tunisia maybe 1100 but in Morocco they really speak French and in Tunisia still today a big you still have today a big there are still speakers of Judea became Israel and elsewhere and a show in Moroccan Judeo big has been broadcast weekly on his radio wages according to si el international and ethanol project they were close to 500,000 speakers of Judea of the mid-1990s and I assumed that the number has declined today to just under 400,000 this population is aging so that you dare herbux use as a native religion act will likely disappear in the near future consequently there is an urgent need to encourage extensive research on Judea B on the other hand this is interesting to note it's not totally dying there has been some sort of consciousness raised raising him look at this consciousness raising of of the younger generation with a high degree of Mizrahi so-called identity especially around but not limited only to music so of special interest is the new under Lucia no costura who is really doing a lot of stuff in Judea Arabic we have movies who turn left at the end of the world Moroccan Jude Arabic and as I said farewell Baghdad was totally all in today Arabic we have some interesting young Mizrahi artists who sing in Judea a big Shimon boosts Kela I'm going to play him in a second in Judea Arabic wavenet al-qayyim so we have our it's a new you should google them they're amazing our amazing look they do that thing in Yemen I do Diavik so we some sort of some sort of consciousness-raising so the the religion is not exactly dying listen to listen to boosts Kela now I need help cuz I don't see I need to click this and I don't have the cursor can you click this I don't get the kill no you need to be in there no no you need to be in there yeah yeah okay now it's good yeah this is Shimon boo scale a very popular no can we go back to YouTube yeah now we couldn't go back here we go and repress it oh it doesn't let you do it okay no it's blocked okay we'll go back to you can go back to this just listen to him technology oh we stopped it's my Oakland good thank you so let me summarize it during the 20th century the Judeo big tradition waned with the rise of anti-semitism Zionism the arab-israeli conflict and the decline of Jewish communities in Arab control lands it later suffered discrimination and even contempt in the State of Israel a conflict that had began within the global context of colonialism intensified with the onset of modern nationalism excuse me to anyone more familiar with the Jewish Arab conflict Judea Arabic culture in the pre-modern period is surprisingly cosmopolitan and an especially relevant topic for inquiry of our own of inquiry for our own increasingly global society challenging us in to reflect a new on how we think of ourselves and others and I want to move now a little bit to Arabic in Israel and then put it put the two together and I'll finish with this so you see how I connect the two so the story of Judah Arabic can be connected to language policy with its widely held notion that it plays a crucial part in the formation of a national identity Arabic today in Israel is spoken by the Arab minority totalling over 1 million speakers and can be termed a Palestinian Israeli and some people would object to my term but I call it palestinian-israeli early because the dialect is very much influenced by Hebrew and whereas when you have Palestinian Arabic spoken elsewhere let's say in the West Bank or even in quiet it is not as influenced by people so there are two different varieties you could say and I can give you examples later if we maybe in question and answers as we know in addition to this 1 million Palestinians we have about 400,000 speakers of contemporary Judea Arabic among its various dialects so we have Iraqi Judah mcmerkin tunisian Yemenite and a handful of Egyptian and Syrian Arabic speakers in Israel today although Hebrew in Arabic out today the only two official languages in Israel Arabs in Israel know Hebrew much better than Jews know Arabic this situation is in fact quite common two majority-minority into action very common in San Francisco that Chinese would know English much better that Americans with no Chinese so it's not surprising amara Mohammed Amara summarizes it quite nicely although recent legal developments regarding the studies of Arabic are impressive the influence on the social linguistics actuality of Israel is limited the State of Israel in Israeli society even more so is very far from being bilingual more correctly mo are concretely the status of official language given to Arabic in Israeli law is still empty of practical meaning at the level of public life Hebrew is in fact the sole language of the society at large in Israel there is an integration of a state and civil society that works almost exclusively in the language of the majority community so this is not surprising hence the call for bi and even multi lingual practices lingual policies for Israel there are many unanswered questions if we do that how far should we go with these multilingual policies should we encourage multilingual policies with the inclusion of Russian Amharic and other languages star will be present in the society are there what are their what is considered Western characteristics that Israel must give up in the process should Israel become a Rabi sized even beyond language policy that's an interesting question that people debate and in what ways in what ways if not wouldn't meal buy or even multi-lingual policies be a bit of a shame in terms of relationship with its Arab citizens and the Arab world so we have to think about about these issues we will not be able to discuss all these issues for lack of time but we would like to turn to various language policies in the world for comparison so States usually designate an official language status for the use of the language in administration course Parliament and education in New Zealand they were very successful in including the minority only 5% of Maori and including it in the act of 1987 it was a bit of a shame because today some of the tax things you cannot do in Maru you have to do them in English so it is still a long way to go but at least it's a good attempt and definitely the minority will felt much more part of the state then than before in Ireland you have the issue of our Irish Gaelic United Kingdom with Welsh so there is some development here very good language policies you I can cite for India for Finland we have Swedish and Finnish everywhere in Helsinki you can see it on street signs everywhere you see that and of course in Switzerland you have you understand the the multilingual policies Srilanka it's a whole it's a whole different story the almost the wall between Sinhala and Tamil and and connected tube of course very isolationist policies so they did they had some attempts not all successful but at least they tried at one point which really helped so some recommendations in Israel the enactment of bi-lingual or even multilingual policies will surely create a better relationship with its Arab citizen and will open a window to integration into the Arab Middle East so I'm talking about two groups and talking about the Arab Israelis the Palestinians who live in Israel and I'm talking about also today Arabic speakers so I'm making the connection here that this is Arabic this is different variety of Arabic but still Arabic and here you have a very very good reason to really take Arabic seriously and make it as we as a real possibility alongside alongside Hebrew Israel does not have to compromise much as seen above Arabic is already a Jewish heritage language and Israeli Arabic Israeli Arabs speak some sort of mixed israeli-palestinian Arabic there's a lot of Hebrew in the Arabic of Palestinians however the policies have to be sorry the policies have to be widespread well meaning and not half-baked for example following the example of the University of Barcelona where first-year so so what happens in verse about solana first-year classes especially if introduction you could take either in Catalan or in Castilian you can choose second year you have to do Catalan but it needs to give you a chance at the beginning to try to get to get you know because you have a lot of people Madrid to come to the University Barcelona it's hard for them to do Catalan same thing I think we should enact in in Israel Israeli primary and secondary education must insist on the teaching of Arabic at all levels it must not be content to teach Arabic as the language of the enemy for later use in the army but it should be teaching the language as the language of the heritage or the language of the neighbor not as the language of the enemy administrative administrative codes and parliamentary business should be conducted in Arabic and in Hebrew if possible in Russian and America as well but this may be I'm asking too much and more awareness should be directed toward parity between the languages if this were the case Israeli citizen would not need to turn to the Supreme Court to demand road signage in Arabic on the freeways as was done several years ago creating much unnecessary appalled and resentment there are no guarantees but the truth is that such by and perhaps later multilingual policies have never been tried any good honest attempt is in order thank you very much for this talk which really spanned from the very early days to the very contemporary time so I encourage anyone to ask questions give me that we have this privilege of having Professor Benny Harry here especially someone is specializing in Judeo Arabic or in Arabic or in Hebrew I mentioned a few times the Palestinian Arabic in Israel and maybe some of you know Arabic right so maybe I can give example here I have this oh it doesn't look good but so so you have many Arabs in Israel would use would say Bhishma whoever yes you move our line so you see the colors beauty move is definitely Arabic pattern but they take the word Shema from Hebrew and they put it in the pattern of in the pattern of Arabic but they take the word from Hebrew so if you said be you Schmo in your Palestinian the West Bank he won't understand it because you don't know what your mouth is but if you are in Haifa in the booth unless it's very easy lot of them who do it's very similar to Judea Italian when you take the world enough which means in Hebrew to steal and you say what are the key not gonna be be careful that she doesn't steal from you okay so any tire would not understand it but if you are in Italian Jew and you live in Milano and you're in the community you knew it's part of your it's part of your to the Italian dialect even today so just give this example get the conversation going thank you I'm for it solidly and I teach at the University of Letcher salento I'm at this I've done some research and Judah Harlan and the notion the idea of Judah tonal languages and I I mean concerning Judea languages you have this distinction between a medieval or more ancient stage of the languages and contemporary one so I I guess it's the same format for Arabic because of course when you were dealing with medieval Judah Arabic which like used by people like my Mondas Rambam and so on its fault it's more a something used for higher purposes let's say so whereas contemporary maybe Judah era because you're saying about Palestinian in Arabic is more daily language or something like that so maybe I'm wondering and this is the question from what had read about Iraqi authors I mean he Jewish Iraqi authors it was more a distinction between a knowledge of Arabic like Iraqi Arabic or classical Arabic which was useful literature whatever higher purposes and a daily language which was which was an sort of inter communitarian language which was Judah Arabic and which had a different pronunciation also I mean people wanted to distinguish themselves from the non-jews by using a different pronunciation as happens with Russian Jews and so is this I mean is this distinction necessary to better understand the Judah Arabic I mean something that is diachronic and and social it's it's a great question and I being asked this question a lot and I'll tell you what the issue here the issue is the methodological approach and I approach the issue social linguistics so what I'm saying is and this is my thesis on the people I'm working with the social linguist we work together and when I say Jewish now you can replace it with Christian with Muslim you can replace it with any minority whenever Jews wanted to distinguish themselves from their neighbors or sometimes were forced to distinguish themselves they did so in food in clothing even you see religious tools working with a keeper they want to distinguish himself any language the problem is that most of us are not trained to see the difference in language to be trained to see the difference in language and the same thing with Muslim English the same thing with Christian English I don't know if you guys heard about Christian ease one of my students did a wonderful work on Christian is the English of the evangelical Christians in the United States today fascinating dialect or Willie G elect if you want but you asked me the question about medieval high medieval and our modern Judaic I see very much they're connected I'll tell you why because it is traditionally I'm touching it so it makes money because it's traditionally we study medieval to the Arabic or medieval to the Italian from texts we pay attention to the written language these people also spoke and when they spoke they spoke colloquial Judea Arabic we just don't have evidence of all the spoken but we can if we look carefully at the text there are some social linguistic methods and I did some in my work to understand what the dialect was like we can but very few people looked at it because the scholars that have research in Arabic and they're Italian for that matter we're all more falafel Allah you know philology is doing morphological fantastic work but not not cutting edge social linguistic work the whole social linguistic guy is not that old we're talking about 40 50 years they'll think of labove when when needed do is you know fishman for that matter so so you can approach social linguistically also medieval texts and we haven't done enough major pali aike is doing a little bit now and some people are doing some work now starting to do work but the same thing so let's take your iraqi example so if you think of the idea go on in baghdad he wrote in in judea because most standardised but when he spoke he probably spoke iraqi dude Arabic dialect the same thing with Iraq in the forties 1940s the authors the intellectual Jews they wrote in classical Arabic when they wrote to everyone in there were there were communists they were they were talking to the whole Arab community so they wrote in classical Arabic just like Maimonides wrote in classical Arabic when about his medical books but when they go to their own community they would write in Jude Arabic in Hebrew characters not in Arabic characters with their own dialect so it's issues of functions issues of readership its issues of community these are the things that I'm looking at and I say really linear link it's not blood was not agree with me I mean most of the older scholar I'm old now too but most of the older scholars the field will not agree with me because they don't view it's socially mystically and it's fine so it's just another view I'll give you another another angle and I I make the connection for medieval all the way to today did I answer but the distinction is clear because most of the work that we have on medieval Judea Arabic is really on the written language there's some one is spoken but not enough thank you ba-ba-ba-ba I am a mushroom ambien my name is Jordana I'm a student of Professor Simoni I'm also on the Executive Board of realizes rail at NYU so I'm a music student and I'm very interested in ethnomusicology and I was very interested in what you said about Iowa and the and you know I love played in Brooklyn ya know so my question is how important are cultural institutions and music to the survival of this I know in New York there's a New York Angeles ensemble I had the privilege of meeting their director and he's very dedicated to this work but mostly for judeo-spanish Latino lace for today they do both he recently acquired a tough player who's very interested in Yemenite stuff but also things like the leadership folks Mena and things that keep you - alive is there any kind of organized effort to make cultural institutions to keep alive today or Arabic on a cultural level that's a great question I don't think that let me put it this way 20 years ago there was nothing though because it was almost M it was very disadvantage to be a Misrata to or whatever term we use Arabs or you know I don't want to take sides here there is a definitely the the new generation of maybe the second or third generation now of Mizrahi Jews is trying to raise consciousness more and more and the use music is so one of the ways now because it's so easy to connect a lot of Ashkenazi Jews get into it so it's a fantastic way to preserve the culture to tell you that you'd Arabic is going to be remade like spoken Hebrew in the end of the 19th century no I mean you have to have a community in an Arab country now how many Arab countries host Jews today it doesn't happen you know finally we managed to establish a synagogue in Dubai but it's a hush-hush thing you know because I go to NYU Abu Dhabi so I went to the synagogue in Dubai it was a fascinating to see including locals who come to the city girl you wouldn't believe the but there's community of 50 people so you can't have a language if you have you know so revival of today Arabic is a spoken native language again you cannot predict anything about the arab-israeli conflict and if you do so you're a fool because everything you'll say will not exist ask your professor and you cannot predict anything about language development you can't but I don't see a possibility of generic being you know it's same thing about Yiddish you know people try to revive secular you dish I'm not talking about the heretic community and there are some dedicated people in New York who speak to the kids annually so there will be native speakers is it successful I don't know how many native speakers of Yiddish secular Jews exist in New York you tell you tell me you probably know better than me it probably doesn't so yes music is a great means to preserve the culture but to tell you that the language will revive not sure that does it answer you just my name is Edith daily and I teach classical Hebrew here in Florence thank you for your very interesting lecture I just would like to mention a thing once I make the moroccan jews and they told me they they don't didn't use to do arabic because of they consider the language with the low prestige not such an important language is not such a problem of being Jew or not jus but to belong to a high class people or to local people so they like better to speak French thank you yeah let me comment it is a very good comment when we talk about speaking a variety of a language it doesn't mean that we speak it all the time let me give you example from African American community so they speak what we call aave African American vernacular English that doesn't mean that they speak all the time the language so an uneducated or just an African American can be bi or multi dialectal she can speak what we call black English but you can speak Standard English depends well if she's at home with a family in Chicago and there are a lot of black surrounded she'll probably speak like English if she is going to NYU and she speaks to her white friends she'll speak Standard English so you can move between the same thing with Moroccan Jews when they are at home including your friends they were very probably very comfortable speaking Moroccan Arabic but when they go out they would speak either if they knew they would speak standard Muslim if they knew both they knew both but of course they were because they were educated in French then they would they would choose to speak French so that's that's that's that's correct I'm not saying it's not correct but it's it doesn't mean that you speak only this if you look at very religious American Jew they can speak Jewish English very well but when they go to NYU there's big standard English hello I'm worries first of all just saying thank you cuz I like I like a Moroccan so already do like that's like I've always said that so it's like nice to like hear about my history and you say Mullins fella T Julius yeah I mean so yeah and so like you mentioned the Rambam the Rambam like my manatees and I was wondering because it has to do with Aramaic and combination of Aramaic and you've rate in Hebrew and so like are you saying were you saying did you reference that because there are like examples of Judea Arabic and like the Rahman being used or like is that something that like came out like is it like thing like I didn't understand my money the slot in Judea Arabic when he wrote to Jews so he wrote in Hebrew characters and he had some Hebrew and Aramaic elements in his writing so for example he would say we havee him a lot and aku that is in these questions I say and the word sure a lot is from Hebrew but he would say al che lot you use the Arabic marker for Allah you do you understand what I'm saying so it's a mixed it's a mixed language variety that does it help thank you very much for your lecture I'm Valentina Lansing PhD candidate from the University of Sapienza University of Rome I have two questions the first one is about my research I'm graduated in Arabic language and now I'm trying to specialise in to the Arabic okay and I'm I'm studying a manuscript it is the direct translation of the targum of the canticle canticles alright and my first question is I read about your translating religion and other articles about this January and I want to ask if this dude ever Arabic translation of the targum could be considered a Shara or not my second question is about methodology so we know that the developing is a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic elements and classical Arabic Hebrew dialects okay which is the starting point for a young scholar who wanted to approach to this kind of elect or reject and these are good questions if the if the translation of the targum is considered ciao I I would consider HR I'd like to look at the text you know of course do you know the work that biblia Arabica are doing the group there is a group that is doing work on on Arabic translations of the Bible that is from Tel Aviv University and German universities they publish a lot now and they do the Bible among Christian Jews and Muslims and they do comparison it's very good we're friends I can send you someone to come yeah I think you should look at them they have conferences in Europe so you may even want to to participate so yes I would probably consider it a shock I'd like to look at it too to make sure but you know if you went translating religion in chapter 3 you have the lot of guidelines for the shock what is the what is the sorry shock is a what what we considered a literal translation of sacred texts into Judaea so we have it in all Jewish languages in Yiddish we call it I'd in Judea Spanish we call it Ladino translation in Italian we call it tequila or volgarr a as some people call it vulgar so we have it in many different Jewish languages what would be your point you you mean to ask me if you need to know Arabic first or Hebrew first is that is it look most important language in your research is Arabic there's no doubt about it because today Arabic is part of the Arabic language so of course it's much nicer if you know some Hebrew and never make but Arabic is your most important thing I have colleagues that Emily who's whose knowledge of EBU is very limited but they're doing wonderful work in today Arabic so you know you have the books you can look thing at things but really Arabic should be your starting point I think now table everything should be a started exactly when you do Judea Italian not Hebrew should be your starting point Italian should be a starting point yeah I very hard for me to reach the Italian I mean I look at text but of course I spent hours with dictionary because my Italian is very limited so is written by Jews for Jews oh okay I know Arabic so I can do it that's right when you read the text it's not only a matter of training you read the Lord you'll be fine the more you read the better you will be you see I have a specific question but with a bigger question in mind so you're very coherent in putting and their Arabic together with the minority languages so in this talk you compared to the Arabic with Maori and English now many people would object to this many linguists I'm a linguist by the way because they say you have a full-fledged separate language like Maori you cannot put it in the same bag as Christian is English as opposed to English so this is the bigger question in which science judo Arabic is a language is like Maori and the specific language is what evidence do we have in the past that the language extended to women it was not just a britain language for people who could write and read now the question is I think you asked him today Arabic is a language or not a language the way I put you there became my own together is because I wanted to show that language of minorities should be included in the society that was my point now is to Derek a language or not a language you know I'm not so interested in this question I will tell you why because I don't think we know what the language is and this number one I don't think we have an agreed-upon definition of a language and number two it's not something constant you yourself know that language cannot be defined along linguistic lines only it doesn't make any sense because some people say that Catalan is a language and some people say Catalan is a dialect of Spanish so if you look at the people you will see they say oh it's very different from Spanish or say oh no it's the same Spanish so what's behind people who say that Catalan is a language are usually Catalunya n-- separatists who want to separate from Spain people who say that cuddling is just a dialect of Spanish these are people from Madrid who want to make sure that Barcelona stays in right so it's a political question if you go to it's a very good example is it's Denmark I'll give you Denmark is a great exercise so in Sweden it before 1658 southern Sweden was part of Denmark okay and and the dialects that were spoken they were called Danish dialects nobody said anything else then Swedish took it back there used to be was even in Scandinavia if you believe it or not so and then the Swedish took it back from the Danes and suddenly within 40 years what we considered in Danish dialects they called it Swedish now the language didn't change in 40 years you know how long language changes and the only reason they call it Swedish because we didn't took it back and it's now it's a political thing so language is something around historical political religious sociological criteria not necessarily language or tea I don't consider language to be a linguistic category I think it's much more of a political when I say language variety then I'm on safe ground because we linguist like vagueness so when we say variety we don't commit it's a language it's a dialect it's an ethical act it's a religion like what is it so it's safer to use it everywhere right look very carefully I don't say Jewish languages well recently when I was young I did recently I said language Jewish language variety I used the way varieties all the time because I'm gonna say for God I don't have to commit did it answer your question yeah so there was an issue of of knowing the the alphabet and all this and actually we know that at one point and I think I would say from around the 15th century onwards we know that women a lot of the Sharks these Charlotte she was talking about the translations of sacred texts we're done in more colloquial Arabic from 16th century in Morocco and in Egypt in North Africa and also in Iraq later mostly for use of women and children because they knew the Hebrew alphabet but they didn't know the Arabic alphabet so so they would translate and they didn't know Hebrew but they knew every because they would speak Arabic so they know how to read or maybe recite the shower so it was easier for them to do it in Hebrew characters than in Arabic characters it was degrees of education of how much Arabic what's it yeah just Judea Italian it's the same any same thing in yiddish of code 10 arena you know and in Ladino Miam Louise so all of these things will scholars say that we don't have enough work on women on gender in in Jewish language varieties we don't have enough images we've some but not enough there's a lot to do though do we have any other question yes one over there and maybe this will be the last one but thank you um I had a question I see up there you have morphological and phonological influences of and I think Judeo Italian is probably the same I was wondering if there were if there's a clear syntactic influence of Hebrew and in israeli there are even syntactic the the most fascinating example that I can give you will be in Egyptian today Arabic but because I can think of examples now from Palestinian it would be the use of the of the definite direct object eight in Hebrew you know in Hebrew you have am alkyl for the for the definite direct object so you say Annie or a at Alex you said your name is Sasha anyway it's Sasha there is I see mark you Sasha okay you put a molecule because Sasha is definite so I see at Sasha in Arabic we don't have it you say Ashu Sasha okay in Egyptian today Arabic you have a market of it you use it as illa so you say Anna Eshoo Allah such a which sounds weird in Arabic totally weird but they use illa because they they take the eight the marker from Kibo into Judaea aerobic and they didn't because of the shower because of the literal translation and later it probably went into the dialect as well with some evidence of that does does that so you have a molecule for the direct for the definite direct object it's a great question this is a funny example this one so Arabs say the name Mahmoud Mahmood that's very common in all the Arab world it's common name food comes from the wood Hamid that plays you know praise God it's it food Israelis don't have the heart anymore they use the heart and they don't have the long vowels and usually in colloquial Hebrew they accent the first syllable so they say Yaakov David you know that's the colloquial way of saying names so Israelis we say Mahmoud now Arabs in Haifa University students that I interviewed would you would say Mahmoud in Arabic I was I started laughing hysterically it's very funny that an Arab would say Mahmoud totally influenced from Hebrew in the phonological phonological structure it's hilarious to say and they don't see anything wrong with this they don't sometimes they don't even know what they're doing so it's fascinating to see the language changes dramatically because language is in contact you know for the Ricoh can tell you a lot about languages in contact and what happens when languages are such close contact and they don't fight at least where they don't find will be surprised but I actually would like trust for your question on this but I think it's going to emitter our aperitivo and so I'm going to ask you later on so please join me in a round of applause for professor Benny Harry



The Arabic spoken by Jewish communities in the Arab world differed slightly from the Arabic of their non-Jewish neighbours. These differences were partly due to the incorporation of some words from Hebrew and other languages and partly geographical, in a way that may reflect a history of migration. For example, the Judeo-Arabic of Egypt, including in the Cairo community, resembled the dialect of Alexandria rather than that of Cairo (Blau).[2] Similarly, Baghdad Jewish Arabic is reminiscent of the dialect of Mosul.[3] Many Jews in Arab countries were bilingual in Judeo-Arabic and the local dialect of the Muslim majority.

Like other Jewish languages and dialects, Judeo-Arabic languages contain borrowings from Hebrew and Aramaic. This feature is less marked in translations of the Bible, as the authors clearly took the view that the business of a translator is to translate.[4]



Jews in Arabic, Muslim majority countries wrote—sometimes in their dialects, sometimes in a more classical style—in a mildly adapted Hebrew alphabet rather than using the Arabic script, often including consonant dots from the Arabic alphabet to accommodate phonemes that did not exist in the Hebrew alphabet.

Some of the most important books of medieval Jewish thought were originally written in medieval Judeo-Arabic, as well as certain halakhic works and biblical commentaries. Later they were translated into medieval Hebrew so that they could be read by contemporaries elsewhere in the Jewish world, and by others who were literate in Hebrew. These include:

Most communities also had a traditional translation of the Bible into Judeo-Arabic, known as a sharḥ ("meaning"): for more detail, see Bible translations into Arabic. The term sharḥ sometimes came to mean "Judeo-Arabic" in the same way that "Targum" was sometimes used to mean the Aramaic language.

Present day

In the years following the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the end of the Algerian War, and Moroccan and Tunisian independence, most Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews in Arab countries left, mainly for mainland France and for Israel. Their distinct Arabic dialects in turn did not thrive in either country, and most of their descendants now speak French or Modern Israeli Hebrew almost exclusively; thus resulting in the entire continuum of Judeo-Arabic dialects being considered endangered languages.[citation needed] This stands in stark contrast with the historical status of Judeo-Arabic: in the early Middle Ages, speakers of Judeo-Arabic far outnumbered the speakers of Yiddish. There remain small populations of speakers in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Yemen, Israel and the United States.


Arabic Semitic name Transliteration
א ا ʾAleph ā and sometimes ʾI
ב ب Bet b
גׄ ج Gimel ǧ, an English j sound
ג or עׄ غ Ghayn ġ, a guttural gh sound
ד د Dalet d
דׄ ذ Ḏāl , an English th as in "that"
ה ه He h
ו و Waw w and sometimes ū
ז ز Zayin z
ח ح Heth
ט ط Teth
טׄ ظ Ẓāʾ , a retracted form of the th sound as in "that"
י ي Yodh y or ī
כ, ך ك Kaph k
כׄ, ךׄ or חׄ خ Ḫāʾ , a kh sound like "Bach"
ל ل Lamedh l
מ م Mem m
נ ن Nun n
ס س Samekh s
ע ع ʿAyin ʿa, ʿ and sometimes ʿi
פ, ף or פׄ, ףׄ ف Pe f
צ, ץ ص Ṣade , a hard s sound
צׄ, ץׄ ض Ḍād , a retracted d sound
ק ق Qoph q
ר ر Resh r
ש ش Shin š, an English sh sound
ת ت Taw t
תׄ ث Ṯāʾ , an English th as in "thank"

See also


  1. ^ Judeo-Arabic at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Judeo-Iraqi Arabic at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Judeo-Moroccan Arabic at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Judeo-Tripolitanian Arabic at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Judeo-Tunisian Arabic at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Judeo-Yemeni Arabic at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ [citation needed]For example, in Cairene Arabic, as in Classical Arabic, "I write" is aktub. In Egyptian Judeo-Arabic, in western Alexandrian Arabic and in the Maghrebi Arabic dialects (Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian) it is nektob, resembling a first person plural.
  3. ^ For example, "I said" is qeltu in the speech of Baghdadi Jews and Christians, as well as in Mosul and Syria, as against Muslim Baghdadi gilit (Haim Blanc, Communal Dialects in Baghdad). This however may reflect not southward migration from Mosul on the part of the Jews, but rather the influence of Gulf Arabic on the dialect of the Muslims.
  4. ^ Avishur, Studies in Judaeo-Arabic Translations of the Bible.


  • Blanc, Haim, Communal Dialects in Baghdad: Harvard 1964
  • Blau, Joshua, The Emergence and Linguistic Background of Judaeo-Arabic: OUP, last edition 1999
  • Blau, Joshua, A Grammar of Mediaeval Judaeo-Arabic: Jerusalem 1980 (in Hebrew)
  • Blau, Joshua, Studies in Middle Arabic and its Judaeo-Arabic variety: Jerusalem 1988 (in English)
  • Blau, Joshua, Dictionary of Mediaeval Judaeo-Arabic Texts: Jerusalem 2006
  • Mansour, Jacob, The Jewish Baghdadi Dialect: Studies and Texts in the Judaeo-Arabic Dialect of Baghdad: Or Yehuda 1991
  • Heath, Jeffrey, Jewish and Muslim dialects of Moroccan Arabic (Routledge Curzon Arabic linguistics series): London, New York, 2002.

External links

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