The Hebrew-Catalan documents of the Jews of medieval Catalonia have not been thoroughly analyzed thus far. The present article analyzes five unique wedding songs of the fourteenth–fifteenth centuries written in Catalan using Hebrew characters (edited in 1970 and 1974). In this study special attention is given to the humorous and satirical functions of the Hebrew component. This sophisticated use of the Hebrew component may imply more widespread oral traditions of parodic character related to the wedding ceremony among the Jews of Catalonia and the Iberian Peninsula. The notion of “Judeo-Catalan” is discussed in the framework of linguistic repertoire while demonstrating undocumented or rarely documented phonetic, semantic, and lexical features of medieval Catalan. The use of a different orthographic system allows for a written representation of the pronunciation of medieval Catalan, whereby the boundaries between the spoken and the written are blurred, creating a sort of a “written-spoken language.”
Bar-AsherMoshe“Ha-‘aravit ha-yehudit be-tunisya”Leshonot massorot u-minhagot: Linguistics Traditions and Customs of Maghrebi Jews and Studies in Jewish Languages.2010bvol. 2JerusalemBen-Zvi Institute255260(in Hebrew).
Blasco OrellanaMeritxellMagdalena Nom de DéuJosé Ramón“Últimas voluntades de los judíos en Aragón: El testamento de Doña Oro, esposa de Samuel Rimok, judía de Monzón (1463)”Materia Giudaica2009141–2431459
LazarMosheLazarMoshé“Lis obros: Chansons hébraïco-provençales. Édition critique d’après tous les mss. connus”Romanica et occidentalia: Études dédiées à la mémoire de Hiram Peri (Pflaum)1963JerusalemMagnes Press290345
MinerviniLaura“De Cataluña a Sefarad: La aportación lingüística del judaísmo catalán al mundo judeohispánico”Girona Judaica 5: Temps i espais de la Girona Jueva—Actes del Simposi Internacional celebrat a Girona 23 24 i 25 de març de 20092001125137
Muntané i SantiveriJosep Xavier“El llibre “Qüestions de Vida” de Moixé Natan, jueu de Tàrrega: Estudi preliminar, edició crítica i traducció catalana d’una col·lecció medieval de proverbis hebreus”2010PhD dissertation University of Barcelona.
PagisDanAbramsonShragaMirskyAaron“Qoveṣ piyyuṭim mi-provans [Collection of Piyyutim from Provence]”Hayyim (Jefim) Schirmann: Jubilee Volume1970JerusalemSchocken Institute for Jewish Research257284(in Hebrew).
RaynouardM. François Just MarieLexique roman ou Dictionnaire de la langue des troubadours: comparée avec les autres langues de l’Europe latine précédé de nouvelles recherches historiques et philologiques d’un résumé de la grammaire romane d’un nouveau choix des poésies originales des troubadours et d’extraits de poëms divers2007OxfordOxford University(originally published Paris: Chez Silvestr 1838–1844).
WexlerPaul“Ascertaining the Position of Judeo-Spanish within Ibero-Romance”Jewish and Non-Jewish Creators of “Jewish” Languages with Special Attention to Judaized Arabic Chinese German Greek Persian Portuguese Slavic (Modern Hebrew/Yiddish) Spanish and Karaite and Semitic Hebrew/Ladino2006WiesbadenHarrassowitz Verlag428463(1977)
Riera’s (1974) Hebrew transliteration of the original texts is added in the footnotes wherein the | symbol represents the end of the line in the original text. The transcription into Latin characters from Riera’s (1974) edition is followed by an English translation. My own additions are given between square brackets. Hebrew words are marked in bold. The translation offered here is by no means poetic in character but rather a highly literal translation that approximates the original in order to allow readers to follow the text. My translation is based mainly on Riera’s (1974) reading though taking into account Lazar’s (1970) translation into Hebrew as well as the short fragments from two of the songs that were translated into English by Argenter (2001). Riera’s transcription and accentuation are according to Catalan orthography. Thus gu represents [ɡ] in initial and intervocalic position before the front vowels e and i; and qu represents [k] in initial and intervocalic position before front vowels. (e.g. que [ke]; castigueres [kastigeres]); when followed by [wa] [wo] or [we] these are transcribed as gua güe güi guo qua qüe qüi quo. The digraph -ss- represents [s] in intervocalic position. The position of stress in a Catalan word is indicated by an acute accent when stress is not penultimate in a word ending with a vowel or vowel + -s or with -en or -in (e.g. tençó ‘tension’; aprés ‘after’); A grave accent is used with stressed open vowels ([ɛ] [ɔ]). Stressed -a is always indicated with a grave accent (e.g. farà ‘[he] will do’). Stress is also indicated when it is not final in a word ending in any other consonant (e.g. Sènyer ‘master lord’). Hebrew elements were also transcribed and accentuated by Riera according to Catalan. Since this might cause confusion among readers who know Hebrew the Hebrew components are transcribed according to the transcription system of Encyclopedia Hebrew Language and Linguistics. Apart from that I have corrected Riera’s edition only when difficulties in reading or mistakes may arise. These are marked in the footnotes. For the English translation of biblical verses I have mainly cited the New International Version of the Bible.
Schirmann (1961) and Bar-Tikva (2009) do not make special mention of Catalonia when referring to Hebrew poetry of Sefarad and Provence. On the meticulous work of Hebrew poets in Catalonia see Riera 1976:10–11.
First published as Bar-Asher2002:77–88. Though Bar-Asher discusses the common characteristics of modern Jewish languages I find the criteria also relevant for the discussion on Jewish languages in medieval times as also mentioned by Bar-Asher himself (2010:225).
Up until the Battle of Muret (1213) the Catalan counts had direct control over Provence. Upon the expulsion of Jews from France in 1306 many of the Jews of Montpellier first found their way to Perpignan and nearby cities at least as a passing point (Roth 2003:539).
See the edition of Almqvist1951:110: Car anc no creziei cast[ï]ier; Qu’el’a·l costum de l’aversier Qui·l sieu destrui e desbrueilla.