Modern Judeo-Provençal as Known from Its Sole Textual Testimony: Harcanot et Barcanot (Critical Edition and Linguistic Analysis)

In: Journal of Jewish Languages
Peter Nahon Faculty of Letters and the Humanities, University of Neuchâtel Neuchâtel Switzerland

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This study offers a linguistic description of the idiom of the Jews of the Comtat Venaissin (“Judeo-Provençal”) at the end of the 18th century, based on a critical edition of the only relevant document illustrating this language, a theatrical play in verse entitled Harcanot et Barcanot. The introduction provides a philological inventory of all known sources of “Judeo-Provençal.” The critical and variorum edition of the text, accompanied by linear glosses in English, is followed by a commentary comprising a glossary and analysis of all relevant linguistic features. It reveals, inter alia, that this language possessed words pertaining to the linguistic repertoire of French Jews since the Middle Ages; as for the phonetic features of the Jewish dialect of Provençal, their etiology is to be found in the history of the communities. The study concludes with a reassessment of the nature of linguistic variation in the dialect of the Jews of Provence.

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