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Dov Cohen and Ora (Rodrigue) Schwarzwald

Abstract

It is commonly accepted that Hilkhot Sheḥiṭa u-Vdika (literally, ‘The Laws of Ritual Slaughter and Examination’—Constantinople ca. 1510) was the first publication ever printed in Judeo-Spanish. Yet scholars possessed no evidence that the work actually existed, and no information was available regarding its contents or language. Recently, however, the first four pages of the publication were discovered among the remnants of the Cairo Genizah. The current study is a preliminary description of this publication’s historical bibliography, halakhic sources, structure and contents, orthography and spelling (which reflect untrained writing and inconsistent pronunciation), and its special vocabulary, including the Hebrew component, which specifically relates to religion.

Gabi Abramac

Abstract

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (1992) seeks to protect and promote regional and minority languages in Europe. The objectives and principles defined by the Charter include the recognition of regional and minority languages as cultural assets. The Charter also commits the signatories to promote the study of, and research on, regional and minority languages. Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the Charter in 2005 and officially ratified it in 2010, applying it to seventeen regional and minority languages including Ladino and Yiddish. This paper examines the disparity between the obligations entered into and the actual state of affairs. It also investigates the linguistic repertoire and language ideologies of the Jewish community in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the extent and nature of its interest in revitalizing Ladino.

Tamari Lomtadze and Reuven Enoch

Abstract

The Judeo-Georgian language has not yet been fully studied. Up to the end of the 20th century, only religion, traditions, and customs had been considered key identity markers of Georgian Jews. The first comprehensive scholarly works relating to Judeo-Georgian appeared at the turn of the century. This article builds on previous research on the speech varieties of Georgian Jews. The purpose of the present article is to demonstrate that alongside religion, customs, traditions, and culture, language was one of the main identity markers of the Jews in Georgia. The variety of Georgian spoken by the Jews differed from standard Georgian in prosodic (intonational), grammatical, and lexical features. The sociocultural and ethnolinguistic distinctiveness of their speech was reflected primarily in the use of Hebraisms.

Bryan Kirschen

Abstract

This study implements the Leipzig-Jakarta list as a word-elicitation task among speakers (n=20) of Judeo-Spanish in South Florida. Data demonstrate that while entirely different lexemes may be used to express similar meanings for a given token, variation is most demonstrable through phonological processes. An analysis of responses (n=2,000) reveals variation and innovation in the production of vowels (mid-vowel raising, apheresis, prothesis), consonants (de/voicing or palatalization of sibilants, preservation of etymological f–, metathesis), and stress (proparoxytonic vs. oxytonic). Data also reveal that of the basic lexicon in Judeo-Spanish (e.g., function words, body parts, living creatures, etc.), only 5% is of non-Hispanic origin. In addition, this study examines the sociolinguistic organization of Sephardim in South Florida, accounting for the vitality and endangerment of Judeo-Spanish in this diasporic community, while also exemplifying the linguistic ramifications of contact with other languages.

Hadas Yeverechyahu

Abstract

The paper presents consonant co-occurrence restrictions in Hebrew, focusing on the influence of the similarity factor. A lexical analysis of Hebrew verbs reveals tendency to avoid similar, close consonants, by showing a highly significant correlation (p<0.0001) between co-occurrence of C1-C2 sequences in the lexicon and similarity factors (based on Frisch et al.’s 2004 model for similarity, adjusted to Hebrew). In other words, the more two consonants are similar to each other, the smaller their chances are to co-occur as C1-C2 in a Hebrew verb. In addition, a major role of place of articulation is observed, such that consonants that share major place of articulation are less likely to co-occur. However, the highly significant correlation between co-occurrences and similarity factors suggests that not only major place of articulation affects the restrictions; otherwise we would wrongly predict no effect in non-homorganic pairs.

Noam Faust

Abstract

Modern Hebrew is written with the traditional Hebrew orthography, which contains several symbols that refer to guttural sounds. However, the pronunciations corresponding to these symbols in Modern Hebrew are not phonetically guttural. This paper is an exhaustive survey of these realizations. It shows that in many cases, there are reasons to think that even though no sound is produced, there is an underlying segment in the position of the historical guttural, and this segment behaves in a predictable manner. That said, alongside this general pattern, there are some effects related to historical gutturals that must be regarded as morpheme-specific, as well as some idiosyncrasies of the different original gutturals.

Evan-Gary Cohen

Abstract

The phonology of loanwords often differs from the phonology of native words in various aspects. These differences are evident in the prosodic structure and even the segmental inventory. The differences between the loanword and native phonology, however, are not necessarily stable, and it is often the case that what originated as phonological structures in loanwords which were illicit in the native vocabulary eventually overrode the native norm, bringing about diachronic change to the phonology of the native words. Hebrew is no exception in this respect. The stress system of loanwords differs from that of native words, with the latter’s system undergoing changes inter alia due to the effect of loanwords (e.g. ante-penultimate stress, immobile stress patterns). The licit syllable structure inventory of native Hebrew words has been expanded to include loaned structures (e.g. complex codas, triconsonantal structures), and the phonemic inventory of Hebrew now includes several consonants originating in loanwords (e.g. ʒ and d͡ʒ).

Roey J. Gafter

Abstract

This paper surveys current research on the sociophonetics of Modern Hebrew, meaning the research of phonetic variation in Hebrew speech that is socially conditioned, or interpreted as socially meaningful. The paper discusses recent methodological and theoretical advances in sociophonetic research on production and perception, and illustrates how these have been implemented in Hebrew and influenced our understanding of Hebrew sociolinguistics. It further highlights a number of key sociolinguistic variables that have received the most attention in quantitative research on segmental variation: the pharyngeal segments (ħ) and (ʕ), the Hebrew rhotic (r), the glottal fricative (h), and the diphthong (ej). The paper concludes with a discussion of future directions and additional variables of interest which have the potential to advance the growing field of Hebrew sociophonetics.