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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.

Hezy Mutzafi

Abstract

The present article presents new findings related to Jewish Neo-Aramaic (JNA) innovations in the framework of North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic (NENA). The dialectal spectrum of JNA is so wide and variegated, that some geographically distant JNA varieties are markedly different from each other on all levels of language structure. Despite this great heterogeneity, the JNA dialects share supra-regional features that bind these varieties together to the exclusion of all, or the vast majority of, the Christian NENA (C.NENA) dialects. There appear to be no grounds, however, for a genetic classification of NENA into two principal branches, JNA and C.NENA. Distinct Jewish versus Christian NENA isoglosses have, rather, most plausibly emerged by gradual diffusion of innovations throughout NENA-speaking communities of the same confession (Jewish or Christian), while skipping geographically adjacent, but religiously distinct, NENA-speaking communities.

Alexander Beider

Abstract

This article discusses the notion of ‘Jewish surnames,’ considering it to be synonymous to the expression ‘surnames borne by Jews.’ This can be particularly helpful if we want the definition to add real value for the search of etymologies. The article describes most important peculiarities of Jewish surnames, categories of names that are exclusively Jewish, and various cases when a surname is shared by both Jews and non-Jews. It shows that certain alternative definitions of the notion of ‘Jewish surnames’ (such as surnames found in all Jewish communities, surnames used by Jews only, surnames based on specifically Jewish linguistic elements) either have internal inconsistencies or are useless and sometimes misleading for the scientific analysis of the etymologies of these surnames.

Mohamed A. H. Ahmed

Abstract

The main aim of this study is to introduce a model of TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) annotation of Hebrew elements in Judeo-Arabic texts, i.e., code switching (CS), borrowing, and Hebrew quotations. This article will provide an introduction to using XML (Extensible Markup Language) to investigate sociolinguistic aspects in medieval Judeo-Arabic texts. Accordingly, it will suggest to what extent using XML is useful for investigating linguistic and sociolinguistic features in the Judeo-Arabic paradigm. To provide an example for how XML annotation could be applied to Judeo-Arabic texts, a corpus of 300 pages selected from three Judeo-Arabic books has been manually annotated using the TEI P5. The annotation covers all instances of CS, borrowing, and Hebrew quotations in that corpus.