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Author: Moshe Bar-Asher


This article deals with the text of a sharḥ (i.e., a Judeo-Arabic translation) to the hafṭara for the afternoon service on the Day of Atonement according to the traditions of Tafilalt and Todgha in Southeast Morocco. This text is a written version of a sharḥ that was transmitted orally for generations and was finally put down in writing in Jerusalem, apparently in the 1960s. The paper discusses a few unique and innovative linguistic phenomena that characterize this text in the realms of orthography, pronunciation, syntax, and lexicon. It also examines the exegetical method that is reflected in this sharḥ and comments on three aspects of the scribe’s work in transmitting the oral tradition to writing.

In: Journal of Jewish Languages
Author: Moshe Bar-Asher

This study focuses on the relationship between Jewish languages and Hebrew. It includes a short discussion of a number of topics dealt with in the research literature since the beginning of the study of these languages, with a presentation of my perspective on these issues. Due to space constraints I will deal with only eight of these topics: A. The functional division between Jewish languages and Hebrew in Jewish communities; B. The distinction between ancient and new Jewish languages; C. The special status of Aramaic; D. The Hebrew and Aramaic component in Jewish languages and its extent; E. Semantic fields where the Hebrew component is used; F. Secret languages; G. The Hebrew component’s contribution to the study of Hebrew language traditions; H. Hebrew as a living language in Jewish languages.

In: Journal of Jewish Languages