From the 19th–20th-century beginnings of modern linguistics, scholars reported on various results of interactions between diverse language speakers; but it was only with Uriel Weinreich’s Languages in Contact (1953) that a solid theoretical basis for the systematic study of contact linguistics was elaborated. The present article studies lexical influences from South Slavic on Judezmo (Ladino/Judeo-Spanish) resulting from contact during the 16th–19th centuries between speakers of these two languages in the regions that, between 1918 and 1992, were known jointly as Yugoslavia. During the Ottoman and then Austro-Hungarian periods, borrowings in local Judezmo from South Slavic were relatively few compared with Turkisms. But from the nineteenth century, when the South Slavs gained political independence, Serbo-Croatian exerted an ever-increasing influence on Judezmo in this region. The case of Judezmo there differs considerably from Yiddish in Slavic Eastern Europe throughout the same period, as described by Uriel Weinreich and others.
Uriel Weinreich’s Theoretical Framework for the Study of Contact Linguistics
Linguists had observed and commented on the results of interactions between users of diverse languages – both spoken and written – before Uriel Weinreich published Languages in Contact in 1953, as an adaptation of his 1951 Columbia University doctoral dissertation (Weinreich 1951). In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, for example, founders of modern linguistics such as August Schleicher, in his monograph on Die Sprachen Europas (1850, esp. 26–28), Franz Miklosich, in his analyses of the elements of Turkish and Slavic origin in Balkan languages (1861, 1885–1886, 1889, 1890), and Kristian Sandfeld, in his introduction to Linguistique balkanique (1930; first published in Danish in 1926), all touched on structural features characteristic of languages whose speakers were in direct contact with speakers of other languages over time, and whose languages underwent change as a result of that contact. But such early treatments of language contact and its repercussions lacked a broad theoretical framework.
Weinreich’s pioneering Languages in Contact provided such a framework. In the book, Weinreich elaborated the theoretical base necessary for the deep, systematic study of contact linguistics he advocated, and he illustrated the principles he formulated by means of a rich selection of data exemplifying the results of a wide range of language contact types, at every structural level. Some of the data had been collected by Weinreich personally, in situ, in 1949–50, and represented the contemporaneous speech of members of the diverse language communities of Switzerland, who had co-existed, interacted, and influenced one another, linguistically and otherwise, for centuries. Throughout the work, Weinreich emphasized the pivotal role of the bilingual speaker as the agent of language change resulting from “interference,” and the role of the monolingual speaker as heir to the “inherited” loanwords imported and disseminated by the bilinguals. Since the publication of Weinreich’s book, scholars have used his principles as the basis for further theorizing on language contact in general, and for analyzing the results of contact in diverse geographic areas and of various structural and sociological types. In addition to the seminal role it played in the establishment of the field of language contact studies, Weinreich’s composition contributed toward the founding of allied areas of linguistic research such as multilingualism studies; codeswitching, borrowing, and language mixing; sociolinguistics in its manifold aspects, including the study of Jewish languages; and others.
It was undoubtedly not by coincidence that Uriel Weinreich took an interest in the contacts between speakers of varieties of Germanic and Romance in Switzerland. By the time Languages in Contact appeared, Weinreich’s father, Max, had long established himself as one of the foremost Yiddish linguists in the world. He was a moving spirit of the
The Differential Impact of Slavic on Its Diverse Neighboring Languages
In 1955 Uriel Weinreich channeled his interest in Yiddish-Slavic contact into an article focusing on one of its most telling results: the ‘fusion elements’ or ‘blends’ in Yiddish incorporating a morpheme of East Slavic origin. The Slavic languages have left their mark on all of the languages with which their speakers came into intensive contact. The divergent results of the influence of Slavic on each of its contact languages, however, are often striking. In an article published in 1958, Weinreich offered a convincing explanation for the significant influence of Slavic on Yiddish as opposed to the less significant influence of Slavic on colonial German spoken by non-Jews in the same region.
Weinreich’s study of Slavic influence on these two structurally similar Indo-European languages – both spoken on Slavic speech territory but by communities having different sorts of relations with their Slavic-speaking neighbors – illustrates the divergent linguistic outcomes which can result from contact with Slavic by two quite distinct culture groups, in this case, Jewish and non-Jewish speakers of a primarily Germanic-origin language. The Jewish language world offers a particularly notable instance of the divergent influence Slavic has had on two languages of primarily Indo-European stock spoken by members of two subgroups of the same culture group, Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews sharing much in the way of broad religious and national identity and ethnic orientation, but existing in two different national-political spheres: Yiddish in contact with East Slavic in Eastern Europe, in which the local political regimes were themselves Slavic, apparently lending a certain importance and prestige to Slavic among Yiddish speakers and thus encouraging an openness to extensive Slavic influence on Yiddish at every linguistic level, early on in the history of Eastern Yiddish; and Judezmo (also known by names such as ‘Judeo-Spanish’ and ‘Ladino’) in contact with South Slavic in the Balkans, where, until the nineteenth century, the local Slavs were subservient to the Ottomans, with Turkish as the language of the politically most robust ethnic group in the region and the official administrative language of their empire – resulting in significant Turkish influence on Judezmo, as well as on the other languages of the region, including Slavic, but, until the nineteenth century, much more limited influence by South Slavic.
The present article discusses an interesting instance of Jewish-Slavic language contact in the Balkans, which constitutes a striking variant on the contact condition holding between Slavic and the major Jewish language in Eastern Europe, Yiddish. I draw attention to the South Slavic impact on Judezmo as spoken in the regions of the Ottoman Empire and later, Austro-Hungary, which came to constitute the former Yugoslavia – specifically in the regions known today as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and the Republic of Macedonia, where the languages commonly called Bosnian, Serbian, and Macedonian are spoken. Since the Sephardim arrived in the South Slavic region in significant numbers in the sixteenth century, we have a rough starting date for the Sephardic-Slavic linguistic encounter, as well as the beginning of the partial participation of Judezmo in the Balkan Sprachbund (e.g., see Busse 2011; Friedman & Joseph 2014). Thus, the Balkan Sephardic encounter with Slavic post-dated that of the Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazim, who had already begun reaching Slavic lands in the thirteenth century.
Some Historical Notes on the Sephardim of the South Slavic Regions
In the mid-sixteenth century, some of the descendants of Iberian Jews who had made their way directly to the large Ottoman port cities following their expulsion from Castile and Aragon in 1492 and their forced conversion to Catholicism in Portugal in 1497 began to branch out and settle in more distant regions of the empire. Some of them reached the lands historically populated by the South Slavs, especially Serbia, Dalmatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Macedonia.2 A century before the Sephardim came to this region, it had been conquered by the Ottomans. In consequence, the official as well as everyday spoken language of the Turks in the region, who had originated in Central Asia and began to conquer the lands of the South Slavs in the late fourteenth century, had already exerted a considerable influence on the indigenous languages before the arrival of the Sephardim. With the establishment of the Sephardim in the region, Turkish also had a major impact on Judezmo, which the descendants of the exiled Sephardim maintained throughout the Ottoman Empire as their distinctive, everyday ethnic-group language, from their arrival at the end of the fifteenth century into the twentieth century.
From the earliest years of their settlement in the South Slavic region, most Sephardim engaged in commerce. A tradition of artisanry was also established (Freidenrich 1979:18). Their occupations brought the Jews into constant contact with their non-Jewish neighbors, most of whom spoke varieties of South Slavic, as well as regional Turkish and other languages of the immediate area. Trade and other relations with Jews and Gentiles in neighboring Italy also made it worthwhile to acquire a knowledge of varieties of Italian. When parts of the region came under Austrian rule in the nineteenth century, proficiency in German became a valuable asset as well. Through this period, the intense interaction with their non-Jewish neighbors – as merchandise suppliers, customers, shop assistants, and so on – and the close proximity of the open Jewish quarters to those of the neighboring Muslims and Christians, necessitated some familiarity with their languages, especially among the males.
The passive knowledge and active use by Jews of the non-Jewish languages eventually led to the incorporation of borrowings from those languages into their everyday Judezmo. In line with a principle of contact linguistics analyzed by Weinreich (1953:74–80), the extent of borrowing was commensurate with the relative status of the languages in the South Slavic region: into the nineteenth century, Turkish and, later, Austrian German constituted the principal ‘languages of power’ (or ‘prestige,’ Weinreich 1953:108–110) in this region as the languages of the ruling peoples, thus enjoying primary status, while the others amounted to languages of ‘disunity,’ of lower status than Turkish or German, and constituting one of the features distinguishing the variegated and, amongst themselves, competitive non-Turkish, and later, non-German ethnic groups from one another. So long as the regions were under Ottoman domination, any major Jewish efforts to master a local non-Jewish language were directed primarily at Turkish. Well into the late nineteenth century, Turkish certainly had a more profound impact on Judezmo of the South Slavic region than any other non-Jewish language. With Austrian domination, German came to replace Turkish as the major donor of loanwords in local Judezmo, as in local Slavic, especially in the terminological spheres related to administration and Western civilization and culture. Although Jewish males undoubtedly had some familiarity with the varieties of South Slavic spoken by local non-Jews with whom they regularly interacted, and this familiarity is reflected, if mildly, in the responsa literature reflecting the lives of the Sephardim in this region (for examples see sections “Middle Judezmo Period” and “Early Modern and Middle Modern Periods” below), Slavic did not become a language of consequence for the Jews of the South Slavic region (it never became consequential for the Sephardim of the other regions of the Balkans) until the South Slavs began to gain their independence in the first half of the nineteenth century, and thus borrowing from South Slavic did not begin to become significant in this region until that time. Most Sephardim of the South Slavic region resided in Serbia or Bosnia-Herzegovina, and since the position of Slavic differed somewhat in the two states, it is worth pointing out some of the differences in their political development, since they had linguistic repercussions.
Following centuries of domination by the Ottomans and, between 1718 and 1739, by the Austrians, the Serbian revolution of 1817 led to the rise of the Principality of Serbia, which achieved de facto independence in 1867, recognized by the Great Powers in 1878.3 With Serbian autonomy the Jews were able to establish a press in Belgrade, at which they printed works in Hebrew and Judezmo composed for the most part by rabbinical scholars from what I have called the Northwest Judezmo dialect region (i.e., what came to be Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Romania, as well as Austria and Hungary; Bunis 1974:49 fn. 37). Before Serbian autonomy, Sephardic Jewish education in this area, as in other parts of this region, had been conducted in Judezmo and focused entirely on sacred studies, with an emphasis on Hebrew as the ‘Holy Tongue.’ With Serbian independence this changed: in the 1860s – when there were some 2,000 Jews in the area, most of them in Belgrade – Serbian and German began to be taught in the higher grades in the Jewish schools (Freidenreich 1979:37). Around 1866 Jahiel Ruso, president of the Jewish community in Serbia, replaced Judezmo with Serbian as the community’s language of official administration, but in order to do so he had to hire a non-Jewish Serbian secretary (Friedenreich 1979:33), implying that, although some Jews must have been fluent in Serbian at this time, most were unable to write it in a non-Jewish alphabet.
The Serbian-Jewish Choral Society, which had been founded in 1879, performed Yugoslavian as well as ‘Jewish’ (i.e., Judezmo and Hebrew) pieces, and in general the Sephardim in Serbia entered into closer contact with Serbo-Croatian in cultural and administrative contexts. Serbia became an independent kingdom in 1881. As Freidenreich (1979:38) observes: “In the 1895 census 80 percent of Serbian Jewry declared Ladino as their mother tongue, and only 3 percent claimed Serbian … The case in Belgrade was much the same: 77 percent opted for Ladino and only 4 percent chose Serbian. Only five years later a remarkable shift in linguistic affiliation took place. A mere 27 percent of the Jews of Serbia reported themselves as native Ladino speakers, while 46 percent adopted Serbian.” This sudden drop perhaps reflects the Jews’ desire publicly to demonstrate identification with the aims and official language of the new kingdom rather than an actual drastic language shift. At the turn of the twentieth century there were more than 5,000 Jews in Serbia (Marcus & Roth 1972:868).
In 1780 there had been some 1,500 Jews in this region, which was under Ottoman control until 1878, when the area fell to the Austrians. With the transition from the Ottoman to the Austro-Hungarian cultural and political sphere, the Sephardim, like their non-Jewish Serbo-Croatian-speaking neighbors, became increasingly influenced by German, the language of official administration, which also played a significant role in commerce and was associated with western European high culture. Interaction with German-speaking Ashkenazim in Sarajevo as well as Belgrade served to heighten the direct impact of German on Judezmo of the entire region.
At the end of the nineteenth century there were more than 8,000 Jews in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 1894 Serbo-Croatian was introduced in the curriculum of the Jewish school in Sarajevo. At the turn of the century La Lira, the Jewish choral society in Sarajevo, was performing both Judezmo and Serbo-Croatian selections. “According to the Austro-Hungarian census of 1910, of the Sephardim in Sarajevo 98 percent declared Ladino as their mother tongue” (Freidenreich 1979:22). And yet Serbo-Croatian was undoubtedly gaining strength within the Jewish community there, especially in public and official domains. In 1910, the Talmud Torah was closed in Sarajevo, marking the end of the use of Judezmo in an official capacity and the almost complete linguistic shift to Serbo-Croatian for the Jewish community’s official needs.
In 1918 the Yugoslavian state was declared, with Serbo-Croatian as its official language. In 1921 there were some 7,458 Jews in Bosnia, most of them fluent in Serbo-Croatian; but Judezmo continued to enjoy some use as a Jewish communal language until World War ii. In 1941 some 14,000 Jews were living in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Marcus & Roth 1972:872; Freidenreich 1979:215).
Slavisms in Yugoslavian Judezmo by Historical Period
Internal linguistic features, as documented in texts from the sixteenth through twentieth centuries, suggest that the Judezmo language and its literature in the area which during most of the twentieth century was known as ‘Yugoslavia’ may be divided into two major periods: the pre-modern period, coinciding with the general Middle Judezmo Period (c. 1492–c. 1771) which I have posited for Ottoman Judezmo in general, and the modern period, correlating with the general Modern Judezmo Period (c. 1772–present) postulated for Ottoman and post-Ottoman Judezmo. With respect to the language in ‘Yugoslavia,’ the Modern Judezmo Period may be subcategorized into Early Modern ‘Yugoslavian’ Judezmo (c. 1772–1877), occurring during the Ottoman domination of the region; Middle Modern ‘Yugoslavian’ Judezmo (c. 1878–1913), occurring during Austro-Hungarian and, later, Slavic political hegemony in the area; and Late Modern ‘Yugoslavian’ Judezmo (c. 1914–present), during which the Judezmo speech community underwent intensive linguistic assimilation to its Serbo-Croatian surroundings. The present study is limited to Middle Judezmo and Early and Middle Modern Yugoslavian Judezmo – i.e., the period which ended around 1913, some 40 years after the recognition of the Principality of Serbia (1878), and the passing of Bosnia-Herzegovina to Austrian hands (1878). The raw materials available for the study of the Slavic impact on Yugoslavian Judezmo during this period are: Sephardic rabbinical texts from the South Slavic region (primarily Judezmo passages in Hebrew-language responsa collections; halakhic codes; annotated prayer books), and Judezmo texts such as educational manuals for adults and children, produced during this period in Livorno, Vienna, and the South Slavic region by authors from the region.
Middle Judezmo Period (c. 1492–1771)
We can assume that spoken Slavic-language exchanges between Sephardim and South Slavic speakers began to occur as soon as the Sephardim became established in the region in the sixteenth century. As in other Jewish communities, the responsa literature of the Ottoman rabbis records legal cases revolving around points of halakhah, or Jewish law, brought to the rabbinical courts. Some of the responsa document oral or legal testimony, in Judezmo and other languages spoken by the Ottoman Sephardim, introduced by witnesses in the courts. Few responsa offer direct references to exchanges between Jews and their neighbors in South Slavic languages. A gruesome one appears in the responsa of Rabbi Šĕlomo Ha-Kohen (Maharšak)4 of sixteenth-century Salonika (part 4, no. 87). According to it, witnesses before the rabbinical court testified in 5359  on the murder of two Jews in Nikopol. Yiṣḥaq Bar David testified that on the Ninth of Av the wife of Moše Bĕxar Šĕlomo was crying in the company of others about her murdered husband; a Gentile girl present told
As reported by Rabbi Aharon Sason (b. 1550, d. Constantinople 1626) in his responsa (1621, no. 2), a conversation which had transpired in Vidin (today, Bulgaria), in 5360 , between Yisra’el Šim‘on, a Judezmo speaker, and a Bulgarian Christian – undoubtedly in Bulgarian – was partially reconstructed by Yisra’el for the rabbinical court of Salonika in the following words:
Estando en mi butika en Vidin, vino un akum, konesido mío, i komo me vido se ayegó a·mi i estávamos favlando uno kon otro … i el … me disho, ‘Tanbién a·tu konpanyero, Yosef Ruso, i a·dos ermanastros ke siempre ivan djuntos, los fayí matados i los enterí yo.’
(While in my shop in Vidin there came a Christian, an acquaintance of mine, and when he saw me he approached me and we spoke together … and he … told me, ‘Also your friend, Yosef Ruso, and two half-brothers who were always together, I found, murdered, and I buried them.’)
From these rare passages, we see that on territory populated mostly by Bulgarians, the Sephardi witnesses were able to communicate with the local South Slavs in their language. During this early period the responsa seem to offer no analogues from Bosnia, Serbia, or Macedonia; but this is probably a matter of chance, and there is no reason to believe that similar conversations were not held between speakers of Judezmo and the South Slavic languages there too. In addition to these two brief allusions to direct discourse between Jews and South Slavs, the responsa from the early Middle Judezmo period document several isolated lexical elements of Slavic origin which had entered Jewish speech by this time.
Some Slavic loanwords were common nouns which have been documented in varieties of Judezmo used throughout the Ottoman Empire; they are also documented for Turkish of the period and they perhaps entered Judezmo, even on Slavic territory, through Turkish rather than directly through a Slavic language. As Weinreich (e.g., 1953:53–61) would lead us to predict, the terms refer to the local realia, including: the spheres of administration and currency, e.g., ban ‘governor’ (Ben Lev 1573, vol. 3, no. 18, from Nikopol 1564; cf. Tietze 1957:2; SC., T. ban),11 kiral ‘king’ (SC. kralj, T. kıral),12 voivoda ‘kind of governor’ (Karo 1598, Goy mesiaḥ lĕ-fi tummo no. 2, from 1551; cf. Tietze 1957:2; cf. SC. vojvoda, B. voevoda, T. voyvoda),13 zolota ‘a former Ottoman coin, the value of which varied over time, following the progressive decline of the piaster, of which it represented three-quarters’ (Benveniste [d. 1673] 1788, Ḥošen mišpaṭ, vol. 1, no. 133, from Izmir 1664; cf. Tietze 1957:2); cuisine, e.g., b-/pogacha ‘kind of bread or flaky pastry’ (cf. SC. pogača, T. pogaça),14 kolecha/eskolacha ‘fried vermicelli’ (cf. J. (d)es- [< S. (d)es-] + SC. kolač ‘kind of cake, tart,’ [Çanakkale, Edirne] T. kolaç);15 clothing, e.g., kapanik´e/‑che ‘(archaic) a kind of fur cloak (worn by high state officials)’ (Medina 1596, Even ha-‘ezer, no. 42, from 1553; cf. Tietze 1957:2; cf. SC. kabanica ‘mantle, cloak,’ T. kapaniçe), rizá ‘handkerchief; (Bosn.) silk cassock’ (Šulḥan ha-panim 1568:52b; cf. Subak 1906:164; cf. B. rizá); husbandry and agriculture, e.g., koloch(k)a ‘broody hen; incubator’ (cf. B. kločka, T. kuluçka);16 local architecture and related terms, e.g., soba ‘stove’ (cf. SC. soba ‘room,’ T. soba ‘stove’),17 kuliba/-va ‘hovel, shack’ (cf. SC. koliba, T. kulübe);18 local occupations and related terms, e.g., chirnik ‘kind of boat used on the Danube’ (cf. South Sl. ce-/cirnik, T. çırnık);19 and weapons, e.g., toyaká ‘stout stick, club, cudgel; (fig.) beating, thrashing; (fig.) imbecile’ (cf. SC. tojaga, T. toy(a)ka/-ğa).20
In addition to the common nouns one finds toponyms referring to places in the South Slavic region. Judezmo passages in responsa collections from the seventeenth and later centuries refer to descendants of the Jews exiled from Iberia who made their way to the cities and towns of the South Slavs. Among these Jews were individuals searching for Jewish businessmen who had traveled in the region and never returned home, like the Jews murdered in Nikopol, leaving their wives with the status of the ‘aguna or ‘straw widow’ who could not remarry. Such texts provide us with the names of states, cities, and rivers of the region as denoted by Judezmo speakers in the South Slavic region, as well as in other Judezmo speech communities of the Ottoman Empire. Many of these names reflect South Slavic, either through outright importation of the Slavic forms or in Judezmo adaptations.21 For example, from a responsum of Rabbi Yosef Mitrani (=Mahariṭ, d. 1639) we know of Jewish merchants in Saray de la Bozna ‘Sarajevo of Bosnia,’22 who sent animal skins to their associates in Venice (Mitrani 1645, vol. 2, Ḥošen mišpaṭ, no. 12; -sn- > -zn- voicing is characteristic of Judezmo);23 and a responsum of Rabbi Ḥayyim Šabbĕtay (=Maharḥaš, Salonika, 1555–1647) informs us that the rabbinical court of Saray Bosna (cf. T. Saraybosna, SC. Sarajevo) judged a case regarding nuptial vows in 1634 (Šabbĕtay, vol. 4, no. 18). Dalmátsi[y]a) ‘Dalmatia’ (SC. Dalmacija) is mentioned in a responsum of Rabbi David Pardo (1719–1792; on Pardo see Papo 2006),24 who was born in Venice and in 1764 accepted the position of chief rabbi in Sarajevo (Pardo 1772,’Even ha-‘ezer, no. 9).
From the sixteenth century through the modern era the broad region under discussion here, including what was to become Romania, was referred to by the Sephardim as V-/Blahí(y)a (an innovative modification of SC., B. Vlahija < Vlah ‘Wallachian’ [in the language of Slavic-speaking Muslims: ‘Christian’]).25 Such use was exemplified in rabbinical court testimony reproduced in a question posed to Rabbi Šĕmu’el de Medina (1506–1589) of Salonika regarding brothers who settled in the region: “Se fueron los dichos ermanos a Blahía i el vaivoda alkiló el dicho haser” (The said brothers went to Wallachia and the duke rented the said courtyard).26 Among other issues discussed by Rabbi de Medina were: the reproduction of a document written by Jews in Bitola in 1582 stating the commitment of all the Jewish merchants of that city, referred to by the innovative fusion Monestirio (cf. Gk. Monastíri + S. ‑io), “de no venirmos ningún djuḏió moraḏor de Monestirio … a esta feria Estruga” (for no Jew residing in Monastir … to attend the fair in Struga [Macedonia, which would have caused him to desecrate a Jewish festival]);27 another, concerning a female proselyte to Judaism who married a Jewish man in Eskopia (cf. M., SC. Skopje + S.-origin prothetic e- before Jud. s/sh + consonant, S. -a);28 and a query from someone in Rudnik (Serbia) concerning merchandise to be sent to Egypt.29
From the testimony of Ṣĕvi bar Elyaqim Aškĕnazi of Sofia dating from 1547 in the responsa of Rabbi Yosef ben Lev (= Maharival, b. Bitola 1505, d. Constantinople 1580) we know that a Jew named Yiṣḥaq Bar Sason took a ship from Belogrado (Belgrade; a blend of I., S. Belgrado + SC. Beograd) en route to Budún (Ofen) and the ship sank (Ben Lev, 1561, vol. 1, no. 2).30 A Judezmo commercial document from Sarajevo 1684 reproduced in a responsum of Rabbi Yosef ben Yiṣḥaq Almosnino, who was born in Salonika in 1642 and served as a rabbi in Belgrade, referred to the trade relations between Sephardim in Sarajevo and Belgrade (Almosnino [d. 1689] 1713, vol. 2, no. 47). In a question from 1674 to Rabbi Ḥisday ben Šĕmu’el Ha-Kohen Pĕraḥya (d. 1678) of Salonika we read of a witness reporting to the rabbinical court:
”Vino akí nueva ke buskáramos a Avraam i a Binyamín i a Refael ani”z[karim], ke no fueron a·la feria, i … fuimos a Vrianya en su búshkeḏa de eyos….” ‘Oḏ eiḏu ke vino de Gyirit [=Crete, T. Girit] en Eskopia el beġ de akel luġar i su fijo vino de la Eskopsa.31
(Here there came news that we should look for Avraham and Binyamin and Rĕfa’el, who did not reach the fair, and … we went to Vrijanja in search of them…” They [the court witnesses] further testified that the bey of that place came from Crete to Skopje and his son came from the Skopsa [Macedonia]’ (M. Skopsa + prothetic e-).
A witness whose Judezmo testimony appeared in a responsum of Rabbi Moše ben Nissim Benvenisti (1606–1677) of Constantinople made reference to a Jewish merchant in Nish (Serbia) who was murdered: “Akel djuḏió ke tratava en Nish ke se yamava Yako, lo viḏe mataḏo, muerto en un boske” (That Jew who traded in Niš who was called Jako, I saw him killed, dead in a forest).32 An author of two rabbinical volumes in Judezmo published in Salonika in 1765 and 1775 referred to himself in Hebrew as Rĕ’uven ben Avraham me-‘ir Eshtipe (i.e., of the city of Štip [with prothetic e-, and paragogic ‑e after a final plosive], in Eastern Macedonia; 1775:1a). Other cities and towns of the region which were cited in Ottoman Sephardic responsa include Espalat[r]o (i.e., Spalato or Split, in Dalmatia; cf. Dalmatian Spalatro + epenthetic e-, I. Spalato, Croatian Split; Sason 1626, no. 5, from Salonika 1597),33 Travnik (in Bosnia-Herzegovina; Pardo 1772, Even ha-‘ezer, no. 1, from Sarajevo 1744), and Dolia (in Serbia; Pardo 1772, Ḥošen mišpaṭ, no. 7). Other cities of the region mentioned in the responsa are Nikopol ‘Nikopol (Bulgaria)’ (Karo 1791, no. 13; Slav. Nikopol), and Vidin ‘Vidin (Bulgaria)’ (Medina 1596, Yore de‘a, no. 41; B., SC. Vidin).
Jewish names for the major rivers of the region are also found in rabbinical sources by Judezmo-speaking rabbis: e.g., in a responsum from Salonika 1594 in the collection of Rabbi Ya‘aqov Kastro (or Maharika”s, Egypt 1525–1610), reference is made to a Judezmo speaker who, “en Eskopia … andando al sefaḏ a-Vardal, oyó …” (in Skopje, walking along the Vardar, heard …) (cf. tendency toward syllable-final ‑l/‑r neutralization in Andalusian and certain other forms of Spanish).34 The Duna ‘Danube’ and the Sava are mentioned in discussions by Rabbi Moše Ben Ḥabib (b. Salonika 1654, d. Jerusalem 1696) concerning the correct Hebrew-letter spelling of proper nouns (Ben Ḥabib 1677:197).35
Hypocoristic Forms of Personal Names
In the subsection above (“Middle Judezmo Period”) we saw an example of the replacement of a Hebrew-origin name, Šabbĕtay, used among Judezmo speakers, by a Slavic correspondent, Se-/Sabotin, in the speech of Bulgarians.36 The practice was common, even among Sephardi merchants themselves, especially when in interaction with non-Jews. Beginning in the seventeenth century, the responsa literature of the Ottoman rabbis also depicts some Jews in the South Slavic region as bearing fusion-form personal names incorporating nonstressed hypocoristic suffixes which apparently reflected South Slavic suffixes. In the donor languages these suffixes, which continued to be used in Judezmo of the region into the modern era, are generally added to reduced, single‑syllable base forms of the names:
- ‑a (cf. SC. ‑a) occurring in the feminine name Rika (< Hb. Rivqa)37 in a Hebrew passage from Sarajevo 1634 (Šabbĕtay 1651, no. 18);38
- ‑i/‑e (denoted by Hebrew yod; cf. SC. ‑e) occurring in the masculine name Mosi/‑e (or Moshi/‑e < Hb. Mošé) in a Judezmo passage from Bitola 1643;39
- ‑u/-o (Hebrew-letter waw; cf. SC. ‑o) appearing in the masculine name Yaku/‑o (> Hb. Ya‘aqov) in a Judezmo passage from Belgrade 1651.40
Early Modern and Middle Modern Periods (c. 1772–1877, 1878–1913)41
The Early and Middle Modern Judezmo periods were characterized by linguistic and cultural conservatism. The lexicon continued to reflect the centrality of Judaism in everyday life, as represented by Hebrew-Aramaisms, and the predominant Ottoman political and cultural presence, represented by the significant Turkish component in texts in the Hebrew alphabet from the late eighteenth century through around 1877. The linguistic situation of the Sephardim of the region changed dramatically in 1878, when Ottoman rule ended and Turkish ceased to be a principal source of active “interference” and new borrowings, replaced by Slavic and German. The texts supplying our data are generally characterized by their religious themes and traditional language, which constitutes a compromise between rabbinical Judezmo and the popular spoken Judezmo of the region. The most informative Hebrew-letter documentation from these periods includes Judezmo words and passages in diverse seventeenth-century responsa concerning lawsuits from the region; the responsa of Rabbi David ben Ya‘aqov Pardo (b. Venice, 1719; d. Jerusalem, 1792), published in Salonika in 1772; an innovative instructional manual published in Livorno by Sarajevo-born David ben Moše ‘Atías (1778) offering information on life in Western Europe for Sephardim in the Ottoman Empire; and nineteenth-century rabbinical works meant for a popular audience incapable of understanding works written entirely in Hebrew. Most of the written material attesting to the use of Judezmo in the region before the twentieth century is by authors from Bosnia and Serbia.
References to the South Slavs and Their Language in Hebrew and Hebrew-letter Judezmo Texts
In David ‘Atías’ La guerta de oro (Golden Garden) the ‘Serbian language’ is referred to as el srpesko (‘Atías 1778:2a), a fusion of SC./Bos. Srp ‘Serbian’ and the Judezmo language-denoting morpheme ‑esko (S. ‑esco). Several representations of what Max and Uriel Weinreich might have called Whole Slavic – i.e., Slavic proper, as used by Jews, rather than the Merged Slavic elements in a Jewish language such as Judezmo – appear in the responsa of rabbis from this region in the eighteenth century. One passage of particular interest appears in the responsa of David Pardo, whose position brought him into everyday contact with Jews who maintained connections of various kinds with speakers of South Slavic languages. These connections were reflected in the questions of Jewish law local rabbis and other Jews addressed to him, many of which, together with his rulings, were published in Pardo’s two-volume responsa collection, Mixtam lĕ-Dawid (Salonika 1772). One such question, dated 26 Šĕvaṭ 5524 (1764), contained a fragment of a conversation in Serbo-Croatian between two togarmim ‘Muslims,’42 overheard by a Jewish shopkeeper named Ḥayyim Avraham ‘Atías in his shop in Sarajevo. ‘Atías testified that during the conversation, which concerned the sale of orpiment or yellow arsenic (cf. T. zırnık < P. zirnīx), one of the Muslims stated that a Jew named Yiṣḥaq Krespi, who traded in orpiment, had died in Egypt while selling it. According to ‘Atías, this was expressed in the following words (here in Romanization from the original Hebrew letters):
Oni Isa što biaše saraf done brada, što odnese zirnik u·Micir, prodao po groš na oka kako prodao [tako] umereo.
(That Isa who was a money-changer and his beard was long and who brought orpiment to Egypt and sold it there for one piaster per okka and when he was selling it he died.)43
Dr. Eliezer Papo informed me that, examining the sentence from the perspective of standard Modern Serbo-Croatian, one notes evidence of an incomplete mastery of the case system: nominative forms are used instead of others (e.g., brada instead of genitive brade, oka instead of acusative oku). On the other hand, in literary Serbo-Croatian, nominative onaj would replace the initial word oni, but the latter is in fact widely used in colloquial language. The word done evidently derives from od one ‘of that’ (done brada ‘of that [known] beard’). Perhaps a difficulty in realizing syllable-final m + syllable-initial r, often yielding ‑mbr- in Judezmo (as in Spanish), led to the insertion of epenthetic vowels in umereo < umro (cf. B. umrya).
Despite its grammatical flaws when compared with the standard language, the reconstructed sentence demonstrates that Ḥayyim Avraham ‘Atías, who was probably a typical Jewish shopkeeper in Sarajevo, was able to follow the Gentiles’ Serbo-Croatian conversation and reconstruct a fragment from it in the original language for the rabbinical court. Fourteen years later David ‘Atías, who was born in Sarajevo and spent much of his adult life in Livorno, made mention in his Judezmo educational manual La guerta de oro of his own familiarity with “el karáter srpesko o sea moskovito (Serbian or Russian characters).
Writing in Judezmo over half a century later, Eli‘ezer ben Šem Ṭov Papo of Sarajevo called the Bosniaks boshnakes or goyim (Papo 1862:51b, 8a) and their language, “lashón de·los goyim” (language of the Gentiles/Muslims);44 he referred to it in Hebrew as “lĕšon ha-goyim šellanu” (language of our Gentiles/Muslims [evidently in opposition to Turkish]).45 Papo alluded to the familiarity of the local Sephardim with Serbo-Croatian in the mid-nineteenth century indirectly, warning them that the use of oaths in that language – evidently a common practice among the Jews of his time – was forbidden according to Jewish law:
Enmentar el nombre de el Še[m]”Yid[barah] no es asur davká in lashón akódesh salvo en todo modo de lashón…, tanto in ladino, komo lo·ke uzan a·dezir ‘A·la ira del Dio,’ i ansí en lashón de·los goyim ‘Bógami’ o ke dize ‘Tako-mi-Bog,’ i ansí se dize en trukesko ‘Vala bila’ … Ay munchos ke dizen kuando se pelean ‘El Dio ke te mate’ o ‘El Dio ke te aranke de·el mundo’ i semejante, i ansí en leshonod de los goyim ‘Úbio te Bog,’ ‘Alá versín’ i semejante.46
(Mentioning the name of the Holy One Blessed Be He [in vain] is not only forbidden in the Holy Tongue but also in any other language, both in Ladino, as when they are accustomed to saying A la ira del Dio! [By God’s wrath!], and thus in the language of the Gentiles/Muslims, [as when one says] Bógami! [SC. Boga mi! By God!] or he says Tako-mi-Bog! (SC. Tako mi Boga! By God!), and the same is true if he says in Turkish Vala bila! [cf. T. Vallahi billahi! (< Ar. Wa-llāhi bi-llāhi!) ‘I swear it is so by God!] … There are many who, when they fight with one another, say El Dio ke te mate! [May God kill you!] or El Dio ke te aranke de el mundo! [May God rip you out of the world!] and similar [oaths], and likewise in the languages of the Gentiles/Muslims, Úbio te Bog! [SC. Ubio te Bog! May God kill you!), Alá versín! [cf. T. Allah [belâ] (< Ar. Allāh [balā])] versin! May God curse (you)!, and so on.
South Slavic Elements in Early Modern Yugoslavian Judezmo
Throughout this period, the impact of Slavic on Yugoslavian Judezmo seems still to be relatively meager. This is apparently a reflection of the continued low status of the Slavs (as well as the other non-Muslims of the empire) as perceived by the Ottomans, but also as perceived by the Jews themselves. In the Jewish sources there is little direct reference to the relations between the Jews and their Slavic neighbors; but what there is in the popular Judezmo rabbinical literature of the mid-nineteenth century suggests a generally negative attitude toward the local Slavic population (Šmid 2013). Already from 1600, in Judezmo texts from the South Slavic region, the local Slavs are commonly referred to as Blahos or Vlahos ‘(literally) Wallachs or Serbian Gentiles’ (e.g., Sason 1621, no. 2;47 Alkalay 1860:2b; cf. SC. Vlah, used by Muslims to designate Christians).48 By the twentieth century, the language of the Slavs, too, would be known overwhelmingly as blaho (Jevrejski glas 5:45 1931:7 <No se avlar in blahu> (I don’t know how to speak Serbo-Croatian) or lingua v-/blaheska.49 In the anonymous Judezmo rabbinic pamphlet Yĕqara dĕ-šixve (Belgrade 1859, f. 69a) the expression Yovaniko appears as a deprecatory term for a Christian Slav (cf. SC. masculine personal name Jovan + J./S. hypocoristic ‑iko/-ico).
In the mid-nineteenth-century Eli‘ezer ben Šem Ṭov Papo of Sarajevo depicted the Bosniaks as violent drunkards: “Po irenu … los boshnakes son todos matadores i borachones ke por un kraicar se matan uno al otro” (Here in our city … the Bosniaks are all murderers and drunkards who will kill one another for a coin).50 He also alluded to their poverty, which they palliated through drink: “Kuando tiene vino, afilú kun pan i fijones ke tiene en la meza, zavalí boshnak, ya le parese ke es mas grande ke el méleh” (When he has wine, even if it’s only with bread and beans on his table, the poor Bosniak thinks he’s greater than the king).51 Into the modern era the Bosnian is stereotypically perceived among Judezmo speakers as a stubborn, unreasonable individual, as alluded to in the metaphor kavesa de boshnák ‘(literally) a Bosnian head (i.e., a very stubborn person)’ (cf. Nehama 1977:97).52 Nevertheless, the existence of more positive – or at least neutral – relations between Jews and Gentile South Slavs in the region is implied, among others, by the very presence of the Slavic component in local Judezmo. The Jewish community’s receptivity to and active practice of Slavic oral traditions is alluded to by rabbinical warnings against Jewish singing of Slavic as well as Turkish songs, by appreciative non-rabbinical Jewish statements concerning Slavic musical traditions, such as <“La „narodna pjesma”, el kante nacional del slavo, tiene una ermozura deskonisida en otras poesias del mundo”> (The narodna pjesma, the Slavic folk song, has a beauty unknown in other poetry of the world) (cf. SC. narodna pjesma),53 and by the Slavic portion of the Bosnian Jewish choral groups’ repertoires.
In the eighteenth century, the basic familiarity with Serbo-Croatian that would have been required of the Jews of the region in order to communicate with their Slavic customers and neighbors led Judezmo speakers to incorporate a seemingly small number of elements from Slavic into their Judezmo, as compared with the significantly greater number of borrowings from Turkish illustrated, for example, in the responsa of David Pardo. I am referring to borrowings which do not occur in texts from other regions of the Ottoman Empire in which Judezmo was spoken; and when two editions of a given text were published, one inside the region, the other outside it – as in the instance of Eli‘ezer Papo’s halakhic compendium, Sefer Dammeseq Eli‘ezer, Oraḥ ḥayyim (Belgrade 1862, Izmir 1877) – the Slavisms in the first edition were generally replaced by Hispanisms or other non-Slavisms in the second (e.g., golubikas ‘little pigeons’ [cf. Bosn. golub, dim. ‑ica] in Papo 1862:133a, from Belgrade, yielding pasharikos ‘little birds’ [cf. OS. paxaro, dim. ‑ico] in Papo 1877:113b, from Izmir).
In Pardo’s responsa, the term pandures ‘guards’ (SC. pandur) appeared in the following testimony offered by Avraham, son of Yosef Papo, to the rabbinical court of Sarajevo in 5504 (1743), with reference to a Jew named Eliyyahu Pestana, who died while accompanying a woman from Sarajevo who was traveling in a party led by hired guides to join her husband in Spalato:
Por ser ke vine de Venézi(y)a a Espaltro i sentí ke avía venido aí el ari[bí] Eliyau Pestana i fui atopar kon el i kon gran tórah me pudo responder i lo vide ke no podía ni kaminar i los kiradjís lo suvierun a·kavayo i le dimandí a·la djudía ke vino kon el ke de·ké estava el ari[bí] Eliyau ansina, no sea ke aiga bevido, me respondió ke·no lo gustó sinó ke estava ferido. I después, estando yo en Esplatro, vinieron otras karavanas i·kontavan kon otros togarmi[m]’ kual mente murió un djidió en·el prolok.54 I después de un mez i medio ke partí de Esplatro por akí, pasando por el prolok les demandí a·los pandures komo fue la muerte de akel djidió i me kontaron ke dos oras atrás lo avían deshado los kiradjís en medio del kampo, hazino mucho, i los pandures bekóah azeroa izieron ke lo suvieran a·kavayo atado, ke no se podía detener, i después de dos oras ke murió lo echaron en una foya i lo kuvijaron i me amostraron el harachín i el bonete echado por aí.55
(Since I came from Venice to Spalato and heard that Ribí Eliyyahu Pestana [or Pestanya] had come there, I went to meet him, and only with great effort he was able to answer me, and I saw that he could not walk either, and his fellow travelers put him onto his horse, and I asked the Jewish woman who came with him why Ribí Eliyyahu was that way, thinking maybe he had been drinking. She answered that he hadn’t drunk anything but was hurt. And afterwards, when I was in Spalato, other groups of travelers came and spoke with other Muslims saying that a Jew died in the customs house[?]. And a month and a half after I left Spalato for here [i.e., Sarajevo], passing through the customs [?] I asked the guards how the death of that Jew had been and they told me that two hours before, the travelers had left him in the middle of a field, very ill, and the guards forcibly had them put him on his horse, tied, because he could not stay on by himself, and two hours later, when he died, they threw him into a pit and covered him up, and they showed me his skullcap and hat thrown there.)
Another question addressed to Rabbi Pardo concerned a politsa (cf. SC. polica, I. polizza) or ‘business policy’ or ‘bill of indemnity’ that had expired without being paid. One of the parties to a suit centering on this policy entered the following document into the records of the rabbinical court:
Ayom yod”het lehó[desh] teved. A[haré]”de[rishad]”sha[lom] por ser ke resiví una estimada vuestra i veo lo·ke me mandásh, adezir, por los dos mil grosh[es]’ de·la politsa, muncha razón tenésh. Enperó la kulpa es por sibá de·la hazinura ke uvo, ke estuvimos fuidos por los kazales i no pudimos avrir butika ni mirar trato mas de tres mezes. Enperó agora ya está para venir la ulifé i en kuanto viene la ulifé bee[zrad]”A[el] luego pagaremos la politsa, i no kero ke tengásh danyo de un as vos ni ternésh bee[zrad]”A[el], i ya se ke tenésh muncha razón, andjak, ké se aze, esta ves vino el echo de este modo: por una vanda la hazinura, por otra vanda, el pleito ke ya lo oyiríash muy bien, baruh Agozer. Enperó pedré kuidadu, ke agora persto bee[zrad]”A[el] los pagaré.56
(Today, 18 Ṭevet. After extending best wishes, and having received your esteemed letter and seeing what you send me, talking about the thousand piasters of the policy, you are very right. However, what is to blame is the illness that there was, because of which we fled to the villages and could not open our shop or look after our business for more than three months. But now the salary from the government [for the fodder of horses, etc.] is about to come, and as soon as the salary comes, with God’s help, we will pay the policy at once, and I don’t want you to suffer any damages, even a single piaster’s worth, and you won’t have any, with God’s help, and I know that you are very right but, what can one do, this time the matter came out this way: on the one hand, the illness, and on the other hand, the fight that you must very well have heard about, may the One Who Decrees such things be blessed. But rid yourself of any cares, because with God’s help I will soon pay.)
To the administrative and commercial terms noted above, David ‘Atías’s La guerta de oro adds another two common nouns, as well as a verb of local Slavic origin, to the small inventory of Slavisms documented for eighteenth-century Judezmo of this region, foreshadowing some of the grammatical and semantic fields to which later borrowings would belong. The first noun refers to nature – melaska ‘little stream’ (perhaps a lexicalized noun; cf. SC. mlaz ‘flash of water, stream’ + dim. suffix ‑ka);57 the second is more abstract in meaning – kraj ‘end’ (‘Atías 1778:60b);58 and the verb denotes one of the actions (also frequently carrying a negative connotation) also to be designated by a Slavism in Modern Yugoslavian Judezmo – brane(y)ar ‘to defend, guard oneself against’ (cf. SC. infinitival braniti + J./S. verbalizing ‑e[y]ar).59 The flora and food term babra ‘green pepper’ occurs in a Judezmo rabbinical work by Rĕ’uven Ben Avraham (1765:114a; cf. SC. babura).60
Arrangement of South Slavic Elements in Rabbinical Judezmo Prose Texts According to Grammatical and Conceptual Fields
In the early nineteenth century two food-related Slavisms found their way into the archaizing, semi-sacred calque-translation Bible glosses offered by rabbis of the region. The word pelin ‘wormwood; herbal liqueur made from wormwood,’ accompanied by parenthetic Hispanic-origin “(amargu)” ‘bitter,’ glosses Hebrew la‘ana ‘absynth’ in Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:65 (“pelin amargu la‘ana”; cf. SC. pelin, B. peljin, T. pelin; Tietze 1957:2; Skok 1971–1974, 2:633); in Papo 1872:104 the word stands independently, unaccompanied by a gloss, implying its complete incorporation in the language. In Alkalay 1839:67b vishnas ‘morello cherries’ glosses Hispanic-origin [!] gindas (cf. S. guinda)61 – which in the eighteenth century had itself glossed Talmudic gudganiyyot ‘cherries’;62 later vishnas also occurred as a free-standing, unglossed lexeme (e.g., in Papo 1862:28a).63
The remaining “outright transfers” (Weinreich 1953:47) or lexemes of Slavic origin documented for Yugoslavian Judezmo during this period in rabbinical texts – the only texts from the period documenting these “transfers” – may be categorized thematically according to the following grammatical and conceptual fields: nouns; adjectives; oaths and interjections. Although Uriel Weinreich (1953:63–68, esp. 67) opposed comparative attempts to quantify “ ‘amounts of interference’ in the various domains” [or discrete levels of linguistic structure], since he believed the domains were “incommensurable,” the research publications he cited in this regard all suggested the quantitative predominance of “words (nouns first)” over other domains. He himself stated that “the vocabulary of a language, considerably more loosely structured than its phonemics and its grammar, is beyond question the domain of borrowing par excellence” (Weinreich 1953:56). Instances of Slavic bases accompanied by Slavic suffixes should probably be considered as lexicalized nouns rather than actively created derivatives (e.g., J. kabanitsa ‘little mantle’ < SC. kabanica < kaban). In fact, throughout the period covered in the present article, the only productive examples of Slavic-origin bound morpheme suffixation are the ‑a, ‑e/‑i and ‑o/‑u hypocoristic personal name suffixes discussed above (“Hypocoristic Forms of Personal Names”). In the other instances of “hybrid compounds” (Weinreich 1953:50–53) or fusion forms constructed of morphemes of diverse origins, the bases are of Slavic origin, but the derivational suffixes all derive from Spanish: e.g., masculine singular nominalizing and adjectivizing ‑o (e.g., blaho < vlah ‘Romanian, etc.’), femininizing beverage-denoting ‑ada in vishnada ‘fruit drink made from morello cherries’ (Papo 1872:29), and hypocoristic -ika in golubika ‘little pigeon,’ adjectivizing ‑esko in srpesko ‘Serbian/Cyrillic,’ cited above (in “References to the South Slavs and Their Language”), verbalizing ‑eyar in braneyar ‘defend,’ also discussed above (in “South Slavic Elements in Early Modern Yugoslavian Judezmo”). Thus, the quantitative proportions of our findings – in the present section limited to what Weinreich called “transferred words,” or loanwords, i.e., overwhelmingly substantives, with a few adjectives, oaths, and interjections – are not unexpected.64 See a full list of these loanwords in the appendix.
Ad Hoc Citations (Nonce Borrowings)65 or “Inherited Loanwords”?
Following Weinreich’s guidelines (1953:50–53), in the instance of each element of Slavic origin reported on here, we would want to know if it was an ad hoc importation, adduced on the spot (or on the page) by bilinguals specifically in the context(s) noted, or if it was already an “inherited loanword,” used widely at the time by ‘Yugoslavian’ Judezmo speakers as a group, including those having less proficiency in Slavic per se. Unfortunately, from our sources, this is impossible to determine. The most we can say is that almost all the terms were used by rabbinical scholars, or in the context of a rabbinical court, without accompanying glosses, implying that the writers expected their readers to know them.
Nevertheless, the use of some of the terms as synonyms or glosses in the inventories above (“Arrangement of South Slavic Elements in Rabbinical Judezmo Prose Texts”) suggest that by the mid-nineteenth century the Slavisms documented here were in fact widely used among Judezmo speakers in the South Slavic region. Such widespread dissemination is implied by meta-linguistic statements asserting that “we” (i.e., members of the speech community) refer to certain objects using specific Slavisms, or that such objects “are called” by Slavic-origin names (although the Slavic provenance of the terms was almost never mentioned): e.g., “el trigo royo i redondo … lo yamamos grahas (the round red wheat … we call grahas);66 “El lugar ke·se echa el trigo se yama kosh” (The place where the wheat is put is called kosh).67 Sometimes a Slavic-origin generic term for a broad category of objects is followed by a Slavic-origin term for a specific subcategory: e.g., “la soba ke lo yaman peshnyak (the oven they call peshnyak).68 Occasionally, near-synonyms of Romance, Turkish, and Slavic origin are adduced simultaneously, e.g., the legal terms “súplika o arzual o inshtántsi(y)a (a supplication or petition or appeal),69 or the Turkish/Slavic-origin toponyms “Yení Bazar [ …] Novu Bazar” (Novi Pazar).70 In several instances, the meaning of lexemes of Hispanic, Turkish, German, and even Slavic origin are clarified for the reader through parenthetic glosses of Slavic origin: e.g., “kuzinas [cf. OS. cozina] (eshtalas)” (toilets);71 “ahir [cf. Tk. ahır] de·vakas [kushara]” (cowshed);72 “bira [cf. Ge. Bier] [piva]” (beer);73 “banitsa [cf. SCr. gibanica] [zelena]” (kind of pastry).74 Such comments would seem to suggest that the Slavisms in question were already “inherited loanwords” used by all, and quite possibly represented numerous others of their kind in use in the speech community. Some of the lexemes are in fact denoted by writers as being ‘in our language,’ e.g., Hb. bi-lšonenu; cf. “dura: ha-niqra gran turko u-vi-lšonenu kukurúz” ‘dura [Hb. dura ‘corn, sorghum’]: that is called gran turko [I. granturco] and in our language kukuruz [SC. kukuruz]’.75
Texts from the sixteenth century through the 1890s exemplifying the use of Judezmo in the South Slavic regions demonstrate the profound impact on Judezmo made by Turkish, the official language of most of the region, throughout that period. During the same period Turkish impacted the other languages of the region as well. On the other hand, instances of Slavic-origin “lexical interference” or “loanwords” – to use the terminology advocated by Uriel Weinreich in his groundbreaking Languages in Contact (1953:47ff.) – were relatively few. All of the “outright transfers” (Weinreich 1953:47) from Slavic to Judezmo which I encountered in the extant corpus of texts from the period have been inventoried here. While our actual inventory is relatively small, its members may be seen to represent somewhat diverse semantic fields. They should perhaps be seen as representative rather than exhaustive – reflecting the specific, and rather limited, topics discussed by the authors. Nevertheless, the case of Judezmo in the South Slavic region under the Ottomans would seem to present us with a situation quite different from that of Yiddish in Slavic Eastern Europe during the same period, as described by Uriel Weinreich (1958) and others. There, Slavic languages were used by the local political regimes themselves, which probably added to their prestige in the eyes of Yiddish speakers. Still, the Slavisms in Judezmo on South Slavic territory during this period provide us with a glimpse of daily Sephardi-South Slav interrelations over four centuries.
A linguistic outcome of the independence gained by the South Slavs from the Ottomans and Austro-Hungarians in the late nineteenth century was the transformation of the ethnic languages of repressed indigenous peoples subjugated by foreign powers, as the South Slavs viewed themselves in relation to the Ottomans and Austro-Hungarians, into the official state languages of autonomous nations. The cultivation of those languages was encouraged by the new South Slavic authorities, and education in them became mandatory in all schools. From that point, Serbo-Croatian began to exert an ever-increasing influence on Judezmo in what came to be ‘Yugoslavia,’ as its speakers felt increasing pressure, from without and within, to abandon their group language in favor of Serbo-Croatian, or its local variants. Between the world wars, the influence of Serbo-Croatian on Judezmo grew so powerful that a glib member of the speech community, ostensibly replying to someone who asked him if he knew ‘Spanish’ (i.e., Judezmo) – “Znaš li španjolski?” (Do you know Spanish?) – and could read the contributions in that language published in the local Jewish press, was said to have stated: “Kako da ne, evo: čitjandu las novenas si bistreja l’um” (Why, of course: reading the newspapers sharpens the mind’) (Stankiewicz 1964:230). In the reply, only the bare skeleton of Judezmo morphology and syntax (in italics) is preserved, while all of the content-bearing elements are in fact expressed through incorporations from Serbo-Croatian.
Most of the Jews caught in Yugoslavia during World War ii perished in concentration camps. But among the survivors, and a few of their descendants, Judezmo retains a certain, if greatly reduced, vitality. Among elderly Sephardim in Sarajevo, Belgrade, and other cities of the region there are still some Judezmo speakers today – but all of them are more comfortable in Serbo-Croatian, the “winning language” as Weinreich (1953:109) might have called it, than in Judezmo, the cherished but nonetheless “losing language.”
The following is an inventory of all of the elements of South Slavic origin encountered in the corpus studied.
Toponyms; peoples; and geo-political terminology:
(a) countries, regions, states: B-/Vlahí(y)a ‘Wallachia, Romania’ (Šivḥe Ba‘al Šem Ṭov 1852:[i]a; Bos., SC. Vlahija); Ertsogovina ‘Hercegovina’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:238; SC. Hercegovina); Frántsi(y)a ‘France’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:195; SC., M. Francija); Kroátsi(y)a ‘Croatia’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:234; SC. Kroacija, I. Croazia, Rum. Croaţia, S. Croacia); Nimtsí(y)a ‘Austria; Germany’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:227; SC. Nijemac + J. [< S.] -ía); Serbí(y)a (or Sérbi(y)a) ‘Serbia’ (Šivḥe Ba‘al Šem Ṭov 1852:[i]a; SC. Srbija); Shpáni(y)a ‘Spain’ (Pardo 1772, Even ha-‘ezer, no. 9; SC. Španija);
(b) cities and rivers: Belina (Fintsi 1859:ivb) / Byelin (Papo 1862:iiib) ‘Bijeljina (Bosnia)’; Brishka (Papo 1865:112b; SC. Bričko, gen. ‑a); Chova ‘(perhaps) Čiovo (Croatia)’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:237; Cr. Čiovo, gen. Čiova); Drinovao ‘Drinova Međa (Bosnia and Herzegovina)’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:237); Eshtipe (Rĕ’uven Ben Avraham 1765:ib); Foinitsa ‘Fojnica’ (Papo 1862:51b; SC. Fojnica); Gradista ‘Gradista (in Bosnia-Herzegovina)’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:237); Kolumbats ‘Kolumbacs (on the Danube)’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:237); Kreshova ‘Kreševo’ (Papo 1862:51b; SC. nom. Kreševo, gen. Kreševa); Leskovats ‘Leskovac (Serbia)’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:237); Lom ‘Lom (B.)’ (Papo 1862:[iiib]; B.); Milaska ‘Miljacka (river that flows through Sarajevo)’ (Papo 1862:144b “Puede dar tevilá … en·la Milaska” ‘One can ritually immerse [vessels] … in the Miljacka’); Mitrovats ‘Mitrovac (town 52 miles northwest of Sofia)’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:237); Nish ‘Niš’ (Molxo 1860:b); Novo Bazar ‘Novi Pazar (or Yeni Bazar, Bosnia)’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:238 Yení Bazar [ …] Novu Bazar; SC. Novi Pazar; later, also Nju Pazár, Stankiewicz 1964:235); Plevna (Finci 1859:112b; SC. Pleven, gen. ‑vna); Slivna ‘Sliven (city in Bulg.)’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:237; B. Sliven, gen. -na); Travnik (Papo 1862:[iiia]; Bosn.); Zvornik ‘Zvornik (city in Yug.)’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:238; later, also Zvorna, Stankiewicz 1964:235); Visoka ‘Visoko’ (Papo 1862:51b; also noted by Stankiewicz 1964:235; SC. Visoko, gen. ‑a);
(c) national/ethnic groups: boshnakes ‘Bosnians (esp. Muslims)’ (Papo 1862:51b; SC. Bošnjak, T. Bos-/Boşnak/‑niyak); taliano ‘Italian’ (Kalderón 1860a:3a; SC. talijan(ski) + S., I. italiano); nemtsi ‘German, Austrian’ (Alkalay 1860:2b; SC. nom. sg. Nijemac, gen. sg. Nijemca, m. nom. pl., voc. Nijemci; Stankiewicz 1964:235 cited the Yugoslavian Judezmo variant njémcu); b-/vlahos ‘Slavs; Wallachians’ (Sason 1621, no. 2; M. D. Alkalay 1860:2b; SC. Vlah); Yovaniko ‘(pejor.) Christian Slav’ (Yĕqara dĕ-šixve 1859:69a 1859; SC. m. personal name Jovan);
(d) related terms: granitsa ‘border’ (Kalderón 1860:82a; SC. granica); províntsi(y)a ‘province, state’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:162; Alkalay 1839:II:62a; SC. provincija, S. provincial);
(2) Flora, fauna, agriculture: borinitsas ‘billberries’ (Papo 1862:23b; SC. borovnica); djurdjinas ‘(type of flower)’ (Papo 1872:86; SC. Ðurđina, đurđevak ‘lily of the valley’ [Benson 104; Skok 1:559; Tietze 1957:10, no. 44]); golubikas ‘little pigeons’ (Papo 1862:133a; cf. Bosn. golub, dim. ‑ica, J. dim. ‑ika < S. -ica); grahas ‘beans’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1814b:198 kashkas de grahas ‘shells of peas’; Papo 1862:131b el trigo royo i redondo … lo yamamos grahas ‘the round red wheat … we call grahas,’ SC. grah, gen. ‑ha, T. grah; Tietze 1957:10, no. 47); hren ‘horse-raddish’ (Papo 1862:164b; SC. hren); konopia ‘hemp’ (Kalderón 1860:54a; SC. konoplja); kumpríl (Kalderón 1860:19a) / krumpír (Kalderón 1860:15b) ‘potato’ (SC. krumpir, regional [e.g. Herzegovina] kumpir < Ge. Gruntbir); paprikas ‘paprikas, red peppers’ (Papo 1862:29a; SC. paprika, Hu. paprikas); pelin ‘wormwood; herbal liqueur made from wormwood’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:65; Papo 1872:104; cf. SC. pelin, B. peljin, T. pelin; Tietze 1957:2); rakas ‘crawfish, crab-fish, clams; frogs’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:114 = Hb. sarṭan; SC. rak, gen. ‑ka [vs. nom. raka ‘tomb, pit’] + S. rana ‘frog’? [cf. Subak 1906:131; Baruch 1936 :100; Stankiewicz 1964:235]); shuma ‘wood(s)’ (Alkalay & Alkalay 1859:23a; SC. šuma); turnyak ‘thornbush’ (Papo 1865:45a; SC. trnjak); yagodas ‘strawberries’ (Papo 1862:29b; noted by Stankiewicz 1964:235; SC. jagoda); yaritsa ‘summer wheat’ (Papo 1862:131a; SC. jarica); yechma ‘barley’ (Papo 1862:25a; SC. ječam, gen. ječma); uzimitsa ‘winter grain’ (Papo 1862:131a; SC. zimnica);
(3) Food, drink, and related terminology: banitsa ‘kind of pastry’ (Papo 1862:123a banitsa [zelena]; cf. SC. banica ‘wife of a ban,’ gibanica ‘dish made of cheese and strips of dough’; Skok 1:104); kisela ‘sour (water)’ (Papo 1862:14a; SC. kisela); kukurúz ‘corn’ (Papo 1862:29a gran turko kere dezir pinya (kukurúz) ‘corn meaning sweet-corn (maize)’; SC. kukuruz, R. cucuruz, T. kokoroz); piva ‘beer’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1814b:223; Papo 1862:25a bira [piva]; SC. pivo, gen. -a, T. piva; Tietze 1957:2; Skok; Stankiewicz 1964:235 piva); vishnas ‘morello/black/sour cherries’ (Y. Alkalay 1839:67b; Papo 1862:28a; SC. višnja, B. višna, T. vişne [< Pe. wešni ‘ruby-colored’]; Tietze 1957:2); vishnap ‘morello cherry syrup’ (Pĕri ‘eṣ hadar 1860:b; Kosovo višnjap, B. višnab, T. vişnab); koš ‘(corn) crib’ (Papo 1862:132; SC. koš); vishnada (Papo 1872:29 sherbet de vishnada ‘fruit drink made from morello cherries’; SC. višnja + J. [< S.] f. nominalizing suffix ‑ada; cf. also Gk. vus(s)inada, R. vişinata); zelena ‘kind of pastry’ (Papo 1862:123a; SC. f. zelena ‘greens, vegetables,’ zeljanica ‘spinach and feta pie’);
(4) Clothing and accessories: chipeles ‘shoes’ (Papo 1872:128; SC. pl. cipele); kabanitsa ‘mantle, cloak, overcoat’ (Papo 1862:41a kabanitsa [kyibé]; cf. SC. kabanica < kaban); kapika ‘little cap’ (Alkalay & Alkalay 1859:84b; SC. kapa + J. [< S.] f. dim. -ika); kaput ‘coat’ (Papo 1865:85b surtuka [kaput]; cf. SC. kaput, T. kaput); krunts ‘crown, wreath, garland’ (Kalderón 1860b:43a Yevan en·la garganta un krunts de rozas ‘They wear a garland of roses around their necks’; cf. SC. f. krunica, korona, dim. krunac); shubarika ‘little fur cap’ (Papo 1862:41b; SC. šubara + J. f. dim. ‑ika);
(5) Household and related terminology: eshtala ‘stable, stall; toilet’ (Alkalay 1839:9b pl. ‑s; Papo 1872:139 kuzinas [eshtalas] ‘toilets’; SC. štala, I. stalla, Ge. Stall[-es/-e]); (e)zvona ‘bell’ (Kalderón 1860:80b pl. ezvonas; SC. zvono, gen. ‑na; and cf. Rom. zvoană); gunya ‘quilt, blanket’ (Papo 1862:4a; SC. gunj, gen. gunja; vs. SC. nom. gunja ‘quince’); koshara ‘cattle pen’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:94: Hb. refet = [J.] ahir de·vakas [koshara]; cf. SC. košara ‘hamper, basket’); podrum ‘storage cellar’ (Šivḥe Ba‘al Šem Ṭov 1852:27a; SC. podrum); lucha ‘kindling wood’ (Papo 1872:21; SC. luč, gen. luča; cf. also Rom. nălucă, Hu. luczfa); shindra ‘shingle’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:97: Hb. rahiṭ = J. shindra; cf. SC. šindra < Ge. Schindel [Golubović 2007:316]); Tietze 1957:29, no. 199);
(6) Utensils and containers: chabro ‘wooden vessel or bucket with two handles’ (Papo 1862:94a; Subak 1906:135; SC. čabar, gen. ‑bra, dative ‑bru, B. čebru [Skok 1:285]); kablitsa ‘pail, bucket’ (Papo 1862:94a kablitsa [čabru]; Papo 1865:II:18b kablitsa de agua ‘a pail of water’; cf. SC. kablica, dim. of kabao [cf. Golubović 2007:268 SC. kibla < Ge. Kübel]); kosh ‘(corn) crib’ (Papo 1862:132a El lugar ke·se echa el trigo se yama kosh ‘The place where the wheat is put is called kosh’); cf. SC. koš (za kukuruz), R. coş, Al. kosh [Skok 2:166–167]); peshnyak ‘Dutch tile (for heating)’ (Papo 1872:11 la soba ke lo yaman peshnyak ‘the oven they call peshnyak’; SC. pećnjak);
(7) Natural substances: eshtirk ‘starch’ (Kalderón 1860a:39b; SC. štirka, regional štirk < Ge. Stärke (Skok; Golubović 2007:332); jiva ‘quicksilver, mercury’ (Alkalay & Alkalay 1859:52b; SC. živa);
(8) Police and military: pandures ‘policemen’ (Šivḥe Ba‘al Šem Ṭov 1852:32b; SC. pandur); pushka ‘gun’ (Yĕqara dĕ-šixve 1859:70a; SC. puška);
(9) Education: inshtántsi(y)a ‘instance; (legal) appeal’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1842:10b súplika o arzual o inshtántsi(y)a ‘a supplication or petition or appeal’; SC. instancija, Ge. Instanz); léktsiya ‘lesson’ (Alkalay 1871:[iiib]), cf. SCr., B. lekcija); pronúntsi(y)as (pl.) ‘pronunciations, pronouncements’ (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:12; SC. pronuncija); shkolas ‘(secular) schools’ (El Koreo de Viena 1:22–23 , 5; SC. škola, regional I. scuola; Stankiewicz 1964:234);
(10) Hunting and horsemanship: hames ‘harnesses’ (Šivḥe Ba‘al Šem Ṭov 1852:29b; SC. ham); lov ‘hunt, chase’ (Šivḥe Ba‘al Šem Ṭov 1852:46a; SC. lov);
(11) Recreation: bilyar ‘billiards’ (Papo 1872; SC. biljar); tsigara ‘cigar’ (Papo 1862:54a; SC. cigar, gen. cigara);
(12) Administration, commerce and currency: kantsilári(y)a ‘chancellery’ (Kalderón 1860:72b; SC. kancilarija); kraitsar ‘monetary unit’ (Papo 1862:51b; SC. krajcar < Ge. Kreutzer);
(13) Christianity: post ‘Lent’ (Kalderón 1860b:18b; SC. post).
nemtsesko, -a / nemtso, ‑a ‘Austrian, German’ (Papo 1865:85b vestidos a·la nemtseska ‘Austrian-style clothing’; Alkalay 1872:1 el dato djudezmo, nemtsesko i gergesko-serbesko … también las fiestas nemtsas ‘the Jewish, Austrian [i.e., Gregorian] and Greek Orthodox-Serbian date … also the Austrian holidays’), cf. SC. nemac, gen. ‑mca ‘German’ + J./S. adjectivizing and language-name morpheme ‑esko/‑esco); serbesko, ‑a ‘Serbian’ (Alkalay 1872:1 las ferias serbeskas ‘the Serbian fairs’; SC. Srb + S./J. ‑esko/-esco).
Oaths and Interjections
Bógami ‘really; gosh; by God’ (Fintsi 1859:66a Bógami … kere dezir Por mi Dio ‘Bogami … means “By my God” ’; Papo 1862:8a; Romano 1933:103; cf. SC. boga mi, bogme, bome); Tako-mi-bog ‘By God’ (Papo 1862:8b; cf. SC. tako mi Boga); Úbio-te-Bog ‘May God kill you!’ (Papo 1862:9a; SC. ubio te Bog.).
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David M. Bunis
(Professor) heads the program in Judezmo (Ladino, or Judeo-Spanish) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is an advisor to the Israel National Authority for Ladino Language and Culture, the editor of Languages and Literatures of Sephardic and Oriental Jews (Jerusalem, 2009), the co-editor of Massorot, and the author of books and articles on the Judezmo language.
On a personal note, had I not read Weinreich’s College Yiddish, with its chapter on other Jewish languages, and Languages in Contact when I was a high-school student, I might never have studied with Marvin I. Herzog, one of Weinreich’s most outstanding students at Columbia University, and entered the fields of Judezmo and Jewish language research.
Many Judezmo speakers also came to reside in the lands of the Bulgars; but their varieties of Judezmo, and the impact of Bulgarian upon them, are beyond the scope of the present article. For references to recent research see Varol-Bornes 2011.
For copious details concerning the history of the Jews in Belgrade see Lebel 2007.
In the transcription of Hebrew-origin names in the English text, the standard symbols are used, e.g., ’ = intervocalic alef, ‘ = ‘ayin, ĕ = šĕwa na,’ ḥ = ḥet, q = qof, ṣ = ṣadi, š = šin, ṭ = ṭet, w = waw, x = kaf (thus,
I am grateful to Dr. Omer Shafran for deciphering the Bulgarian material presented here (any errors are my own). Shafran proposes the following transcription of the Hebrew-letter text: Gorgel Sebotin meshdú kyervasar[a]ya, udárihe udárihe, i zagine. The Bulgarian passages reconstructed for the rabbinical court by the Judezmo-speaking witnesses suggest that they had a good grasp of Bulgarian grammar. A more detailed linguistic analysis of the passages will be provided elsewhere.
The following abbreviations of language names are used in the present article: Al. = Albanian, Ar. = Arabic, B. = Bulgarian, C. = Czech, Ge. = German, Gk. = Greek, Hb. = Hebrew, Hu. = Hungarian, I. = Italian, J. = Judezmo, L. = Latin, M. = Macedonian, MS. = Modern Spanish, OJ. = Old Judezmo, OS. = Old Spanish, Pe. = Persian, Po. = Polish, Pt. = Portuguese, R. = Romanian, S. = Spanish, SC. = Serbo-Croatian, T. = Turkish, V. = Venetian, Y. = Yiddish.
The author of the responsa noted that the Bulgarians regularly rendered the Hebrew male name Šabbĕtai as Sebotin (cf. Blg. Саботинъ). Omer Shafran noted a tendency for Bulgarian a to be transcribed by yod, evidently denoting e, in the Hebrew-letter transcription here.
For lack of space I omit the Hebrew-letter spelling of the Judezmo phrases cited here. In the present article, a modified version of the Romanization of Judezmo advocated by the Israel National Authority for Ladino and its Culture is employed in the transcription of texts originally appearing in the traditional Hebrew-letter Judezmo alphabet. Note certain features of the present transcription (as used to represent Judezmo as spoken in its major population centers, e.g., Salonika, Istanbul, Izmir): ch = [ʧ]; d = [d]; ḏ = [ð] or, before a voiceless consonant or in utterance-final position, [θ]; dj = [ʤ]; g = [g], ġ = [γ]; h = [χ]; i = [i] or, when contiguous to a vowel, [j]; j = [ʒ]; k´ = palatalized [k´]; n = [n]; ny = [ɲ]; r = flapped [ɾ] or trilled [r] (depending on the word and the regional dialect); s = [s] or, when preceding a voiced phone, [z]; sh = [ʃ] or, when preceding a voiced phone, [ʒ]; u = [u] or, when preceding a vowel, [w]; y = [j] (at the beginning or end of a word, or when preceded and followed by a vowel); z = [z]. The Judezmo phonemes s + h in sequence are separated by a middle dot to avoid confusion with sh, e.g., Yis·hak. Unless otherwise indicated by an acute accent over the stressed vowel, the stress is penultimate in words ending in a vowel or in n, s or z, and ultimate in words ending in other consonants. It is very possible that among the Sephardim of the South Slavic lands, under Slavic influence, the phonemes /d/ and /ḏ/ (i.e., [ð]) early on had collapsed as occlusive [d] (and the latter, when representing word-final tav, as [t]), and earlier /g/ and /ġ/ (i.e., [γ]) had fallen together as [g]; and perhaps historical nonstressed /e/ and /o/ were already realized as raised /i/ and /u/, respectively (on these regional features see Quintana 2006). However, for ease of reading by those unfamiliar with these regional characteristics I have transcribed the affected phones as they are pronounced in the dialects of the large cities (e.g., Istanbul, Salonika) rather than in the relatively small communities of the South Slavic region, as has become the transcription norm accepted amongst most Judezmo scholars today.
The transcription of the Hebrew-letter passage in Bulgarian suggested by Omer Shafran is: Galy[а́]daite psе́tata si pа́lishe Sebotin, Lа́zarone sina, se útre pа́lihe.si, ostа́vihe zúter pot keshta i se e.sgoril.
Cf. Blg. Ла́зарона (Lázarona), in the genitive form.
Unless otherwise noted, the Turkish forms cited throughout this article correspond to those offered in Redhouse 1990.
Keḏó … kon el kiral Kost[antín] ‘He remained with King Constantine’ (‘Otmanlim 1767:3b); also kral, closer to the Slavic etymon, in Attias 1959:140, from cf. 1794; cf. Tietze 1957:2.
The word is later attested in texts from the South Slavic area; e.g., pl. voivodas (Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:233).
“I boġacha” (Ḥešeq Šĕlomo 1588:12b, 31b, translating wĕ-xikar [
“La aletrea ke se yama eskolacha” ‘the noodles called eskolacha’ (Xulí 1733:188b); cf. also Gk. skoulíki ‘worm’ (cf. Wagner 1950:51; Skok 2:122); kolecha (Toledo 1755:8a); dimin. kolechikas (Magula 1757:15b).
“Ġayina klocha ke se asentó sovre los ġuevos 3 días” ‘A broody hen that has sat on her eggs three days’ (’Asa 1749:232b); cf. Tietze 1957:2, 12 no. 89.
“Uzan ke el goy saka las kalderas de los ornos i·las pone serka de orno de el envierno, ke lo yaman soba” ‘The custom is that the Gentile takes the pots out of the oven and puts them near the winter stove which they call soba’ (’Asa 1749:111b); cf. Tietze 1957:2; Stankiewicz 1964:232.
“Izo komo una kuliva i kortó lenya de los árvoles … i izo lumbre” ‘He made a kind of shack and cut firewood from the trees … and made a fire’ (Meshalim de Shelomó améleh 1766:8b); cf. Tietze 1957:2.
“Los ke andan kon naves uzaron por azer sus menesteres dela ‘mĕšoṭa,’ kere dezir sandal o chirnik” ‘Those who sail on ships used for their needs a mĕšoṭa, i.e., a small boat’ (’Asa 1749:178a); cf. Tietze 1957:2.
“A Yishmael lo avían matado … kon toyakás en la kavesa” ‘They had killed Yišma‘’el with clubs to the head’ (Benveniste 1669, vol. 1, no. 84, from Belgrade 1664); cf. Tietze 1957:31, no. 217.
For parallel phenomena in the use of local toponyms in Polish Yiddish see Stankewicz 1965.
No attempt has been made to reconstruct the place of stress in the Slavic-origin words; that in the pre-modern forms probably differed from the stress used today, in that those with a final vowel probably had penult stress, and those with a final consonant, final stress.
For general remarks on the phonological incorporation of loanwords from one contact language into another, see Weinreich 1953:26–28.
Under Slavic (and perhaps also other local) influence, ts is phonemic in the Judezmo of the South Slavic region (Quintana 2006:82–84); cf. ratsa ‘race’ vs. rama ‘branch.’
The innovative form with bl- instead of vl- perhaps derives from the impermissibility of vl-, but frequent occurrence of bl-, in Judezmo as in Spanish.
Yosef El‘azar of Sofia in Medina 1596, Ḥošen mišpaṭ, no. 15, from 1577.
Medina 1596, Yore de‘a, no. 155.
Medina 1596, Even ha-‘ezer, no. 115. The Hebrew-letter spelling of Eskopia was discussed by de Medina (1596, Even ha-‘ezer, no. 244).
Medina 1596, Ḥošen mišpaṭ, no. 148.
Cf. Budum in Šabbĕtay 1715, vol. 2, no. 7.
Pĕraḥya [d. 1678] 1722, no. 60.
Benveniste 1672, vol. 2, no. 27, from Belgrade 1651.
Cf. Espalatro in Šabbĕtay (d. 1647) 1713, vol. 1, no. 89. Various Jewish and Gentile names of the city are discussed in Pardo 1772, ’Even ha-‘ezer, no. 9.
Kastro [1525–1610], no. 56.
Duna is replaced by Tuna in Attias 1959:140, from c. 1794.
See Weinreich 1953:53 for remarks on analogous anthroponymic shifts among Yiddish speakers in America.
An alternative etymology is Spanish rica ‘rich.’
On the use of this suffix in Serbo-Croatian (e.g., Mara/Maja < Marija), see Comrie & Corbett 1993:341, Zadok 2002:48.
“Viḏe al Mosi … i un togar mataḏos” ‘I saw Mosi … and a Muslim killed’ (Šabbĕtay 1651, no. 44). On the use of this hypcoristic suffix in South Slavic see Romano 1933:28; Comrie & Corbett 1993:341. The use of the definite article (el [al < a + el], la) before a personal name is also characteristic of Judezmo in this region.
“Akel djuḏió ke tratava en Nish … se yamava Yaku” ‘That Jew who traded in Niš … was named Yaku’ (Benveniste 1672, vol. 2, no. 27). On the use of this suffix in Serbo-Croatian (e.g., Ivo < Ivan), see Comrie & Corbett 1993:341; Zadok 2002:48.
For lack of space, an analysis of Slavic influence on Yugoslavian Judezmo during the Middle and Late parts of the Modern Judezmo period will be offered elsewhere.
Cf. biblical anthroponym Togarma ‘Tegaramah, in Southeast Anatolia(?)’ (Gen. 10:3); among Judezmo speakers Togarmá denoted the Muslim ‘Ottoman Empire,’ and togar/-(m)im, ‘Muslims’ (Bunis 1993, nos. 4011, 4012).
Pardo 1772, Even ha-‘ezer, no. 2. The original Hebrew-letter text reads:
It is accompanied in the responsum by the Hebrew translation:
I am grateful to Dr. Eliezer Papo of Ben-Gurion University for clarifying for me in a personal communication some of the Serbo-Croatian structures reflected in this text; any mistakes here are entirely my own.
Papo 1862:8b. Judezmo goy denotes both Gentiles in general and Muslims in particular (Bunis 1993, no. 834; cf. Bibl. Heb. goy ‘people’).
Papo 1876: 122.
E.g., “los males ke avía fecho el rey blaho” ‘the evil deeds the Slavic king had done’ (Sason 1621, no. 2).
Because of the connection between the Judezmo words for ‘slave’ and ‘Slav,’ the same words were sometimes used to denote both, e.g., goyá esklava ‘a non-Jewish [i.e., Slavic/slave] woman’ (Yisra’el 1896:9).
E.g., Altarats 1894:245.
For their part, the South Slavs also made use of disparaging terms for Jews, e.g., Serbian židov, and more pejorative čif‑/čivut (f. civutka/čivutkinja); Bosnian židov, and more pejorative ćifut, ćifo/ćifko; the latter terms derive from pejorative Turkish çıfıt. The Judezmo reflections of Slavic derogatory terms for ‘Jew,’ jidan (cf. Rom. jidan) and chifut, are both documented in the Judezmo periodical El Amigo del Puevlo (9 , 36); the use of the latter term is also attributed to a non-Jew in an unidentifiable issue of the Sarajevo Jewish periodical, mostly in Serbo-Croatian, Jevrejski život: “Akel preto de enfrente me dišo, ke so »čifut«” ‘That black man who lived in front of us said I’m a “kike.” ’.
Jevrejski glas, unidentifiable issue.
This is probably a Slavism as well but I have been unable to determine its etymology.
Pardo 1772, Even ha-‘ezer, no. 1.
Pardo 1772, Ḥošen mišpaṭ, no. 7, in a text from 1764.
“Serán … enklinadas anavegar i peshkar i ir por ríos o melaskas ‘They will be inclined to navigate and fish and go through rivers or streams’ (‘Atías 1778:64b). Colleagues from Sarajevo have suggested that the reference is to the Miljacka River in Sarajevo; but its use here as a plural suggests derivation from mlaz + -ka.
Also Subak 1906:14; Jevrejski glas 6:14 1932:6; Romano 1933:220.
“Deve el ombre ir … ser entendido en todos los jeitanlikes … i malechurías ke puede aver entre la djente para poderse defender i brane(y)ar de eyos” ‘A person has to be knowledgeable in all the kinds of deviltry … and mishaps that can occur between people so that one can defend and guard oneself against them’ (‘Atías 1778:34b).
“Dio asembrar sus kanpos babra” ‘He had his fields planted with green peppers.’
The Real Academia Española, in turn, suggests that guinda might derive from Germanic *wīksĭna; cf. Old Germanic wîshila [http://dle.rae.es/?id=JpxzWmD|Jq1ydea; accessed 13 February 2017].
E.g., Asa 1749:97b; cf. ‘Eruvin 28; Bĕrakot 57 (as interpreted by Rashi).
On the various types of roles which may be played by a loanword, such as co-existence with a native synonym or near-synonym, and eventual suppletion of the native term, see Weinreich 1953:53–56.
For notes on the incorporation of the elements in the Judezmo morphological system and connections to the South Slavic case systems see Bunis 2001. For some phonological considerations see Quintana 2006. Various other types of “interference” (to use the term Weinreich preferred, e.g., 1953, throughout), such as “the extension of the use of an indigenous word of the influenced language in conformity with a foreign model,” are discussed in Papo 2007, and will receive further treatment by the present author elsewhere.
Poplack, Sankoff & Miller 1988.
Papo 1862:132a. For the Slavic etyma see the inventory below (in “Arrangement of South Slavic Elements in Rabbinical Judezmo Prose Texts”).
Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1842:10b.
Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:238.
Bĕxar Ḥayyim 1823:94.