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Judeo-Arabic languages

Judeo-Arabic languages
Native speakers ca. 540,000 (19921995) [1] Language family Afro-Asiatic Semitic Central Semitic Arabic Writing system Judeo-Arabic

Hebrew alphabet Language codes

ISO 639-2 ISO 639-3

jrb jrb inclusive code Individual codes: [2] yhd Judeo-Iraqi Arabic [3] aju Judeo-Moroccan Arabic [4] yud Judeo-Tripolitanian Arabic [5] ajt Judeo-Tunisian Arabic [6] jye Judeo-Yemeni Arabic

Judeo-Arabic languages

The Judeo-Arabic languages (Arabic: , Hebrew: ) are a continuum of Arabic dialects spoken by Jews living or formerly living in the Arab world; the term also refers more or less to Classical Arabic written in the Hebrew script, particularly in the Middle Ages. Just as with the rest of the Arab world, Jews had different dialects depending on where they lived. This phenomenon may be compared to cases such as different forms of Yiddish (Judeo-German) such as Western Yiddish and Eastern Yiddish, or forms of Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) in areas such as the Balkans, Thessalonki/Istanbul, Morocco, etc. Many significant Jewish works, including a number of religious writings by Maimonides and Judah Halevi, were originally written in Judeo-Arabic, as this was the primary colloquial language of their authors.


A page from the Cairo Geniza, part of which is written in the Judeo-Arabic language

The Arabic spoken by Jewish communities in the Arab world differed slightly from the Arabic of their non-Jewish neighbours. These differences were partly due to the incorporation of some words from Hebrew and other languages and partly geographical, in a way that may reflect a history of migration. For example, the Judeo-Arabic of Egypt, including in the Cairo community, resembled the dialect of Alexandria rather than that of Cairo (Blau).[7] Similarly the Jewish Iraqi Arabic of Baghdad was found reminiscent of the dialect of Mosul.[8] Many Jews in Arab countries were bilingual in Judeo-Arabic and the local dialect of the Arab majority. Like other Jewish languages and dialects, Judeo-Arabic languages contain borrowings from Hebrew and Aramaic. This feature is less marked in the traditional Judeo-Arabic translations of the Bible, as the authors clearly took the view that the business of a translator is to translate.[9]

Jews in Muslim countries wrotesometimes in their dialects, sometimes in a more classical stylein a mildly adapted Hebrew script (rather than using Arabic script), often including consonant dots from the Arabic alphabet to accommodate phonemes that did not exist in the Hebrew alphabet. Some of the most important books of medieval Jewish thought were originally written in medieval Judeo-Arabic, as well as certain halakhic works and biblical commentaries. Only later were they translated into medieval Hebrew so that they could be read by the Ashkenazi Jews of Europe. These include: Saadia Gaon's Kitb ul-amnt wal-itiqdt (Emunoth ve-Deoth), his Tafsir (biblical commentary and translation), and his siddur (the explanatory content; not the prayers themselves) Solomon ibn Gabirol's Tikkun Middot ha-Nefesh

Judeo-Arabic languages Bahya ibn Pakuda's Kitab al-Hidya il Fara'id al-Qulb (Chovot ha-Levavot) Judah Halevi's Kuzari Maimonides' Commentary on the Mishnah, Sefer ha-Mitzvot, Dallat ul-irn (Guide for the Perplexed), and many of his letters and shorter essays. Most communities also had a traditional translation of the Bible into Judeo-Arabic, known as a shar (meaning): for more detail, see Bible translations (Arabic). The term shar sometimes came to mean "Judeo-Arabic" as such, in the same way that "Targum" was sometimes used to mean Aramaic.

Present day
In the years following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the independence of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, most Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews in Arab countries left for mainly to France and Israel. Their distinct Arabic dialects in turn did not thrive in either country, and most of their descendants now speak French or Modern Hebrew almost exclusively; thus resulting in the entire continuum of Judeo-Arabic dialects being considered endangered languages. This stands in stark contrast with the history of Judeo-Arabic, which has consistently been numerous times larger than the Ashkenazi Jewish population's own European adaptation of Hebrew: Yiddish. There remain small populations of speakers in Morocco, Yemen, Israel, Lebanon, the United States, and Tunisia.

[1] Judeo-Arabic reference (http:/ / www. ethnologue. com/ language/ jrb) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013) Judeo-Iraqi Arabic reference (http:/ / www. ethnologue. com/ language/ yhd) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013) Judeo-Moroccan Arabic reference (http:/ / www. ethnologue. com/ language/ aju) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013) Judeo-Tripolitanian Arabic reference (http:/ / www. ethnologue. com/ language/ yud) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013) Judeo-Tunisian Arabic reference (http:/ / www. ethnologue. com/ language/ ajt) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013) Judeo-Yemeni Arabic reference (http:/ / www. ethnologue. com/ language/ jye) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013) [2] http:/ / www. sil. org/ iso639-3/ documentation. asp?id=yhd [3] http:/ / www. sil. org/ iso639-3/ documentation. asp?id=aju [4] http:/ / www. sil. org/ iso639-3/ documentation. asp?id=yud [5] http:/ / www. sil. org/ iso639-3/ documentation. asp?id=ajt [6] http:/ / www. sil. org/ iso639-3/ documentation. asp?id=jye [7] For example, in Cairene Arabic, as in Classical Arabic, "I write" is aktub. In Egyptian Judeo-Arabic, in western Alexandrian Arabic and in the Maghrebi Arabic dialects (Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian) it is nektob, resembling a first person plural. [8] For example, "I said" is qeltu in the speech of Baghdadi Jews and Christians, as well as in Mosul and Syria, as against Muslim Baghdadi gilit. This however may reflect not southward migration from Mosul on the part of the Jews, but rather the influence of Gulf Arabic on the dialect of the Muslims. [9] Avishur, Studies in Judaeo-Arabic Translations of the Bible.

Blanc, Haim, Communal Dialects in Baghdad: Harvard 1964 Blau, Joshua, The Emergence and Linguistic Background of Judaeo-Arabic: OUP, last edition 1999 Blau, Joshua, A Grammar of Mediaeval Judaeo-Arabic: Jerusalem 1980 (in Hebrew) Blau, Joshua, Studies in Middle Arabic and its Judaeo-Arabic variety: Jerusalem 1988 (in English) Blau, Joshua, Dictionary of Mediaeval Judaeo-Arabic Texts: Jerusalem 2006 Mansour, Jacob, The Jewish Baghdadi Dialect: Studies and Texts in the Judaeo-Arabic Dialect of Baghdad: Or Yehuda 1991 Heath, Jeffrey, Jewish and Muslim dialects of Moroccan Arabic (Routledge Curzon Arabic linguistics series): London, New York, 2002.

Judeo-Arabic languages

External links
Alan Corr's Judeo-Arabic Literature site ( Judeo-Arabic Literature ( Reka ( Kol Israel radio station broadcasting a daily program in Judeo-Arabic (Mugrabian) Jewish Language Research Website ( (description and bibliography)

Article Sources and Contributors

Article Sources and Contributors

Judeo-Arabic languages Source: Contributors: 1523, 334a, 400-Rabbits, Abjiklam, Acidburn24m, Aelfthrytha, Agari, Al-Andalus, Anypodetos, Ashashyou, Babajobu, Cbdorsett, Chem1, Columbusalbus, CommonsDelinker, CsDix, Cuaxdon, Daniel575, DePiep, Dogru144, Drmaik, FayssalF, Fintor, Gilgamesh, Hakeem.gadi, Historylover4, Humus sapiens, IZAK, JMK, Jaksmata, Jayjg, Joseph Solis in Australia, Khalid hassani, Kleit, Koryakov Yuri, Kwamikagami, Ling.Nut, Liotier, Lockesdonkey, Mgiganteus1, Mo-Al, Mustafaa, Mutos124, Netan'el, Neutrality, Olve Utne, Oneeyedboxer, OwenBlacker, Peter Isotalo, Pne, RA0808, Romanglass, Sardanaphalus, Sirmylesnagopaleentheda, Sl, TShilo12, Taivo, VeryVerily, Yoshiah ap, Zigger, 47 , anonymous edits

Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors

Image:Cairo Genizah Fragment.jpg Source: License: unknown Contributors: Ashashyou, Chesdovi, Jayjg, Kozuch, Ldorfman, Netan'el, Red devil 666, Sheynhertz-Unbayg, Zhuyifei1999

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