Along with Yiddish and Ladino, Judaeo-Arabic occupies a special place of significance among post-talmudic Jewish languages. A unique history of Judaeo-Arabic extends from ninth century to the present, thus making it one of those few languages with longest recorded history. It has had the widest geographical diffusion, extending from Iraq and Yemen in the East, to Spain and Morocco in the West during the Middle Ages. And finally, it was the medium of expression for one of the foremost periods of Jewish cultural and intellectual creativity. Throughout the past century, a considerable amount of scholarship has been produced as a result of various editions, translations, and interpretations of medieval Judaeo-Arabic literary and documentary texts, particularly those from the Cairo Genizah.
Practicing Judaeo-Arabic script
Two exercises will help students to get acquainted with Judaeo-Arabic script: to read and transcribe some basic sentences from Judaeo-Arabic to Arabic and vice-versa.
- What are the main characteristics of Judaeo-Arabic religiolect?
- What types of popular literary genres of Judaeo-Arabic emerged during Early Modern period?
- How many major phases of Judaeo-Arabic are known to us?
- List the languages which are somehow related to Judaeo-Arabic.
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Esther Miriam Wagner: Linguistic Variety of Judaeo-Arabic in Letters from the Cairo Genizah
This work is one of the first studies presenting a comprehensive linguistic investigation into non-literary Judaeo-Arabic. Its main focus is the diachronic description of letters from the Cairo Genizah, while distinguishing between features of epistolary Arabic and vernacular phenomena.
Benjamin Hary: Translating Religion. Linguistic Analysis of Judeo-Arabic Sacred Texts from Egypt (Etudes Sur Le Judaisme Medieval)
The study places Judeo-Arabic along the Jewish linguistic spectrum, traces its history and offers insights to the spoken variety of Egyptian Judeo-Arabic, which set it apart from other Arabic dialects. The book also provides a linguistic model of the translation of the sacred texts. Rather than viewing the translation as only verbatim, the study traces in great detail the literal/interpretive linguistic tension with which the translators struggled in their work.