We, Spanish speakers, are able to understand it completely, and it´s beautiful. There are very few genuine speakers today because most of those who can talk Ladino are heavily influenced by another language or by modern Spanish.
I was also told by a native spanish speaker that I speak Spanish like a poor uneducated person,
Must be so. I once talked with a Ladino native speaker about his experience when he came to Argentina for the first time. He said upon his arrival he was interviewed and the journalists started to laugh when he started to talk. They said: "It is his first day in Argentina and he talks already like a gaucho".I would say Argentinian pronunciation is the closest.
Understandably, those who try to use Ladino in a formal setting are influenced by their knowledge of Castilian Spanish (and of French, which was the language of higher culture throughout the Eastern Mediterranean until recently.) Notice the use of "sieklo" for Spanish "siglo" (=century, Fr. siècle) in Selim Salti's speech, which apart from that and from one Turkish word that the editors deemed it necessary to explain in a footnote, is almost pure Spanish.
First of all, I never heard the term Ladino till I did some googling on the history of Jewish communities in Turkey. My family always called our language "espaniol." I suspect the term Ladino is some academic invention.
Of course this is a well documented reality all throughout Latin America. I don’t know what’s wrong with certain people. Not too long ago I stumbled upon a really bizarre article online by a white American author claiming the same as some Spaniards here that the whole crypto Jewish “ladino thing” is a myth as a way for Latinos to feel whitewashed. I didn’t know whether to burst out laughing or crying out of rage or confusion or out of pity for people who think like that. First of all, after their mass expulsion to other places primarily at first other lands of the Middle East and Europe, Jews practiced endogamy. (I mean first of all, they were unconsidered marranos / unclean for marriage eirhThis is especially true among conversos in Latin America and I can speak on behalf of Norteños / South Texans that endogamy is the primary reason why we have retained those MENA genes and subsequently retained remnants of the Ladino language and Sephardic culture. If you ever (or anyone else) care to learn more about crypto Jewish history I have an excellent PDF by an Israeli Jewish Anthropolgist who spent time in Monterrey Mexico and Nuevo León in general. She discovered some people still living in houses where the bathroom is kept separate, where they slaughter their livestock the Kosher way, people light candles on Friday night, they cover mirrors with a black blanket when someone dies, and they are extremely careful and superstitious over not leaving hair on the ground out of fear of a curse or witchcraft. Their beds would also face East and they would never sweep from inside of a room towards outside but rather they would sweep everything towards the middle of the room and pick it up from the center. The most astonishing thing, where secret communities she discovered believing that Jesus was only a prophet while practicing Catholicism in the eyes of the society. Ritual cleaning and excessive hygiene habits too were recorded. And as you mentioned they would indeed not mix dairy with meet and they wouldn’t even eat dairy unless it was at the end of the day as a snack. Also, they would cover their dead loved ones with a white “mortaja”, a burial shroud just like Jews and Muslims use for burying their loved ones.To tell you the truth I'm one of those people! My family is of direct descent from Sefardic Conversos who happened to have settled in Michoacan and Jalisco. I think also in northern Mexico some people still speak like this too, I live in a border to a Mexican state and a few people here also speak like this. Both sides of my family would always say Muncho instead of Mucho and my grandma's parents and relatives would often say Ansina however they came directly from Spain and never mixed with the local native population. With my grandma's family they never mixed dairy products with milk products and seperated the dishes to serve both foods. So yeah and there are lots of towns and villages in that area where they actually have proven that Sefardic converts settled and founded many of the towns from that region. So I think it's very possible that a remnant of Ladino speakers managed to survive in that region and is due to the concentration of Sefardic Anusim, after all im living proof of this lol. I do not speak like this form of Spanish because my family has assimilated completely into the rest of Mexican society and thus my parents generation and on forgot about this. Sorry for the long reply.
This same phenomenon happens with Darija (North African Arabic ) and with other “standard” dialects of Arabic such as Egyptian , Lebanese and Syrian. Most Arabs of the Middle East could claim they can comprehend about 70%-85% give or take of written Darija (like on social media for instance) but that reality is completely and utterly shattered when you take the oral form of Darija and compare that to other Arabic dialects. It is indeed a heated debate but most of the time you have adherents of a particular antagonistic ideology that insist on making that part, part of the whole rather making the (unique and autonomously linguistically stable and valid ) part separate from the whole (as in the perceived dominant entity). So it’s not just in this thread where you will see Europeans or I should say specifically I guess Iberians harbor such negative sentiments towards Ladino for no other reason other than defending their historical rhetoric / reputation. The same with the Arabized North Africans in power who insist on making Darija just another dialect of Arabic (as a way to undermine the “Amazigh” indigenous aspect of their every day language and culture) or better yet they insist that Tamazight is just another dialect of Arabic or an old Arabian Yemeni language (Yup, very absurd assertions!)The question of what is a language, and what a dialect, is one that professional linguists shy clear of. On the whole, we like to speak of different languages if there are separate normalised written forms. So, for example, Maltese is a language but Tunisian Arabic is a dialect, although the two are very close in their spoken forms. Spanish and Ladino have separate written norms, respectively in Latin script and Hebrew (Sephardic) script. In their spoken form, Spanish and Ladino are very much mutually comprehensible, considerably more so than German and Yiddish. Recently, the Ladino speaking communities in Turkey have started to use Latin script and I have heard Spanish natives claiming that they understand written (Latin script) Ladino perfectly, it is just normal Spanish in a slightly strange spelling.
Well I disagree with myself 7 years later, now I understand the huge role identity, history and written tradition have in "languagehood". Also having developed for the last five centuries in a totally autonomous way makes it considerably different from any variety of Modern Spanish.I would call it a Spanish dialect.