Ladino: Is it understood by Spanish natives?

Hulalessar

Senior Member
English - England
Rashi would make it a bit tricky for me certainly!

The way it is written in Latin script looks a bit like the way the young write in chatrooms.
 
  • bearded

    Senior Member
    In Northern Italy near the Austrian border (several alpine valleys) there is a minority Romance language which is also called ''Ladino''. It is very similar (and possibly connected) to the Swiss Romantsch language (one of the Swiss official languages) as well as to Furlàn (also a minority speech in the Italian region of Friuli).
    The reason for the name Ladino is that for centuries this language has been like a Latin ''island'' amidst German dialects of the Austrian/Bavarian type.
    Mutual understanding is possible - to a certain extent - with speakers of Italian northern dialects - especially the Lombard dialect.
    P.S.
    This 'Ladino' has of course nothing to do with Ladino/Judeo-Espanol, except for the common Latin origin of all Romance languages.
     

    Αγγελος

    Senior Member
    Greek
    When Ladino actually was in daily use (e.g. in Salonica before the Holocaust), it was usually written with Hebrew letters. Those who pretend to write it today using the Latin alphabet (apparently, there is one high school in Istanbul where it is the primary medium of instruction) deliberately use a different spelling from that of Spanish, to emphasize that it is NOT just Spanish.
    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. That the Stanzas of Joseph the Wise are also almost pure Spanish is not surprising, if they were composed in the 15th century, when Sephardic Jews still lived in Spain. This is in contrast to Yiddish, which is full of Hebrew words.
     

    Raff75

    New Member
    Spanish - Spain

    WordToTheWise

    New Member
    English
    I grew up speaking "Ladino." And I never had contact with "Spanish" or "Spanish" speakers till my mid twenties. 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. As for my later experience speaking to "Spanish" speakers. I understand 100% of Spanish and vice versa. No Spanish speaker ever questioned my "espaniol." The only correction to my Spanish was one time I used the phase "Con nombre del Dios" and I was told to say "Adios." I was also told by a native spanish speaker that I speak Spanish like a poor uneducated person, which is to some degree accurate, as I've never studied Spanish. The only other differences I've noticed is I pronounce the "J" sound like "sh" e.g Hijo - Ishyo. I would say Argentinian pronunciation is the closest. As for words like "Onde", I've only ever heard them pronounced like in spanish "donde." So I don't know the source of these "Ladino" words?
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I was also told by a native spanish speaker that I speak Spanish like a poor uneducated person,
    I would say Argentinian pronunciation is the closest.
    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".
     

    heterônimo

    Member
    Br-Pt
    From what I was able to listen online, as a Portuguese speaker I can understand it as well. I'll go even further by saying that a regular Portuguese speaker can probably understand better Ladino than any other variety of Spanish (which isn't necessarily a surprise since Ladino is derived from an older form of Spanish).
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    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.

    Some attributions are sometimes given because of poor knowledge of the other Romance languages of Spain. Sieclo doesn't necessarily have to come from French, as it is perfect Aragonese, which was spoken in all of the kingdom of Aragon back then.
     

    Gorgiewave

    Senior Member
    Scotland, English
    I'm not a native Spanish speaker, but I am a fluent Spanish speaker. I found it easy to understand (in Latin script). It is like a phonetic rendering of Andalusian (or Latin American) pronunciation.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    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.

    Actually, academics prefer the term "Judeo-Spanish". The word "Ladino" was the name that Sephardi Jews gave to the archaic written language of the Bible translations (note also that in the past, Spanish was often referred to as "Latin" in many languages). The name "Ladino" as referring to the spoken language of the Sephardi Jews became common when many of these Jews immigrated to the Land of Israel in the 20th century and the other Jews there started calling their langauge "Ladino". Before that, the spoken language did not really have a name.
     

    Tamazight_tayri

    New Member
    Ame. English / Mex. Spanish
    Just like Yiddish is a separate language from German so is Ladino. Mutual intelligibility is just one of the categories that could separate one language from another but it’s not by any means the only one. Belonging to a different ethnic group altogether or nation state can turn one language into a complete separate entity as it is with Turkic languages for example.
    Ladino is not another dialect of Spanish due to its highly mixed vocabulary from foreign languages such as primarily Hebrew , French , Turkish and Bosnian. And it’s definitely not a dialect of any of those aforementioned languages. The grammar is also not the same, and much less the phonology.
     
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    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    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.
     

    Tamazight_tayri

    New Member
    Ame. English / Mex. Spanish
    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.
    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.
    All of this and a lot more intricate Judaic customs were observed. How can these things along with DNA have been brought by “pure” Catholic Spaniards/Iberians?
    Please always stand up for who you are and where you come from is sometimes worthy of pride and self-preservation!
     

    Tamazight_tayri

    New Member
    Ame. English / Mex. Spanish
    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.
    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!)
    But that’s honestly a much more complicated topic than Ladino v. Spanish. It should be fairly clear cut.
     
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    Dymn

    Senior Member
    I would call it a Spanish dialect.
    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.

    For my defense those comments are mostly a product of ignorance rather than hatred. Most people don't even know Judeo-Spanish exists and they get stuck with the "funny spelling" to dismiss it altogether.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    A dialect, as it is usually understood, is certainly a different thing. I'd rather call it a descendant of Middle Spanish.

    Mutual intelligibility is always a tricky subjective issue. Those Spaniards who are more familiar with medieval Spanish, for instance, will clearly understand much more Judeo-Spanish than your average guy.
     
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