Jewish-Languages Mailing List

January 2001

Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2001 10:50
From: Sarah Bunin Benor <sbenor @>
Subject: list

I'd like to point out that we now have 14 subscribers, including scholars
of the following languages:

Eastern and Western Yiddish
Jewish Neo-Aramaic
Jewish English

There may be other languages represented, but I do not know everyone who
has subscribed. Therefore, I think it would be a good time for us to
start introducing ourselves.

I'm Sarah Bunin Benor, a 3rd-year PhD student at Stanford University in
the Department of Linguistics. My research focuses on the English speech
of Jews in America, especially Orthodox Jews. I have also done some work
on Yiddish and Ottoman Judeo-Spanish. I am very interested in comparative
Jewish linguistics, especially in the Hebrew/Aramaic component of modern
Jewish languages. My work is done mainly in the frameworks of
sociolinguistics and language contact.

I am looking forward to seeing the field of Jewish linguistics grow. I
plan to be involved in a number of efforts to create infrastructure,
including a website that's currently in the works and a journal and
conferences in the (distant?) future.

Just one request: I'd like to archive the messages that go out to this
list and make them available on the web (probably on the Jewish Languages
site that will be based at Emory). Is there anyone on this list who
has good computer knowledge and would be willing to take charge of the

I look forward to fruitful discussion on this list!

Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2001 12:11
From: Seth Jerchower <sethj @>
Subject: Re: list

Thank you Sarah for the information listed below. I have passed news of the
list to a number of people, and hope that our membership increases. I would
like to bring to the members' attention that our website (CJS
Library, UPenn) has a page dedicated to "Jewish Languages and Cultures":

I invite all members to submit URLs and any other information that may be
relative to the site, and hope it provides us with a fair starting point.
Members may also contact me for pertinent UPenn and JTS holdings of Judeo-X
language materials.

As for myself, I am currently Librarian of the Center for Judaic Studies at
UPenn. Prior to this, I was with the Special Collections of the JTS Library
in New York. My Litt. D. dissertation was a comparative study of the
Judeo-Italian manuscript tradition of the Bible, University of Florence,
1993. I am now preparing a complete edition and linguistic analysis of the
Parma MS 3068 Judeo-Italian translation of the Prophets (post 1456), for the
degree of Ph.D. at the Universität Freiburg, Germany. I am also working on
an edition of the extant texts (all for Tisha be'Ab) of the Corfiote
Judeo-Italian variety. Finally, I am involved with the updating of the
Hebrew/Aramaic sections of Unicode, which would finally include characters
used in the representation of Jewish languages, as well as including the
Babylonian and Palestinian te'amim, and aliases for the now established
names within the Unicode standard of the te'amim and nikkudot.

Other interests lie in general and extended linguistic theory, linguistic
typology, phonology, history of the book and of printing. My personal
website may be found at

Finally, until my friend and colleague Johannes Niehoff signs onto the list,
questions regarding Judeo-Greek may be forwarded to me.

Shabbat Shalom
Seth Jerchower

Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2001 12:14
From: George Jochnowitz <jochnowitz @>
Subject: Re: list

I'm George Jochnowitz, professor emeritus of linguistics at the College of
Staten Island, CUNY. I've written about Judeo-Italian, Judeo-Provencal
(Shuadit), and bilingualism among Lubavitcher children. At the moment, I'm
curious about whether Jews expelled from Provence could have moved to parts
of theWestern Yiddish area and contributed to the language after speakers of
Eastern Yiddish had already moved away.

Date: Mon, 08 Jan 2001 04:10
From: <mihalevy @>
Subject: Kein Thema

Michael S. Halévy, Center for Ibero-American Studies, University of Hamburg
and Institute for the History of the Jews in Germany, Hamburg.

research interest:
Jewish Interlinguistics
Judeo-romance languages

Date: Mon, 08 Jan 2001 11:16
From: Yona Sabar <sabar @>
Subject: introduction

My major interest is in the Neo-Aramaic dialects and folk literatures of
Kurdistani Jews, and related areas (Semitic languages in general, and
Hebrew and Aramaic in particular, including Bible translations and Hebrew
elements in Jewish languages).

Dr. Yona Sabar, Professor of Hebrew and Aramaic
Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
Los Angeles, Ca 90095-1511
Tel. (310) 474-6430
(H); (310) 206-1389
(O); Fax (310) 206-6456

Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2001 18:31
From: Sarah Bunin Benor <sbenor @>
Subject: Jewishness

Hello. I'm doing a workshop for some Jewish grad students next week about the
"Jewishness" of Jewish languages. One of the points I plan to make is that a
piece of Jewish speech/writing can be considered Jewish even if it has no
Hebrew/Aramaic words. Jewish languages are distinct from their non-Jewish
correlates in other ways besides lexicon- substratum syntactic influence,
independent sound changes, discourse differences...

Do you think this is the case for the language(s) you work on? If so, could
you please send me a sentence of that language, pointing out how it's
different from the non-Jewish correlate, and explaining why you think those
differences exist? An example from Jewish English would be:

Jewish English: Are you coming to me for dinner?
General American English: Are you coming to my place for dinner?
("come to me" - substratum influence from Yiddish)
(source: observed from a Modern Orthodox female)

Also, could you please send a sample sentence that does include Hebrew/Aramaic
words? Translations will be much appreciated, since I have no knowledge of
Persian, Provencale, Arabic, etc. If the sentences are from texts or are
already cited in papers you've written, please send the references too.

Maybe it would be good to respond to the list as a whole (rather than to just
my e-mail).

No pressure - if you're too busy to respond, I'll understand.

Thanks in advance,

Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2001 03:07
From: Judith Rosenhouse <gsrjudy @>
Subject: Re: Jewishness

Dear Sarah,
I am working mainly in Arabic (dialects, including Jewish ones) and Hebrew.
But I have no lexical examples right now. One thing is worth mention here,
which came up in my old dissertation: Moroccan Jews use the accusative particle
"bain, bash" ('that') much more than Muslims do. They also use these particles
more than the Muslims, who seem to prefer "belli". References for this feature:
Ph.D. diss.: Judith Rosenhouse (1974) Coordination and Subordination in Urban
Moroccan Colloquial Arabic Dialects, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, pp. 62-74,
(in Hebrew, and transcription).

This topic was also mentioned in my paper (1976) "The types of direct obejct clauses
and their subordination in some colloquial Arabic dialects and Classical Arabic," ZDMG,
126 (1) 10-24.

See also perhaps: (1978) "On the complexity of some types of complex sentences in urban
Moroccan Arabic and some other Arabic dialects" Afroasiatic Linguistics, 5 (4), 1-15.

All the best,

Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2001 12:25
From: George Jochnowitz <jochnowitz @>
Subject: Re: Jewishness

In the Judeo-Italian play _La Gnora Luna_ by the pseudonymous Bene Kedem,
the expression _da fuori_ ('outside') is used to mean 'cemetery'.

Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2001 11:22
From: Seth Jerchower <sethj @>
Subject: Re: Jewishness

As to corroborate George's last message (also used was the more archaic "de fora"),
the Christian euphemistic term in Florentine for "to die, to ruin oneself" is
"Andare/Ire alle Ballodole", the via delle Ballodole being at one time outside the
city walls (if I recall correctly, just past Rifredi and Careggi) where the comunal
cemetary was found.

In Judeo-Florentine, the traditional term for 'Arvit was "dire Ašchivenu", which of
course refers to the prayer only said at the 'Arvit service. Are there parallel references
to this type of synecdoche in other Jewish languages?

Seth Jerchower

Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 21:05
From: Sarah Bunin Benor <sbenor @>
Subject: call for papers - from John Zemke


The 2001 MLA convention will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Members should familiarize themselves with the guidelines for the MLA
convention, which appear in the September 2000 PMLA (pp. 475-87), before
writing to the organizer listed below. All participants in convention
sessions must be MLA members by 1 April 2001. Organizers are responsible
for responding to all inquires. Members may participate in (i.e., organize
and chair, read papers, serve as speakers or panelists, or participate in
any other way that involves having their names listed in the Program) a
maximum of two meetings. []

Discussion Group: Sephardic Studies (S2)
Session title: Sephardic Scribes and Manuscripts,
Printers and Presses, Bookmen and Readers.

Session description: Papers addressing commercial, sociological, ideological,
and other aspects of the production, distribution, and commerce in Sephardic
manuscripts and/or books, holy as well as secular.

Type of submission preferred: One-page abstract, brief bibliography, and vitae
by March 16, 2001. Only postmarked submissions will be accepted.
[papers in English, Portuguese, and/or Spanish]

Contact Information:

John Zemke
Romance Languages
137 Arts & Sciences
University of Missouri
Columbia MO 65211
Fax: (573) 884-8171
Tel: (573) 882-6977
E-mail: ZemkeJ @

Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2001 20:32
From: Sarah Bunin Benor <sbenor @>
Subject: introductions

Hello. We now have 42 subscribers, and only a handful of us have introduced
ourselves. If you'd like, please send a brief message to the list
jewish-languages @ telling who you are, your academic
affiliation, and your research interests.

Sarah Benor
Stanford University

Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 13:51
From: Hayim Sheynin <user @>
Subject: introductions

To the members of jewish-languages @
My name is Hayim Y. Sheynin. I studied Semitic and Jewish languages in
St.-Petersburg University, Russia, Hebrew University in Jerusalem and
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

My research interests are in Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic and Judeo-Spanish, while
I feel myself comfortable also with Classical Greek and Latin), Romance,
Semitic and Slavic languages and literatures. In the last period I was dealing
with Judeo-Spanish language and literature. For long time my topics were in
research of medieval Hebrew poetry.

I am affiliated with Gratz College in Philadelphia. In my list of publications
I list about 90 items (mostly articles and reviews) in English, Russian,
Spanish and German languages. I wrote also a number of bibliographic works.

Dr. Hayim Y. Sheynin
Head of Reference Services
Tuttleman Library of Gratz College
7605 Old York Rd.
Melrose Park, PA 19027
tel. 215 635-7300, ext. 161
fax: 215 635-7320
e-mail: hsheynin @

Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001 09:56
From: Seth Jerchower <sethj @>
Subject: Fw: Dante: Arabic and Judaic influences "in" and "around"...

FYI for List Members:
Seth Jerchower

Ed Emery ed.emery @ CWCOM.NET
Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2001 4:30 PM
Subject: Dante: Arabic and Judaic influences "in" and "around"...

You are invited to attend a Weekend Seminar on "ARABIC AND JUDAIC INFLUENCES
IN AND AROUND DANTE ALIGHIERI" ["Presenze arabe e ebraiche 'in' e 'intorno' a
Dante Alighieri"] to be held in the Bateman Auditorium, Gonville and Caius
College, University of Cambridge on Saturday 28 April 2001 10.00am-6.00pm

In various parts of the world, people are working on the question of Arabic and
Judaic influences in and around Dante. We are looking to break new ground in
this important area of Dante studies. In the eighty-odd years since the
publication of the ground-breaking work of Miguel Asín Palacios, isolated
individuals have been working with limited resources and within limited
disciplines, examining the relevant issues. Fortunately the climate is now
beginning to change - not least in Italy. Arabo-Italian studies, Judeo-Italian
studies and trans-Mediterranean cultural studies have become intellectually
respectable and are attracting research funding.

We are proposing to hold a small seminar, to bring together some of the people
working in this field. We shall spend a day in Cambridge (Saturday 28 April
2001) documenting the present state of research, and looking at new research
initiatives being developed internationally. All interested parties are welcome
to attend. Our discussions will be broad-ranging. In the longer term we aim to
bring in literature, science, music, architecture, medicine, cuisine, graphic
art, glassmaking, seafaring, etc. Some of these themes will be covered at the
Cambridge seminar. The intention of our seminar is to build towards a full-scale
conference, to be held in Venice in October 2002.

[Titles of papers are provisional.]

GIORGIO BATTISTONI of Verona: The Three Rings - the Judaic, Arabic and
Christian presence at the Court of Can Grande della Scala.
DANIELA BOCCASSINI of Vancouver: "A Falcon Ready for the King's Hand":
Reassessing the question of Dante's Islamic sources via the medieval
theory and practice of falconry.
ED EMERY: The Trajectory of AABBBA from Ibn Quzman of Andalus, via the
Marian Laudes to Dante's "Morte villana di pietà nemica".
DEBORAH HOWARD of Cambridge: A Brief Overview: Issues in the transmission
of visual culture.
KURT V. JENSEN, of Odense, Denmark: Riccoldo of Monte Croce 1242-1320: a
Florentine Missionary among the Muslims: his "Contra legem saracenorum".
CARLO SACCONE of Padova: Dante and the Libro della Scala di Maometto - the
Book of the Ascent of Mahomet.
PAOLO SCARNECCHIA of Naples: Musical matters: Arabic musical influences in
Italy - 1150-1350.
SANDRA DEBENEDETTI STOW of Ramat Gan, Israel: "The problem of Free Will
and Divine Wisdom as a link between Dante and Medieval Jewish Thought."
This is an open seminar. There is no charge for admission, although you may
make a contribution on the day if you wish... The papers will be delivered
in Italian and English.

IF YOU WISH to register for the seminar
OR if you wish to receive the published papers of the seminar
OR if you wish to be on the mailing list for Venice October 2002, please
send your details
- by e-mail to: ed.emery @
- by fax to: 0870 133 0145 [from outside UK 0044 870 133 0145]
- or by post to: Ed Emery [Dante Seminar], Peterhouse, Cambridge CB2 1RD 30.i.01