Linguistic Variations in Early Ladino Translations

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The differences between early Ladino liturgical translations and halakhic translations, both of which were based on Hebrew sources, are analyzed in this study. The liturgical translations include the Bible, Pirke Avot, the Passover Haggadah, and the Siddur as well as biblical citations in these sources. The halakhic translations include Mesa de el alma (Shulḥan Hapanim in Hebrew) which is a translation of Shulḥan Arukh, the translations of Ḥovat Halevavot, and the halakhic instructions in the prayer books. While there are no significant variations in orthography between the two kinds of translations and morphology demonstrates few differences, syntax, discourse analysis, and lexicon reveal great variability. The halakhic translations demonstrate simplification, explicitation, normalization, and a small amount of interference, whereas the liturgical translations adhere to very strict norms of word-for-word translation. It was also found in both kinds of texts that the western translations from Italy and the Netherlands done by former converted Jews (anusim) follow Spanish norms more than the eastern Ladino conventions of the Jews in the Balkans and Asia Minor.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-48
Number of pages48
JournalJournal of Jewish Languages
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


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