Morphological aspects in the development of judeo-spanish

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Judeo-Spanish, the language of the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492, developed independently around the Mediterranean. Although it retained remarkably archaic lexical and grammatical features of medieval Spanish, its current structure proves that it is a fused language. Morphology, which is generally considered the least affected area of grammar, shows this kind of fusion: e.g. adjidear ‘pity (verb)’, combines the Turkish acimak ‘pity’, with the Spanish verb ending (d)ear; dezmazalado ‘unfortunate’, joins the Hebrew word mazal ‘luck’, with the Spanish negative prefix des+ and the adjectival suffix +ado. In most cases, the morphological fusion results in lexicalization: once a word is newly categorized as a noun, adjective, or verb, its inflection follows the grammatical norms of Spanish: e.g. balabay, ‘successful landlord’, from the Hebrew ba'al habayit ‘landlord’ takes the Spanish feminine form balabdya, with no connection to the Hebrew feminine, ba'alat habayit. The exceptions involve words of Hebrew-Aramaic origin which might take Hebrew rather than Spanish inflection. The morphological processes will be discussed in terms of the Strong vs. Weak Lexicalist Hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-44
Number of pages18
JournalFolia Linguistica
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1993


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