The State of Ladino Today

in European Judaism
Tracy K. HarrisUniversity of Peoria

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This paper examines the current state of Ladino as a spoken everyday language of communication. Research has shown that there are very few competent speakers of the language under the age of sixty throughout the world. Negative language attitudes as well as assimilation into the dominant cultures and choice of the dominant language(s) are contributing factors to this decline. However, this decline in linguistic skills does not reflect the promotional efforts on behalf of Ladino and Sephardic culture which are discussed at length in the paper. The end result is that language loss does not mean the decline of Sephardic ethnicity and culture, which are presently thriving.

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