Judeo-Spanish (Judeo-Spanish: גֿודיאו-איספאנייול ; Spanish: judeoespañol ), in Israel commonly referred to as Ladino, and known locally as Judezmo, Espanyol, Judeo-Espanyol, Judezmo, Spaniolit and other names, is a Romance language derived from Old Spanish. As a Jewish language, it is influenced heavily by Hebrew and Aramaic, but also Arabic, Turkish and to a lesser extent Greek and other languages where Sephardic exiles settled around the world, primarily throughout the Ottoman Empire.
Judeo-Spanish has kept the postalveolar phonemes /ʃ/ and /ʒ/ of Old Castilian, which both changed to the velar /x/ in modern Spanish. It also has an /x/ phoneme taken over from Hebrew. In some places certain characteristic words were retained, such as the use of the possessive muestro instead of the Spanish nuestro to signify our. Its grammatical structure is close to that of Spanish, with the addition of many terms from Hebrew, Portuguese, French, Turkish, Greek, Bulgarian, and Serbo-Croatian/Bosnian depending on the geographic origin of the speaker.
Like many other Jewish languages, Judeo-Spanish is in danger of language extinction. Most native speakers are elderly, many of them having emigrated to Israel where the language was not transmitted to their children or grandchildren. However, it is experiencing a minor revival among Sephardic communities, especially in music. In some expatriate communities in Latin America and elsewhere, there is a threat of dialect levelling resulting in extinction by assimilation into modern Spanish.
Ladino should not be confused with the Ladin language, which is related to the Swiss Romansh and Friulian languages and is mostly spoken in the Dolomite Mountains of Northern Italy.
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