A Quick Introduction to Ladino

For centuries, Sephardic Jews have spoken Ladino, or Judeo-Spanish. Ladino has elements of the languages spoken in the different regions where Sephardic Jews lived, such as Arabic, Turkish, Greek, French, Italian, and Portuguese. Today Ladino is still spoken by small groups around the world, but it is in danger of dying out. (Fact: Languages can be considered “endangered” just like animals.)

Family sitting at a dinner table

To keep Ladino alive, Sephardic leaders, like musician and PJ Library Parent Connector, Sarah Aroeste, are teaching the language to children through music, games, books, and summer camps. There are also Ladino classes at some universities.

Using the latest technology, teachers are building online libraries where you can see digital versions of Ladino texts, like a Passover Haggadah or a child’s grammar book written in rhyme.

Explore Ladino language and culture with the resources below.

Related: What is Ladino via MyJewishLearning

ORA DE DESPERTAR

 

Watch the entire playlist on YouTube to learn how to greet people, talk to your family, and name your favorite things in Ladino!

Ora de Despertar, or Time to Wake Up, is an all-original album of children’s music plus a companion learning video series and songbook.

MEMRISE

Girl sitting at laptop

Memrise is a free online language-learning resource. You can find easy, short, modules to complete at your own pace. Start the basic Ladino lesson any time.

MUSIC

 

The Library of Congress’ Celebration concert was a tribute to Ladino singer and composer Flory Jagoda.

Listen to Ladino music with your children and learn about Ladino artists and icons like Flory Jagoda, the 92 year-old accordion playing dynamo still performing today.

Creating music was Flory’s way of remembering the places she had come from and the people she had lost. Ladino songs helped to build a bridge “across the ocean and across the years,” back to her Nona and her mountain village. Thanks to Flory, the “Keeper of the Flame,” we have many Ladino songs that otherwise might not have survived the migrations and changes of the Sephardic community over the centuries. Flory has also inspired a new generation of Ladino singers who learn the traditional songs of the past, while also creating their own music for a new audience.

MORE

How to Learn Ladino via MyJewishLearning.com
Listen to a playlist of Ladino music on the PJ Library Spotify Channel

Do you speak Ladino at home?