Centre de recherche Moyen-Orient et
Study of the Judeo-Spanish language from the Balkans and its contacts with other (Balkan) languages of the surrounding as well as with external languages such as Hebrew and French. The collection comprises three interviews with Judeo-Spanish speakers from the Balkans (Salonika and Sarajevo) which I carried out in January 2023 in Belgrade, Serbia, and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina. Two of the speakers, Drita Tutunović and Stevan Milovanović (Danijel Perhija), are based in Belgrade, Serbia, but their families originally come from Salonika, whereas the third, Rabbi Eliezer Papo, is based in Israel, but was born and raised in Sarajevo. Drita Tutonović and Eliezer Papo have spoken Judeo-Spanish since they were children, in their family surrounding, whereas Stevan Milovanović is a "heritage speaker": he was exposed mildly to the language in his early age, but started to learn it as an adult at University. The interviews contain information about family and communal life, family history and the place of the language in the lives of the speakers. All three interviews were conducted entirely in Judeo-Spanish, also called Ladino, Djudesmo, Djudyó, Espanyolit. It is a Romance language that derives from fifteenth-century Castilian and it is spoken by the descendants of Spanish Jews that were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492 and 1496/97. Most of them settled in the former Ottoman Empire where they were allowed to profess their religion and keep the language. Throughout the centuries, Judeo-Spanish absorbed the influences of Turkish, Hebrew, Greek, South-Slavic languages, French. In 2002, UNESCO included Judeo-Spanish in its list of "seriously endangered languages". It is estimated that there are some 200.000 Judeo-Spanish speakers, but their linguistic ability may vary from fluent to basic knowledge of the language. This collection is part of the “Atlas of the Balkan Linguistic Area” project, supported by the French National Research Agency [CNRS] (ANR-21-CE27-0020-ABLA) and the Russian Science Foundation (22-48-09003), whose goal is to study language contacts among spoken Balkan languages.