The Judeo-Greek language is known from medieval times onward. It contains an element of Hebrew and Aramaic origin in its vocabulary and grammar and is written in Hebrew characters. Since the 15th century there has also been an element of Turkish origin. Three examples of the Hebrew element are Yavan (Javan, Gen. 10:1–2, used in Hebrew for Greece=Ionia), "a Greek"; hamor (donkey), "a dunce"; akhlantzis (Heb. akhlan), "glutton." The earliest Judeo-Greek glosses are considered to be those in the Arukh (c. 1101), the
The Corfu linguist Papageorgios, editor of O Israilitis Khronoghrafos (published in Corfu), first announced the discovery of Judeo-Greek poetry in 1881. In 1889 and in 1900, he reproduced eight stanzas of a hymn entitled "Song Sung Formerly in the Synagogue of Corfu on the Sabbath." The same collection (no. 2, p. 3) contains fragments of 70 verses from an old manuscript, inspired by Isaiah and other biblical prophets. The Karaite Elijah Afeda Beghi produced a Judeo-Greek version in 1627 of the Aramaic chapters of Daniel and Ezra still in manuscript in 1914, while for the rest of the Bible he compiled a glossary of difficult words. The Karaites continued to use Judeo-Greek even after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Judeo-Greek continued to be spoken and written in Janina, Prevesa, Larissa, Arta, Trikkala, Volos, Chalcis, and especially in Corfu and Zante. During the Nazi occupation of Greece, some Jews communicated with each other in Judeo-Greek as a protective measure. Except for those still familiar with *Ladino, Greek Jews of the post-World War II era spoke standard Greek.
General Works: A. Neubauer, in: JQR, 4 (1891/92), 9–19; C. Sirat, in: Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes, Bulletin d'information, 12 (1963), 103–12. Texts: Ph. Kukules, in: Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 19 (1910), 422–9; M. Schwab, in: Revue des Études Grecques, 24 (1911), 152–67; M. Sp. Papageorgios, Merkwuerdige in den Synagogen von Corfu in Gebrauch befindlichen Hymnen, 2 pt. 1 (1882), 226–32; D.C. Hesseling, in: Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 10 (1901), 208–17 (the Book of Jonah); L. Modona, in: REJ, 23 (1891), 134–6 (the Book of Jonah); J. Starr, in: PAAJR, 6 (1934–35), 353–67 (Judeo-Greek Glossary); D. Goldschmidt, in: KS, 33 (1957/58), 131–4 (list of texts); M. Lazare Belléli, in: Revue des Études Grecques, 3 (1890), 289–308; I.M. Matsa, Yanniotika Evraika Traghoudhia (1953). Studies: D.S. Blondheim, Les Parlers Judéo-Romans et la Vetus Latina (1925), Appendix B, 157–70; M. Schwab, in: France, Missions Scientifiques et Littéraires. Nouvelles Archives. Nouvelle Série, fascicule 10 (1913), 1–141; M. Sp. Papageorgios, in: Annuaire Pamassou, 5 (1901), 157–75. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: N. De Lange, Greek Jewish Texts from the Cairo Genizah (1996); C. Aslanov, "The Judeo-Greek and Ladino Columns in the Constantinople Edition of the Pentateuch (1547): A Linguistic Commentary on Gn 1:1–5," in: Revue des Études Juives,158:3–4 (Jul.–Dec. 1999), 385–97; G. Drettas, "Propos sur la judéité grécophone," in: S. Morag, M. Bar Asher, and M. Meyer Modena (eds.), Vena Hebraica in Judæorum Linguis. Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on the Hebrew and Aramaic Elements in Jewish Languages (Milan, October 23–26, 1995) (1999).
[Rachel Dalven /
Cyril Aslanov (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.