What is Ladino

Do Ladino and Judeo-Spanish refer to the same thing? Is Ladino a type of Spanish? Do people still speak this language?


How does one write in Ladino today? How did people write in Ladino in the past? Are there orthographic norms for the language?

Student Section

Enrolled in one of the Ladino Linguist’s classes? This password-protected  section provides you with additional material.



Did you watch Netflix’s new series Kulüp (The Club), which features 1950s Istanbul and a number of Sephardic characters? If so, you probably heard plenty of Ladino words, sayings, sentences, and songs throughout. Let’s review!

Check out the weekly ENKONTRO DE ALHAD
for regular online programming in Ladino.

Enkontro de alhad,
with Bryan Kirschen (host) and students from his advanced Ladino class (guests)
Enkontro de alhad,
with Bryan Kirschen (host) and Joe Halio (guest)
Enkontro de alhad,
with Bryan Kirschen (host) and Alicia Sisso Raz (guest)

For more than 50 + episodes with balabayes (hosts) and musafires (guests) from around the world, visit this online playlist.

Did you attend one of the Ladino Linguist’s
5-week Beginner to Ladino sessions?

Nearly 500 people signed up for Dr. Bryan Kirschen’s free 5-week series to learn the basics of Ladino, offered in partnership with the Sephardic Brotherhood of America.

From April 6 – May 4, 2020, hundreds of people participated in live Zoom classes. Every Monday night, people of all ages around the United States and the world came together, often multiple people behind each computer screen. Interest in Ladino appears to be at an all-time high, and this site offers resources to those who participated in the Ladino Linguist’s mini-course as well as additional opportunities to continue your journey with the language.

Thirty sections of Ladino classes were offered since Summer 2020, bringing together more than 170 learners from around the world. Classes offered provide participants with a student-centered approach to learning Ladino. With limited class sizes, our online sessions will allow you to enhance your proficiency in the language, engage with the content, and receive regular feedback from your instructor. You will also have access to content made available in the student-only section of this site.

Getting started with Ladino

Whether you are brand new to Ladino or need a quick review of some of the basic elements of the language, the following information will help you get started.


Accent marks are typically not used in Ladino. Newly-presented words in Ladino that contain more than one syllable will include a vowel in bold to help indicate where the stress in the word belongs.

Interested in the sounds of Ladino? Start by exploring the alphabet page and, in particular, the Aki Yerushalayim table.

Subject Pronouns
Iyowemozotros (m.)*
mozotras (f.)
you (singular)tuyou (plural)vozotros (m.)*
vozotras (f.)
he/sheel (m.)
eya (f.)
theyeyos (m.)*
eyas (f.)

Subject pronouns: m. = masculine; f. = feminine.
Mozotros, vozotros, and eyos are used when referring to either groups of men or men and women, regardless of how many in the group

Ser & Estar

Ser and Estar are both typically translated as “to be,” but they are used in different contexts.

Ken sos tu? See if you can fill in the blanks (de means “from” in this case, and “i moro en” means “and I live in…”)

Ser | To be


Conjugation in present indicative for the verb ‘ser’ — In Izmir, “se” is used instead of “so,” and “semos” is used instead of “somos”

Estar | To be


Conjugation in present indicative for the verb ‘estar’ — Often, the initial “e” is not pronounced: sto, stas, sta, stamos, stash, stan


“hanum” and “pasha” are terms of endearment, the latter used to refer to a boy/man

Forms of ser are often used for origin (de ande sos – where are you from?), reference to someone (so Matan – I am Matan), inherent qualities (sos ermoza – you are beautiful); Forms of estar are often used to describe your current state (esto hazino – I am sick), locations (estamos en la eskola – we are at school), and in the gerund (“-ing”) form (esto meldando – I’m reading). While ser and estar are often introduced early in one’s studies, understanding their nuances and even overlap requires considerable study and practice.

Los numeros | Numbers
1. uno6. sesh11. onze16. dizisesh
2. dos7. siete12. dodje17. dizisiete
3. tres8. ocho13. tredje18. diziocho
4. kuatro9. mueve14. katorze19. dizimueve
5. sinko10. diez15. kinze20. vente
Los numeros (dos, tres, sesh, and diez are are monosyllables)

Will you find variation in these number? Of course! You might be thinking of Flory Jagoda’s infamous Ocho Kandelikas, where she pronounces “sinko” like “sinkyu“. If that is what you heard, your ears are not deceiving you. A native of Bosnia, Flory preserves features of Ladino that are common to her variety of the language.

Me plaze | “I like”
Fazer or Azer?
Ladino speakers of Sarajevo, Skopje, Monastir, Salonica, Kastoria, among others, would opt for fazer
(f)avlarto speak
bailarto dance
beverto drink
dolashearto go for a stroll
djugarto play
eskrivirto write
gizarto cook
kantarto sing
komerto eat
lavorarto work
meldarto read
merkarto buy

Keep in mind that “me plaze” is often translated as “I like,” although it really means “it is pleasing to me.” So, while we can think of “me plaze eskrivir” as “I like to write,” it is really like saying “reading is pleasing to me.” This will come in handy as you try to figure out why you don’t conjugate the verb “plazer” based on who is doing the “liking.” When saying what you like doing, be sure to use the infinitival form in Ladino – those are the verbs that end in either –ar, –er, –ir.


While you will often use “ME PLAZE” followed by an infinitive (e.g. “me plaze komer”), or a singular noun (e.g. “me plaze la dondurma”), you will use “ME PLAZEN” when a plural noun is to follow (e.g. me plazen los yaprakes). Try to form sentences based on the images to follow.

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