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?
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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.
Twenty-six sections of Ladino classes were offered since Summer 2020, bringing together more than 150 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.
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.
|you (singular)||tu||you (plural)||vozotros (m.)*|
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 | 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
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. uno||6. sesh||11. onze||16. dizisesh|
|2. dos||7. siete||12. dodje||17. dizisiete|
|3. tres||8. ocho||13. tredje||18. diziocho|
|4. kuatro||9. mueve||14. katorze||19. dizimueve|
|5. sinko||10. diez||15. kinze||20. vente|
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”
|dolashear||to go for a stroll|
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.
ME PLAZE or ME PLAZEN?
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.