• judeoespañol
  • español
  • judió / jidió
  • djudeo-espanyol
  • espanyol
  • djudyo/djidyo
  • גﬞודﬞיאו־איספאנייול
  • איספאנייול
  • גﬞידﬞייו / גﬞודﬞייו
  • җудеоеспањол
  • еспањол
  • җудіо / җидіо
  • τζ̲ουδεο-εσπανιολ
  • εσπανιολ
  • τζ̲ουδεο
  • جوديو-اسپانيول
  • اسپانيول
  • جوديو
judeoespañol / djudeo-espanyol
Judeoespañol in Solitreo and Rashi scripts
Pronunciation[dʒuˈðeo͜ s.paˈɲol] (About this soundlisten)[a]
Native toIsrael, Turkey, United States, France, Greece, Brazil, United Kingdom, Morocco, Bulgaria, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Macedonia, Tunisia, Belgium, South Africa, Spain and others
RegionMediterranean Basin (native region), North America, Western Europe and South America
EthnicitySephardic Jews and Sabbateans
Native speakers
100,000 in Israel (2005)[1]
10,000 in Turkey and 12,000 elsewhere (2007)[1]
60,000[2] – 400,000[3] total speakers
mainly Latin alphabet; also
the original Hebrew (normally using Rashi or Solitreo) and Cyrillic; rarely Greek & Arabic
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
lad Ladino
ISO 639-3lad Ladino
lad Ladino[5]
ladi1251  Ladino[6]
Linguasphere51-AAB-ba … 51-AAB-bd
Idioma sefardí.PNG
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For a guide to IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Judaeo-Spanish or Judeo-Spanish (autonym judeoespañol; Hebrew script: גﬞודﬞיאו־איספאנייולdjudeo-espanyol; Cyrillic: җудеоеспањол[7]), commonly referred to as Ladino, is a Romance language derived from Old Spanish. Originally spoken in Spain and then after the Edict of Expulsion spreading through the former territories of the Ottoman Empire (the Balkans, Turkey, the Middle East, and North Africa) as well as France, Italy, the Netherlands, Morocco, and England, it is today spoken mainly by Sephardic minorities in more than 30 countries, with most of the speakers residing in Israel. Although it has no official status in any country, it has been acknowledged as a minority language in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel, France and Turkey. It is also formally recognised by the Royal Spanish Academy.[8]

The core vocabulary of Judaeo-Spanish is Old Spanish and it has numerous elements from all the old Romance languages of the Iberian Peninsula: Old Aragonese, Astur-Leonese, Old Catalan, Galician-Portuguese and Mozarabic.[9] The language has been further enriched by Ottoman Turkish and Semitic vocabulary, such as Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic — especially in the domains of religion, law and spirituality — and most of the vocabulary for new and modern concepts has been adopted through French and Italian. Furthermore, the language is influenced to a lesser degree by other local languages of the Balkans, such as Greek, Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian.

Historically, the Rashi script and its cursive form Solitreo have been the main orthographies for writing Judaeo-Spanish. However, today it is mainly written with the Latin alphabet, though some other alphabets such as Hebrew and Cyrillic are still in use. Judaeo-Spanish is known by many different names, mostly: Español (Espanyol, Spaniol, Spaniolish, Espanioliko), Judió (Judyo, Djudyo) or Jidió (Jidyo, Djidyo), Judesmo (Judezmo, Djudezmo), Sefaradhí (Sefaradi) or Ḥaketía (in North Africa).[10] In Turkey and formerly in the Ottoman Empire, it has been traditionally called Yahudice in Turkish, meaning the Jewish language. In Israel, Hebrew speakers usually call the language Espanyolit, Spanyolit or Ladino.

Judaeo-Spanish, once the trade language of the Adriatic Sea, the Balkans and the Middle-East and renowned for its rich literature especially in Salonika, today is under serious threat of extinction. Most native speakers are elderly, and the language is not transmitted to their children or grandchildren for various reasons. In some expatriate communities in Latin America and elsewhere, there is a threat of dialect levelling resulting in extinction by assimilation into modern Spanish. It is experiencing, however, a minor revival among Sephardic communities, especially in music.


In recent decades in Israel, the United States and Spain, the language has come to be referred to as Ladino (לאדינו), literally meaning "Latin". However, some of its speakers consider that term to be incorrect, thinking of Ladino rather as of the "semi-sacred" language used in word-by-word tranlations from the Bible, but not the spoken vernacular.[10] The language is also called Judeo-Espagnol,[note 1] Judeoespañol,[11] Sefardí, Judío, and Espanyol or Español sefardita; Haquetía (from the Arabic ħaka حكى‎, "tell") refers to the dialect of North Africa, especially Morocco. Spoken Ladino may also be referred to as Judesmo (also Judezmo, Djudesmo or Djudezmo),[12] considered offensive by some native speakers, or even as widely unknown in the native press. However, in limited parts of Macedonia, its former use in the past as a low-register designation in informal speech by unschooled people has been documented.[citation needed] The dialect of the Oran area of Algeria was called Tetuani, after the Moroccan city of Tétouan since many Orani Jews came from there. In Hebrew, the language is called Spanyolit.

An entry in Ethnologue claims, "The name 'Judesmo' is used by Jewish linguists and Turkish Jews and American Jews; 'Judeo-Spanish' by Romance philologists; 'Ladino' by laymen, especially in Israel; 'Haketia' by Moroccan Jews; 'Spanyol' by some others."[13] That does not reflect the historical usage.

In the Judaeo-Spanish press of the 19th and 20th centuries the native authors referred to the language almost exclusively as Espanyol, which was also the name that its native speakers spontaneously gave to it for as long as it was their primary spoken language. More rarely, the bookish Judeo-Espanyol has also been used since the late 19th century.[14]

The derivation of the name Ladino is complicated. Before the Expulsion of Jews from Spain, the word meant literary Spanish, as opposed to other dialects[citation needed] or Romance in general, as distinct from Arabic.[15] (The first European language grammar and dictionary, of Spanish, referred to it as ladino or ladina. In the Middle Ages, the word Latin was frequently used to mean simply "language", particularly one understood: a latiner or latimer meant a translator.) Following the Expulsion, Jews spoke of "the Ladino" to mean the traditional oral translation of the Bible into Old Spanish. By extension, it came to mean that style of Spanish generally in the same way that (among Kurdish Jews) Targum has come to mean Judeo-Aramaic and (among Jews of Arabic-speaking background) sharħ has come to mean Judeo-Arabic.[16]

Informally, especially in modern Israel, many speakers use Ladino to mean Judaeo-Spanish as a whole. The language used to be regulated by a body called the Autoridad Nasionala del Ladino in Israel. More strictly, however, the term is confined to the style used in translation. According to the website of the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki,

Ladino is not spoken, rather, it is the product of a word-for-word translation of Hebrew or Aramaic biblical or liturgical texts made by rabbis in the Jewish schools of Spain. In these translations, a specific Hebrew or Aramaic word always corresponded to the same Spanish word, as long as no exegetical considerations prevented this. In short, Ladino is only Hebrew clothed in Spanish, or Spanish with Hebrew syntax. The famous Ladino translation of the Bible, the Biblia de Ferrara (1553), provided inspiration for the translation of numerous Spanish Christian Bibles."[10]

That Judaeo-Spanish ladino should not be confused with the ladino or Ladin language spoken in part of Northeastern Italy and has nothing to do with either Jews or Spanish beyond being a Romance language, a property that they share with French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Ladino
Alemannisch: Ladino
አማርኛ: ላዲኖ
aragonés: Chodigo-espanyol
azərbaycanca: Ladino dili
башҡортса: Сефард теле
беларуская: Ладзіна
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Сэфардзкая мова
brezhoneg: Ladinoeg
čeština: Ladino
Cymraeg: Iddew-Sbaeneg
Deitsch: Ladino
Deutsch: Judenspanisch
euskara: Ladino
Fiji Hindi: Ladino language
français: Judéo-espagnol
Gaelg: Ladeenish
한국어: 라디노어
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Ladino
Ирон: Ладино
עברית: לאדינו
ქართული: ლადინო
Kiswahili: Ladino
latviešu: Ladino
lietuvių: Ladino kalba
Lingua Franca Nova: Iudi-espaniol (lingua)
magyar: Ladino nyelv
македонски: Ладино
മലയാളം: ലാഡിനോ
Mirandés: Judiu-spanhol
norsk nynorsk: Jødespansk
پنجابی: لاڈینو
Piemontèis: Lenga giudé-ladin
português: Judeu-espanhol
română: Limba ladino
Simple English: Ladino language
slovenčina: Ladino
suomi: Ladino
svenska: Ladino
українська: Ладіно
ייִדיש: לאדינא
中文: 拉迪諾語