Throughout the world, wherever Jews have lived, they have spoken and/or written differently from the non-Jews around them. Their languages have differed by as little as a few embedded Hebrew words or by as much as a highly variant grammar. A good deal of research has been devoted to a number of Jewish languages, including Yiddish, Judeo-Spanish, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Italian, Jewish English, and Jewish Neo-Aramaic. This website displays information about several Jewish languages and about some of the researchers who have written about them.
The Jewish Language Research Website has three goals:
1. To serve as a resource for the field of Jewish linguistics – the study of Jewish languages on an individual and comparative basis – encouraging collaboration among scholars of various Jewish languages
2. To provide information and bibliographic references for linguists and Jewish studies scholars who wish to incorporate Jewish languages into their research
3. To provide an introduction to Jewish languages for the general public
Viewers can find information on this website in various ways. There are descriptions of over a dozen Jewish languages (accessible in map and list forms), including fundamentals of their history, linguistics, and literature. Each language description - written by top scholars specifically for this site - includes a basic bibliography and a list of researchers of that language who have provided their contact information. The Samples page presents audio and textual samples of several Jewish languages. The Researchers page lists scholars in the field along with their contact information and books and articles they have written. The Resources page provides a bibliography of Jewish linguistics, syllabi from university-level Jewish languages courses, a detailed guide to computing in Hebrew and Jewish languages, a discussion of Jewish names, and links to academic websites related to Jewish languages, including mailing lists, research institutes, and online databases.
The Jewish Language Research Website is produced and edited by Sarah Bunin Benor and maintained by Tsuguya Sasaki. Questions and comments about the contents and technical issues of the site should be directed to sbenor @ huc.edu and ts @ ts-cyberia.net respectively.
The site is guided by the wisdom of the International Advisory Board:
Jean Baumgarten, Centre National de
David Bunis, The Hebrew
Joshua A. Fishman,
Aharon Maman, The Hebrew
Maria L. Mayer Modena,
Ofra Tirosh-Becker, The Hebrew
Special thanks to the friends of the Jewish Language Research Website who contributed financially to the cost of webhosting in its early years (2001-2006). The website was expanded in 2007 as part of the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion's Sephardic Studies Curriculum Project, with support from the Maurice Amado Foundation.