Native toPortugal, Netherlands, Germany (Hamburg), England, North America, Brazil
Extinctestimated early 19th century[citation needed]
fewer than 2,000 users in a limited liturgical context
  • Peninsular Judeo-Portuguese
  • Emigre Judeo-Portuguese
Latin (Portuguese alphabet), Hebrew alphabet Arabic script
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Judaeo-Portuguese, Jewish-Portuguese or Judaeo-Lusitanic, is an extinct Jewish language or a dialect of Galician-Portuguese written in the Hebrew alphabet that was used by the Jews of Portugal.[1]


It was the vernacular of Sephardi Jews in Portugal before the 16th century and also in many places of the Portuguese Jewish diaspora. Its texts were written in the Hebrew script (aljamiado português) or the Latin alphabet.[2]

As Portuguese Jews intermarried with other expelled Sephardim, the language influenced the nearby Judeo-Spanish. Close similarity to Standard Portuguese made Judeo-Portuguese go extinct in Portugal, [1] Judeo-Portuguese influenced the Papiamento and Saramaccan languages.


The earliest known text containing Judeo-Portuguese text is a manuscript from 1262 about illuminating manuscripts called O livro de como se fazem as cores.[3][self-published source] After the Jewish exodus from Portugal in 1497 many Portuguese Jews would flee to the Dutch Republic and Judeo-Portuguese would intake a lot of Dutch influence.[4] This same exodus would cause the language to spread to the Turkish Jewish community.[4] It would go extinct in the early 19th century, though since then has only been used liturgically.[3][self-published source]


The oldest text containing Judeo-Portuguese is a manuscript from 1262 about illuminating manuscripts called O livro de como se fazem as cores.[3]During the 15th century several texts including one about medical astrology and a prayer book.[4] Even until today is it still used liturgically but only by a very small number of people.[3]


The decline of Judeo-Portuguese would begin with the introduction of public schooling. Eventually declining to home use before finally only being used liturgically.[4]


There existed several dialects of Judeo-Portuguese divided into 2 categories referred to as Peninsular Judeo-Portuguese and Emigre Judeo-Portuguese, though the differences between them are unclear.[4]

Portuguese archaisms

Judaeo-Portuguese Modern Portuguese English meaning
algũa/אלגומה alguma any
angora/אנגורהا agora now
dous/דוס dois two
hũa/הוא uma a, an, one

Influences from Hebrew

Judeo-Portuguese Hebrew English meaning
קדוש/kadoš קדוש/kadosh holy
ישיבה/ješiva ישיבה/yeshiva Religious School
מַצָּה‬/macá מַצָּה‬/matzah ritual bread
מִצְוָה‬/micvá מִצְוָה‬/mitzvah commandments
ראש/roš ראש/rosh head
ראשים/rašim ראשים/rashim heads
ראש השנה/roš hašaná ראש השנה/rosh hashanah Jewish New Year
שבת/šabá שבת/Shabbat Saturday
צדקה/cedaká צדקה/tzedakah charity
קְהִלָה/kejlá קְהִלָה/qehila congregation
קידוש/kiduš קידוש/kiddush blessing over the wine
טבה/tevá טבה/tevah central platform in the synagogue

Influences from Judaeo-Spanish/Ladino

Judaeo-Portuguese Portuguese Judaeo-Spanish (Ladino) English meaning
aj ay there is
Dio Deus (arch. Deo) Dio God
manim mãos manos hands

Influences from Greek

Judeo-Portuguese Greek English meaning
esnoga συναγωγη/synagogē synagogue

Influence on other languages

Judeo-Portuguese has influenced several languages. These include Balkan dialects of Ladino, and Portuguese.[5]

Sample text

Judeo Portuguese Judeo Portuguese (transliterated) English
או ליברו די מג׳יקה O Livro De Magica The Book of Magic
N/A A todos nossos Irmãos, prezos pela Inquisição To all our brethren confined by the Inquistion

See also


  1. ^ a b "Significado de judeo-português". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2023-05-23.
  2. ^ Silva, Luiz Antônio da (org.) (2005). A língua que falamos: português, história, variação e discurso. Rio de Janeiro: Globo. p. 212.
  3. ^ a b c d Toledo, Selin (2018-10-27). "Ladino's Lost Sibling". Medium. Retrieved 2023-12-22.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Judeo-Portuguese". Jewish Languages. Retrieved 2023-12-22.
  5. ^ Jewish and Non-Jewish Creators of "Jewish" Languages. Wiesbaden. 2006. p. 466. ISBN 3-447-05404-2.