Judeo-Algerian Arabic, also known as Algerian Judeo-Arabic, is a Judeo-Arabic dialect based on Algerian Arabic. Today it is nearly extinct with only a few elderly speakers remaining. The language has a large amount of historical literature. It contained influence from several dialects of Arabic as well as from Hebrew and Aramaic.

Judeo-Algerian Arabic
Native toAlgeria, Israel
EthnicityAlgerian Jews
Dialects
Hebrew Alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3

History

Historically, Algerian Jews would use Judeo-Algerian Arabic as everyday vocabulary while using Hebrew for religious purposes. They would also use several other languages such as the Berber languages, and Arabic.[1] With the French conquest of Algeria in 1830, the Algerian Jews began to gradually take on French influence and language. With this process speeding up in 1870 when the Jewish population of Algeria were made French citizens by the Crémieux Decree.[1] Early linguistic studies would occur in 1864, on the Algiers dialect of Judeo-Algerian Arabic would occur in 1912 and on the Constantine dialect would occur in 1988.[2][3]

Decline

The decline of Judeo-Algerian Arabic would begin with the frenchification of the Algerian Jews as Judeo-Arabic began being replaced by French. The exodus of the Algerian Jews in the wake of 1948 Palestine war and the Algerian War of Independence led to a significant decline as speakers of the language were scattered amongst larger non-Judeo-Arabic speaking populations.[4]

Status

Today Judeo-Algerian Arabic is nearly extinct with a shrinking amount of elderly speakers remaining. This has made linguistic research difficult as the normal method of interviewing speakers is not possible.[4] As such, the research being done now has increasingly shifted to analyzing Judeo-Algerian Arabic literature.[3]

Features

Judeo-Algerian Arabic is a member of the North African Judeo-Arabic group. It contains influence from Moroccan and Tunisian Judeo-Arabic, Moroccan and Tunisian Arabic, French, Hebrew, Aramaic and to a lesser extent Spanish and Italian. Similar to many other Jewish languages, Judeo-Algerian Arabic uses the Hebrew script instead of the Arabic script more popular in Algeria. Judeo-Algerian Arabic also contains several conservative features abandoned in regular Algerian Arabic.[3] Judeo-Algerian Arabic had different dialects for different Algerian Jewish population with there being dialects for the cities of Constantine and Algiers.[3]

All three Judeo-Algerian Arabic dialects have a large reduction in the amount of short vowels, with the Djidjelli dialect only having one short vowel.[5]

In a study of a 19th Judeo-Algerian Arabic text, it was found 16% of the words in the text were of Hebrew origin. New words are made by combining Arabic conjugations with Hebrew root words showing a high degree of linguistic exchange and integration.[6]

Dialects

Judeo-Algerian Arabic is divided into three dialects based on the dialect spoken in the cities of Constantine, Algiers, and Djidjelli.[1][3][6]

Constantinian

The dialect of Constantine known as Constantinian is characterized by conservative linguistic features and the preservation of archaic traits.[2]

Algiers dialect

The book Perah Shoshan which is an important source of Judeo-Algerian Arabic is written in the Algiers dialect.[7]

Usage

There is a large amount of Judeo-Arabic literary texts, and Judeo-Algerian Arabic is no exception. Today the study of Judeo-Algerian Arabic texts is the primary method used by linguists to study Judeo-Algerian Arabic.[1] These texts include bible translations, liturgy, non biblical translation, newspapers and more.[4] There are samples of Judeo-Algerian Arabic available online.

Sample text

Judeo-Arabic[8] English[8]
האדול הומאן אצלאטן והאדול הומאן דוד חזקיה משיח דניאל חנניה מישאל עזריה These are the sultans; and these are David, Hezekiah, Masiah, Daniel, Hanaiah, Mishael, and Azariah
קאל לפסוק ווקר אילא אובוך ואילא אומך the verse says: "Honor your father and your mother"
קאל לפסוק ”את ה’ אלהיך תירא“ חב יקול תהאב ותכ’אף אילא אללא אילאהך and the verse said “You shall fear the Lord, your God”

References

  1. ^ a b c d Tirosh-Becker, Ofra (January 20, 2024). "Linguistic analysis of an Algerian Judeo-Arabic text from the 19th century". La Linguistique: 193–212. doi:10.3917/ling.55.0193. S2CID 198036565. Retrieved January 20, 2024.
  2. ^ a b Tirosh-Becker, Ofra (2011-01-01). "On Dialectal Roots in Judeo-Arabic Texts from Constantine (East Algeria)". Revue des Études Juives: 227.
  3. ^ a b c d e Tirosh-Becker, Ofra (2022-12-14). "Part-of-Speech and Morphological Tagging of Algerian Judeo-Arabic". Northern European Journal of Language Technology: 2 – via Academia.edu.
  4. ^ a b c Tirosh-Becker, Ofra (2022-01-01). "TAJA Corpus: Linguistically Tagged Written Algerian Judeo-Arabic Corpus". Journal of Jewish Languages: 25 – via Academia.edu.
  5. ^ Yoda, Sumikazu (2005). The Arabic Dialect of the Jews in Tripoli (Libya): Grammar, Text and Glossary. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 31. ISBN 978-3-447-05133-0.
  6. ^ a b Tirosh-Becker, Ofra (2019). "Linguistic analysis of an algerian judeo-arabic text from the 19th century". La Linguistique (in French). 55 (1): 193–212. doi:10.3917/ling.55.0193. ISSN 0075-966X. S2CID 198036565.
  7. ^ Tirosh-Becker, Ofra (2019). LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF AN ALGERIAN JUDEO-ARABIC TEXT FROM THE 19TH CENTURY. Presses Universitaires de France. p. 196. ISBN 9782130821465.
  8. ^ a b "LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF AN ALGERIAN JUDEO-ARABIC TEXT FROM THE 19TH CENTURY" (PDF). Presses Universitaires de France: 12 – via scholars.huji.ac.il.