Judæo-Piedmontese

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Judæo-Piedmontese was the vernacular language of the Jews living in Piedmont, in North Western Italy, from about the 15th Century until the Second World War. It was based on the Piedmontese language, with many loanwords from ancient Hebrew, and also languages like Provençal and Spanish, since many Piedmontese Jews originally came from Southern France and the Iberian Peninsula.

Judæo-Piedmontese was never a language as rich as Yiddish or Ladino, the two Jewish languages primarily spoken by Western Jews besides Hebrew. It was in fact rather narrow, developed out of secrecy and segregation within the Ghettos throughout Piedmont, thus simply meant as not to be understood by Gentiles. Today there are virtually no more speakers of Judæo-Piedmontese.

Small vocabulary

The dialect never had written phonetical rules, the words in this list are written according to the book La gran battaglia degli ebrei di Moncalvo and Primo Levi's book The Periodic Table.

Pronunciation:

(kh) like in German "Nacht".

(ñ) nasal, like in English "Sing", not to be confused with the Spanish ñ.

(ô) like in English "Loom".

(u) like the French u or the German ü.

(sc) like the English sh.

(j) like in German "Jung" or in English "Young".

  • (a)brakhà - blessing
  • Adonai Eloénô - God, Lord
  • bahalòm - in a dream (used for jokes)
  • barakhùt - blessed
  • barôcabà - welcome!, blessed He who comes!
  • batacaìn - cemetery
  • beemà - beast
  • berìt - pact, penis (vulgar)
  • Cadòss Barôkhù - God
  • cassèr - community, ghetto
  • ganàv - thief
  • ganavé - to steal
  • ghescér - bridge
  • gôì - non-Jewish man
  • gôià - non-Jewish woman
  • gojìm - non-Jewish people
  • hafassìm - jewels (lit. "stuff")
  • hamòr - donkey
  • hamortà - stupid woman (lit. female of donkey)
  • hasìr - pig
  • hasirùd - rubbish
  • havertà - rough and dissolute woman
  • khakhàm - rabbi (lit. "learned one")
  • khalaviòd - breasts (from Hebrew "halav", milk)
  • khaltrùm - Catholic bigotry
  • khamisà - five
  • khamissidò - slap
  • khanéc - neck (pregnant with meaning, used to swear)
  • khaniké - to hang (kill)
  • khèder - room
  • kinìm - lice
  • lakhtì - (exclamation) go away!
  • Lassòn Acòdesh - Sacred Language
  • macòd - blows
  • maftèkh - key
  • mahané - neck (generic and neutral)
  • mamsér - bastard
  • mañòd - money
  • medà meshônà - accident (lit. "strange death")
  • menaghèm / meraghèl - spy
  • Milca - Queen
  • morénô - rabbi (lit. "our master")
  • nainé - to look at
  • ñarél - non-circumcised
  • nero - evil, bad
  • pakhàt - fear
  • pegartà - dead woman
  • pôñaltà - dirty, shabbily-clothed woman
  • pôñèl - dirty, shabbily-clothed man
  • rabbenù - rabbi
  • rashàn - non-pious
  • rôkhòd - winds
  • ruàkh - wind
  • samdé - to baptize (lit. "destroy")
  • sarfatìm - guards
  • saròd - disgraced
  • scòla - synagogue, temple
  • sefòkh - toddler vomit
  • sôrada - appearance, look
  • sôtià - crazy woman
  • tafùs - prison, jail (it is a Hebrew loanword in Piedmontese jargon. Ca tafus meaning "jail", from ca house, although the piedmontese word is përzon)
  • takhôrìm - haemorroids
  • tanhanè - to argue







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