Italkian language

From Academic Kids

Template:Jewish language Italkian is a modern English name for Judeo-Italian linguistic varieties, in use mainly between the 10th and the 19th centuries in Rome and in central and northern Italy. The neologism was coined in 1942 by Solomon Birnbaum (see References), who modelled the word on the modern Hebrew adjective ית-/אטלקי italki(t), “Italian”, from the middle Hebrew adjective איטלקי (< ITALICU[M]), “Italic”, “Roman”. Even the term "giudeo-italiano" is of academic and relatively late coinage: historically, Italian Jews referred to their vernaculars as "La`az" (לעז), Hebrew for "foreign language" (i.e., specifically, "non-Hebrew language"), or as "Latino" or "Volgare". In 1587, David de Pomis uses the word "italiano" in reference to the Italian glosses in his trilingual dictionary.



Italkian consists of a number of dialects, including:

At least two Italkian varieties were also used in Corfu.


All the spoken varieties used a unique (among Jewish languages) combination of Hebrew verb stems with Italian conjugations (e.g., "axlare", to eat; "gannaviare", to steal; "dabberare", to speak; "lekhtire", to go).

Also common are lexical incorporations from Hebrew, particularly those applicable to daily life. Terms from other Jewish languages such as Yiddish and Ladino were also incorporated.

Bagitto, the dialect of Livorno (Leghorn), is particularly rich in loanwords from Spanish and Portuguese.

Number of speakers

Fewer than 4000 people today have basic knowledge of Italkian, and of these, only a small number are able to speak the language fluently.

Library of Congress/ISO information

"Italkian" is not used by the Library of Congress as a subject heading, neither does it figure as a reference to Judeo-Italian. The authorized subject heading is:

Judeo-Italian language Subheadings are: Judeo-Italian language Glossaries, vocabularies, etc. Judeo-Italian language Grammar. Judeo-Italian language Italy Livorno Glossaries, vocabularies, etc. Judeo-Italian language Texts.

The subject reference is: Judeo-Italian dialect. LC-MARC uses the following language codes : Judeo-Italian Assigned collective code [ita] (Italian).

This is in compliance with the Internation Organization of standards language code ISO 639-2 code (roa)

See also

External links


  • Birnbaum, Solomon. Jewish Languages: Essays in Honour of the Very Rev. Dr. J. H. Hertz, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire, on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday, September 25, 1942 (5703). Ed. I. Epstein, E. Levine, C. Roth. London, E. Goldston, [1944]. 51-67 (63, 67).
  • David, TsemaTemplate:Unicode. Dittionario novo hebraico, molto copioso, dechiarato in tre lingue. Venetijs: Apud Ioannem de Gara, 1587.
  • Ferretti Cuomo, Luisa. Italchiano versus giudeo-italiano versus 0 (zero), una questione metodologica. Italia: studi e ricerche sulla storia, la cultura e la letteratura degli Ebrei d'Italia 3.1-2 (1982): 7-32.
  • Gold, David L. The Glottonym Italkian. Italia: studi e ricerche sulla storia, la cultura e la letteratura degli Ebrei d'Italia 2.1-2 (1980): 98-102.

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