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Judeo-Arabic Within The Jewish Linguistic Spectrum

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores Judeo-Arabic within the framework of other Jewish religiolects. It reviews the history of this religiolect and analyzes its structure in some detail. Then, the chapter discusses the language continuum employed by users of Judeo-Arabic and traces its diachronic evolution. It also tackles some terminological issues, especially with respect to the denotation of Arabic-speaking Jews. This is followed by a discussion on state of Judeo-Arabic today. The Judeo-Arabic religiolect today is endangered and close to becoming extinct. The extensive emigration of Arabic-speaking Jews from the late 1940s through the 1960s is the main reason for this situation. Today there are still sizeable Jewish communities in Tunisia and in Morocco. The population of Judeo-Arabic speakers is aging, so that Judeo-Arabic's use as a native religiolect will likely disappear in the near future. Consequently, there is an urgent need to encourage research on Judeo-Arabic.

Keywords: Jewish linguistic spectrum; Jewish religiolects; Judeo-Arabic speakers; Morocco



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