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Spoken Egyptian Judeo-Arabic: The Evidence From The Šarḥ Texts

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Chapter Summary

This chapter introduces the methodological considerations for reconstructing the spoken Judeo-Arabic variety used by Egyptian Jews, as extracted from the texts of the šurūḥ. It examines the various linguistic levels in the texts, and emphasizes the connection between the orthography and phonetics/ phonology, including its limitations. The chapter points out similar orthographical trends in today's published modern Egyptian dialect. It analyzes selected characteristics of dialectal features of spoken Egyptian Judeo-Arabic in phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax, and the lexicon. The chapter summarizes the characteristics of spoken Egyptian Judeo-Arabic, as reflected in the texts of the šurūḥ, that set it apart from spoken Egyptian Arabic used by Christians and Muslims. As is common in other Jewish religiolects, many of the dialectal characteristics of Egyptian Judeo-Arabic incorporate Hebrew and Aramaic elements and are archaic forms of the majority dialect; some of them reflect migrated dialectalism.

Keywords: šarḥ texts; Egyptian Jews; Jewish religiolects; orthography; spoken Egyptian Judeo-Arabic



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