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General Trends In The Judaeo-Arabic Letters From The Genizah

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Chapter Summary

The 11th-century letters were divided up into two corpora to investigate possible differences in the epistolary writing of the two regions. The analysis brought to light a number of phenomena which illustrate the more conservative nature of Maghrebian letters in comparison with their Egyptian counterparts. Social changes inevitably lead to changes in language. The Judaeo-Arabic used in documents from the Ottoman period 18th and 19th century is fundamentally different, for instance, from the language written in mediaeval times. The weakening of the bourgeoisie and the general economic impoverishment of the Egypt towards the 13th century led to the abandoning of Classical ideals in the Muslim part of the population, which then also spread to Jewish writing. The letters are written in Hebraized orthography with many vernacular elements shows older, partly Classical Arabic conventions.

Keywords: Egyptian letters; Genizah letters; Jewish writing; Judaeo-Arabic Letters; Maghrebian Arabic material



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