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Serbo-Croatian Influences on Bosnian Spoken Judeo-Spanish

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image of European Journal of Jewish Studies

The sweeping and far-reaching political, economical and demographical changes in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of 19th, beginning of the 20th century affected profoundly the linguistic situation of the country's Jewish, overwhelmingly Sephardic, minority. Having lost the unity with their brethren on Balkans, the Bosnian Jews had to rely more and more on their relations with other Bosnian ethno-religious communities. It is from this deepened contact with their Serbian, Muslim and Croatian neighbors on one side and from the constant need for new linguistic solutions, brought about by the ever changing reality, that Serbo-Croatian influences (once so superficial) started entering all the spheres of Bosnian Judeo-Spanish, its lexicon, morphology, phonology, syntax, and even grammar. The author analyzes those influences as they are, consciously or unconsciously, reflected in the literature produced by the members of the Sephardic Circle—the Sarajevo-based group of young and idealistic Sephardic intellectuals who tried to fight and prevent the oblivion of Judeo-Spanish language and culture.


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