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Hebrew-Catalan Medieval Wedding Songs: Satirical Functions of the Hebrew Component and Other Linguistic Aspects

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The Hebrew-Catalan documents of the Jews of medieval Catalonia have not been thoroughly analyzed thus far. The present article analyzes five unique wedding songs of the fourteenth–fifteenth centuries written in Catalan using Hebrew characters (edited in 1970 and 1974). In this study special attention is given to the humorous and satirical functions of the Hebrew component. This sophisticated use of the Hebrew component may imply more widespread oral traditions of parodic character related to the wedding ceremony among the Jews of Catalonia and the Iberian Peninsula. The notion of “Judeo-Catalan” is discussed in the framework of linguistic repertoire while demonstrating undocumented or rarely documented phonetic, semantic, and lexical features of medieval Catalan. The use of a different orthographic system allows for a written representation of the pronunciation of medieval Catalan, whereby the boundaries between the spoken and the written are blurred, creating a sort of a “written-spoken language.”

Affiliations: 1: Hebrew University of Jerusalem Jerusalem Israel ilil.baum@mail.huji.ac.il

10.1163/22134638-12340071
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2016-08-16
2017-10-16

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