J is for Judeo-Spanish (AKA Ladino)

Judeo-Spanish plate for serving meat
Judeo-Spanish plate for serving meat, no dairy


Language has always been fascinating for me. My heritage is a mixture of Spanish and islander from Puerto Rico, along with Jewish folk from Belarus and Poland (DNA swabs will confirm my mother’s side of this coin in about a week – I can’t wait for the results!)…so for “J” I’ve chosen a language that some of my ancestors, and certainly the little monkeys might have spoken, Judeo-Spanish or Ladino.

As some of you history buffs or genealogy junkies might know, there is a long history of Jews in Spain, many of whom were forced to convert during the Spanish Inquisition. Many of them continued to practice their religion in secret, but in 1492 all remaining Jews were expelled from Spain. Much like the Ashkenazi Jews speak Yiddish, a combination of Hebrew and German, Sephardim (Jews with a background in Spain and the rest of the Iberian peninsula) spoke Judeo-Spanish (Ladino), primarily a mixture of Spanish and Hebrew.

I haven’t written much fiction, but one of the reasons I’d like to explore this particular language is because I’ve got a historical fiction story brewing in my head that involves this language and its origins.  We’ll see if it ever makes its way to the page…I can tell you it certainly won’t be happening during this challenge though, as I’m just doing my best to keep up on the daily posts here.  I hope you are all enjoying A to Z as much as I am 🙂

Perhaps NaNoWriMo awaits…


For more on the A to Z Challenge, please go HERE.

Stay tuned during the month of April to see what other subjects I want to explore…I’ll return to my senses on May 1. To see what I might usually post on a Saturday, go HERE.

By Joy

I'm 42, a remarried mom of an 8 year old girl and a toddler son, a teacher, and a writer. People tell me I tend to be brutally honest and ...tell it like it is, so I had hoped to use this outlet to keep me sane while I got used to my new life as a stay-at-home Mom back when I was home with my daughter....it worked. And it's been therapeutic through the end of a marriage and the emergence of me...


  1. I’m a language geek (guess more of an etymology geek if there is such a thing) and have never heard of Ladino. Very interesting history. Good luck with A to Z challenge. I’m trying not to drag as we approach the middle stretch.

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