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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton February 28, 2014

The problem of Judeo-French: between language and cultural dynamics

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The article discusses the problem of the linguistic status of the varieties of Old French used within the Jewish communities of medieval northern France. On the basis of evidence drawn from graphemics, phonology, inflectional morphology and the lexicon, several distinct linguistic registers, corresponding to the various discursive traditions reflected in the Jewish vernacular texts, are identified. These registers are characterized essentially by a number of lexical features, including phenomena pertaining to inherited Romance vocabulary, loan words, morphological calques and phono-semantic matching. While the existence of an autonomous Judeo-French language or dialect is not corroborated, the Jewish vernacular sources are interpreted as the expression of a distinctly Jewish linguistic repertoire shaped by the cultural dynamics of Jewish life in the French Middle Ages.

Published Online: 2014-2-28
Published in Print: 2014-3-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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