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A linguistic sketch of Judeo-Piedmontese and what it tells us about Piedmontese Jews’ origins

Nicola Duberti EMAIL logo , Maria Teresa Milano and Emanuele Miola

Abstract

Judeo-Piedmontese (also called Lason Akodesh) is a virtually extinct dialect spoken by the Jewish communities that settled in Piedmont from the 14th century onward. The article takes into account the two historical stages usually recognized for Judeo-Italian varieties, namely the Medieval and the Modern one. As regards Judeo-Piedmontese, the only testimony of the former period is the Glossario di Alba by Jacob ben Nathan de Olmo; while more data, still limited in quantity, is available for the Modern period. Through the analysis of some relevant morpho-syntactic traits, Judeo-Piedmontese is shown to be a conservative Piedmontese variety, exhibiting some interesting Provençal-Ligurian features. Thus, on the basis of linguistic data too, it is possible to claim that the Jewish communities that settled in Piedmont might have come from Provence and Liguria.


This article is the result of a continuous exchange of ideas between the authors. However, Nicola Duberti is responsible for the writing of sections 3, 3.1, 3.2.3 and 5; Maria Teresa Milano is responsible for the writing of sections 2 and 6; Emanuele Miola is responsible for the writing of sections 1, 3.2, 3.2.1, 3.2.1.1, 3.2.1.2, 3.2.2 and 4. We thank Fabrizio A. Pennacchietti, Riccardo Regis, Mauro Tosco and two anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions on an early version of the paper. Usual disclaimers apply.


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