Yevanic language


Yevanic language

Yevanic, otherwise known as Romaniote and Judeo-Greek, was the dialect of the Romaniotes, the group of Greek Jews whose existence in Greece is documented since the Hellenistic period. Its linguistic lineage stems from the Hellenistic Koine "(Ελληνική Κοινή)" and includes Hebrew elements as well. It was mutually intelligible with Greek of the Christian population. The Romaniotes used their version of the Hebrew alphabet to write Greek and Yevanic texts.

The name "Yevanic" stems from the Biblical word "Yāwān", a cognate of forms, such as Sanskrit "Yavana", that were used among ancient Aryan and Near Eastern cultures to refer to the Greeks and the lands that the Greeks inhabited. This term derived from an overextension of the Greek word Ἰωνία (Ionia in English) from the (then) easternmost Greeks to all Greeks.

There are no longer any native speakers of Yevanic, for the following reasons:

* the assimilation of the tiny Romaniote communities by the more numerous Ladino-speaking Sephardi Jews
* the adoption of Greek, Turkish and Bulgarian through assimilation;
* the emigration of many of the Romaniotes to Israel and the United States;
* the ideology of Zionism, which favored Hebrew as the one language for all Jews;
* a number of Romaniotes was put to death during the Greek War of Independence in cases such as the Fall of Tripolitsa.
* and finally, the extermination of many of the Romaniotes during the Holocaust.

ee also

*Romaniotes
*Jewish languages
*Yona

External links

* [http://www.jewish-languages.org/judeo-greek.html Jewish Language Research Website: Judeo-Greek]
* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=yej Ethnologue report]


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