Do you give a damn?

collage0028woman lounging on blue chair

(Art work on this blog is copyrighted.)

Many Sephardics believe there is no way that Ladino can be revived because they see it as an all or nothing proposition.  They can’t imagine themselves working to learn the language.  And to whom would they speak unless everyone did all that work.

But  the revival of a language comes piece by piece, just as learning a language does.  Babies use words because they want to be part of the world around them.

A Ladino revival is going on.  Three steps is all it takes to be part of it.

The first step is to ask yourself – do you see in fact give a damn whether Ladino exists?

  • Would you rather there were some people speaking it rather than none?
  • Does its existence have the least relevance to you?

The second step – if you find you got past step one and do give at least a tiny damn that Ladino is still in the world – is to recognize that that tiny damn on your part actually just made you a part in reviving it.

  • For a language to be revived, it must be wanted.
  • To contribute your own wanting Ladino to exist, is big.
  • In just caring that the language is alive, you’re creating the essential habitat for it to stay alive and begin to trickle back in.
  • When enough people care, others have stronger footing to go further, and the language grows.

The third step is to learn one word.

  • One word makes you a speaker.
  • One word takes you from outside observer to inside.
  • One word puts you in the fold of the language.

Here are a few words you might choose from.  Pick one, or find one yourself.

meoyudo – wise person

shamar – slap in the face

sorviko – sip  (Toma un sorviko.  Take a sip.)

You have a word.   Say it out loud.  You may not be exactly chatty,  but you are a Ladino speaker, however minimally.

What is significant, though, is that your care.  In wanting Ladino to live,  you give it energy.  Your heart has just moved things closer to renewing the language.

While we were sleeping ….

collage-s-0013peaceful medieval woman in bedroom cat

Collage:  Making guests welcome

(Art work on this blog is copyrighted.)

The last post talked about a push for Yiddish potentially waking up Sephardics to their, in fact, deep personal connection to Ladino.  But because most Sephardics were asleep, we haven’t much noticed or seemed to care what was happening to it.

Fortunately, we have been blessed with angels who have been watching over us and our language.Rachel Amado Bortnick is definitely one of them.  By starting an online community of Ladino speakers, Ladino Komunitika, she came up with an incredibly effective – and very friendly! – means to create connections between remaining Ladino speakers worldwide.

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The Yiddish argument for Ladino

collage0056large man dances blue arm

Collage:  Anonymous American guy (until he speaks)

(Art work on this blog is copyrighted.)

There was an excellent article in the Forward on Yiddish that makes the case equally well for Ladino.

How Yiddish Could Save the Jewish People 

Language, Not Marriage or Religious Practice, Is Key to Community

The American Jewish community and its media frequently express concern about the Jewish future in America, citing mounting rates of assimilation and increasingly liberal trends in religious practice. In this discussion, intermarriage is frequently conceived of as being both the standard measure and the primary symptom of just how assimilated Jews are. What is usually left out of the discussion is any mention of linguistic assimilation.

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