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Judeo-Arabic languages facts for kids

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Language family
Writing system Hebrew alphabet

Judeo-Arabic languages are a collection of Arabic language dialects spoken by Jews living or formerly living in Arabic-speaking countries. Just as with the rest of the Arab world, Arabic-speaking Jews had different dialects for the different regions where they lived. Most Judeo-Arabic dialects were written in modified forms of the Hebrew alphabet, often including consonant dots from the Arabic alphabet to make up for distinct sounds that did not exist in the Hebrew alphabet.

In retaliation for 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Jews in Arab countries became subject to increasingly insufferable discrimination and violence, causing virtually all of them to flee to Israel. Their dialects of Arabic did not thrive in Israel, and most became extinct, replaced by the Modern Hebrew language.

In the Middle Ages, Jews in the Islamic scattered population spoke a dialect of Arabic, which they wrote in a mildly adapted Hebrew script (rather than using Arabic script).

This phenomenon is called Judaeo-Arabic and may be compared to both Ladino (Judaeo-Spanish) and Yiddish (Judaeo-German).

Some of the most important books of medieval Jewish though were originally written in Judaeo-Arabic, as well as biblical works. Only later were they translated into medieval scientific Hebrew so that they could be read by the Ashkenazic Jews of Europe.

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