kids encyclopedia robot

Ladino language facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
גֿודֿיאו-איספאנייול Djudeo-Espagnol
גֿידֿייו Djidio
גֿודֿזמו Djudesmo
איספאנייול Espagnol
איספאנייוליקו Espagnolico
חאקיטיאה Jaquetía
לאדינו Ladino
Native to  Israel
and others
Ethnicity Sephardim
Native speakers Between 70,000 and 200,000. Most recent estimates around 95,000.
72,000 in Israel,
7,000 in Turkey,
3,500 in the USA,
2,500 in France,
around 1,000 each in Greece, Brazil and the UK.  (2013)
Language family
Haketia Variant - Morocco, Canada
Levantine Variant - main variant, two branches
Occidental branch - originally spoken in Albania, Romania, Western Bulgaria, Western Greece and Yugoslavia
Oriental branch - originally spoken in Eastern Bulgaria, Eastern Greece, the Middle East, North Africa (except for Morocco) and Turkey.
Ponentine Variant - extinct
Writing system Mainly Latin script
Original script Rashi and Solitreo
Other scripts; Arabic, Cyrillic, Greek and Hebrew.
Official status
Regulated by Autoridad Nasionala del Ladino in Israel (using Latin letters)
Linguasphere 51-AAB-ba ... 51-AAB-bd

Ladino (also called Judeo-Spanish) is a Jewish Romance language that is very close to the Spanish language from which it originates. It has many old Spanish words and Hebrew words.

During the Middle Ages, many Jews lived in Spain. These Jews were called Sephardic Jews or Sephardim (in Hebrew). They were forced to leave Spain after the country was taken over by Christians, and they brought this old Spanish with them to the countries they ran away to. Today some Sephardic Jews still speak Ladino in Israel, Turkey, Bulgaria, the United States, and other countries. Like many other Jewish languages, Ladino, which as an endangered language, is in danger of language death and thus could become an extinct language. Most native speakers are old, because many of them who emigrated to Israel, did not pass on the language to their children or grandchildren. In some Sephardic Jewish communities in Latin America and elsewhere, there is a threat of dialect levelling, meaning extinction by assimilation into modern Spanish.

Ladino is written using the Latin alphabet and in Israel using the Hebrew alphabet.

Ladino should not be confused with the Ladin language, which is related to the Swiss Romansh and Friulian languages and is mostly spoken in the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol region of Northern Italy.

  • Socolovsky, Jerome. "Lost Language of Ladino Revived in Spain", Morning Edition, National Public Radio, March 19, 2007.

Images for kids

kids search engine
Ladino language Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.