Jump to content


Recommended Posts

I am starting this thread because a member mentioned he was interested in learning this language :)   For those who don't know it, the ''ladino'' language is a dying language,  and is the language of the Sephardic jews.   I'm one of them, and this language used to be a big part of our culture, but sadly most ladino speakers are old people... and the younger generation of Sephardi Jews don't speak it.   The language is basically a mix of  (old) Spanish and Hebrew, but depending on where the speaker lives some words from Greek, Turkish, and Arabic are often borrowed. 


I am creating this thread in hopes I can add more and more resources to learn this language, not immediately but little by little, also depending on the interest of others to learn this language. 


If you want to know what this amazing language sounds like, then check this mix on YouTube:


An interview with a native Ladino speaker born & raised  in Israel:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

For writing ladino the Latin alphabet is used, but it can also be written using the Hebrew one :)   I might add a translation to English later. 


Here are some examples (old sayings):


El Viejo por onor, el mansevo por dolor

על הזקן (בוכים) בגלל הכבוד, ועל הצעיר בגלל הצער


El Viejo tura porké se kura

הזקן מחזיק מעמד מפני שהוא שומר על עצמו


Gayina vieja asolta buen kaldo

תרנגולת זקנה נותנת מרק טוב


Ken se akavida en la mansevés tiene Buena vejés

מי שנזהר בצעירותו יש לו זיקנה טובה


Kon los anyos viene el séhel

השכל בא עם השנים


Konsejo de manseviko, fragua de paliko; konsejo de Viejo, fragua de fierro

עצה של צעיר, בנייה מעץ; עצה של זקן בנייה מברזל


Konsejo, ande el viejo

עצה- אצל הזקן


La vieja kere vivir para mas ver i oyir

הזקנה רוצה לחיות כדי לשמוע ולראות יותר ויותר


Lo ke no fizo a la mansevés, lo fizo a la vejés

מה שלא עשה בנעוריו, עושה בזיקנתו


Mansevés para baylar, vejés para deskansar

צעירוּת בשביל לרקוד, זיקנה בשביל לנוח


Médiko Viejo, berber mansevo

רופא זקן, ספָר צעיר

Link to comment
Share on other sites



No ay vida mas eskura ke vejés kon hazinura

אין חיים מרים יותר מאשר זיקנה עם מחלה


Pensando a la vejés, no se goza la mansevés

חושבים על הזיקנה ולא נהנים מהצעירוּת


Si los mansevos savían, si los viejos pudían

אילו הצעירים ידעו, אילו הזקנים יכלו


Vieja en kaza, alegría de la kaza

זקנה בבית, שמחה בבית


Tres kozas feyas ay en el mundo: riko mentirozo, provo gaviento i Viejo putanyero

שלושה דברים מכועירים יש בעולם: עשיר שקרן, עני גאוותן וזקן זנאי


Viejo, mansevo , prove i riko, todos se amizuran kon un piko

זקן, צעיר, עני ועשיר, כולם נמדדים באותו מטר


Viejo i onrado tiene el kavod en la mano

זקן מכובד, מחזיק את כבודו בידו


Vejés buena!

זיקנה טובה!


Vejés kon livianés

זיקנה עם קלילות!


Vejés liviana

זיקנה קלה!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are some resources that might be useful to you:


Some basics phrases: http://www.sephardicstudies.org/benbassat.html

Some nice proverbs: http://www.bigbridge.org/BB14/MCASTRO.HTM

Yet more sayings: http://archives.conlang.info/bi/fhoerbho/ghulsheghaun.html

Phrases, words and proverbs organized by letter: http://www.sbhseattle.org/resources/ladino/#Phrases

Ladino Phrases used by Sephardic jews living in Bulgaria: http://sefarad.org/lm/058/html/page18.html

Ladino phrase book by Wiki Travel:  http://wikitravel.org/en/Ladino_phrasebook


I will add more links later :)  Plus other resources, but I need more time for that!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are very welcome :)  Stay tuned for more updates, I'm not done with this thread yet (I plan to add more resources) and  be done adding all those missing lessons once I have more time (hopefully in the Netherlands).  This is a project I take seriously, because well, it's very close to my heart and very very personal :)   I hope you find it very useful!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Trellum featured this topic
  • 3 weeks later...

This thread is really interesting since Ladino is spoken in some regions of North Italy (most of all Trentino-Alto adige). I watched the interview and i was able to recognise Spanish words and i really like listen to this! Thanks for post, maybe i'll add this language to the ones i want to learn in future :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...
  • 2 months later...
  • 3 years later...

Bumping up this thread :) (Admin - If this is not allowed, feel free to remove it!)

I used to live (well for 3 months anyway) in a small neighbourhood in Istanbul called Kuzguncuk on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. The area was once a Jewish and Greek enclave and there are  still two synagogues, two Greek Orthodox churches, an Armenian Orthodox church and a mosque all in close proximity to each other. Most of the Ladino speakers have emigrated from Kuzguncuk but I remember being taken on a visit by local friends to the Old City on the European side of Istanbul. While walking in one of the old neighbourhoods, we overheard an elderly Turkish couple chatting in what sounded like Spanish. Turns out they were Jewish and were from one of the last families left in the area who had not emigrated to Israel or the US. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...