Throughout the world, wherever Jews have lived, they have spoken and written differently from their non-Jewish neighbors. Some of their languages have differed by only a few embedded Hebrew words, but others have been so different in grammar and pronunciation that Jews and non-Jews could barely communicate. Most longstanding Jewish languages are now endangered, but new ones are emerging. Many people have heard of Aramaic, Yiddish, and Ladino, but knowledge of other Jewish languages is less common, such as Judeo-Greek, Jewish Malayalam, and contemporary Jewish French. On this site you will find resources on these and other languages, including dictionaries, maps, videos, and statistics. You can connect with researchers and translators and find answers to common questions, and you can view videos of lectures and of people speaking and singing the languages. Check out the exhibits on the High Holidays, Passover and Liturgy in many Jewish languages. Learning about Jewish languages leads to a better understanding of the diversity of the Jewish Diaspora and what happens when languages come into contact.
Throughout history Jews have spoken dozens of languages, many of which are now critically endangered. To preserve these languages for the future, now is the time to act. As this short film demonstrates, some grandparents and grandchildren are taking this charge seriously, teaching and learning endangered languages, such as Ladino, Judeo-Arabic (Syria), Judeo-Yazdi (Yazd, Iran), and Hulaulá (Sanandaj, Iran). Much work remains to document these and other languages before it's too late, and Wikitongues and the Living Tongues Institute have committed to record them and make resources available to the public. Join their important work by donating here.
What languages have Jews around the world spoken? Which are thriving, and which are endangered? Professor Sarah Bunin Benor answers these questions using three examples: Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Tat/Juhuri (spoken in Azerbaijan and Dagestan), and Judeo-Median (a group of non-Persian languages spoken in Iran).
You get an invitation to your friend's wedding, and it includes the word "chuppah." What is that? Do you pronounce it HOO-pah? TSHUP-ah? khoo-PAH? The Jewish Language Project will answer this and many more such questions by adding pronunciation recordings to the Jewish English Lexicon. Learn more here.
Check out our Passover exhibit for haggadot and songs in many languages, a powerpoint Zoom haggadah, and recipes from around the world.
Jews around the world are using Zoom, YouTube, and other platforms for services and events. The auto-transcripts are generally filled with errors - rendering Hebrew words as completely unrelated English words. The Jewish Language Project is working to fix this problem. Learn more here.