Language biographies

LANGUAGE BIOGRAPHY

Description: Zelda Natan begins by recounting the different languages she has mastered and continues by explaining Turkey's political position during World War ll. She relates some details of her years at school and describes the island of Heybeliada where she spent her summers as a child. Zelda also recalls some unpleasant memories, namely the pain associated with the premature loss of some of her mother's children.

Cite as: Kómo me ambezí las língwas ke konósko – Language biography; performer: Zelda Natan, camera/ interview: Ioana Nechiti, Deyvi Papo, transcription/ translation: Ioana Nechiti, Deyvi Papo, Imane Sghiouar, editor: Deyvi Papo, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: ladi1251TRV0001a.

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JUDEO-SPANISH IS MY LOVER

Description: Henri Çiprut has a unique profile as a Judeo-Spanish speaker. He is one of only a tiny number of people of his generation able to conduct an interview in Judeo-Spanish. In this videoclip, he tells us about his language biography, the languages he was exposed to in his infancy, as a teenager and, later, as an adult. He recalls how his little Ladino skills helped him to find a job as a tourist guide. Furthermore, he discloses his attitudes towards Judeo-Spanish, implying that his connection to the language of his ancestors is extremely intimate, one that has been passed down to him from his forebears and which helps him feel connected to his grandparents. He concludes this episode explaining the efforts he goes to in order to preserve Judeo-Spanish for future generations.

Cite as: El žudéo- españól ez un amánte pára mi - Judeo-Spanish is my lover; performer: Henri Çiprut, camera/ interview: Ioana Aminian, transcription/ translation: Ioana Aminian, Deyvi Papo, Imane Sghiouar, editor: Deyvi Papo, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number ladi1251TRV0020a.

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SUSAN, THE GREEK

Description: Henri Çiprut begins his narrative by explaining to us the context in which Judeo-Spanish is used as a secret language, particularly when he wants to communicate with his mother about something his son should not understand. He goes on to tell an anecdote about his aunt who was called Susan the Greek due to her Greek knowledge and her Greek friends. Further, he elaborates upon how his use of the code language has developed over time due to the acquisition of further language skills. He reveals extremely complex language behaviour patterns which differed in his parent's and grandparent's houses. Henri concludes that his love for Judeo-Spanish is strengthened by the emotional connection he has thanks to that fact he perceives the language as his connection to his grandparents. In his dreams, his grandparents always talk Judeo-Spanish.

Cite as: Süzán, la gréga Susan, the Greek; performer: Henri Çiprut, camera/ interview: Ioana Aminian, transcription/ translation: Ioana Aminian, Deyvi Papo, Imane Sghiouar, editor: Deyvi Papo, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number ladi1251TRV0022a.

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MAYBE WE HAVE A TALENT FOR LANGUAGES 

Description: In this fragment, Forti Barokas talks about the multilingual nature of the Jewish community in Istanbul in the past compared to today. Forti's mother, for example, spoke Judeo-Spanish, Greek and French; however, her Turkish was poor. Forti explains the historical and cultural background of the Sephardim in those times and describes their ghetto-like life and nominal inter-ethnic interactions when they were young. Furthermore, she recalls that there was a feeling of fear of speaking other languages in the public and, in particular, a certain shame towards speaking Judeo-Spanish. She attributes this fear to historical events and language ideologies as well as the antisemitic acts in Trakya. Today, the situation has changed, and, in her opinion, mixed marriages have become the norm. She concludes the interview by telling us that she has two Muslim daughters-in-law herself.

Cite as: Pwé ser ke tenémoz el dué a língwas – Maybe we have a talent for languages; performer: Forti Barokas, camera/ interview: Ioana Aminian, transcription/ translation: Ioana Aminian, Deyvi Papo, Imane Sghiouar, editor: Deyvi Papo, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID- number ladi: 1251TRV0024a.

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