Language

Even during the period of the Ottoman Empire the Sephardic Jews retained their Judeo-Spanish idiom (ladino), a language based on the Castilian dialect combined with various implementations of Hebrew, Turkish and Greek words and phrases. The Spanish Jews who arrived in Greece after the inquisition (1492) absorbed the few pre- existing Romaniots (Greek speaking Jews) who inhabited Rhodes and imposed their own dialect in their everyday interactions. The language’s vivid nature is evident both in the verbal usage with the formation of proverbs and anecdotes as well as in the written form with the production of moral passages, biblical analytic texts and poems. The instruction of the ladino language in the community schools largely contributed to the safeguarding and preserving of the dialect throughout the ages.