The evolution of Ladino

February 2, 2011

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Lika Eshkenazi, Tomislav Vichev, and Daniel Petrov give small concerts of Ladino music every Monday night at the Jewish home.

1492 was not only the year Columbus went to America, it was also the year of the Alhambra Decree when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ordered all Jews out of Spain, under penalty of death. Thousands of Spanish Jews fled to the Balkans, where the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire welcomed them. Over the centuries, their "Judeo-Spanish" evolved into a new language, called Ladino.
Now Ladino is evolving again, from a living tongue of the kitchen and the street, to a language of historians and librarians. Sandy Tolan traveled to Bulgaria for Homelands Productions and found that Ladino speakers aren't quite ready to let their language go.

This piece was provided by the Public Radio Exchange.