Lack of official statistics, difficult to know exact number of speakers: Renard (1966) estimate: 360,000 Harris (1979) estimate: 160,000 Harris (1994) estimate: 60,000. Number of speakers is constantly decreasing. In 1978 and 1985, Harris (1994) conducted research in the Sephardic communities in New York, Israel and Los Angeles. Total of 91 Judeo-Spanish speakers were interviewed: 28 from New York 28 from Israel 35 from Los Angeles Results Reading: 81/91 can read Judeo-Spanish (mostly letters from Sephardic relatives in other parts of the world, ballads etc.) Writing: 63/91 can write Judeo-Spanish using the Roman alphabet (use the language to write to Sephardic relatives.) Many people could write in the language many years ago but are out of practice now. Speaking: 91/91 can speak confidently in Judeo-Spanish. 77/91 use the language when speaking to grandparents (the rest did not have the opportunity to speak to their grandparents.) This number progressively decreases when moving down the age scale. Grammar and vocab of Judeoespañol resembles 14th and 15th century Spanish. 'Oriental' Ladino was spoken in Turkey and Rhodes and reflected Castilian Spanish. 'Western' Ladino was spoken in Greece, Macedonia, Bosnia, Serbia and Romania, and preserved the characteristics of northern Spanish and Portuguese. For most of its lifetime, Ladino was written in the Hebrew alphabet, in Rashi script, or in Solitro, a cursive method of writing letters. It was only in the 20th century that Ladino was ever written using the Latin alphabet. At various times, Ladino has been spoken in North Africa, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, France, Israel, and, to a lesser extent, in the United States Ladino began to disintegrate > Emigration to Israel from the Balkans hastened the decline of Ladino in Eastern Europe and Turkey. In 20th century, number of speakers declined: entire communities were murdered in the Holocaust. Others adopted the language of whichever country they ended up in. Those who emigrated to Israel, therefore adopted Hebrew. Israel is now the country with the greatest number of Ladino speakers. The Jews of Spain today preserve, but generally do not speak judeoespañol. Nevertheless, it is experiencing a minor revival among Sephardic communities, especially in music. In addition, Sephardic communities in several Latin American countries still use Judeo-Spanish. Though in these countries, there is an added danger of extinction by assimilation to modern Castilian Spanish. Originally written using Hebrew alphabet (read right to left) changed to the Latin alphabet Grammar, phonology and core vocabulary (aprox 60%) are basically Castilian. Resembles Southern Spanish and South American dialects – use of yeismo and seseo. Influences from other Languages Retains archaic characteristics of the Spanish spoken at the time of expulsion. Mainly Castilian, although strong Hebrew influence. Judeo Spanish vocab: = כבודkavo(d) = honour = צדקהtzdakah = charity = מתmet = dead = נפטרniftar = dead = תפלהt’filah = prayer JS has all five vowels [a], [Ƹ], [i], [o] and [u]. Eastern dialects – all occur in stressed and unstressed positions Western dialects – only [Ƹ], [i], [u] can occur in unstressed positions Initial vowel may be omitted: E.g. (e)skrito (written) = escrito The rising diphthongs are more frequent (ia, ie, ii, io, iu, ua, ue, ui, uo) than the falling ones (ai, oi, ui, au, eu) The diphthongs [iw] developed into [iv]. e.g. bivda = viuda sivdad = ciudad The diphthongs are often supressed: e.g. escola = escuela; pasensia = paciencia; preto = prieto; Some words work with or without the diphthong e.g. ken / kién = quién Alternation of unstressed vowel with diphthong e.g. pueder = poder The Judeo-Spanish sound [j] corresponds to the modern Spanish [j] / [λ] / [lj] e.g. yegar = llegar kaveyo = cabello yerba = hierba The semiconsonant [w] (‘w’ or ‘u+vowel’) became [gw], even in the middle of words e.g. guevo = egg jugueves = thursday The [sw-] at the beginning of the word became [sfw-] or [ w-] e.g. sfuegra = suegra (mother in law) shuenyo = sueño The [m-] became [mw-] or [ w-] e.g. : muadre = madre; The [p-] became [pw-] or [ w-] e.g. puadre = padre. Judeo Spanish has 25 consonants as opposed to Castilian’s 20 consonants JS retains the Spanish ‘v’ as the labiodental, creating a difference between the ‘v’ consonant and ‘b’. e.g. vaca, ver, viaje etc. The sound [v] occurs also where modern Spanish has [u] e.g. devda = deuda; bivda = viuda; sivdad = ciudad. The initial [h-] in modern Spanish becomes [f-] or [...-] e.g. (f)oja = hoja (leaf) (f)ijo = hijo (f)avlar = hablar The initial [f-] in modern Spanish before ‘ue’ becomes in certain JS dialects is changed to a sounded [h-]. e.g. huerte = fuerte The Old Castilian consonant [ts] developed into  in modern Spanish and [s] in JS e.g. sinko = cinco The sound [ts] occurs now only in words of nonSpanish origin e.g. tsadik a virtuous man. In many words [s] changed into [ʃ], especially before a consonant in the middle of the words. e.g. moshka = mosca (a fly) peshkado = pescado bushkar = buscar JS retained Old Castilian in using the sound [dʒ] (in the beginning of the word and after n) and [ʃ], whereas Modern Spanish developed this into [x] e.g. jugar [dʒu'gar] = jugar berenjena [-ndʒƸ] = berenjena (aubergine) deshar = dejar The voiced intervocal [z] survived in JS, while in modern Spanish it changed to [s] e.g. (f)ermozo = hermoso. The Old Spanish affricate [dz] developed as [z] in JS and as  in Modern Spanis e.g. korazón = corazón There are even few words in which [dz] was retained e.g. ondze = once = 11 e.g. dodze = doce = 12 The final [-s] becomes voiced [-z] if the next word begins with vowel or a voiced consonant e.g. los ojos [loz’oʒos] las noches [laz 'notʃƸs] The final -m occurs in Jewish, Arabic and Turkish words only e.g. adam = man haham = a clever man Initial n sometimes changes to m in the group nuee.g. mueve = nueve e.g. muevo = nuevo e.g. muestro = nuestro e.g. mosotros = nosotros An extra ‘m’ is included sometimes. e.g. enshemplo = ejemplo e.g. muncho = mucho The Old Spanish group -mb- was preserved in JS e.g. lamber = lamer (to lick) e.g. palomba = paloma (dove) The Old Spanish medial labiodental consonants such as bd, bt, vd, vt are retained e.g. sivdat = ciudad (Old Spanish çibdad) There occurs a metathesis of the [r] in a combination with occlusive consonant e.g. godro = gordo e.g. prove = pobre (Old Spanish povre). http://www.orbilat.com/Languages/SpanishLadino/Ladino.htm http://www.sephardicstudies.org/quickladino.html Harris, T (1994) Death of a Language, London and Toronto: Associated University Presses. Renard, R (1966) Sépharad: le monde et la langue judéo-espagnol des Séhardim, Belgium: Annales Universiatires de Mons. A language is said to be dead or extinct when no one speaks it any more. Languages have no existence without people. Although it may exist in recorded form, unless it has fluent speakers, one would not talk of it as a living language. Exact amount of existing languages today is unclear. Different sources and surveys show different figures. Ethnologue (13th edition, 1996): 6,703 International Encyclopedia of Linguistics (1992): 6,300 Atlas of the World's languages: 6,796 Most surveys are incomplete, and compensate for the lack of facts by over/underestimating. Impossible to answer this question by giving an absolute population total. Population figures are useless without context. In rural settings, 500 speakers could permit a reasonably optimistic prediction, whereas in majority communities in growing cities, the chances of 500 people keeping the ethnic language alive are minimal. For example, in many pacific island territories, a community of 500 would be considered quite large and stable, whereas in most parts of Europe, 500 would be far from enough. In the Savannah zone in Africa, some linguists consider a language to be endangered if it has less than 20,000 speakers. 8 Languages with more than 100 million speakers (Mandarin, Spanish, English, Bengali, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian and Japanese): 2.4 billion speakers Top 20 languages: 3.2 billion speakers between them (over half of the world's population) 1. Viable Languages: Population sufficiently large to mean that there is no threat to long-term survival. 2. Viable but small languages: More than 1000 speakers. Spoken in isolated communities. Language a marker of identity. 3. Endangered languages: Spoken by enough people to make survival a possibility, but only in favourable circumstances and with a growth in community support. 4. Nearly extinct languages: Thought to be beyond the possibility of survival. Usually spoken by just a few elderly people. 5. Extinct languages: No native speakers. One of the main causes for language deaths is the effects of dominant languages. The effects of a dominant language vary in different parts of the world, as do attitudes towards it. Australia: English has caused the death of 90% of Australian languages. Russia: Russian has caused the death of 50% of languages in the countries of the former USSR. English and French: Africa. Spanish and Portuguese: Latin America. Spanish: Spain. A common process leading to language death is one in which a community of speakers of one language becomes bilingual in another language, and gradually shifts allegiance to the second language until they cease to use their original (or heritage) language.