Spanish in the world
Spanish language in Asia

For what concern the type of Spanish spoken in Asian countries, the most important example we can analyse nowadays is that of the Ladino or Judæo-Spanish language (as most frequently called), which is defined as the variety of Spanish spoken by the Jewish people who were expelled from Spain in 1492, at the end of the Spanish Reconquista, that therefore derives mainly from Old Castilian and Hebrew.

The language that Jewish people were used to speak before the expulsion decided by Isabel of Castilia and Ferdinand of Aragon (The Catholic Monarchs) doesn’t differ so much from the language that was spoken by the majority of the people in Spain in that time, even though it had some specific espressions typical of the Jewish lexicon because of traditions and customs Jewish speakers had mantained in Spain.

At present time there are more or less 150,000 Judæo-Spanish speakers. The great part of them, around 100,000 people, who have settled down in Israel, still speak this language, which is unfortunately destinated to disappear becuase hasn’t been taught to the new generations. The only way to keep in touch to the Judæo-Spanish language is listening to a local radio or reading a local magazine.Then the second most populous Sephardic community speaking Judæo-Spanish is to be found in Turkey, with its 15,000 speakers.

The most important and serious problem , as you can deduce from the previous data, is that of the dispersion of Ladin speakers, who apart of being few, are divided in different countries. This obviously represents a serious obstacle to the development and the maintenance of their language.

Only since the end of the 20th century there have some few attempts to recover the importance of the Judæo-Spanish language, above all in Israel. An academic Judæo-Spanish language has been “recreated” thanks to the mixture of all the Sephardic varieties spoken all over the world. Castilian Spanish has been the main language they have looked at in order to substitue all Turkish, French and Slavic linguistic loans that characterize each different variety according to the country where Ladin language is spoken.

As Yiddish, Judæo-Spanish was tradidionally written with Jews characters and in the past also with Greek and Cyrillic ones. Nowadays, especially in Turkey, it is used to be typed with Latin characters. This is because in Turkey, as already said, still live the majority of Ladin speakers.