Endangered Language - Jewish Baghdadi Dialect
For centuries, the Babylonian Jews spoke Aramaic, in which language the "Babylonian
Talmud" was largely produced. The Jews of Babylon lived under Muslim rule more
than 1,200 years. Aramaic speaking as they had been, the Jews were very quickly
able to adopt the Arabic of the new rulers as their mother tongue, and so, it remained
until their emigration to Israel in 1950-1952.
The Arabic dialect of Babylonian Jews is unique. This article done only with the spoken Arabic of Jewish Baghdadi dialect, which was also spoken in cities surrounded Baghdad,
like Basra and Amara. The Muslim and Jewish dialects differ most in their morphology
and vocabulary. There are historical reasons for the emergence of distinct Jewish
Arabic vernacular. The main reason is that Jews appear to have preserved the ancient
local Arabic vernacular, as it was in Abbasid time, while the spoken Arabic of the
Muslims was acquired by contact with the tribes of Bedouin, who emigrated to Baghdad.
In the year following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, all Babylonian Jews became refugees
and most of them emigrated to Israel. Their dialect did not thrive in any other country.
As a result, the judeo-Arabic dialect is now cosidered endangered language and is dying
If we examine the 120,000 people who came from Iraq in the 50's of the previous
century to Israel, their acclimatization was difficult in everything connected to different baggage, culture and behavior. The death of a language, such as Jewish Baghdadi Arabic dialect, means more than simply the loss of their entire culture obscure,
incomprehensible tongue, it marks the loss of their entire culture, as "Nicholas Evans"
wrote in "Linguistic Fieldwork" book:
"when a language is no longer spoken, it is like pining a dead butterfly on a board - you
have interrupted the chain of life"