Francisco, Felipe Benjamin: The Judeo-Arabic of Essaouira Revisited, in Klimiuk , Maciej (Hrsg.): Semitic Dialects and Dialectology : Fieldwork—Community—Change, Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, 2022, S. 183–195. https://doi.org/10.17885/heiup.859.c13960

Identifier (Buch)

ISBN 978-3-96822-095-6 (PDF)
ISBN 978-3-96822-096-3 (Hardcover)




Felipe Benjamin Francisco

The Judeo-Arabic of Essaouira Revisited

This study proposes a description of the current dialectal Arabic spoken by the Jewry of Essaouira (Mogador)—also called Judeo-Arabic—considering updated data obtained with speakers of different generations. The decreasing number of Jews living in Essaouira during the last century suggests that a dialectal levelling process towards the Muslim dialect may have taken place, due to the contact with the Muslim majority. In this way, this study tracks the preservation or change of the linguistic features which traditionally characterised the Jewish dialect of the city (Lévy 1994, 2009; Heath 2002; Chetrit 2012, 2015) in the speech of two Jewish informants: 84 and 60 years old respectively—the second being known as the last Jew living permanently in the city. This preliminary analysis demonstrates that the levelling process towards the current Muslim dialect has not been concluded, which is attested not only by the maintenance of some old Jewish dialectal traits but also by lexicon and phonetical traits described here for the first time. On the other hand, the comparison of the Jewish dialect with the Muslim dialect of the majority (Francisco 2019) indicates that the levelling process might have begun much earlier before the decline of the Jewish population, in a time when the two communities were very similar in number (Schroeter 1988).

Keywords Arabic dialectology, communal dialects, Essaouira, field research, Judeo-Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, linguistic levelling