Judeo-Tripolitanian Arabic

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Judeo-Tripolitanian Arabic
Native to Israel, Italy
Native speakers
35,000  (1994)[2]
Hebrew alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3 yud
Glottolog jude1264[3]

Judeo-Tripolitanian Arabic (also known as Tripolitanian Judeo-Arabic, Jewish Tripolitanian-Libyan Arabic, Tripolita'it, Yudi) is a variety of Arabic spoken by Jews formerly living in Libya. Judeo-Tripolitanian Arabic differs from standard Libyan Arabic in that it closely resembles the original dialect of the sedentary population, whereas much of Libya's population now speaks Bedouin-influenced varieties of Arabic.[4] This language is recorded and there is a reference book on the grammar, text and glossary of the Judeo-Tripolitanian Arabic language, written by Sumikazu Yoda.

General Information[edit]

There are 35,000 speakers of Judeo-Tripolitanian Arabic. Most speakers now live in Israel (30,000) and Italy (5,000).[5] They are over the age of 40.[6] The status of the language is shifting, according to Ethnologue, meaning that the child bearing generation are able to use the language but it is not being passed on to children.

Short History[7][edit]

Tripoli is located in the middle part of the Mediterranean coast of Africa, in Lybia. Jews existing in Tripoli dates back as far as the 15th century. However, after the Arab conquest, the earliest information available is from the 16th century. During the 17th century, the Jews in Tripoli increased because of the arrival of the Jews from Leghorn. Jewish refugees from Tunis and Algiers also began to migrate to Tripoli, during the Turkish Qaramanli dynasty. Then in 1835, Tripoli was ruled by Turkey. Later, from 1911 to 1943, Tripoli was under Italian rule. There were 20,000 Jews living in Tripoli, in 1948. During 1948-1952, about 14,000 Jews migrated to Israel and Italy, following two riots. Only 6,228 Jews were still living in Tripoli and they also migrated to Israel and Italy, after riots that occurred during the Six-Day Ware in 1967. There were only a few dozen Jews living in Tripoli in 1970 and after 1970, no information is available regarding the current situation of the Jews in Tripoli.

See Also[edit]


  1. ^ Yoda, Sumikazu (2005). The Arabic dialect of the Jews in Tripoli (Lybia): Grammar, Text and Glossary. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. 
  2. ^ Judeo-Tripolitanian Arabic at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Judeo-Tripolitanian Arabic". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ (Russian) Judæo-Arabic languages. Jewish Electronic Encyclopædia.
  5. ^ Spolsky, Bernard (Mar 27, 2014). The languages of the Jews: A Sociolinguistic History. Cambridge University Press. p. 270. 
  6. ^ Raymond G. Gordon, Jr, ed. 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 15th edition. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
  7. ^ Yoda, Sumikazu (2005). The Arabic dialect of the Jews in Tripoli (Lybia): Grammar, Text and Glossary. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. 

Further Reading[edit]

  • Garcia Arevalo, T. (2014). "The General Linguistic Features of the Modern Judeo-Arabic dialects in the Maghreb". Zutot 11 (1): 49-56. 
  • Goldberg, H. (1983) Language and culture of the Jews of Tripolitania. Mediterranean language review 1. (?).
  • Spolsky, B. (2014). The languages of the Jews: A sociolinguistic history.
  • Spolsky, B., & Shohamy, E. (1999) The languages of Israel: Policy, Ideology, and practice. Clevedon.
  • Frawley, W. (2003). International encyclopedia of linguistics (2nd ed., Vol. 2). Oxford.

External links[edit]