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Judeo-Latin (also Judæo-Latin), La‘az, or Ebraico-Latino is a presumed Jewish language for many scattered Jewish communities of the former Roman Empire, but especially by the Jewish communities of the Italian Peninsula and Transalpine Gaul.

"La`az" (לעז) is Hebrew for "foreign language" (i.e., specifically, "non-Hebrew language"), and in the Middle Ages started to refer to Latin or Romance languages.

It is believed that Judæo-Latin is the predecessor of all the Judæo-Romance languages.[1]


There is not much extant record for the Judæo-Latin language. Leo Levi found some hebraisms in a few epigraphs in Italy.[2]

Other possible source for Judæo-Latin are loanwords in other languages, like in Sardinian cenabura [ken'abura] 'Friday' (from Latin cena pura) and caputanni, 'September', a literal translation of Rosh Ha-Shanah.

Judeo-Latin likely influenced not only the Judeo-Romance languages, but also the Yiddish language and Rotwelsch, through its posited daughter languages, Judeo-Italian, Shuadit and Zarphatic.

Related languages[edit]

The historical relationships between the various Judeo-Romance languages is subject to debate, and are only tenuously demonstrable at best. These languages include:


  1. ^ *Blondheim, D. S. 1927. Poèmes judéo-français du Moyen Age. Paris: Champion
    • WEINREICH, Max (1956). The Jewish languages of Romance stock and their relation to earliest Yiddish. RPh 9: 403-428.
  2. ^ Leo Levi, "Ricerca di epigrafia ebraica nell'Italia meridionale," La Rassegna mensile di Israel, vol. 28 (1962), pp. 152-153