On 10 June, UNESCO and Spain’s Permanent Delegation to the Organization will hold a conference entitled, “The Judaeo-Spanish Languages: An Expression of Identity and Openness” (Room IV, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.).
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, will open the conference alongside the Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Spain to UNESCO, Juan Manuel de Barandica y Luxán. Professor Paloma Díaz-Mas of Spain’s National Research Council (CSIC), and the writers Solly Levy and Angel Wagenstein will present analyses and testimonies aiming to broaden our understanding the Judeo-Spanish languages. Juan Manuel, Director of the Cervantes Institute of Paris, will close the conference.
More than 100,000 people around the world—in the Iberian Peninsula, on both sides of the Mediterranean and in the areas formerly ruled by the Ottoman Empire—still speak the Judeo-Spanish languages, the legacy of late 16th century Sephardic Jews. Commonly known as Ladino, the JudeoSpanish languages are also sometimes referred to as haketiya, in Morocco, tituni, in the region of Oran in Algeria, and Judesmo or Espanyoliko, in the Middle East. It is a living testimony of Castilian as it was spoken in the late 15th century, enriched by the addition of Greek, Hebrew, and Turkish and Arabic words.
The Judeo-Spanish language is nowadays threatened with extinction because of the limited number of speakers, its similarity to Spanish and weak rate of transmission to the younger generations.
The conference will be webcast with simultaneous interpretation into English, French and Spanish:
Original language: mms://stream.unesco.org/live/room_4_floor.wmv
Journalists wishing to attend the conference should request accreditation from:
Isabelle Le Fournis. i.le-fournis(at)unesco.org ; +33(0)1 45 68 17 48
Djibril Kebe : d.kebe(at)unesco.org ; +33 (0)1 45 68 17 41