Rubin co-edits first reference on ancient and modern Jewish languages

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A publication co-edited by Aaron Rubin, the Malvin E. and Lea P. Bank Professor of Jewish Studies, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, and Linguistics at Penn State, is the first reference to be published on ancient and modern Jewish languages.

The "Handbook of Jewish Languages" (Brill, 2016), provides descriptions of ancient and modern Jewish languages other than Hebrew, including Yiddish, Judezmo (Ladino), and Jewish varieties of Amharic, Arabic, Aramaic, Berber, English, French, Georgian, Greek, Hungarian, Iranian, Italian, Latin American Spanish, Malayalam, Occitan (Provençal), Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Syriac, Turkic (Karaim and Krymchak) and Turkish. Chapters include historical and linguistic descriptions of each language; an overview of primary and secondary literature; and comprehensive bibliographies to aid further research. Many chapters also contain sample texts and images.

The publication is an unparalleled resource for anyone interested in Jewish languages and will be very useful to historical linguists, dialectologists, and scholars and students of minority or endangered languages.

“This book finally provides a resource for those who want to know more about lesser-known Jewish languages, both past and present, some of which have never before been described in print,” Rubin said. “To have all of these languages treated in a single volume really brings together 3,000 years of Jewish linguistic and literary history.”

Rubin has taught Biblical Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic and Yiddish at Penn State, as well as courses on biblical literature and Comparative Semitic linguistics. His research focuses on all periods of Hebrew, Modern South Arabian, Ethiopic, Comparative Semitic linguistics, Judeo-Italian and Judeo-Urdu. He has published numerous articles and five monographs, including: "A Brief Introduction to the Semitic Languages" (Gorgias, 2010); "The Mehri Language of Oman" (Brill, 2010); and "The Jibbali (Shahri) Language of Oman: Grammar and Texts" (Brill, 2014). He has also edited three books in addition to the recent handbook, including "Epigraphy, Philology, and the Hebrew Bible" (Society of Biblical Literature, 2015); the "Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics" (Brill, 2013); and "Studies in Classical Linguistics in Honor of Philip Baldi" (Brill, 2010).

Lily Kahn, lecturer at University College London and an expert in Yiddish and Hebrew, co-edited the "Handbook of Jewish Languages" with Rubin.


William Hessert

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Last Updated February 16, 2016