(Un)covering the Story of Judeo-Spanish: A Personal Exploration of Language on the Margins
Keywords:heritage language, language maintenance, small languages
AbstractIn this reflective story of my family rhetoric, I describe the use of a small language, Ladino (Judeoespanyol--also known as Jewish-Spanish) in Istanbul, a cosmopolitan city of around 12 million people. I argue that languages and rhetoric used in families are more than a set of linguistic systems that can be readily passed on from one generation to another. In fact, they are a set of cultural symbols, ethnic representations, and ways of acting in the world, which help the family members create safe spaces, build identities and mark group membership. Through narrating the story of the use of Ladino in my family, I explore how younger generation in minority groups members in Turkey are usually encouraged to give up significant markers of their ethnic identity in order to gain full participation in and access to a homogenized public space.
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