Teacher: Professor Laurent Mignon, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Oxford
Class Level: Advanced (prior knowledge of Turkish required)
Class Schedule 2022-23: Thursdays from 12:00-13:00 UK Time (you can check time-zone comparisons on sites such as this one)
Class Length: 1-term class (Hilary Term 2024) (Oxford dates of term are available on the University website)
Class Description: Unlike languages such as Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian or Judezmo, Judeo-Turkish was never a spoken language. Its corpus consists of texts in Turkish which were mostly written in the Rashi script (a semi-cursive printed form of the Hebrew alphabet), and did not have a distinctly Jewish linguistic repertoire. After a concise presentation of Turkish grammar, syntax and phonology, and of the intricacies of representing Turkish sounds with Hebrew characters, we will read short texts excerpted from Üstad newspaper (published in Izmir between 1889-1891) and the 16th-century Tevārīh-i Āl-i Osmān (A History of the People of Osman).
Reference Materials: There is no Judeo-Turkish handbook or learning manual. As an introduction, the following article is useful: Laurent Mignon, ‘Judeo-Turkish’, in Handbook of Jewish Languages, edited by L. Kahn and A.D. Rubin (Leiden: Brill, 2015): 634-640. Concerning the Tevārīh-i Āl-i Osmān, students can consult Ugo Marazzi’s Tevārīh-i Āl-i Osmān: Cronaca anonima ottomana in trascrizione ebraica (Naples: Istituto universitario orientale, 1980) and Tülay Çulha’s ‘İbrani Harfli Anonim Tevârîh-i Âl-i Osman Üzerine’, in Between Religion and Language: Turkish-Speaking Christians, Jews and Greek-Speaking Muslims and Catholics in the Ottoman Empire, edited by Evangelia Balta and Mehmet Ölmez (Istanbul: Eren, 2009: 85-99). As a reference grammar for Turkish, Aslı Göksel and Celia Kerslake’s Turkish: A Comprehensive Grammar (London: Routledge, 2005) is highly recommended. For Ottoman Turkish, Korkut Buğday’s The Routledge Introduction to Literary Ottoman, translated by Jerold C. Frakes (London: Routledge, 2009) is very useful, though the German-language original of the manual (Osmanisch: Einführung in die Grundlagen der Literatursprache [Stuttgart: Harassowitz, 1999]) represents a more affordable alternative.