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The role of language policy and the revitalization of Judeo-Spanish in IsraelAnela Murgu
The primary purpose of this study is to examine the influence of language policy on the development (maintenance, shift and/or revitalization) of a minority language. The question is asked whether Israeli language policy influences the decline of Judeo-Spanish and whether Judeo-Spanish shows signs of revitalization. By examining the position of the Sephardim in Palestine in the 19 th century and their life after the establishment of the Israeli State, a strong Israeli nationalism has been identified as the most influential factor which influenced a language shift from Judeo-Spanish to Hebrew. The major task of the Israeli political bodies and the Zionists in the new State was to create a new national culture by revitalizing Hebrew and not acknowledging non-Hebrew languages as well as the cultures of the immigrants. The engagement of the Israeli state with language policy to shape national identity provoked a change in Sephardim attitudes toward their language and a crisis in their ethnic identity. In Israel, religion and state are closely related, and this study tries to address the attitudes of the Israeli government toward the use of religious languages, for example Hebrew and Ladino, and Sephardic religious identity. The question of Israeli Official language law, educational language policy toward Judeo-Spanish and the process of revitalization of Judeo-Spanish are covered as well. The study concludes that attempts to revitalize Judeo-Spanish in Israel are present, but the relationship between language policy in Israel and a strong nationalism still shape the most important attitudes of the Sephardim toward Judeo-Spanish, as well as attitudes of other Jews toward this culture and their heritage language.
Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Linguistics; Political science; 0615:Political science; 0290:Linguistics
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