Explorer Ladino


Ladino is the language of the Sepfaradi (sephardi) Jews who were expelled out of Spain in 1492 by the Catholic Kings. After the expulsion they settled in other countries around the Mediterranean Sea, especially in the Ottoman Empire. They were not allowed to take any of their belongings with them, but nevertheless, they brought together with them their rich Judeo-Iberian culture and their linguistic heritage. Ladino was born as a result of the encounter between these Iberian dialects, mainly Castilian, Hebrew, the holy language, and the languages of their new neighbours in the Empire. Thus we find a tremendous influence of Turkish, Greek, Italia, Bulgarian, Arabic, French among other languags.

Learning Ladino will open wide a window for you to the very essence of the Mediterranean and its cultures, being a real mixture, or meeting-point of many cultures and languages. It will also allow you to get a look at Medieval Spain, as Ladino mothers preserved many Iberian medieval folk songs and ballades and the language itself preserves many archaic features.

Ladino is in a grave situation today, and it is spoken only by a few thousands around the world, espesially due to the Holocaust where the majority of Ladino speaking communities in the Balkans and other places were exterminated. Nevertheless its culture is flourishing throughout the world, especially its music. In 2018 Ladino was acknowledged by the Real Academia Española which announced the opening of a new Ladino academy in Israel.

In this course you will be learning mainly the Izmir dialect, influenced by some features of the Jerusalem dialect, the most widely dialect combination studied today.

Course Features

  • Lectures 46
  • Quizzes 12
  • Skill level All levels
  • Language English
  • Students 1000
  • Certificate Yes
  • Assessments Self
Matan Stein is a polyglot who concentrates on learning endangered languages. He is a linguist, an Egyptologist, a passionate Ladino, Yiddish and Hebrew teacher and a Rabbinical Seminary student from Israel. He sings in a choir, travels around the world, is a spiritual healer and an amature photographer, painter and poet.