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New Texts Out Now: Ella Shohat, The Question of Judeo-Arabic

Publication: Jadaliyya | Posted: Jan 20, 2016

Original post

This essay revolves around a very personal question for me — the name of the language I spoke with my grandparents and parents. Baghdadi-Jews like my family spoke the language, first in Iraq, then in Israel, and later in the US. For us, it was simply Arabic, although we also knew of course that it was a dialect, a specific form of an ‘amiyya; in our case, Iraqi, Baghdadi, Jewish Arabic. Within the Jewish-Baghdadi dialect itself, we commonly referred to it as haki mal yihud (the speech of the Jews) in contrast to the neighboring dialect, haki mal aslam (the speech of the Muslims).