Towards a typological classification of Judeo-Spanish

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Judeoespanyol (Judeo-Spanish) is one of the names given to those varieties ofSpanish spoken by descendants of the Jews that were expelled from Spain in1492. There is neither a common designation nor is it spoken in one specificarea, nor is there any agreement on how to classify it. By some linguists Judeo-Spanish has been considered a dialect of (Balkan) Spanish, by some a contactlanguage different from Spanish, and by others again, it has been discussedwhether it represented medieval Spanish, preserved unchanged for the lastfive centuries. In this chapter, we argue that the Judeo-Spanish spoken in theBulgarian capital of Sofia is indeed a contact language, showing on the phoneticside a puzzling similarity with Modern Bulgarian and on the syntactic side asimilarity with Modern European Spanish, although at the same time exhibitingsome archaisms of Old Spanish. It thus supports the idea that both divergenceand stability frequently occur together in situations of linguistic contact.


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