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What are the main differences between Spanish and Ladino?

I thought I would be able to hear the difference in Ladino podcasts, but I don't. Both languages sound the same.

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Spanish is the old Castilian language, a Romance one, related to Portuguese, Galician and Catalan, with influences from Arabic and French, and which has evolved naturally since, spoken nowadays in Spain, Hispanic America (including South of USA), Equatorial Guinea and Philippines.

Ladino is the same old Castilian language, also romance, also related to Portuguese, Galician and Catalan, with the same influences from Arabic but less influence from French, which has not evolved since Ferdinand and Isabella expelled jews from Spain in 1492, spoken nowadays by sephardi jews (they called Spain as Sefarad, hence the name they give to theirselves).

So yes, the answer from Jaime Cruz Triana is correct in that Ladino is ancient Spanish, and the historic reason is that Jews expelled in 1492 retained their language.

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It has evolved somehow, Ladino spoken in Turkey/Middle East has adopted many words from Turkish. – JoulSauron Jul 3 '14 at 8:44
@JoulSauron True. I referred to the same evolution as Spanish – Envite Jul 3 '14 at 8:46
I think you mixed the year's digits. It's 1492, not 1942 ;) – itziki Jul 3 '14 at 12:59
deStrangis: As a resident of Israel I can tell you that some people in Israel do speak Ladino (my uneducated guess is an order of magnitude of 50,000 speakers, almost all of them also speak Hebrew), yet - and like other jewish dialects such as Yiddish - one can not compare its contemporary status to the situation before the Holocaust, when it was spoken by a large fraction of the non-ashkenazi jews and was used in everyday-life. Most of the current speakers are elderly people who were born in Ladino-speaking communities such as the Balcan or Turkey and later immigrated to Israel, and it is ver – user1767774 Jul 8 '14 at 16:01
@deStrangis There are printed and online newspapers, such as Aki Yerushalayim. There is Wikipedia in Ladino. Radio Exterior de España has a weekly show in Ladino, you can listen to past shows. – JoulSauron Jul 9 '14 at 8:44

Well, Ladino is ancient Spanish, you can see antique pronounciations or archaic words.

See some examples:

  • Words written with J in Spanish were written with X some centuries ago for example "Tixera" > "Tijera", "Alexandro" > "Alejandro", "Muxer" > "Mujer" and pronounced as SH, they still have that sound or the sound of the french J
  • Words written with H as "Hoja", "Hijo", "Hacer" they still have the antique pronounciation with F "Foja", "Fijo", "Fazer".
  • Old words such as "Cirguela" for "Ciruela" or small diferences between the Spanish word and the Ladino one like "donde" [Spanish] and "onde" [Ladino].
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If Ladino is ancient Spanish, then you can also say that modern Spanish is ancient Ladino. The two shared a common ancestor, that is true. But each developed from that common ancestor, neither was frozen in time. – guifa Jul 9 '14 at 14:08
Yes, ladino evolved, it is not the same spanish spoken centuries ago, but it evolved in a different way, spanish had an entire transformation making huge changes mostly in phonetics and ladino didn't change that much but yes, neither was frozen. – Jaime Jul 9 '14 at 19:37

I am a spanish speaker and I understand 100% of spoken ladino. Written ladino takes me a little thinking, but I also understand 100%.

I am colombian and quite frankly I have a harder time understanding caribbean dialects than I have understanding ladino podcasts. My impression is that the division as two languages is mostly political... I think you'd understand why.

But if I had to look at the two languages merely from the linguistic perspective. I'd classify them as a dialect of the other. (disclaimer: I'm not a professional linguist, just interested in the subject)

I hope I don't offend anyone, it's just my humble impression.

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