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Secret Languages, Hebrew in: Egyptian Judeo-Arabic

(1,058 words)

Author(s): Rosenbaum, Gabriel M.
In the Egyptian Jewish community, as in many Jewish communities, some elements of Hebrew vocabulary embedded within the Egyptian Arabic vernacular served as a secret language. Merchants often developed secret languages for their own particular professions, enabling them to speak about commercial as well as private matters in the presence of customers—including Jews who were not of the profession. The word גּוֹי goy is used by Jews in both East and West to denote a non-Jew, a gentile. In Egypt and other areas in the East, Jews make a terminological distinctio…

Judeo-Arabic, Egyptian, Hebrew Component in

(1,103 words)

Author(s): Rosenbaum, Gabriel M.
Hebrew is the main component in the vocabulary of spoken Egyptian Judeo-Arabic that is distinct from the vocabulary of the Egyptian Arabic spoken by non-Jews. Some elements have also been used in written texts. Most words and phrases retain their original Hebrew forms and meanings. For example רַע raʿ, pl. רָעִים raʿim ‘bad, an evil person’; לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד le-ʿolam va-ʿed ‘forever and ever’; נֵס nes ‘miracle’; יְרֵא שָׁמַיִם yere šamayim ‘God-fearing’. The articulation of the consonants ק q and פ plosive p is influenced by Egyptian Arabic. The consonant ק q is usually pronounced as a g…