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The efforts of Laura Papo Bohoreta in maintaining the Judeo-Spanish language in Bosnia / Večerina Tomaić, Jagoda.

By: Večerina Tomaić, Jagoda.
Material type: ArticleArticleDescription: str.Other title: The efforts of Laura Papo Bohoreta in maintaining the Judeo-Spanish language in Bosnia [Naslov na engleskom:].Subject(s): 6.03 | Preserving the Judeo-Spanish language, reasons and methods | Preserving the Judeo-Spanish language, reasons and methodsOnline resources: Click here to access online In: Minority Languages in Education and Language Learning - Challenges and New PerspectivesSummary: The efforts of Laura Papo Bohoreta in maintaining the Judeo-Spanish language in Bosnia As a result of geographic isolation, the language barrier (surrounded by local Serbo- Croatian population, and under the Turkish rule) and the fact that the Jewish community was educated in separate schools with no access for female children, partly because of the autonomy of religion and law, and exclusively focused on each other, the Judeo- Spanish language of Spanish Sephardic Jews in Bosnia stayed preserved over the centuries in its original form. When Austria-Hungary "liberated" Bosnia (1878), the situation is changing: Bosnia opens up to other nations, a large group of people from different countries immigrated to Bosnia. Public schools are established, with equal access for girls and boys, and the official language is Serbo-Croatian. This opening of Bosnia and adoption of Western cultural achievement has a devastating effect on the native language of Sephardic Jews. Younger generations change their attitude toward language, considering it less worthy. Aware of the danger of falling into oblivion of their language, which automatically entails the disappearance of one exceptionally rich culture, tradition and folklore, the Bosnian writer Laura Papo Bohoreta (Sarajevo, 1891- 1942), despite the progressive expansion of Western culture and newly accepted languages, insisted on Judeo-Spanish language ; she was committed to fight for the language she considered as part of her being, and her way of preserving it was by changing and adapting it. Laura Papo Bohoreta wrote plays, poems, short stories, novels, essays... Apart from the recently discovered play written in French, all her other works are written in Judeo-Spanish because her main aim was rescuing from oblivion not only the language, but also a rich Sephardic-Bosnian heritage. She was promoter of Sephardic heritage which, she insisted, would not survive if its language became extinguished. Characters in Bohoreta’s dramas spoke Judeo- Spanish, enriched with many loaned words from Serbo-Croatian and Turkish, and she made an additional effort so that her characters spoke mostly to uneducated audience in the language they can understand. Apart from borrowed words, she even invented new words, made an extra effort to make her messages understandable to a greater number of young people, because for them with time Judeo- Spanish became not the first, but the second language in their everyday life ; she believed she could preserve the Judeo–Spanish as their first language, as it should be from her point of view. In her last drama Eskariño (1937), for the first time she described the actual state of things as far as the spoken language was concerned in the Bosnian Sephardic community: in the conversation between mother and daughter mother addressed her daughter in Judeo-Spanish, while her daughter talked to her in Serbo- Croatian. She made an enormous effort to „rescue“ the language from the extinction, and it is up to us to give evidence that she at least partially succeeded, that her life work and great energy to preserve the language of her ancestors was not in vain.
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The efforts of Laura Papo Bohoreta in maintaining the Judeo-Spanish language in Bosnia As a result of geographic isolation, the language barrier (surrounded by local Serbo- Croatian population, and under the Turkish rule) and the fact that the Jewish community was educated in separate schools with no access for female children, partly because of the autonomy of religion and law, and exclusively focused on each other, the Judeo- Spanish language of Spanish Sephardic Jews in Bosnia stayed preserved over the centuries in its original form. When Austria-Hungary "liberated" Bosnia (1878), the situation is changing: Bosnia opens up to other nations, a large group of people from different countries immigrated to Bosnia. Public schools are established, with equal access for girls and boys, and the official language is Serbo-Croatian. This opening of Bosnia and adoption of Western cultural achievement has a devastating effect on the native language of Sephardic Jews. Younger generations change their attitude toward language, considering it less worthy. Aware of the danger of falling into oblivion of their language, which automatically entails the disappearance of one exceptionally rich culture, tradition and folklore, the Bosnian writer Laura Papo Bohoreta (Sarajevo, 1891- 1942), despite the progressive expansion of Western culture and newly accepted languages, insisted on Judeo-Spanish language ; she was committed to fight for the language she considered as part of her being, and her way of preserving it was by changing and adapting it. Laura Papo Bohoreta wrote plays, poems, short stories, novels, essays... Apart from the recently discovered play written in French, all her other works are written in Judeo-Spanish because her main aim was rescuing from oblivion not only the language, but also a rich Sephardic-Bosnian heritage. She was promoter of Sephardic heritage which, she insisted, would not survive if its language became extinguished. Characters in Bohoreta’s dramas spoke Judeo- Spanish, enriched with many loaned words from Serbo-Croatian and Turkish, and she made an additional effort so that her characters spoke mostly to uneducated audience in the language they can understand. Apart from borrowed words, she even invented new words, made an extra effort to make her messages understandable to a greater number of young people, because for them with time Judeo- Spanish became not the first, but the second language in their everyday life ; she believed she could preserve the Judeo–Spanish as their first language, as it should be from her point of view. In her last drama Eskariño (1937), for the first time she described the actual state of things as far as the spoken language was concerned in the Bosnian Sephardic community: in the conversation between mother and daughter mother addressed her daughter in Judeo-Spanish, while her daughter talked to her in Serbo- Croatian. She made an enormous effort to „rescue“ the language from the extinction, and it is up to us to give evidence that she at least partially succeeded, that her life work and great energy to preserve the language of her ancestors was not in vain.

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