Beginners Guide to Ladino/Printable version
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Guide to Reading and Writing Ladino
Guide to Reading and Writing Ladino
Consonants and Vowels[edit | edit source]
א - pronounced as "a" as in Spanish "nada"
ב - pronounced as "b" as in English "beat"
בֿ - pronounced as "v" as in English "vex"
ג - pronounced as "g" as in English "gas"
גֿ - pronounced as "j" as in English "jump"; pronounced as "ch" as in "much"
ד - pronounced as "d" as in English "ditch"
דֿ -pronounced as a hard "th/ð" as in English "the"
ה - not pronounced; used at end of a word to indicate an "a" sound like a "א"
ו - pronounced as "u/o" as in English "moon, old"
ז - pronounced as "z" as in English "zombie"
זֿ - pronounced as a French "j" as in "vision"
ח - pronounced as a Hebrew "Kh/Ch" as in "Chutzpah"'
ט - pronounced as "t" as in "time"
י - pronounced as "i/ee" as in English "week"; pronounced as "e" as in "Elmo"
יי - pronounced as "y" as in English "Yellow" not to be confused with Adonay
כ - pronounced as "c" as in English "cat" only used in words of Hebrew origins
ל - pronounced as "l" as in English "life"
מ - pronounced as "m" as in the Italian city "Milan"
נ - pronounced as "n" as in English "none"
ס - pronounced as "s" as in English "some"
ע - not pronounced; used only in Hebrew
פ - pronounced as "p" as in English "put"
פֿ - pronounced as "f" as in English "fade"
צ - pronounced as "tz/ts" as in English "boots"
ק - pronounced as "k" as in English "kill"
ר - pronounced as "r/rr" as in English "rob"
ש - pronounced as "sh" as in "shirt"
שֿ - pronounced as "s" as in "suit"; only used in Hebrew words
ת - pronounced as "t" as in "tooth"; only used in Hebrew words
תֿ - pronounced as a soft "th" as in "think"
Vowel combinations[edit | edit source]
אאי - "ai" example: אאי (aí)
אאו - "au/ao" example: באאול (baúl)
איי - "ay" example: גֿאיי (Chay)
יא - "ea" example: מיאטאדֿ (meatad)
יאי - "ee/ei" example: קריאיר (kre'er)
יאו - "eo/io" פֿריאו (frío)
יי - "y, ey, ye, yi" לייס (leyes)
יא - "ia" גיאדור (giador)
וא - "oa/ua" לואר (loar)
ואי - "oi/we/wi" מואיס (moís)
ויי - (oy/uy) מויי (muy)
Notes[edit | edit source]
1. Any 2 vowels combined without a (א) or (יי) will have a silent א in between them.
2. There are is no (א) at the end of ladino words. The (א) at the end of a word will be replaced by a (ה) at the end of a word
3. In certain countries the digraph (ליי) which represents a "double L" will be used to pronounced y; although not all dialects have this "double L" it is used almost universally in every dialect to spell Eya, Eyas, and Eyos.
4. At the beginning of a word the letters (י) and (ו) must have a silent (א) before them.
5. The reason "ai" and "au" has a silent (א) even though they contain a vowel combination is because of the way Hebrew vowels work.
Ladino Grammar[edit | edit source]
Ladino grammar functions very similarly to Spanish, although according to many linguists their grammar is actually closer to Galician and Portuguese rather than Spanish.
Here are the Pronouns in Ladino and English, we will start with: I/me, you, he, they (masculine), you guys (masculine), we (masculine)
|You (singular)||Tu (טו)|
|They (masculine)||Ellos (ֵאילייוס)|
|They (feminine)||Ellas (ֵאילייאס)|
|We (masculine)||Mozotros (מוזוטרוס)|
|We (feminine)||Mozotras (מוזוטראס)|
|You (plural masculine)||Vozotros (בֿוזוטרוס)|
|You (plural feminine)||Vozotras (בֿוזוטראס)|
 The "double L" <ll> is pronounced as a <y>. As mentioned in the Guide to Reading and Writing Ladino. The double "ll" is written as <ליי> with the <ל> being silent. The "double L" is only used in certain dialects but all dialects use it to spell ellos, ellas, and ella.
 For the plural pronouns (mozotros, vozotros, and ellos) the masculine form is used to show a group of not just men but also both men and women in one group while the feminine form is only used for a group of only females.
Verbs in Ladino
Present[edit | edit source]
|-ar verbs (avlar)||-er verbs (komer)||-ir verbs (bivir)|
|yo||-o (avlo)||-o (komo) (bivo)|
|tu||-as (avlas)||-es (komes) (bives)|
|el eya||-a (avla)||-e (kome) (bive)|
|mozotros||-amos (avlamos)||-emos (komemos)||-imos (bivimos)|
|vozotros||-ash (avlash)||-ésh (komésh)||-ísh (bivísh)|
|eyos||-an (avlan)||-en (komen) (biven)|
Preterite[edit | edit source]
In Ladino, the preterite indicates that an action taken once in the past was also completed at some point in the past. This is as opposed to the imperfect tense which refers to any continuous, habitual, unfinished or repetitive past action. Thus, "I ate falafel yesterday" would use the first-person preterite form of eat, comí, whereas "When I lived in Izmir, I ran five miles every evening" would use the first-person imperfect tense form, koría. Though some of the morphology has changed, usage is just as in normative Castilian.
|-ar verbs (avlar)||-er verbs (komer) and -ir verbs (bivir)|
|yo||-í (avlí)||-í (komí) (biví)|
|tu||-ates (avlates)||-ites (komites) (bivites)|
|el eya||-ó (avló)||-yó (komyó) (bivyó)|
|mozotros||-amos (avlamos)||-imos (komimos) (bivimos)|
|vozotros||-atesh (avlatesh)||-itesh (komitesh) (bivitesh)|
|eyos||-aron (avlaron)||-yeron (komyeron) (bivyeron)|
Nouns in Ladino
Nouns: Gender[edit | edit source]
It is important to know the gender of nouns in Ladino so that the correct adjectives can be used with the noun. It is very simple to know if a noun is masculine or feminine with a few rules:
- Nouns ending in -or, such as kalor (heat) and kolor (color) are feminine.
- Nouns ending in -a such as klima (climate) and planeta (planet) are feminine.
- Most place names such as Ungaria (Hungary) will be feminine, as they end in -a.
- Everything else is masculine.