Judeo-Tat or Juhuri (cuhuri, жугьури, ז׳אוּהאוּראִ) is the traditional language of the Mountain Jews of the eastern Caucasus Mountains, especially Azerbaijan and Dagestan, now mainly spoken in Israel.
|cuhuri, жугьури, ז׳אוּהאוּראִ|
|Native to||Azerbaijan, Russia – North Caucasian Federal District, spoken by immigrant communities in Israel, United States (New York City)|
|(ca. 101,000 cited 1989–1998)|
|Latin, Cyrillic, Hebrew|
The language is a dialect of Persian which belongs to the southwestern group of the Iranian division of the Indo-European languages, albeit with heavy Jewish influence. The Iranic Tat language is spoken by the Muslim Tats of Azerbaijan, a group to which the Mountain Jews were mistakenly considered to belong during the era of Soviet historiography though the languages probably originated in the same region of the Persian empire. The words Juvuri and Juvuro translate as "Jewish" and "Jews".
The language is spoken by an estimated 101,000 people:
In the early 20th century Judeo-Tat used the Hebrew script. In the 1920s the Latin script was adapted for it; later it was written in Cyrillic. The use of the Hebrew alphabet has enjoyed renewed popularity.
Judeo-Tat is a Southwest Iranian language (as is modern Persian) and is much more closely related to modern Persian than most other Iranian languages of the Caucasus [e.g. Talysh, Ossetian, and Kurdish]. However, it also bears strong influence from other sources:
Medieval Persian: Postpositions are used predominantly in lieu of prepositions e.g. modern Persian: باز او > Judeo-Tat æ uræ-voz "with him/her".
Arabic: like in modern Persian, a significant portion of the vocabulary is Arabic in origin. Unlike modern Persian, Judeo-Tat has almost universally retained the original pharyngeal/uvular phonemes of Arabic e.g. /ʕæsæl/ "honey" (Arab. عسل), /sæbæħ/ "morning" (Arab. صباح).
Hebrew: As other Jewish dialects, the language also has many Hebrew loanwords e.g. /ʃulħon/ "table" (Heb. שלחן shulḥan), /mozol/ "luck" (Heb. מזל mazal), /ʕoʃiɾ/ "rich" (Heb. עשיר ʻashir). Hebrew words are typically pronounced in the tradition of other Mizrahi Jews. Examples: ח and ע are pronounced pharyngeally (like Arabic ح, ع respectively); ק is pronounced as a voiced uvular plosive (like Persian ق/غ). Classical Hebrew /w/ (ו) and /aː/ (kamatz), however, are typically pronounced as /v/ and /o/ respectively (similar to the Persian/Ashkenazi traditions, but unlike the Iraqi tradition, which retains /w/ and /aː/)
Russian: Loanwords adopted after the Russian Empire's annexation of Daghestan and Azerbaijan
Other common phonology/morphology changes from classical Persian/Arabic/Hebrew:
Being a variety of the Tat language, Judeo-Tat itself can be divided into several dialects:
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