The Sephardic community in Seattle, Washington is unique not only in its relative size, but also in its cohesiveness. The community boasts two Sephardic synagogues, various religious and cultural organizations that meet regularly, and a group that convenes weekly to read texts in Ladino and discuss their experiences growing up with the language. A large percentage of the oldest generation of Seattle Sephardim grew up if not speaking, at least hearing, Ladino at home, but, as children of immigrants, they did not teach the language to their own children. This generation is thus the last generation of native Ladino speakers that Seattle will ever see. This paper analyzes interviews with members of the Sephardic community for information on the historical development of Seattle Ladino, indications of the speakers’ language attitudes, and linguistic data in order to determine the state of Seattle Ladino today.
Published in Division of Spanish & Portuguese Studies
Faculty Advisor: Devin Naar, Chair, Sephardic Studies Program