Reading the Tanakh in Judeo-Spanish (Ladino): Genesis 1:14-23

Based on the “Sefer Tora Neviim Uketuvim- El Livro de la Ley, los Profetas, las Eskrituras”, translated into Judeo-Spanish by A. H. Boyadjian, Constantinople 1873.

Vocabulary and Notes by Timo Schmitz


(14) I disho el Dyo, sean luzeros en la espandidura de los syelos para apartar entre el dia i la noche, i sean por senyales, i por plazos, i por dias i anyos: (15) i sean por luzeros en la espandidura de los syelos para alumbrar sovre la tyerra: i fue ansi. (16) I izo el Dyo los dos luzeros grandes, el luzero grande por podestania del dia, i el luzero pekenyo por podestania de la noche, i las estreyas. (17) I los puzo el Dyo en la espandidura de los syelos, para alumbrar sovre la tyerra, (18) i para podestar en el dia i en la noche, i para apartar entre la luz i la eskuridad: i vido el Dyo ke era bueno. (19) I fue la tarde i la manyana el dia kuarto. (20) I disho el Dyo, syerpan las aguas de syerpe de alma biva, i ave bole sovre la tyerra, sovre las fases de la espandidura de los syelos. (21) I krio el Dyo las bayanas grandes, i toda alma biva ke se remoeve, de ke serpyeron las aguas, segun su manera, i toda ave alada segun su manera: i vido el Dyo ke era bueno. (22) I los bendisho el Dyo, dizyendo, fruchiguad, i muchiguad, i inchid las aguas en las mares, i el ave se muchigue en la tyerra. (23) I fue la tarde i la manyana el dia kinto.


Vocabulary :

sean luzeros – let there be lights

luzeros – lights

en la espandidura – in the firmament

de los syelos – of the heavens

para – for, to

apartar – (to) separate

la senyal – (the) signal, (the) sign

las sinyales- signs, signals

el plazo – (the) time

los plazos – times

dias i anyos – days and years

kuarto – four

syerpe – spread or swarming of crawling or creeping creatures (cp. Latin verb serpere; Italian: serpeggiare), probably also means ‘reptile’ as they are creeping creatures (though I am not sure whether the word is really that specific)

alma biva – living soul

ave – bird

bolar – (to) fly

bayana – crocodile

todo/ -a – all

i toda alma biva – and all kind of living

se remoeve – being in move, (to) move itself

segun – according

su – his/her

manera – manner

segun su manera – according to its manner

i toda ave – and all bird

alado/ -a – winged

i vido Dyo – and God sees

i toda ave alada – and all bird winged (Schmitz-Translation: “and every bird winged”)

i los bendisho – and [He] blessed them

dizyendo – saying

fruchiguad i muchiguad – Be fruitful and multiply!

inchid – probably some form of a verb for (to) rise or (to) fill, though uncertain

las aguas en las mares – the waters in the oceans

i el ave se muchigue en la tyerra – and the bird[s] multiply themselves [lit. itself] on the earth

kinto – five (in some dialects, one says ‘sinko’).




EN LA ESPANDIDURA: alternatively: in the sky, in the heaven

LOS PLAZOS: stands for what is called מועדים in the Hebrew text, and which is translated as “season” in the English Schmitz-Translation.

ALMA BIVA: the term living soul, simply refers to all kind of life that fits in the environment here. The translator oriented himself after the literal meaning of נפש חיה, as נפש is part of the soul and חיה is life.

SYERPE: In Hebrew, one finds the word שרץ here, which is translated as “bring creatures” in the Schmitz-Translation and as “produzcan las aguas seres vivientes” in Reina-Valera 1960. So the verb is more or less translated with “produce” here, while the noun is translated with “living beings” which reflects the living souls. Both words, however, do not coincidently share the same stem in Hebrew, see Strong’s 8317 “שָׁרַץ to swarm, teem” and 8318 “שֶׁרֶץ swarmers, swarming things”. Do not confuse with רמש which refers to that which creeps (mostly but not exclusively on the earth).

BAYANA: Refers to the Hebrew word תנים which actually refers to see creatures here, and not specifically to crocodiles, so “bayanas grandes” means “great sea creatures” in its proper sense.

SERPYERON LAS AGUAS: Here, one finds the word רמש indeed, for something which creeps in the waters. The translator, however, uses the same verb for both interchangeably שרץ and רמש. So do not confuse with שרץ which indicates something that organizes itself in swarms.


Published on 27 December 2019.


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