In February, just before the Symposium, I had very good news: The Royal Spanish Academy has recognized Judeo-Spanish as an official Spanish language. It will be included in the international dictionary of the Spanish language. This took place 525 years after the expulsion of Jews from Spain, the Sephardic Jews. Now that Judeo-Spanish has been recognized as a language, it allows us to review its historical and cultural impact.
For example, there is a word we all know that comes from the plantation era. It is “the ‘cane’ of rum” that is called in French, “canne“. We can affirm today that the etymology of this word comes from the Sephardic Jews who lived in Guadeloupe at the time of the plantations. The original word is “KaNeH“, as it is, without the vowels. Curiously, we can find the word “KaNeH“, three times in the Hebrew Bible, “KaNeH” which means cane. It is in verses 30:23 of Exodus (Shemot), Jeremiah (Yirmiyahu) 6:20, and there are others, but I did not mention them. We find the word “cane”: « Kaf ( ק ) » « Nun ( נ )» « Hey ( ה ) ». KaNeH ( קנה ).
Judeo-Spanish is one Spanish language written with Hebrew characters. The Sephardic Jews also used it here in the French West Indies before the expulsion of the Jews by Louis XIV, as written in the Black Code. He not only evicted the Sephardim but also confiscated their sugar cane plantations. He also enslaved the local population through evangelization. They spoke Judeo-Spanish, hence the reference to the word “KaNeH” which is of Ladino or Judeo-Spanish origin.