Housewife by day and actress by night, Forti Barokas is one of the little people trying to revive an endangered languageLadino, spoken primarily by Jews in Turkey community.
Barokas is one of approximately 8,000 speakers in Turkey of Ladino or Judeo-Espanyol language – a ancient to mix together of Hebrew and Spanish.
the language is spoken by descendants of Jewish refugees from Spain who sought shelter in Early Ottoman Turkey in the end of the 15 century – not the first the time or the last that Turkey has opened its arms to people fleeing violence and persecution.
Previously, she had staged plays, at least 75% of who were in Ladino, to help revive the language. Corn over when this ratio fell to only 50% and finally ended up with only Turkish games.
The 73-year-former regret expressed over the current situation of the language”for we are the ones who kill him language”, she told Anadolu Agency (AA) at son home in Istanbul. “It’s my generation, so there is regret.”
Now everything of their games are in Turkish because the younger generation doesn’t understand Ladino, she explained.
Also a playwright, Barokas and his friends mainly play plays for charity in a jewish school in Istanbul to help the community.
A reason behind The Barokas generation leaves behind Ladino is Turkey’s Turkification policy. In the early days of the Turkish Republic, founded in 1923, a government-funded “Citizen, speaks Turkish” campaign required members of the multicultural country to speak the Turkish language.
According to Ethnologue, a world language database, there is over 51,000 Ladino speakers worldwide, including 43,000 living in Israel. ethnologist also give the population of the Jews in Turkey has around 13,000 and claims that of of these, 8,000 are Ladino speakers.
the language is mainly spoken in Turkey’s largest cities, such as Istanbul and Izmir, and people 50 and over Craft up the essential of the speakers.
Barokas, who acted for the last 35 years old, was busy to her home giving interview after interview to reporters, as Netflix show in that she both acted and was a consultant Ladino became a hit.
“Kulüp” or “The Club”, which debuted last year, found many viewers, especially in Turkey, while concentrating on the life of a Ladino-speaking Jewish woman in the metropolis of Istanbul in the midst of difficult days in the 1950s.
Following the first half of the 20th centurythe number of minorities living in the country fell after the Turkification policies of the Republican era. The 1923 population between Turkey and Greece, the wealth tax of 1942 which hit non-Muslim communities and the attacks of 1955 – also known as the events of September 6-7 – saw many minority citizens leave the country.
“This is my mother language, we only spoke Ladino at home”, Barokas said, explaining how she kept the language living.
But Barokas, a mother of two, didn’t speak ladino at homeso today she children don’t speak the language danger.
According to Barokas, the youngest generations are many more interested in learn to speak modern Spanish than Ladino. In 2015, Spain granted citizenship to Sephardic Jews, whose ancestors were forced to leave in 1492, during the Spanish Inquisition.
“Languages have the same roots,” she says added. “The Jews who comes from Spain added Spanish words, while those who comes from Portugal added in Portuguese and Hebrew.”
“When I speak in Ladino, I add Turkish words when I speak,” she added.
Based on true story
Netflix in 10 episodes series “The Club”, acclaimed by viewers and critics the same, concentrated on Turkish history as a cosmopolitan country, especially through the lens of Multiethnic and multicultural Istanbul.
Barokas thinks that show was loved by many because it was based on a true story.
Recalling an early scene in the show in which one to main the character Matilda Aseo, played by Gökçe Bahadır, recites a prayer in Hebrew, Barokas said, “I was very touched when I saw that part, she said the prayer so beautifully and sincerely.”
In addition to consulting on good use of ladin behind the scenes, Barokas also appears on the screen as one of the extras.
“I was very excited to be in of face of the camera at this age, and to be up All night long on the streets of Beyoğlu along with professional actors”, a place it was once home to many Jews, including Barokas herself, she said.