Ways of addressing different characters in judeo spanish djohaPresentation Transcript
BY: DERYA AGIS
International Congress of ACLA, March 2009
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This paper investigates the influence of the Turkish language on Judeo-
Spanish Djoha anecdotes.
Djoha is the Judeo-Spanish name given to a Turkish character called Hodja
Nasrettin, an Ottoman 'imam' (a religious person working in a mosque).
Although some Judeo-Spanish and Turkish anecdotes narrating Djoha and
Hodja Nasrettin (Nasrettin Hodja) are similar, some other anecdotes are
not. In the Judeo-Spanish anecdotes Djoha can be an old or a young
person who is clever, or stupid; however, in the Turkish ones, he is an old
religious person, regarded as wise.
This study analyzes the old and young female and male characters in
Judeo-Spanish anecdotes. The Judeo-Spanish words borrowed and
adapted from Turkish that are used for addressing women who are
represented as mothers, wives, and daughters, and addressing men who
are represented as fathers, husbands, and sons are investigated.
A cognitive translation method is developed.
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One of the previous studies on the comparison of the Turkish Nasrettin Hoca
(Hodja) and Djoha is the article of Bardavid (1997) where she demonstrates that
Sephardim called intelligent and funny children Djoha.
Regarding other studies on Nasrettin Hodja, Sakaoğlu (1977) analyzed the
diffusion of the Hodja Nasrettin anecdote entitled “Do you believe in the donkey?”
around the globe. Additionally, the Hodja anecdotes narrated by eight European
travelers who were going from Anatolia to Jerusalem were analyzed
etymologically by the same author (i.e. Sakaoğlu, 1981).
Moreover, several studies were conducted on linguistic humor in Turkish humor
texts. Most articles on linguistic humor theories’ application to Turkish are on
Nasreddin Hodja: Türkmen (1996) applied the superiority theory of Hobbes to the
anecdotes of Nasreddin Hoca; he suggested that the anecdotes of Nasreddin Hoca
involved acts of being happy, as a bad event had happened to any other living
thing, and Nasreddin Hoca ridiculed those who seemed to be more intelligent and
/ or richer than him.
Besides, Oğuz (1997) discussed the methods to be used in researches on
Nasreddin Hodja. He supposed that a Turkish humor element in an anecdote of
Nasreddin Hoca would appear as an element, belonging to another culture.
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Spanish Jews came to the Ottoman
Empire in March 1492, since the
Catholic monarchs of Spain, Isabella
of Castilla, Ferdinand of Aragon and
their prime minister Torquemada
expelled them from Spain, as they
did not want to be baptized and
become Christians (Şarhon, n.d.,
Until the end of the sixteenth
century, Jews emigrated to Istanbul,
Safed, Salonica, Jerusalem, and Cairo
(Şarhon, n.d., para. 3).
Besides, the mother tongue of the
Spanish Jews is called Judeo-Spanish,
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“Nasreddin Hodja was born in 1208 in the village of Hortu, in
a district close to the city of Afyon; he moved to Aksehir in
1237 so as to study with reknown scholars, such as Seyid
Mahmud Hayrani and Seyid Haci Ibrahim; he had worked as a
Muslim judge until he had passed away in 1284” (Sansal,
2005, para. 1).
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Attardo and Raskin (1991)
propose a theory of verbal
and linguistic humor on
verbal jokes as its most
representative subset. In
this paper, a hierarchical
organization for six
knowledge resources (KRs)
Attardo and Raskin’s (1991) six
knowledge resources (KRs),
thus parameters of joke
difference are the
2) Narrative strategies,
5) Logical mechanism, and
6) Script opposition
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Concerning the first KR, Attardo and Raskin (1991) argue that many
jokes are similar, thus, there is a joke similarity between jokes, and
paraphrases and variants of jokes in printed documents, as people
retell jokes to others, changing several aspects of these jokes. Here
is an example:
(1) How many Poles does it take to screw in a light bulb? Five.
One to hold the light bulb and four to turn the table he's standing
on. (Freedman and Hofman, 1980) (as cited in Attardo and Raskin,
1991, p. 4)
(2) The number of Polacks needed to screw in a light bulb? Five--
one holds the bulb and four turn the table. (cf. Clements, 1969, p.
22) (as cited in Attardo and Raskin, 1991, p. 4)
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Successively, Bucaria (2004) divides (this
division is customary in linguistic literature)
semantic ambiguity into three main categories
of ambiguity, which are indicated below:
2) Syntactic, and
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Koen-Sarano, M. (compiler). (1986). Kuentos
del Folklor de la Famiya Djudeo-Espanyola.
Koen-Sarano, M. (compiler). (1991). Djoha Ke
Dize?: Kuentos Populares Djudeo-Espanyoles.
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An important study on the translations of Judeo-Spanish texts is the
article of David Marc Bunis entitled “Translating from the head and
from the heart; the essentially “oral” nature of the Ladino Bible-
translation tradition” that appeared in Hommage à Haïm Vidal
Sephiha in 1996.
Besides, Ora Schwarzwald wrote the following articles:
a) “Linguistic variations among Ladino translations as determined by
geographical temporal and textual factors,” published in Folia
Linguistica Historica 17, 1-2 in 1996,
b) “Mixed translation patterns; the Ladino translation of Biblical and
Mishnaic Hebrew verbs” that appeared in Target 5, 1 in 1993, and
c) “The Venice 1601 Ladino translation of "Pirke Aboth"” in Folia
Linguistica Historica 11, 1-2 published in 1992. As we can see, the
previous studies on the translation of Judeo-Spanish texts are
mostly based on the translation of religious texts.
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The translation of Judeo-Spanish nouns and verbs
borrowed from Turkish, such as ‘dayanear’, ‘to resist’
that derives from the Turkish verb ‘dayanmak’ can be
problematic, as the Turkish verb has various meanings,
as ‘to resist,’ ‘to rely on,’ and ‘to lean on.’ For choosing
the best equivalent of the Judeo-Spanish verb, one
should activate a frame where s/he imagines the event
depicted in the anecdote.
S/he may pay attention to the events, objects, and
actions of people, choosing the best definitions for the
words in this imaginative frame.
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Function Brodmann Area
Sensory, tertiary 7,22,37,39,49
Eye movement 8
Motor, tertiary 9,10,11,45,46,47
HOUSEWIVES = DJOHA’S
WIFE = MUJER = HANUM
(my dear, Muslim woman,
according to Mathilda Koen -
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IJO, PASHA! (EL IJO KE ESTUDIO’ A LONDRA) )
DJOHA AVIA KAZADO A LA IJA (PAZ EN FAMIYA)
FIJO (HAFTONA PREVENTIVA)
Su novia – his wife
Different words derived from various
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PARĺ MUJER KE LA KUENTA YA
Djoha se kazó. Despues de tres
mezes dize la mujer: “Dolores:
“Addió!” Agora parir?! Kuanto ay
“Ven aki, asenta, Djoha! Tres
mezes estó kazada kon ti. I
tres mezes no stamos kazados
“Parί mujer ke la kuenta ya sta
THE WIFE FOR WHOM THE STORY
WAS RIGHT GAVE BIRTH TO A CHILD
Djoha got married. After three
months, he tells his wife:
“Dolores, give birth to a child!”
“Oh, my God! Are you giving birth
to a child now? ! How long has
it been since we got married?”
“Come here, listen, Djoha! I have
been married with you for
three months. Moreover, we
married each other three
months ago, didn’t we?”
“The wife for whom the story was
right gave birth to a child.”
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Djogo de palavras
La mujer de Djoha se yamava
Grasia. Una vez Djoha
konbino un amigo and’él.
El amigo s’asentò, komiò,
beviò, avlò, kontò
s’alvantò para irse,
S’alvantò Grasia i se hue
The name of the wife of Djoha was
Gratitute / Grasia / Grace
(Thanks). One day Djoha took a
friend to his house.
The friend sat down, ate, drank,
talked, gave recommendations,
etc. When he stood up to go, he
said , “I express my gratitute” /
“Thanks!” / “Thanks for your
Gratitude / Gracia / Grace (???)
stood up and escaped with him.
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Kuando Djoha mandava al fijo kon
el kantaro a traer agua del
pojo, le dava antes una buena
La djente, kurioza, demandava:
‘Bre, Djoha, ke te fizo la
kriatura ke le das haftona?”
Al ke Djoha respondia: “Lo aharvo
para ke no rompa el kantaro!”
La djente, maraviyada, dizia: “A bre!
Loko stas? Ainda no rompio’ el
I ”Djoha dizia: “A ke sirviria la
haftona, kuando ya lo
Preventive Hit / Beating / Punch
While Djoha was sending his son with a bottle
(weight measurer) to take some water from
the pit, he was giving him a good hit / he
was hitting him well, he was beating him,
offering him a nice punch.
The curious people were asking, “Hey man,
Djoha, what did your son do so badly that
you can beat him? ”
Djoha was answering, “I beat him in order that he
cannot break the bottle / the weight
The astonished people were asking, “Oh man!
Are you crazy? Thus, he did not break the
bottle / weight measurer.”
And Djoha was saying, “Does the punch have a
sense / does it serve anything, when he has
already broken it?”
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Un dia el ijo de Djoha vieni a kaza i le dizi al padri:
“Papa, oy me enkontri kon una ijika, ermoza,
intelijenti, i kero kazarmi. Es la ija del marangos.”
Djoha lo vey i dizi: “Ijo, no puedis kazarti kon eya,
pork’es tu media ‘rmana!”
Paso una simana, dos, vieni el ijo le dizi: “Ya tienis
razon, papa. Agora tupi una mijor. Es la ija del
“No puedis, ijo! Es la ija del bakal!”
Otra vez lo vey Djoha i dizi: “Ijo, no te puedis kazar
kon eya! Es tu media ‘rmana!”
El ijo, triste i amargado, se metio a yorar.
Vieni madri, le dizi: “Kualo es ijo? Kualo tienis?”
“Mama, mi kero kazar kon una ija, es mi media
‘rmana” Mi kero kazar kon otra, es mi media
‘rmana… Esto es lo ke me dizi mi padri!....”
La madri vieni, lo abrassa: “No yoris ijo, no ay nada.
Tu ti puedis kazar kon ken keris! Djoha no es tu
One day the son of bDjoha came home and told his father, “Daddy,
today I met a nice girl, she is beautiful, and intelligent, and I
want to get married. She is the daughter of the carpenter!”
Djoha understood it and said, “Son, you cannot get married with her,
because she is regarded as your sister!”
After a week the son came and said, “You are right, daddy, now I
found a better one. She is the daughter of the butcher.”
“You cannot do it, son, she is regarded as your sister!”
After two or three weeks, the son had come for the third time:
“Daddy, today I found the better one. I would like to marry her.
She is the daughter of the marketer!”
Once again Djoha said, “Son, you cannot marry her! She is regarded
as your sister!”
The son, who is sad and unhappy, began to cry.
His mother came, and asked him, “What is the problem with you,
son,? What is the problem?
“Mother, I want to get married with the ddaughter of a person, she is
regarded as my sister. I want to marry another one, she is
regarded as my sister!... This is what my father says!...”His
mother came and hugged him: “Don’t cry, dear son, there is
nothing. You can marry the one you want to! Djoha is not
Linguistic Humor Theory
Importance of cognition and culture in translation
Djoha anecdotes tell us much about the culture,
language, and stereotypes of people of the lands of the
Turkish words create some problems, while we are
Looking at specific dictionaries can solve the problem.
Linguistic Humor Theory should be applied to other
anecdotes in the future.
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Attardo & Raskin, V. (1991). Script Theory Revis(it)ed: Joke Similarity and Joke Representation Model.
Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 4 (3- 4), pp. 293 - 347.
Bardavid, B. (1997). Bizim Hoca - Nasreddin Hoca. Toplumbilim (6), 87 - 96.
Bucaria, C. (2004). Lexical and syntactic ambiguity as a source of humor: The case of newspaper
headlines. Humor 17 – 3, pp. 279 – 309.
Koen-Sarano, M. (compiler). (1991). Djoha Ke Dize?: Kuentos Populares Djudeo-Espanyoles.
Koen-Sarano, M. (compiler). (2005). Kuentos del Bel para Abasho. Istanbul: Gozlem.
Koşal, H. (1997). Gülme ve dünyayı güldüren tip: Nasreddin Hoca. (Laughter and the Type Who
Makes World Laugh: Nasreddin Hoca). Türk Yurdu, pp. 40 – 42.
Oğuz, M. (1997). Nasreddin Hoca Araştırmalarında Metot Meselesi. (The Problem of Method in
the Researches on Nasreddin Hoca). Türk Yurdu, pp. 25 – 27.
Özmen, M. (1999). 1990 Sonrası Mizah Dergilerinde Mizah Dili. (The Linguistic Humor in the
Humor Magazines Published after 1990). Papers of the Third International Turkish Language
Congress, held in 1996. Ankara: Kılıçarslan Matbaacılık.
Meier, S. E. (2008). Physiological Psychology, Brodmann’s area, available from:
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Sağlam, S. (1997). Nasreddin Hoca: Kimliği ve Mizahı.
(Nasreddin Hoca: His Identity and Humor). Türk Yurdu
Pp. 28 – 31.
Shaul, E. (1994). Folklor de los Judios de Turkiya. Istanbul: Isis.
Sakaoglu, Saim. Bir Nasreddin Hoca Fıkrası”, Yağmur, 1 (3),
Haziran 1977, 35-38.
Sakaoglu, Saim “Avrupalı Seyyahların Eserlerinde Nasreddin
Hoca”, Türk Folkloru
Araştırmaları 1981, (1), Ankara 1981, 59-73. Sansal, B.
(2005). About Turkey. Retrieved October 06, 2006, from:
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