Endangered Language Alliance
Juhuri is classified by linguists as belonging to a distinct Tat branch of the Southwestern Iranian languages, closely related to Muslim Tat and, at a greater distance, to Classical, Middle, and Modern Persian, with which it is not mutually intelligible. Tajik-Israeli researcher Michael Zand has identified at least four distinct dialects spoken in Derbent, Quba, Makhachkala-Nalchik, and Vartashan (now Oguz). Influences from Hebrew are apparently manifest in the lexicon and phonology of the language, while neighboring Caucasian languages and more recently Russian have also significantly influenced the language.
Written with semi-cursive Hebrew letters until the early Soviet period, Juhuri books, newspapers, textbooks, and other materials were later printed with a Latin alphabet and finally in Cyrillic, still most common today. During the Soviet period, early official support for the language, especially in Dagestan, gave way to a policy of Russification after the 1930s. Famous poets, playwrights, and prose writers have included Yono Semyonov, Mishi Bakshiyev, and Danil Atnilov, among others. The Theater of the Eastern Caucasus, the only Juhuri-language theater in the world, was founded in Derbent in 1923 and re-established in Israel in 2001.
Anisimov, N. A. 1932. Qrammatik zühun tati. M. (A grammar written in Judeo-Tat/Juhuri).
Authier, Gilles. 2012. Grammaire du juhuri ou judéo-tat, langue iranienne des Juifs du Caucase de l’Est. Wiesbaden: Reichert.
Authier, Gilles. 2016. Tat. In Müller et al. (Ed.), Word-Formation. An International Handbook of the Languages of Europe. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter: 3112-3129.
Bram, Chen. 2008. The Language of Caucasus Jews: Language Preservation and Sociolinguistic Dilemmas before and after the Migration to Israel. Irano-Judaica VI. Jerusalem.
Clifton, John M., Gabriela Deckinga, Laura Lucht, & Calvin Tiessen. 2003. The sociolinguistic situation of the Tat and Mountain Jews in Azerbaijan. In Clifton, ed., Studies in Languages of Azerbaijan, vol. 2, pp. 93-161. Baku, Azerbaijan & St Petersburg, Russia: Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan & SIL International.
Gryunberg, A. L. 1963. Язык Североазербайджанских татов. Leningrad. (This deals generally with “Muslim” Tat, but is a valuable resource nonetheless for its comparison of the lexicon and grammar of Tat with other Iranian languages).
Hacıyev, M. 1995. Azərbaycan tatlarının dili. Bakı. (Treats Juhuri along with Tat more generally, in Azerbaijani).
Miller, V. F. 1992. Материалы для изучения еврейско-татского языка. Saint-Petersburg.
Miller, V. F. 1903. Очерк морфологии еврейского-татского языка. Труды Лазаревского Института восточных языков, выш, III-IV.
Zand, Michael. 1985. The Literature of the Mountain Jews of the Caucasus. Soviet Jewish Affairs 15:2.
Stmegi’s Juhuri lessons for Russian speakers – http://stmegi.com/tv/lessons_dzhuuri/
Gorsky Kavkazi Jews of NY – http://www.gorskyjews.com/
ELA’s Jewish Languages Initiative is recording Juhuri speakers talking about their lives and the histories and customs of the community, in collaboration with leaders at the community synagogue in Brooklyn. These are among the first professionally made, multimedia recordings of the language to be made publicly available.