Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Promoting Hebrew as a Universal Language: Sifte Cohen printed in Djerba 1952

In 1952, Sifte Cohen שפתי כהן was printed in Djerba. It is a brief Hebrew dictionary with Judeo-Arabic translations following the Hebrew explanation of the words. The title page proudly states that this is based on
ספר המלים הנדפס מחדש בדפוס האלמנה והאחים ווילנא
The Sefer Hamilim published in Vilna by the Widom Romm and Brothers Press
Following the title page, the author describes his motivation for writing this book.

גם לקיום לאומיותינו כי אין אומה בלא לשון
To preserve our Nationalism, as there is no nation without a language

 גם בגשמי יועיל להנוסעים ממדינה למדינה למצוא מי שמכיר שפתם שאין לך מקום שלא נמצא בו מאחינו בני ישראל ובהם ימצאון הרבה מכירים בשפתינו
Also in material needs it is an aid, for those travelling from place to place to find someone who speaks their tongue. As there is no place in the world that you will not find one of our Jewish Brethren and between them many who speak our language

sample page from book
At end of book, the one doing the translating writes how he was working without the Romm Printing of the original Sefer Hamilim as he could not locate a copy. Indicating perhaps the scarcity of Vilna Printings in Tunis.
לא היה בידי רק בהגליונות הראשונים

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