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Old Rhodes at night, 2023
Old Rhodes, 11:40 pm. Mostly quiet, and the odd car is allowed back in, just a few stragglers at restaurants that are otherwise closed. But the off street clubs are still pumping music, and the one open souvlaki joint is waiting for the 1 am rush.
The piazza that riotously greeted me with tourists and touters earlier in the day is Jewish Martyrs Square, and now that the crowds have scattered, I can see the multilingual monument to them. On this side, in Ladino, the language that the Jews of Rhodes spoke.
Ladino by the way was normally written in Hebrew script, and is just archaic Spanish, much closer to modern Spanish than Yiddish is to German. But when written in Roman characters, it’s phonetic, as here, or else it follows Turkish orthography, since that’s where most speakers are now.
The remaining Ladino speakers have no strong motivation to be loyal to the spelling used by those that drove them out of Spain…
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