In this answer to a question that concerned the ways in which languages change and evolve, @SethJ made reference to a sugya that discusses the differences between different dialects of Aramaic, and a corresponding Tosafot that evidences an awareness of different Romance languages belonging to the same language family. I am trying to find this sugya (and this Tosafot), but with no avail. Does anybody know which passage SethJ was referring to?

(I have already asked this by means of a comment on SethJ's answer, but since he doesn't know I figure that asking it again as its own question might draw it to the attention of a broader range of people.)

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    I started to look it up, didn't find it, and forgot to go back to it. Thanks for the reminder!
    – Seth J
    May 29, 2013 at 13:24
  • I may have remembered more detail than actually exists. I think I found the Tosafoth, which refers to observable differences in La'az in different countries (but doesn't specify). I'm going to update that answer now.
    – Seth J
    May 29, 2013 at 13:58

1 Answer 1


I found the Gemara and Tosafoth in question. As I explain in my revised answer there:

In the 7th chapter of Bava Kama (Bab. 83a) the Gemara quotes a Baraitha that mentions the language of "Sursi", and there is a commentary by Tosafoth explaining that "Sursi" is a dialect of Aramaic spoken in Eretz Yisrael. To address the obvious question of why it has a different name, Rabbeinu Tam says: "לפי שמעט משתנה כעין לשון לעז שמדברים אותו לשון צח במדינה אחת יותר מבאחרת"; (loose translation) "It had changed enough to be considered its own language, similar to La'az, which is more or less pure depending on where you are."

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