This is a fun, enjoyable book to browse through but, as a tool for learners of Ladino, or anyone with more than a bit of passing curiosity, it's likely to prove frustrating and virtually useless.
Ladino is, in fact, in worse shape than Yiddish. Very few Sefardim under the age of 60 now have much knowledge of Cudezmo (also spelt Djudezmo and Judezmo)here in Turkey. As a result, the authors probably assumed that this book would be used more as a toy for the curious- after all, who wants to learn a moribund language?
The truth is however, that there are people who might like to get some deeper acquaintaince with this language and, to assist this section of the book's potential customer base, it might have been nice to have done some of the following:
1)Give the spelling of words in Hebrew script. Transliterated Ladino is a late-comer that only became widespread at the point of its virtual demise i.e. the advent of the Turkish Republic when the language largely retreated before Turkish. When Atatürk decided to romanise Turkish, several Jewish communities began using the same letters to write Ladino, and this is still the practice in the back pages of "Shalom" the Istanbul Jewish community newspaper, which are still written in romanised Ladino. The confusion with different spellings that cause so much frustration in this dictionary stem from different approaches adopted by different communities who chose to align themselves with Modern-Turkish, French or Modern Spanish spelling conventions in the 1920's. By all means, give the common Romanised spellings of lexical items, but please, also include the traditional Hebrew script version as well.
2.) Rather than just randomly compiling words and phrases from various communities and historical periods with no notes on usage or origin, please spell out the origin and use of lexis. It is useful to know that a given word is used only in Salonika or Izmir or that a particular phrase is indigenous to Sofia or Istanbul. Moreover, if an item is "high Ladino" or "street Cudezmo" it would be nice to know that too.
3.) Take care to check and cross-reference words and phrases adopted directly from other languages such as Turkish and Greek. I suspect the authors may have left Turkey at a young age as many of the Turkish lexis are both misspelled and/or incorrectly translated. Naturally, some of this confusion comes from the fact that, until the Republic, many Sefardim were not, in fact, fluent in Turkish and may have heard things wrong. Where possible however, it would be nice to note this for the user's benefit.
Having said all that, I did, after all, rather enjoy this dictionary. I am one of the passingly-interested "browsers" interested in its curio value as, in fact, anyone knowing Spanish, Hebrew and Turkish can more or less follow written and spoken Ladino without much trouble.
In short, only buy this dictionary if you are just looking for a fun book to flip the pages of on a rainy day but don't imagine it will help you become fluent.