Rough Diamonds is a gripping Netflix crime thriller directed by Rotem Shamir, Yuval Yefet, and Cecilia Verheyden. The show follows a prodigal son who destroys his family’s diamond empire, forcing his brother to return to Antwerp and delve into the dark diamond trade. One of the most intriguing aspects of the series is the language used by the characters, which adds an extra layer of authenticity and cultural richness to the plot. Can you guess what language they are speaking? Join us in discovering the answer and immersing yourself in the fascinating world of the Jewish diamond industry in Antwerp.
You can watch the official trailer for Rough Diamonds here on Youtube.
What is the language spoken in Rough Diamonds?
The series Rough Diamonds is primarily filmed in Flemish language and revolves around the Jewish community that has been an integral part of the city’s history for centuries. Flemish, also known as Belgian Dutch, is a variety of Dutch spoken in Flanders, the northern region of Belgium. It is one of the official languages of Belgium, along with French and German: it is spoken by approximately 6 million people in Belgium, and it has several dialects that vary depending on the region.
However, one of the most intriguing features of the series Rough Diamonds is the use of a second language: Yiddish, which further immerses viewers in the rich cultural traditions of the Jewish community in Antwerp. Yiddish language is a Germanic language that developed in the Middle Ages from medieval High German. For centuries, it was spoken by Ashkenazi Jews in Central and Eastern Europe and became an important language for Jewish culture, spanning literature, music, theater, and poetry.
To close the circle, the first scene of the series opens with the recitation of the Mode Ani prayer, in Hebrew. The prayer is said by Jewish people upon awakening in the morning, expressing gratitude to God for the gift of life and another day. The prayer begins with the words:
מוֹדֶה אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ חַי וְקַיָּם, שֶׁהֶחֱזַרְתָּ בִּי נִשְׁמָתִי בְּחֶמְלָה. רַבָּה אֱמוּנָתֶךָ.
“Mode ani lefanecha, melech chai vekayam, shehechezarta bi nishmati b’chemlah, rabbah emunatecha”
which roughly translates to “I thank You, living and eternal King, for restoring my soul within me with compassion; great is Your faithfulness.”
Although Yiddish has significantly declined in most Jewish communities worldwide, it is still spoken in some parts of Europe, Israel, and North America. In the series Rough Diamonds, the use of Yiddish language helps to create an authentic atmosphere and reflect the rich history and culture of the Jewish community in Antwerp.
Overall, Rough Diamonds is a captivating portrayal of the Jewish community in Antwerp, with Yiddish providing an authentic and genuine dimension to the story.