Friday, August 24, 2012

Which Aramaic should I learn?

One important thing you should know about Aramaic is that it was not uniform.It went through many different phases and developed into numerous dialects which were written in various versions of the Aramaic script.

Some parts of the Bible were written in Aramaic-the books of Daniel and Ezra.The material there, is limited which means that it will take you less time to study it.Thus Biblical Aramaic is good start for you,but you will need to learn the Aramaic square script (Hebrew) to read it.

On the other hand Classical Syriac Aramaic has a vast body of texts of all kinds written in it.Actually it is the third largest corpus,after Greek and Latin ,which survived from late antiquity.Syriac is written is the Syriac script ,the earliest version of it being the Estrangelo.The other two are Madnkhaya and Serto.

In my opinion the Estrangelo is a very beautiful script and if you also like it,then Syriac is a good place to start your Aramaic.

You can even combine Classical Syriac with one of the Neo-Aramaic dialects like Assyrian Neo-Aramaic (the most popular in terms of speakers),many of which descended from it or were influenced by it.Neo-Aramaic is a number of contemporary languages and if you are lucky enough you may even come across a native speaker of it.The live mainly in Aramaic-speaking enclaves in the Middle East and in many western countries.

Now,if you want to study what Jesus spoke then Galilean Aramaic is the dialect for you.

Knowledge of  Hebrew,or Arabic,or any other Semitic language would be a great help,since they share a large common vocabulary and characteristics,being in the same language family.

So,it is up to you to decide which Aramaic to learn.If you are still in confusion where to start ,don't worry.Keep reading this blog and it will come to you later where to focus on.

Good luck with your studies!


You can start here.
What is Aramaic?
the Aramaic script
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