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    * Aramaic *

    آرامیک


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    Aramaic is a Semitic language. It is the original language of large sections of the Old Testament.The earliest Aramaic texts are inscriptions in an alphabet of Phoenician origin found in the northern Levant dating from с 850 to 600 BC. The period 600-200 BC saw a dramatic expansion of Aramaic, leading to the development of a standard form known as Imperial Aramaic. In later centuries, as "Standard Literary Aramaic," it became a linguistic model. Classical Aramaic (с AD 200-1200) has an abundant literature, both in Syriac and in Mandaic . With the rise of Islam, Arabic rapidly supplanted Aramaic as a vernacular in South Asia. Modern Aramaic (Neo-Aramaic) comprises West Neo-Aramaic, spoken in three villages northeast of Damascus, Syria, and East Neo-Aramaic, a group of languages spoken in scattered settlements of Jews and Christians in southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq, and northwestern Iran, and by modern Mandaeans in the Shatt Al-Arab. Modern Aramaic is spoken today as a first language by many scattered, predominantly small, and largely isolated communities of differing Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups of West Asia most numerously by the Assyrians in the form of Assyrian Neo-Aramaic and the Chaldeans in the form of Chaldean Neo-Aramaic that have all retained use of the once dominant lingua franca despite subsequent language shifts experienced throughout the Middle East. (Wikipedia) - Aramaic language   (Redirected from Aramaic) Not to be confused with the Amharic language. "Aramaic" redirects here. For other uses, see Aramaic (disambiguation). Aramaic Geographic distribution: Linguistic classification: Proto-language: Subdivisions: ISO 639-2 / 5: Linguasphere: Glottolog:
    ܐܪܡܝܐ‎, ארמית Arāmît
    Fertile Crescent, Eastern Arabia
    Afro-Asiatic
    • Semitic
      • Central Semitic
        • Northwest Semitic
          • Aramaic
    Old Aramaic (before 700 BC) Imperial Aramaic (700–300 BC)
    • Western Aramaic
    • Eastern Aramaic
    •  ? Armazic (0–200 AD)
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    Arāmāyā in Syriac Esṭrangelā script

    Aramaic (Classical Syriac: ܐܪܡܝܐ Aramaya) is a family of languages or dialects, belonging to the Semitic family. More specifically, it is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily, which also includes Canaanite languages such as Hebrew and Phoenician. The Aramaic script was widely adopted for other languages and is ancestral to both the Arabic and modern Hebrew alphabets.

    During its over 3,000 years of written history, Aramaic has served variously as a language of administration of empires and as a language of divine worship. It was the lingua franca of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Neo-Babylonian Empire and Achaemenid Empire, the day-to-day language of Yehud Medinata and of Judaea (539 BC – 70 AD), the language that Jesus probably used the most, the language of large sections of the biblical books of Daniel and Ezra, and is the main language of the Talmud and Syriac Christianity, in particular the Assyrian Church of the East, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Ancient Church of the East, the Saint Thomas Christian Churches in India, the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Maronite Church. However, Jewish Aramaic was different from the other forms both in lettering and grammar. Parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls are in Jewish Aramaic showing the Jewish lettering, related to the Hebrew script. Aramaic was also the original language of the Bahrani people of Eastern Arabia.

    Aramaic''s long history and diverse and widespread use has led to the development of many divergent varieties, which are sometimes considered dialects, though they are distinct enough that they are sometimes considered languages. Therefore, there is not one singular, static Aramaic language; each time and place rather has had its own variation. Aramaic is retained as a liturgical language by certain Eastern Christian churches, in the form of Syriac, the Aramaic variety by which Eastern Christianity was diffused, whether or not those communities once spoke it or another form of Aramaic as their vernacular, but have since shifted to another language as their primary community language.

    Modern Aramaic is spoken today as a first language by many scattered, predominantly small, and largely isolated communities of differing Christian, Jewish, and Mandean ethnic groups of West Asia—most numerously by the Assyrians in the form of Assyrian Neo-Aramaic and Chaldean Neo-Aramaic—that have all retained use of the once dominant lingua franca despite subsequent language shifts experienced throughout the Middle East. The Aramaic languages are now considered endangered.

    ContentsEtymology

    The term Aramaic in English is derived from the Biblical Hebrew term "aramit" (אֲרָמִ֔ית), used in the Hebrew Bible. In the Koine Greek New Testament, the word Aramaic is not used, although some uses of the word "Hebrew" are translated as "Aramaic".

    Geographic distributionSyriac Aramaic inscription at Syro-Malabar Catholic Major Archbishop''s House in India.

    During the Neo-Assyrian and the Neo-Babylonian period, Aramaeans, the native speakers of Aramaic, began to settle in greater numbers, at first in Babylonia, and later in Assyria (Upper Mesopotamia; modern-day northern Iraq, northeast Syria, northwest Iran), Bahrain, and south eastern Ancient Armenia. The influx eventually resulted in the Neo Assyrian Empire and Chaldean Dynasty of Babylonia becoming operationally bilingual in written sources, with Aramaic used alongside Akkadian. As these empires, and the Persian Empire that followed, extended their influence in the region, Aramaic gradually became the lingua franca of most of Western Asia and Egypt. From the late 7th century AD onwards, Aramaic was gradually replaced as the lingua franca of the Middle East by Arabic. However, Aramaic remains a spoken, literary and liturgical language among indigenous Assyrians, and Jews. It is spoken by the Assyrians of Iraq, northeast Syria, southeast Turkey and northwest Iran, with diaspora communities in Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and southern Russia. Mandaeans also continue to use Aramaic as a liturgical language, as most are now Arabic-speakers. There are still also a small number of native speakers of Western Aramaic in isolated villages in western Syria. The turbulence of the last two centuries (particularly the Assyrian Genocide) has seen speakers of first-language and literary Aramaic dispersed throughout the world. However, there are a number of sizable Assyrian towns in northern Iraq such as Alqosh, Bakhdida, Bartella, Tel Esqof and Tel Keppe, where Aramaic is still the main spoken language, and many cities and towns in this region also have Aramaic speaking communities.

    Aramaic languages and dialects

    Aramaic is often spoken of as a single language. However, it is in reality a group of related languages, rather than a single monolithic language—something which it has never been. Some Aramaic languages are more different from each other than the