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Studies in the Grammar and Lexicon of Neo-Aramaic

Studies in the Grammar and Lexicon of Neo-Aramaic Geoffrey Khan and Paul M. Noorlander (eds)
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The volume makes a major contribution to the field of Neo-Aramaic and significantly advances research. The articles present new analyses and new primary data from several endangered dialects, many of which have so far not been systematically documented, and in some cases have not been documented at all. It is good to see that the examples have been given glossing, so that this important material will be accessible more widely by general linguists. Many of the articles are written by leading scholars of the field. Particularly commendable is the fact that the authors include also early career scholars and native speakers of Neo-Aramaic dialects who are based in universities in Iraq and Europe. The volume, therefore, represents also a major stimulus to research in the future.
Prof Hezy Mutzafi, Tel Aviv University

The Neo-Aramaic dialects are modern vernacular forms of Aramaic, which has a documented history in the Middle East of over 3,000 years. Due to upheavals in the Middle East over the last one hundred years, thousands of speakers of Neo-Aramaic dialects have been forced to migrate from their homes or have perished in massacres. As a result, the dialects are now highly endangered. The dialects exhibit a remarkable diversity of structures. Moreover, the considerable depth of attestation of Aramaic from earlier periods provides evidence for pathways of change. For these reasons the research of Neo-Aramaic is of importance for more general fields of linguistics, in particular language typology and historical linguistics.

The papers in this volume represent the full range of research that is currently being carried out on Neo-Aramaic dialects. They advance the field in numerous ways. In order to allow linguists who are not specialists in Neo-Aramaic to benefit from the papers, the examples are fully glossed.

Studies in the Grammar and Lexicon of Neo-Aramaic
Geoffrey Khan and Paul M. Noorlander (eds) | January 2021
540pp. | 1 B&W illustration | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
Semitic Languages and Cultures vol.5 | ISSN: 2632-6906 (Print); 2632-6914 (Online)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783749478
ISBN Hardback: 9781783749485
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783749492
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783749508
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783749515
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781783749522
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0209
Subject Codes: BIC: CFF (Historical and comparative linguistics), CFP (Translation and interpretation); BISAC: REL006020 (RELIGION / Biblical Biography / General), LAN009010 (LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Historical & Comparative). OCLC Number: 1232502127.

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Glossing Abbreviations


Preface Download
Geoffrey Khan and Paul M. Noorlander


A History of the Intransitive Preterite of Ṭuroyo: From a Property Adjective to a Finite Tense Download
Eugene Barsky and Sergey Loesov

Towards a Typology of Possessors and Experiencers in Neo-Aramaic: Non-Canonical Subjects as Relics of a Former Dative Case Download
Paul M. Noorlander

The Jewish Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Dohok: Two Folktales and Selected Features of Verbal Semantics Download
Dorota Molin

Verbal Forms Expressing Discourse Dependency in North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic Download
Geoffrey Khan

Conditional Patterns in the Jewish Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Zakho Download
Eran Cohen

Language Contact and Ṭuroyo: The Case of the Circumstantial Clause Download
Michael Waltisberg

The Morphosyntactic Conservatism of Western Neo-Aramaic despite Contact with Syrian Arabic Download
Ivri Bunis

On the Afel Stem in Western Neo-Aramaic Download
Steven E. Fassberg

The Re-Emergence of the Genitive in North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic Download
Ariel Gutman

Modelling Variation in the Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Azran with Articulatory Phonology Download
Lidia Napiorkowska

On the Origin of Some Plant Names in Ṣūrayt/Ṭūrōyo in Ṭūr ʿAbdīn Download
Aziz Tezel

Remarks on Selected Exponents of the 208-Swadesh List in Ṭuroyo Download
Eugene Barsky and Yulia Furman

Neo-Aramaic Animal Names Download
Hezy Mutzafi

A Corpus-Based Swadesh Word List for Literary Christian Urmi (New Alphabet Texts) Download
Alexey Lyavdansky

Lexical Items relating to Material Culture in the NENA Dialects of the Aqra Region Download
Aziz Emmanuel Eliya Al-Zebari

Arabic Loanwords in the Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Ankawa Download
Salam Neamah Hirmiz Hakeem

Language Loss in the Ṣūrayt/Ṭūrōyo-speaking Communities of the Diaspora in Sweden Download
Sina Tezel

About the publishing team


Eugene Barsky (PhD, St Tikhon’s Orthodox University of Humanities, Moscow, 2010) researched the Book of Ezra in his PhD thesis. His current work focuses on the grammar of Aramaic and the history of the Bible. His previous publications on Neo-Aramaic relate to the lexicon of Ṭuroyo and Mlaḥso.

Sergey Loesov (PhD, Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, 1994) is a professor at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow). His research publications concern the following main fields: history of Aramaic, Neo-Aramaic dialectology, history of Akkadian and morphosyntax of Akkadian.

Paul M. Noorlander (PhD, Leiden University, 2018) is a Rubicon Fellow at Leiden University seconded to the University of Cambridge. His current work focuses on the documentation of endangered Neo-Aramaic dialects originally spoken in Turkey and coordinating the development of the online NENA database and NENA digital corpus. His PhD thesis was on the typology of alignment in Neo-Aramaic. He has worked on Semitic languages from a comparative-historical perspective and on diachronic developments in Aramaic in particular, including detailed syntactic studies of Late Antique Aramaic varieties. His research interests and published work also involve tense-aspect-mood, word order and contact between Neo-Aramaic and neighbouring languages such as Iranian and Armenian.

Dorota Molin is a PhD student (2018–2021) in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge, working on North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic. She obtained her MPhil degree at Cambridge for a dissertation on Biblical Hebrew quotations in the Aramaic incantation bowls in the context of Biblical Hebrew pronunciation traditions. She is interested in comparative dialectology and its contribution to understanding diachrony (e.g., grammaticalisation). She has also published on contact between Modern Hebrew and Negev Arabic and worked as a research assistant on a forthcoming Diplomatic Edition of Mishna-Codex Kaufmann (A50). She holds a BA degree in Hebrew and Arabic (Cambridge).

Geoffrey Khan (PhD, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, 1984) is Regius Professor of Hebrew at the University of Cambridge. His research publications focus on three main fields: Biblical Hebrew language (especially medieval traditions), Neo-Aramaic dialectology and medieval Arabic documents. He is the general editor of The Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics and is the senior editor of Journal of Semitic Studies. His most recent book is The Tiberian Pronunciation Tradition of Biblical Hebrew, 2 vols, Cambridge Semitic Languages and Cultures 1 (University of Cambridge & Open Book Publishers, 2020).

Eran Cohen (PhD, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2002) is a professor of linguistics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His work is mainly descriptive and comparative, covering various phases and registers of several languages—Akkadian, Neo-Aramaic, Biblical and Modern Hebrew, as well as various aspects of comparative linguistics of Semitic. The domains covered in his work are syntax and macro-syntax, including such topics as information structure, the functional analysis of verbal systems (tense, aspect and modality, as well as its functions in narrative), the structure of narrative, conditional structures and relative clauses. Recent research topics include interrogative markers in Semitic, the diachrony of epistemic particles from a comparative perspective, genitive constructions in Semitic, conditional constructions in Semitic and manner demonstratives.

Michael Waltisberg (PhD, Marburg, 2008; Habilitation, Marburg, 2014) is currently Privatdozent at the Philipps-University of Marburg, and is employed at the University of Heidelberg as interim Professor for Semitic Linguistics. He has worked on the Semitic language family as a whole in a comparative and typological perspective, with a particular focus on issues of syntax and semantics. His main contributions are in the fields of Classical Arabic and several pre-modern and modern Aramaic varieties. He is currently participating in a project on the information structure of Syriac (Middle Aramaic).

Ivri Bunis (PhD, Hebrew University of Jerusaelm, 2018) is a post-doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge. He wrote his PhD thesis on the morphosyntax of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic of the Byzantine period. His research interests include Aramaic historical linguistics, Late Western Aramaic, Rabbinic Hebrew in contact with Aramaic and Western Neo-Aramaic in contact with Syrian Arabic.

Steven E. Fassberg (PhD, Harvard University, 1984) is Caspar Levias Professor of Ancient Semitic Languages at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research has focused on Northwest Semitic, Aramaic dialectology and the Hebrew of the First and Second Temple periods. His publications in the field of Neo-Aramaic include The Jewish Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Challa (Brill, 2010). His latest book is An Introduction to the Syntax of Biblical Hebrew (Bialik Institute, 2019).

Ariel Gutman (PhD, University of Konstanz, 2016), researched Neo-Aramaic dialects for his PhD thesis in Konstanz, where he was an Associate Fellow of the Zukunftskolleg Interdisciplinary Institute. He is also an alumnus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Sorbonne Nouvelle University and the École Normale Supérieure of Paris. He has conducted linguistic fieldwork in France, in Israel and in West Papua, Indonesia. His research interests and publications are in the fields of Syriac Philology, Neo-Aramaic dialectology, Child Language Acquisition and Natural Language Processing. He is currently working as a software engineer specialising in computational linguistics at Google in Zurich.

Lidia Napiorkowska (PhD, University of Cambridge, 2013) researched the Diyana-Zariwaw dialect of Neo-Aramaic for her PhD thesis. Her postdoctoral project involved further documentation of rare Neo-Aramaic dialects in Iraqi Kurdistan, Sweden and Great Britain. She is now a lecturer at the Department of Hebrew Studies, Warsaw University, where she combines teaching Modern Hebrew with her research interests in phonology, language contact and comparative Semitic studies.

Aziz Tezel is a Researcher Emeritus in Semitic Languages. His research focuses on etymological problems, borrowings, quadriradical verbal formations, flora and the bgdkft-consonants. His book publications include Comparative Etymological Studies in the Western Neo-Syriac (Ṭūrōyo) Lexicon (Uppsala University, 2003).

Yulia Furman (PhD, Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, 2017) is an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her PhD thesis was on a 7th-century Syriac universal history by John bar Penkaye. Her research interests include Neo-Aramaic languages, the grammar of Classical Syriac and the history of Syriac literature. Her current project deals with the lexical and grammatical aspect of the uroyo verb.

Hezy Mutzafi (PhD, Tel Aviv University, 2001) is Professor of Semitic Linguistics in the Department of Hebrew Language and Semitic Linguistics, Tel Aviv University. His research and publications focus on Neo-Aramaic dialectology, in particular North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic regional varieties and Neo-Mandaic. His latest book is Comparative Lexical Studies in Neo-Mandaic (Brill 2014).

Alexey Lyavdansky is a lecturer of Classical Hebrew and Aramaic at the Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow). His research and publications focus on Neo-Aramaic, Babylonian Aramaic and Classical Hebrew. Currently, he is leading a project to create an electronic corpus of literary Christian Urmi Neo-Aramaic. He is also undertaking documentation of the Neo-Aramaic dialects in Russia.

Aziz Emmanuel Eliya Al-Zebari (PhD, Salahaddin University, Erbil, 2018) is a lecturer in the English Department of the Catholic University of Erbil, Iraq. He was born in the village of Upper Gerbish in the area of Nekhla, North of Aqra. For his PhD thesis he documented the Neo-Aramaic dialect of the Aqra region.

Salam Neamah Hirmiz Hakeem (PhD, Salahaddin University, Erbil, 2010) focuses on three main fields of research: sociolinguistics, text analysis and pedagogy. He teaches Syriac in the Department of Syriac of Salahaddin University. He is a native speaker of the Ankawa dialect of Neo-Aramaic and has researched the impact of Arabic on this dialect and its sociolinguistics motivations.

Sina Tezel (PhD, Uppsala University, 2011) is Senior Lecturer in Semitic Languages at the University of Uppsala. Her PhD thesis was on Arabic loanwords in Ṣūrayt/Ṭūrōyo. Her current research focuses on comparative Semitics, loanwords, language contact, the bgdkpt-consonants and neologisms.