• Our popular and beloved forums are finally back, after being down since April 2018 due to hosting and server issues. We have now switched to a better platform, while maintenaing all data as it was before (contents and user names) . Thank you for your patience and loyalty. If you have any questions, need to report an error, or are having trouble logging in, please email us at: assyrianvoice@rogers.com

ܫܡܐ ܕܒܵܒܐ ܒܪܘܢܐ ܘ ܪܘܚܐ ܕ ܩܘܕܫܐ who can read this?

~..Parkhaneeta..~

New member
who can read this sentence? its challenge to see if u can read assyrian or not
by the way cuz i have these assyrian letters just lemme know if u want me to transle them in english and see what they r :)
 

Carlo

Active member
Some points:

*"Baba" is either slang ("daddy") or taken from Arabic/another language or both. The older pronunciation is "ava" (aleph-beth-aleph). Same thing goes with "yima," which is "ima" (aleph-meem-aleph). If you spell "yima" out, it looks exactly like "yama" ("sea," yudh-meem-aleph). "Ima" ("mother") is not to be confused with the modern pronunciation of "hundred" (which is "m'a" in the old spelling, like Arabic, meem-aleph-aleph).

*So to recap, modern pronunciation -> older spelling:
**baba -> ava (aleph-beth-aleph, "father")
**yima -> ima (aleph-meem-aleph, "mother")
**ima -> m'a (meem-aleph-aleph, "hundred")

*Originally "brona" meant "little son," it's the diminitive of "bra" ("son"). Adding the "-ona" suffix to masculine words makes them "smaller." Think of replacing the final aleph with taw aleph, changing the gender of the word: malka (king), malkta (queen). So bra (son), brtha (daughter, but "brtha" can't be pronounced so you have to stick a pthakha in there to get "bartha"). Same thing happened with akha (brother, think of akhatha/khatha=sister) and akhona (little brother). (Some dialects further shifted this to khona, removing the initial "a-"). The meanings of the diminitive words changed over time.

*The bdhol letters (beth, daleth, waw, lamedh) act as prefixes so you have to stick them right onto the beginning of the word instead of just leaving them standing alone. You did it with one daleth, but left the other daleth and a waw separated.

*You spelled it right, but some people pronounce "qodsha" ("holiness") like "qocha" nowadays, which kind of sucks when you're trying to spell the word. Qoph-waw-daleth-sheen-aleph comes from the root q-d-sh, from which we also get the adjective qadeesh(t)a ("holy"). I've never heard someone say "qaeecha," have you? (This reminds me to make a topic on the all-important roots later.)

*Only a single vowel was placed in the entire sentence. Why? Either put them all or none of them: "ܫܡܵܐ ܕܒܵܒܵܐ ܒܪܘܿܢܵܐ ܘܪܘܼܚܵܐ ܕܩܘܿܕܫܵܐ"

So keeping all these things in mind, a better spelling would be "ܫܡܐ ܕܐܒܐ ܘܒܪܐ ܘܪܘܚܐ ܕܩܘܕܫܐ."  :)
 

kitab500

Member
ܒܫܸܡܵܐ ܕܒܵܒܵܐ ܘܒܪܘܿܢܵܐ ܘܪܘܼܚܵܐ ܕܩܘܼܕܫܵܐ

b-?imā⁾ d-bābā⁾ w-bronā⁾ w-ruḫā⁾ d-qud?ā⁾

This is Modern Eastern Assyrian Aramaic

ܒܫܸܡ ܐܲܒܼܵܐ ܘܲܒܼܪܵܐ ܘܪܘܼܚܵܐ ܕܩܘܼܕܼܫܵܐ

b-?im ⁾aḇā⁾ wa-ḇrā⁾ w-ruḫā⁾ d-qud?ā⁾

This is Eastern Syriac Aramaic

ܒܫܶܡ ܐܰܒܼܳܐ ܘܰܒܼܪܳܐ ܘܪܘܽܚܳܐ ܕܩܘܽܕܫܳܐ

b-?ēm ⁾aḇo⁾ wa-ḇro⁾ w-ruḫo⁾ d-qud?o⁾

This is Western Syriac Aramaic

The main differences between Western and Eastern Syriac are vowel systems and pronounciation. In essence they are the same language. Eastern uses the Eastern script or Estrangela and the Eastern Vowel System. Western usually uses the Western script or Estrangelo and occassionally the Eastern Script for titles, etc. Western usually uses the Western Vowel System, but can also use the Eastern one as well and sometimes a combination of both.

For the transliteration I am using the LeedsUni font which has all the special characters to show the transliterated letters without ambiguity. (e.g. "k" with a line under it is kap rukakha or "kh" as in the word rukakha, but when you write just "kh" it could be a kap followed by a he.

Question: Do you have to have the font installed on your computer to see it when posted here?

I would try to add Turoyo/Suryoyo (Modern Western Assyrian Aramaic), but I do not have a dictionary that shows Turoyo in the Syriac script. Does anyone know of one that has it in Syriac script?

Notice that in Syriac the word "name" is in the construct state and therefore supplies the genitive "of" without using the dalat. I don't believe that this is a feature of Modern Eastern or Western Assyrian. Does anyone know for sure? Also notice the way Holy Spirit is rendered - "Spirit of Holiness". I wonder if the normal way to render "Holy Spirit" was not used because the adjective would have to be feminine - Rukha Qadishta instead of Rukha Qadisha.

I don't agree with the "better spelling" theory. Aramaic is a large family of languages and the Modern Eastern and Western Assyrian languages are not "debased" or "corrupted" forms of Syriac. They are parallel languages that were probably always spoken but not written. Modern Eastern Assyrian is not "new" or "Neo" either. It is attested to in the 16th century when writing it first started and it certainly did not form just at that moment but had a longer history before that as only a spoken language. (Compare studies in spoken medieval Arabic which are chiefly attested to in Judeo and Christian Arabic sources because they used their own scripts to write them. Spoken and Literary languages exist side by side with one another and both change over time, but the greatest changes occur in a spoken language.)  Spoken languages are living and grow and change over time. There is nothing inherently wrong about that. Yes, our Modern Assyrian languages have many loan words from other languages and some of these are for things that seem rather common, but why are we expending so much effort to "purge" and "purify" our language rather than simply learning it. In the case of Modern Assyrian Aramaic, from the beginning of when it started to be written down in earnest (1840's) there has always been a process in place of bringing its spelling and vocabulary in line with Syriac - at first, so that it could be better understood by people that did not speak the Urmia dialect, and later because Assyrians wanted to dump as many of the obvious loan words as possible. This process works best when it is gradual, cautious, and well informed. However, it also has a downside - Try to read some of the important historical documents like periodicals and books in Modern Eastern Assyrian from before the 20th century - there are many words we no longer know.

Another aspect that needs to be addressed here is education. Syriac is our literary "learned" language and it holds a rich treasure trove of 2000 years of literature which should never be ignored. But is is currently a "dead" language in the sense that no one learns it from birth and there are probably only a few hundred that can actually carry on a conversation in it, although, thanks to its retention in some churches, many hundreds hear it and have an opportunity to learn some of it by following bi-lingual service books.  If we try to too quickly make our Modern Assyrian (either Eastern or Western) conform to Syriac, this creates a problem for education because students learn better when taught in their spoken language. Compare the problems of edication and diaglosia in Arabic speaking countries that teach in literery Arabic only. Plus, forcing things to artifically conform, especially in language, usually brings a loss of real vitality, enegry and imagination.

I think we need to be proud that we have different varieties of Aramaic and learn and teach them for what they are. As in the political and religious realms, "Unity" cannot and should not be forced at the expense of loosing our rich diversity. Syriac is and will always be a learned literary language, like Latin was to some many people in the West until the last century.  We should learn it always along side our living spoken languages and allow these also to have a place in the literary world. Historically, I know that it seems that the rise of Modern Eastern Assyrian literature was at the expense of Syriac, but that is neither entirely true nor did it have to be the case. It does not have to be the case now.

So lets please direct more energy on learning and teaching what we have an less on worrying about what "should" be right and what is "corrupt" or "foreign". Frankly if my language used Baba for father for 700 years, I think the word is mine no matter where it came from.



 

Carlo

Active member
kitab500 said:
Notice that in Syriac the word "name" is in the construct state and therefore supplies the genitive "of" without using the dalat. I don't believe that this is a feature of Modern Eastern or Western Assyrian. Does anyone know for sure?
In modern usage, there are no absolute or construct states, only emphatic.

kitab500 said:
Also notice the way Holy Spirit is rendered - "Spirit of Holiness". I wonder if the normal way to render "Holy Spirit" was not used because the adjective would have to be feminine - Rukha Qadishta instead of Rukha Qadisha.
You're thinking of it backwards, from English to Aramaic (when it should be the other way around). I think that's just the literal proper name in the language. Maybe we should be looking at why the English name is "Holy Spirit" instead of "Spirit of Holiness?"

kitab500 said:
I don't agree with the "better spelling" theory. Aramaic is a large family of languages and the Modern Eastern and Western Assyrian languages are not "debased" or "corrupted" forms of Syriac. They are parallel languages that were probably always spoken but not written.
Let's agree to disagree. In my mind, writing Neo-Aramaic the way we speak is akin to writing English or Arabic phonetically based on local dialect. Too many dialects, too many pronunciations, too many varying grammatical rules. It just doesn't work.

kitab500 said:
Modern Eastern Assyrian is not "new" or "Neo" either. It is attested to in the 16th century when writing it first started and it certainly did not form just at that moment but had a longer history before that as only a spoken language.
I think you're taking the "Neo" a little too literally. It's only given that name to distinguish it from the "old" Aramaic, so its age is relative to the older form of the language (not based on what century it can be attested in).

kitab500 said:
Spoken languages are living and grow and change over time. There is nothing inherently wrong about that.
I agree. The problem comes when we try to write them down. In English, are we going to start spelling "got to" like "gotta" or "have to" like "half to?"

kitab500 said:
Yes, our Modern Assyrian languages have many loan words from other languages and some of these are for things that seem rather common, but why are we expending so much effort to "purge" and "purify" our language rather than simply learning it.
Because learning words that aren't part of our language isn't learning "our" language, it's learning someone else's. Like I've said before, this rule doesn't apply to foreign or new concepts, just words that are replaced due to outside influence, loss over time, or other factors.

kitab500 said:
Another aspect that needs to be addressed here is education. Syriac is our literary "learned" language and it holds a rich treasure trove of 2000 years of literature which should never be ignored. But is is currently a "dead" language in the sense that no one learns it from birth and there are probably only a few hundred that can actually carry on a conversation in it, although, thanks to its retention in some churches, many hundreds hear it and have an opportunity to learn some of it by following bi-lingual service books.  If we try to too quickly make our Modern Assyrian (either Eastern or Western) conform to Syriac, this creates a problem for education because students learn better when taught in their spoken language. Compare the problems of edication and diaglosia in Arabic speaking countries that teach in literery Arabic only. Plus, forcing things to artifically conform, especially in language, usually brings a loss of real vitality, enegry and imagination.
Are you familiar with Berlitz-type language learning?

kitab500 said:
I think we need to be proud that we have different varieties of Aramaic and learn and teach them for what they are. As in the political and religious realms, "Unity" cannot and should not be forced at the expense of loosing our rich diversity.
Even if that diversity is killing us?

kitab500 said:
Syriac is and will always be a learned literary language, like Latin was to some many people in the West until the last century.
Syriac and Latin weren't always only literary languages (obviously). Is Hebrew a literary language? A hundred years ago, yes. Today's a different story.

kitab500 said:
So lets please direct more energy on learning and teaching what we have an less on worrying about what "should" be right and what is "corrupt" or "foreign". Frankly if my language used Baba for father for 700 years, I think the word is mine no matter where it came from.
Again, I've used this argument before, but there's a difference between language evolution and language corruption. If you want to use "baba" for "daddy," that's fine. I have no problem with that. Similarly, if you want to use "gor(t)a" to mean "big," I don't have a problem with that either (as it derives from the word gawra). BUT, if you want to say "in the name of the daddy and the sonny and the holy speerit" or continue to use the word "jula" to mean "clothing," I definitely have a problem with that.
 

kitab500

Member
Carlo said:
You're thinking of it backwards, from English to Aramaic (when it should be the other way around). I think that's just the literal proper name in the language. Maybe we should be looking at why the English name is "Holy Spirit" instead of "Spirit of Holiness?"
I don't think I am thinking of it either backwards or forwards  :). In the phrase "Holy Spirit", "Holy" is an adjective that modifies the noun "Spirit". In the phrase "Spirit of Holiness" there are two nouns and their relationship is clarified by "of". Are you saying that there is a difference in meaning between the two phrases? In this case I cannot see one. Also, it is not as if Rukha Qadisha is never found. In the Qurbana of Mar Addai and Mar Mari we have u-Nethe Mar Rukhakh Qadisha "And may there come my Lord Your Holy Spirit". Again, since spirit is feminine, I wonder why the adjective is not made to agree.
Carlo said:
Let's agree to disagree. In my mind, writing Neo-Aramaic the way we speak is akin to writing English or Arabic phonetically based on local dialect. Too many dialects, too many pronunciations, too many varying grammatical rules. It just doesn't work.
I guess I do disagree - over 150 years of Modern Eastern Assyrian language writing and literature and now we realize it doesn't work? That's a pretty wild conclusion to draw about transforming a vernacular into a literary language.
Carlo said:
I think you're taking the "Neo" a little too literally. It's only given that name to distinguish it from the "old" Aramaic, so its age is relative to the older form of the language (not based on what century it can be attested in).
I just think descriptive terms should be as accurate as possible and make sense. We have adopted the same terms in our own language (lishana ka(d)ta vs. lishana atiqa) as well as others that don't hold true (swadaya vs. sipraya - yet obviously Modern Eastern Assyrian Aramaic is clearly still spoken and still certainly written in books) or surith for the modern when it can easily also mean Syriac.
Carlo said:
I agree. The problem comes when we try to write them down. In English, are we going to start spelling "got to" like "gotta" or "have to" like "half to?"
We already do when we are trying to respresent conversational slang in dialogue.
Carlo said:
Because learning words that aren't part of our language isn't learning "our" language, it's learning someone else's. Like I've said before, this rule doesn't apply to foreign or new concepts, just words that are replaced due to outside influence, loss over time, or other factors.
And I completely disagree with that. "Our" language as well as every other language has never been "pure" in the sense that there was ever a time when it never shared or borrowed vocabulary with other languages. Once a word enters into our language from another if it survives for hundreds of years it becomes aprt of our language. We usually make it conform to our pronounciation and spelling preferences. I am not against a well thought out and judicious amount of replacement of certain foreign words in the modern dialects with borrowings (yes, they would be borrowings) from Syriac and I am not against coining new terminology for things like Radio and Television, especially if they are coined from words in our language, but I am against the wholesale replacement of vocabualry based on some wierd notion of purity via a witchhunt that results in a language that is completely artificial and baren.
Carlo said:
Even if that diversity is killing us?
Respect for diversity and valuing differences is not what is killing us. What is killing us is our mentality of condemnation; taking our frustrations over our misfortunes out on each other; and blaming each other for our political, religious, linguistic, and origin differernces as if that will help us towards unity or preservation one bit.
Carlo said:
Syriac and Latin weren't always only literary languages (obviously). Is Hebrew a literary language? A hundred years ago, yes. Today's a different story.
If you want to revive Syriac as a living language, that's fine. The Western Assyrians having been trying to do that for years now - its called Kthobonoyo. Here is an interesting recent article about it: http://syrcom.cua.edu/hugoye/Vol10No2/HV10N2Kiraz.html. But I don't see any great value in trying to "reform" the moder dialects into Syriac. If you think Syriac is better or more pure - just junk the modern dialects.
Carlo said:
Again, I've used this argument before, but there's a difference between language evolution and language corruption. If you want to use "baba" for "daddy," that's fine. I have no problem with that. Similarly, if you want to use "gor(t)a" to mean "big," I don't have a problem with that either (as it derives from the word gawra). BUT, if you want to say "in the name of the daddy and the sonny and the holy speerit" or continue to use the word "jula" to mean "clothing," I definitely have a problem with that.
"Corruption" is a very harsh and loaded word and in this context it is purely a value judgement. As such it seems to me to be informed by Western Orientalist concepts. This is exactly where the concept of the modern dialects as "debased" or "corrupted" forms of Syriac comes from - the early Western missionaries and scholars. However, it was not long before less judgemental scholars actually studied and compared the languages and found that one is not the miscreant child of the other.

As far as your very interesting interpretations of the true meanings of baba and brona, well all I can say is that they are nothing more than your imagination. There is no way that you can claim that baba always means or truly means "Daddy". It could mean that on occassion, but that would need to be determined by context. A better argument could be made that "bab" means "dad", but again, context will determine that. The evidance of usgae points to the other direction. Certainly I doubt that no one who has prayed "b-shima d'baba..." ever felt or intended that they were meaning "daddy".

The fact that you have a problem with the continued use of a word like jule proves my point exactly. We cannot afford to waste our time having such "problems". If you want to put all your efforts in identifying words in all of our Aramaic dialects as to their origins, I say that is a fine use of time. We need more dictionaries that provide etymology. But if you want to pursue a crusade againts these "inpure" "foreign" words, I say that it is a waste of precious time, knowledge and resources and it only serves to confuse people and weaken efforts at language retention and expansion which should be our top priority.

In another thread people were dicussing the fate of our language, culture and people in the diaspora and they very accurately identified that in the West we are most likely to assimilate completely in a few generations - to the point that we are no longer part of an Assyrian Nation. The experience of the early Assyrian immigrants at the turn of the 20th century should help us to understand what is needed. They had publishing in Assyrian (newspapers, magazines and books), they had churches and organizations. What they never were able to establish were schools - even to the level of the village schools they had back home. Assyrian language teaching remains pretty rudimentary - pick up a primer, go to a class in church or an organization and get a very simple introduction to the language. Works to an extent - especially if you happended to grow up speaking the language. But what about those that did not and what about foreigners? We need much better materials and curricula to teach the language. Developing these would be a great use of time. I have an Assyrian friend who's daughter is 16 and she is enamoured with Japanese. Now that cannot be one of the easiest languages to learn, but look at all of the interesting and exciting things that are available to her to learn it. She speaks Assyrian, but for how long? Her father and mother speak and read to some extent, but getting the childern to try to learn reading and continue speaking without schools and good educational materials is a loosing battle.
 

Carlo

Active member
kitab500 said:
I don't think I am thinking of it either backwards or forwards  :). In the phrase "Holy Spirit", "Holy" is an adjective that modifies the noun "Spirit". In the phrase "Spirit of Holiness" there are two nouns and their relationship is clarified by "of". Are you saying that there is a difference in meaning between the two phrases? In this case I cannot see one. Also, it is not as if Rukha Qadisha is never found. In the Qurbana of Mar Addai and Mar Mari we have u-Nethe Mar Rukhakh Qadisha "And may there come my Lord Your Holy Spirit". Again, since spirit is feminine, I wonder why the adjective is not made to agree.
Sometimes the gender of a word is forgotten so it changes over time. Ke'pa ("rock") is an example that has gone from being feminine to masculine (at least in my dialect). Rukha, last time I checked, had a common gender. It might have originally been feminine (as it is in Hebrew) then started being referred to as masculine, thus giving it the common gender. That's just my thought though. 

kitab500 said:
I guess I do disagree - over 150 years of Modern Eastern Assyrian language writing and literature and now we realize it doesn't work? That's a pretty wild conclusion to draw about transforming a vernacular into a literary language.
You're talking about the Urmian standard. How do you justify taking a single dialect and making it the "offical" Neo-Aramaic literary language? When I was talking about "Neo-Aramaic dialect(s) not working," I was referring to my own dialect. I used to write how I speak: phonetically, based on words my parents taught me as I heard them. If an illiterate native speaker of English suddenly learns the alphabet, does that suddenly make them a literate? Can they write English phonetically based on what they hear?

kitab500 said:
I just think descriptive terms should be as accurate as possible and make sense. We have adopted the same terms in our own language (lishana ka(d)ta vs. lishana atiqa) as well as others that don't hold true (swadaya vs. sipraya - yet obviously Modern Eastern Assyrian Aramaic is clearly still spoken and still certainly written in books) or surith for the modern when it can easily also mean Syriac.
I agree with you in theory, yes, terms should be as descriptive and accurate as possible. But talk about wasting energy...

Names are just names. There's nothing scientific or accurate about them. Are we to believe that, by "Modern English," Shakespearean English can be readily understood by the average speaker of English living today?

kitab500 said:
We already do when we are trying to respresent conversational slang in dialogue.
Yes, when we're representing conversational slang in dialogue. I wasn't talking about that. What about formal usage?

kitab500 said:
And I completely disagree with that. "Our" language as well as every other language has never been "pure" in the sense that there was ever a time when it never shared or borrowed vocabulary with other languages. Once a word enters into our language from another if it survives for hundreds of years it becomes aprt of our language. We usually make it conform to our pronounciation and spelling preferences.
Here's where it gets tricky. Yes, there is absolutely no such thing as a "pure" language. I accept that, nor do I want to "purify" our language from all loan words. Syriac itself has multiple words borrowed from Persian, Greek, and Latin, a lot of which have survived today (again, most of which describe foreign concepts). Along with that, though, there is a very real threat to our language as we know it. A lot of these borrowings haven't even been in our language for very long: most of the Arabic words are for rare words which wouldn't have been passed on by people living in villages (things like "prison," "border," "school," etc.), some of the Persian/Kurdish/Turkish borrowings were for common things ("clothing," "window," "dust") probably sticking around from the Hakkari centuries (again, I'm referring to my dialect). I can't count the number of times I've pointed out the "proper" word to someone (e.g., panjara -> kawtha) and hearing them say "oh, my grandmother's language!" Again, hardly "surviving for hundreds of years."

kitab500 said:
I am against the wholesale replacement of vocabualry based on some wierd notion of purity via a witchhunt that results in a language that is completely artificial and baren.
How is replacing a few foreign words with an older equivalent (and often times, conforming to the grammatical rules of the language, like lvoosha ("clothing)" sharing the same root as the verb lavish "to wear clothing" instead of the Kurdish word "jula") lead to the language becoming "artificial and baren?"

kitab500 said:
Respect for diversity and valuing differences is not what is killing us. What is killing us is our mentality of condemnation; taking our frustrations over our misfortunes out on each other; and blaming each other for our political, religious, linguistic, and origin differernces as if that will help us towards unity or preservation one bit.If you want to revive Syriac as a living language, that's fine. The Western Assyrians having been trying to do that for years now - its called Kthobonoyo. Here is an interesting recent article about it: http://syrcom.cua.edu/hugoye/Vol10No2/HV10N2Kiraz.html.
We're not talking about politics or religion or even origin here. We're talking about linguistic differences. Obviously, any hateful and misguided attacks on others based on our differences is bad, there's no condoning that for any reason. I'm disgusted when I hear so-called "Assyrians" insult the Chaldean dialect and claim they've taken words from Arabic, usually forgetting that the two are related languages and have many non-borrowed cognates (which have been forgotten in their dialect), and also failing to realize that their own dialect isn't free from borrowed words.

kitab500 said:
But I don't see any great value in trying to "reform" the moder dialects into Syriac.
Why not? Do you see a value in standardizing a single Neo-Aramaic dialect to be used as the new literary language (Urmian)?

kitab500 said:
If you think Syriac is better or more pure - just junk the modern dialects.
I would if I could. :)

There are still gaps in Syriac that prevent it from being a full-blown modern language, and there are words in the modern dialects that are unattested in any language (including Syriac). I wouldn't mind filling the holes in Syriac in with words in the modern dialect. "Gora" is an example of one such word.

kitab500 said:
"Corruption" is a very harsh and loaded word and in this context it is purely a value judgement. As such it seems to me to be informed by Western Orientalist concepts. This is exactly where the concept of the modern dialects as "debased" or "corrupted" forms of Syriac comes from - the early Western missionaries and scholars. However, it was not long before less judgemental scholars actually studied and compared the languages and found that one is not the miscreant child of the other.
Real linguists technically don't use the word "corrupt" when referring to differences in speech. Some would call the phrase "me and my friend" incorrect, instead opting to use "my friend and I." Linguists look at both phrases and assert that, depending on the context and group of people speaking, both are correct because they are both used by a sizable amount of people. Same thing goes for borrowed words. If that was true, then English would be the most corrupt language in the world.

I don't view the modern dialects as wholly "corrupt." All languages naturally evolve, especially when speakers are separated by distance for long periods of time. I do, however, see unnecessary foreign words which have been borrowed either from loss over time or detrimental outside influences as corrupting our language. Do you think we would have had the need to borrow words from Arabic if we remembered the words of our ancient ancestors or we hadn't come into contact with other languages/been ruled over as linguistic and ethnic minorities?

I'll give you a modern example: living in an English-speaking country, sometimes my parents will replace Assyrian words (e.g., numbers) with English words. Why? Do you think they would change the words if they hadn't come into contact with English? Suppose the word "five" replaces the word "khamsha." Then suppose that 500 or even 50 years from now, "five" has replaced "khamsha" as the standard word. By your logic, since you've been saying "five" for hundreds of years, you're speaking "your" language. Meanwhile, there are still other dialects that use the word "khamsha." Is "five" corrupt or not? Same thing goes with the word for "rabbit": I say "arnava" (cognate with other Semitic lanuages), others say "kirwish" (from Kurdish, cognate with other Indo-Iranian languages). There are also old words that haven't been changed in Chaldean (for example) but have in my dialect (through foreign borrowings).

So, yes, the dialects aren't "corrupt" by definition, but they have corrupted elements.

kitab500 said:
The fact that you have a problem with the continued use of a word like jule proves my point exactly. We cannot afford to waste our time having such "problems". If you want to put all your efforts in identifying words in all of our Aramaic dialects as to their origins, I say that is a fine use of time. We need more dictionaries that provide etymology. But if you want to pursue a crusade againts these "inpure" "foreign" words, I say that it is a waste of precious time, knowledge and resources and it only serves to confuse people and weaken efforts at language retention and expansion which should be our top priority.
First, how does it confuse poeple? One word is foreign, the other is not. Use the non-foreign word. It's as simple as that. Second, which language are you planning to retain and expand? I agree that retention and expansion should be our top priority, but which language exactly? Should every small dialect from every small village with varying borrowed words be taught and spread? THAT would be a true waste of time and energy (not to mention confusing). Not only would it be impractical, it's hard enough to get one dialect taught let alone dozens.

kitab500 said:
In another thread people were dicussing the fate of our language, culture and people in the diaspora and they very accurately identified that in the West we are most likely to assimilate completely in a few generations - to the point that we are no longer part of an Assyrian Nation. The experience of the early Assyrian immigrants at the turn of the 20th century should help us to understand what is needed. They had publishing in Assyrian (newspapers, magazines and books), they had churches and organizations. What they never were able to establish were schools - even to the level of the village schools they had back home. Assyrian language teaching remains pretty rudimentary - pick up a primer, go to a class in church or an organization and get a very simple introduction to the language. Works to an extent - especially if you happended to grow up speaking the language. But what about those that did not and what about foreigners? We need much better materials and curricula to teach the language. Developing these would be a great use of time. I have an Assyrian friend who's daughter is 16 and she is enamoured with Japanese. Now that cannot be one of the easiest languages to learn, but look at all of the interesting and exciting things that are available to her to learn it. She speaks Assyrian, but for how long? Her father and mother speak and read to some extent, but getting the childern to try to learn reading and continue speaking without schools and good educational materials is a loosing battle.
I agree. Languages are easier to learn when you're immersed in them and are interested rather than solely through inadequate and sparse church classes. Do you have any ideas on how we can reverse this?
 
Top