New PDF release: A Grammar of Neo-Aramaic. The dialect of the Jews of Arbel

By Lecturer in Hebrew and Aramaic at the Faculty of Oriental Studies Geoffrey Khan

Being direct descendants of the Aramaic spoken by way of the Jews in antiquity, the nonetheless spoken Jewish Neo-Aramaic dialects of Kurdistan deserve precise and shiny curiosity. Geoffrey Khan's A Grammar of Neo-Aramaic is a special checklist of 1 of those dialects, now at the verge of extinction. This quantity, the results of vast fieldwork, incorporates a description of the dialect spoken by means of the Jews from the quarter of Arbel (Iraqi Kurdistan), including a transcription of recorded texts and a word list. The grammar contains sections on phonology, morphology and syntax, preceded through an introductory bankruptcy studying the placement of this dialect relating to the opposite recognized Neo-Aramaic dialects. The transcribed texts list folktales and debts of customs, traditions and stories of the Jews of Kurdistan.

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Additional info for A Grammar of Neo-Aramaic. The dialect of the Jews of Arbel

Example text

Pir~). The phonemic independence of ltl from the unvoiced sibilant I sl is demonstrated by the minimal pair ti 'they know' vs. '. The affricate I jl, which is found mainly in loanwords, is realized in one of three ways. g jwanqiiwele [dzwret)'qreve:le:] 'he was a young man' (Y:150). The initial stop component of the voiced affricate I jl is often ultra-shart jwiin [dzwa·n] 'beautifully' (Y:84). l;la in the Suleimaniyya dialect (Hoberman 1985: 228). Modern Mandaic exhibits the shift of the primary articulation of the 1 to the velar k: kliila (< *lliila) (Macuch 1965: 64).

A similar combination of Kurdish and Aramaie elements can be identified in the adverbial Sxet 'any more' < Ci-xet (cf. Jewish Koy Sanjak: Cxet). Note also the word xanci 'a few, somewhat', which appears to been formed by attaching a Kurdish diminutive suffix to the Aramaie numeral xa 'one' (cf. Christian Urmia xacä). 3. Uvular stops In a few instanees a velar lk/ at the beginning of a word derives historieally from an uvular *q. 1), whieh derives from *qii. g. / Arab. qalib, Turk. kalip).

The existence of these migrations are alluded to in the text of one of the informants (L:34-41). An alternative explanation is that the borrowing of these features took place at an early period when they still existed in the Kurdish dialect. Arabic influence on the Arbel Neo-Aramaic dialect is seen mainly in borrowed lexical items, including nouns, adjectives, verbs and particles. Many words of Arabic origin, however, have entered the Aramaie dialect through are of Kurdish or common Kurdish and Turkish origin.

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