Sunday, December 2, 2012

Darius in Aramaic

Darius the Great or Dārayavahuš in Old Persian was ruler of  the Persian Empire (Achaemenid) at its hight in the 5th century B.C.His name is mentioned in varius Aramaic documents like the Petition to Bagoas-a letter from the Elephantine Papyri.

Two versions of his name are known in Aramaic ,the first-Daryush (drywsh) -meaning 'possesor' and the longer version Daryawahush (Darius) meaning 'holding firm the good'.In the video below you can see them written in the Imperial Aramaic script.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

the Elephantine Papyri

The Elephantine papyri is a body of texts from 5 B.C. mostly written in Imperial Aramaic from Elephantine-a fortress in the Upper Nile in Persian-ruled Egypt.These texts are manuscripts of Jewish soldiers and their community who were settled there by the Persians to defend the borders with Nubia.

The manuscripts number hundreds and most of them are written in the Aramaic language,apparently the mother tongue of the local Jews.Though some of them are in Ancient Egyptian (Demotic and Hieratic) ,Coptic and Greek.These are mostly documents of the local Jewish community concerning many matters such as law,marriage,commerce,religion and politics.Some are letters,like the letter below from the local Jewish community to Persian king Bagoas asking for permission to rebuild a Jewish temple.

"Petition to Bagoas",an Elephantine letter requesting from the Persian King to build a Jewish temple.

The circled word in red is the name Daryawahush-Darius spelled as DRYWHWŠ.The word circled in yellow is malkā -king spelled MLK'.

Jews were not the only peoples that lived there -Aramaens and Greeks were settled there as well and there are some recorded cases of intermarriage of Jews with them.An Elephantine papyrus written in Greek provides insight into how the Jews settled in Egypt.They were invited by king Psammeticus to help him fight against the Nubians.

Darius from the manuscript
The task of the Jewish military garrison in Elephantine ,an island fortess in the Upper Nile,was to defend the frontier against Nubian attacks and secure the undisturbed flow of goods from Egypt to Nubia and vice versa.

Many of the papyri are in excellent condition-the dry climate of Upper Egypt was ideal of the preservation of papyrus.On top of that the owners of the documents kept them in vessels and pots and as a result some documents  were discovered neatly folded and sealed.Nowadays the Elephantine papyri lie in collections around the word.
Darius in modern Imperial Aramaic fonts
DRYWHWŠ MLK'-Darius King.Detail from the manuscript.

Here you can download Elephantive Papyrus Cursive fonts.
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Monday, November 12, 2012

"Syriac language" in Syriac

"Syriac language" in Syriac is leshana suryaya .In the image below it is written in the Estrangelo script.

Syriac was a dialect of Aramaic which first appeared in writting in the 1st century A.D and flourished between the 4th-8th centuries.

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Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me,a sinner

This is the beginnig of Psalm 102 Jesus Prayer in Syriac.

Mar Yeesho Msheeha breh
d Alaha rahhem al xattaya
Lord Jesus Christ Son
of God have mercy on me,a sinner

Yeesho Msheeha-Jesus Christ
breh-son,an older word for son is bar
rahhem (verb)- to show mercy,to love

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

malka vs melka-same writing different meaning

In the Syriac script  a dot is positioned over or under the letter to mark a vowel.If you do not use such a dot sometimes ambiguities arise .Such is the case of the words malka-king and melka-advise.They are written  exactly the same way but pronounced different.The only way to differentiate between them is by using a dot to mark the different vowels.

mlk' or malka or melka
king or advise

Read also vowels in Aramaic.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The name Martha in Aramaic

The name Martha is thought to come from Hebrew and it means 'mistress'.Here is how it is written in the Aramaic block script (Hebrew) and the Syriac Estrangelo.

Martha appears in the New Testament as the sister of Lazarus and Mary of  Bethany.According to the text she witnessed her brother's resurrection by Jesus.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Fish in Syriac is nuna.In the image below the word is written in Syriac Estrangelo.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

God for this I was spared? and the Lamsa Bible

The Lamsa Bible is an English translation of the Old and New Testament based on the Syriac Aramaic Peshitta.

It was translated by George M Lamsa in 1933 who claimed that his translation of the New Testament is more accurate than all those based on Greek texts because,according to him, the Syriac version is older and it is the original.

This claim is not accepted by mainstream scholars which maintain that the New Testament was originally written in Greek.

Between his translation and the others based on Greek texts,say King James' translation,differences can be found.Take for example the famous phrase cried out by Jesus on the cross:God why have you forsaken me?In the Lamsa Bible this phrase is rendered as Eli,Eli lema sabachtan? -God for this I was spared?Lamsa claim that the Greek phrase was a mistranlation of the original Syriac and therefore his version is more accurate.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

God,why have you forsaken me?

These two phrases both mean God why have you forsaken me?They can be found in Matthew's and Mark's Gospel.This is what Jesus-being on the cross- cryied out to God.

Eli,Eli lema  sabakhtani
Matthew 27:46
46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”

Mark 15:34
34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Elohi, Elohi, lema sabachthani?”

Eloi,Eloi  lema  sabakhtani

Eli or Elohi or Eloi=God,Gr.ηλί,ελοϊ
lama or lema or even lmana (Syriac) =why ,Gr.λαμά,λιμά
sabachthani or sabachtani=root shbq meaning to forgive,to allow,to leave,Gr.σαβαχθανί

Mark 15:34
Greek Ελωί,Ελωί, λιμά σαβαχθανί;
Aramaic yntqb$ )ml, yhl) yhl)
transcriptionElohi,Elohi lema sabaktani

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

alphabetical Aramaic vocabulary list

In this post I am compiling a short vocabulary list in Aramaic,kind of like a dictionary.I will be updating the list,so come back later.Here are the first words in alphabetical order.The English translation comes first.


assembly, edta

bird, ṭayrā, ṣefrā
black, ʾukkāmā

child, talya

church, (the building) edta
citty, mditta

drink (to),štā



from, men

god ,alaha,alah,Eli,Elohi

fire,nurā, ʾeššāθā
fruit, pérā


Jesus,Yeesha, Jesus Christ (yeesha mshiha)

kingdom, malkuta

know (to), yðaʿ

lord ,mar

man,ʾnāšā (human being) , gabra (male)
Mary, Mariam



queen, malkta

river, nahrā

sea, yammā
see (to),ħzā
sky, šmayyā
snake, ħewyā
stone,kefā, ʾavnā, šoʿā




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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Aramaic fonts resources

Here are some resources with Aramaic fonts.

So download and install the fonts.The simplest way to install the fonts is this:

In Windows.
zip file
Download and unpack the fonts in the Windows/fonts directory.

exe file
Just run it and the fonts will be installed automaticaly

In Linux
In your home directory create a folder by the name ".fonts".Unpack there and you are good to go.

You may need to restart browser.

How to type vowels
Vowels are also included in the Syriac fonts of course.To type a vowel just press SHIFT and without releasing press the corresponding vowel key.

fonts resources.


Imperial Aramaic 

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Colors in Syriac

Here are some colors in Syriac:

Click on the image

Colors drill







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Sunday, August 26, 2012

King Ashoka's bilingual inscription from Afghanistan

During the  reign of the Indian king Ashoka the Maurya Empire was vast.It stretched from Afghanistan and Pakistan ,covering almost all the Indian subcontinent and up to Bangladesh.

One of his edicts was a bilingual inscription in Greek and Aramaic carved in stone,dated 3rd century B.C.The inscription was discovered at Kandahar and is now lying in the National Museum of Afghanistan.

Greek text
    δέκα ἐτῶν πληρη[....]ων βασι[λ]εὺς
    Πιοδασσης εὐσέβεια[ν ἔδ]ε[ι]ξεν τοῖς ἀν- 
    θρώποις, καὶ ἀπὸ τούτου εὐσεβεστέρους 
    τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἐποίησεν καὶ πάντα 
    εὐθηνεῖ κατὰ πᾶσαν γῆν• καὶ ἀπέχεται 
    βασιλεὺς τῶν ἐμψύχων καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ δὲ 
    εἲ τινες ἀκρατεῖς πέπαυνται τῆς ἀκρα- 
    σίας κατὰ δύναμιν, καὶ ἐνήκοοι πατρὶ 
    καὶ μητρὶ καὶ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων παρὰ 
    τὰ πρότερον καὶ τοῦ λοιποῦ λῶιον 
    καὶ ἄμεινον κατὰ πάντα ταῦτα 
    ποιοῦντες διάξουσιν.
Aramaic text
שנן 10 פתיתו עביד זי מראן פרידארש מלכא קשיטא מהקשט
מן אדין זעיר מרעא לכלהם אנשן וכלהם אדושיא הובד
ובכל ארקא ראם שתי ואף זי זנה כמאכלא למראן מלכא זעיר
קטלן זנה למחזה כלהם אנשן אתהחסינן אזי נוניא אחדן
אלך אנשן פתיזבת כנם זי פרבסת הוין אלך אתהחסינן מן
פרבסתי והופתיסתי לאמוהי ולאבוהי ולמזישתיא אנסן
איך אסרהי חלקותא ולא איתי דינא לכלהם אנשיא חסין
זנה הותיר לכלהם אנשן ואוסף יהותר
Latin transcription

English text
    Ten years (of reign) having been completed, King
    Piodasses (Ashoka) made known (the doctrine of)
    Piety (εὐσέβεια, Eusebeia) to men; and from this moment he has made
    men more pious, and everything thrives throughout
    the whole world. And the king abstains from (killing)
    living beings, and other men and those who (are)
    huntsmen and fishermen of the king have desisted
    from hunting. And if some (were) intemperate, they
    have ceased from their intemperance as was in their
    power; and obedient to their father and mother and to
    the elders, in opposition to the past also in the future,
    by so acting on every occasion, they will live better
    and more happily." (Trans. by G.P. Carratelli)
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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
Read more ...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Matres lectionis-mothers of letters in Aramaic

The Phoenician script was mainly a consonantal script marking only consonants and because of that many ambiguities arised.In a few cases consonant letters were used both for consonants and vowels to help clarify what is being written.Its descendant the Aramaic script used them widely.These letters are called matres lectionis and despite the wide use of this system it never developed into a full-fledged alphabetic script like Greek.

The phrase matres lectionis comes from Latin and it means  'mothers of letters'.These letters indicate mostly long vowels.In Biblical Aramaic mainly four letters functioned as such while in Syriac three.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What's popcorn in Aramaic?

Its alleged anti-semitism isn't the only problem with Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. There's also the small matter of it being in Aramaic. To help enrich your enjoyment, here is a handy glossary of useful terms.

The Passion of the Christ
The Passion of the Christ... Mel Gibson's film has become a media punch bag

B-kheeruut re'yaaneyh laa kaaley tsuuraathaa khteepaathaa, ellaa Zaynaa Mqatlaanaa Trayaanaa laytaw!
It may be uncompromising in its liberal use of graphic violence, but Lethal Weapon II it ain't.

Da'ek teleyfoon methta'naanaak, pquud. Guudaapaw!
Please turn off your mobile phone. It is blasphemous.

Shbuuq shuukhaaraa deel. Man ethnaggad udamshaa?
Sorry I'm late. Have I missed any scourging?

Aykaa beyt tadkeetha? Zaadeq lee d-asheeg eeday men perdey devshaanaayey haaleyn!
Where is the loo? I need to wash my hands of this popcorn.

Een, Yuudaayaa naa, ellaa b-haw yawmaa laa hweeth ba-mdeetaa.
Yes, I'm Jewish, but I wasn't there that day.

Demketh! Udamaa lemath mtaynan b-tash'eetha d-khashey?
I fell asleep! What station of the cross are we up to?

Ma'hed lee qalleel d-Khayey d-Breeyaan, ellaa dlaa gukhkaa.
It sort of reminds me of Life of Brian, but it's nowhere near as funny.

Ktaabaa taab hwaa meneyh.
It's not as good as the book.

Puuee men Preeshey, puuee!
Boo, Pharisees! Boo!

Etheeth l-khubeh 'almeenaayaa d-Maaran Yeshu Msheekhaa, ella faasheth metool Moneeqaa Belluushee!
I came for the everlasting love of our Lord Jesus Christ, but I stayed for Monica Bellucci.

Aamar naa laak dlaa yaada' naa haw gavraa. B-aynaa feelmaa hwaa?
I tell you I do not know the man. What's he been in?

Feelmaa haanaa tpeelaw! Proo' lee ksef dmaa!
This film is terrible. I want my blood-money back.

D-tetbuun deyn men yameen u-men semaal, la hwaat deel l-metal, ellaa l-ayleyn da-mtaybaa.
To sit at my right or my left is not for me to grant; it is for those to whom it has already been assigned.

Saabar naa da-mhaymen beh, ellaa la haymneth b-haw meemsaa d-beh.
I suppose I believe in Him, but I didn't believe him in it.

Saggee shapeer! Laa tsaabey naa d-esakkey l-mapaqtaa trayaanaaytaa.
Brilliant! I can't wait for the sequel (second coming).

Eeth lee 'ayney, ellaa layt lee d-ekhzey la-kteebaataa takhtaayaataa. Neqruuv leh?
I have eyes but I cannot see the subtitles. Can we sit closer?

Ayleyn enuun Oorqey?
Which ones are the Orcs?

Laa, haw Shem'uun Qooreenaayaa eethaw! Ezdar!
No, that's Simon of Cyrene! Pay attention!

Waay! Haw 'aalmeenaayaa hwaa!
Well, that was eternal.

Lebba deel daaleq, ellaa teezaa deel daamek.
My heart is on fire, but my bum is asleep.

Enaa mqatreg naa l-Ruumaayey.
I blame the Romans.

Tev attuun men qdaamaa!
Down in front!

B-zabnaa d-qeenduunos, tayyeb lkuun uurkhaa d-mapaqtaa.
In case of emergency, prepare ye the way of the exit.

Laa baakey naa-eeth gelaa b-'ayna deel.
I'm not crying; I've just got a mote in my eye.

Spreet mets'aayaa deelaak huu. [Or, if addressed to a woman, Spreet mets'aayaa deelek huu!]
Thine is the medium Sprite.

Peletaa kuullaah da-Qraabay Kawkbey.
It's all an allegory of Star Wars.

Shluukh kleelaa d-kuubayk, pquud. Laa meshkakh naa d-ekhzey l-ketaan tsuur- aathaa.
Could you take off your crown of thorns, please? I can't see the screen.

Baseem, ellaa saabar naa d-etstebeeth yateer b-Lebeh d-Gabaaraa!
Not bad, but I think I preferred Braveheart.

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Nouns in Aramaic

I have started studing Aramaic grammar and this is what I have learned so far.If you have knowledge of Aramaic grammar feel free to comment.

Nouns in Aramaic decline according to gender,state and number.They come in
  • two genders (masculine and feminine)
  • two numbers (singular and plural)
  • three states (absolute,construct and emphatic)
 There are no case endings  but there is evidence that they did exist in very early Aramaic.

Aramaic noun states

absolute state-most common and basic form.
E.g. nūn (fish),ketab (book),malk (king)

construct state-it mainly indicates possesion like genitive.

Only difference is that the possessed changes in form not the possesor-The fish (possessed) of the queen (possessor).It often has the same form as the absolute

Masculine often same as absolute (son of)-Bar elaha is the Son of God.
Feminine takes a suffix.(t).E.g.malkat (queen of)
empthatic state-In early Aramaic it functioned like a definite article (the fish).
E.g. nūnā -the fish(very early Aramaic) ,fish (Imperial Aramaic and henceforth)
ketaba-the book
malka-the king
tura-the mountain

Aramaic gender

example of a masculine noun declension




mountain of
mountains of
the mountain
the mountains
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Monday, August 6, 2012

Days of the week in Aramaic

Days of the week in Targumic Aramaic

In the table below are the days of the week in Targumic Aramaic.In other dialects there might be some minor differences in the pronounciation.

Day in Targumic Aramaic is yom (יום ) ,the same as in Hebrew and Arabic  (يوم).Note that Saturday in Targumic Aramaic literally means the holy day (holiday)-shvat kudsha,shvat meaning holy.Week is shavya yomin.

yom had
יוםא חד
yom tinian
יום תנן
yom tlitai
יום תליתאי
yom revivai
יום רביעאי
yom hamishai
יום הםישאי
yom shtitai
יום שתיתאי
shvat kudsha
שבה כדשא

Days of the Week in Syriac Aramaic

The word for day in Syriac is yum instead of Targumic yom.The names of the days are formed by simply saying day one (Sunday),day two (Monday),day three and so on.

yum habshabo

yum tren

yum tloto

yum arbobshabo

yum hamshobshabo

yum rubto

yum shabto

Read more ...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Aramaic Script

Aramaic was written in a consonantal script mostly lacking vowels with a direction from right to left.It originally served Aramaic (west semitic languages. And later became the official script for the Assyrian and Old Persian (Achaemenid) Empires from 6-4 BC.It was the source of many alphabets of the world and the vast majority of Semitic scripts (Samaritan, Jewish, Palmyra, Nabataean, Syrian, Palestinian-Christian, Mandaean, Manichaean).

9th century stele of king Kilamuwa,kingdom of Yadiya found in Turkish Zincirli (Sam'al)
image from here

The Aramaic writing had an impact even on Iranian writing systems (Parthian, middle Persian, Sogdian, and Khorezm).It was the basis (through the medium of Sogdian) for Uighur, Mongolian, and the Orkhon-Yenisei alphabets. There is also a hypothesis about the Indian Brahmi scripts and Kharosthi originating from the Aramaic script,as well.

The center for the spread of Aramaic culture was the city of Damascus, and later - Palmyra and Edessa (modern Urfa in Turkey). Aramaeans mingled everywere with the local population and they assimilated it relatively easy.. Aramaic, after Akkadian, became a kind of international and diplomatic language of the Near East in antiquity. In Palestine the same time the Gospel was spoken Aramaic, so it is likely that the early Christians (including Jesus himself) spoke in it. In addition, the Aramaeans - the only ancient people of Middle East, which, along with the Persians lived up to the present day.

Initially, the Aramaic script did not differ from the Phoenician, but then the Aramaeans simplified some of the letters, thickened and rounded their lines. A specific feature of Aramaic letters is the distinction between d and r.Aramaic writing, spread quickly from Africa to India and China.

Aramaic literature is quite wide: religious, philosophical and philological works were written in it.

In the Middle Ages the Jewish Aramaic alphabet was used to write a mystical book called 'Zohar', which evolved the numerological ideas of ​​"Kabbalah."

The Bar-Hadad inscription from North Syria (9. BC) and Zakir from Hamata (c. 800 BC). In both the word boundary is implemented by vertical lines, while in the inscription of Bar-Rakib Zendzhirli (late 8th century. BC. E.) points are used for this purpose.On the stela of the Sephira (late 8th century. BC . e.) there is no word boundary at all.

Aramaic language and the Aramaic script began to be used in the New-Assyrian and Persian period as international means of communication for the entire Near East up to Egypt, Asia Minor and India. Such an example are the Aramaic-Persian  and Aramaic-Lydian bilingual texts from Sardis (5. BC).

Aramaic inscription from Elefantine,the Jewish military colony in Egypt (5 B.C.)

Aramaic writing and Aramaic supplanted Babylonian cuneiform and Akkadian language, even in their homeland in Mesopotamia. The wide spread of Aramaic letters led to the fact that it was used not only in monumental inscriptions, but also on papyrus and potsherds. An example of Aramaic writing on potsherds can serve as a crock of Ashur. Aramaic papyri found in large numbers in Egypt. Especially a lot of papyri found at Elephantine, among them are official and private documents of the Jewish military settlement in 5 BC.In the Aramaic papyri and potsherds words are separated usually by a small gap, as we do.

At the turn of the century 2 and 3. BC the up-to-then uniform Aramaic letters develeped new forms as a result of dialectal and political fragmentation in several subgroups. The most important of these is the so-called square Hebrew block script, followed by Palmyrene, Nabataean, and the much later Syriac script.

The adoption of the square Aramaic letters by the Jews occurred during Ezra (mid-5th century BC) and is an external manifestation of Israel's accession to the common Semitic culture of the time. The square letters become the main writting system for Hebrew for the most part  and was widely used for religious and secular literature of the Jews. The name of the script is connected with the desire to give signs of a square shape.Unfortunately,we do not have any surviving written monuments of the early period of this script.  In the Dead Sea scrolls (2 BC - 1 AD),it  already had a fully developed form.

Later,the more rounded Sephardi (Eastern Spanish) and more angular Ashkenazi (German-Polish) types developed from the square Aramaic letters. In the 9th century the Italian cursive handwriting appears called Rashi, named after Rabbi Rashi (contraction of the words of Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzhak). More changes and abbreviations underwent signs of various cursive handwritings of the time.
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Friday, August 3, 2012

What language did Jesus speak?

It is generally agreed that Jesus spoke Galilean Aramaic,what scholars call Jewish Palestinian Aramaic.It is also hypothesized that he also spoke Hebrew and even some Greek and Latin.

At the time Aramaic was a major language and a lingua franca among the population in the Near East.It was widely spoken in Palestine even among the Jews which had long become their primary language,the langauge of the people.By that time Hebrew was only the language of the elite mainly for religious purposes.

In the New Testament ,the Greek original,there are some utterances of Jesus in Aramaic which is clear evidence  about his native tongue.

Jesus grew up in Galilea,a region where  many cultures existed and many languages were spoken.But Aramaic and Hebrew were not the only ones spoken by the local population.Around Nazareth ,especially in the city of Sephoris lived the Greek-speaking Gentiles.So Jesus might have picked up some Greek.Latin was the official language of the region being under Roman occupation.

Talmud Yerushalmi

The main work that survives in Galilean Aramaic is the Jerusalem Talmud written in 2 A.D.. in Israel.It is older than the Babylonian Talmud by 2 centuries.Other important texts in the dialect are early works of Kabbalah.

Linguistically it belongs to West Aramaic related more closely to Samaritan and Christian Palestine.

Nowadays in Israel some efforts are being made to revive the language that Jesus spoke.
Read more ...

The word for sun in Syriac Aramaic

The sun in Syriac Aramaic is šemšā (ܫܡܫܐ).The root of the word is šm(š).We have many Aramaic names with the šamaš element dating from the Neo-Assyrian,Neo-Babylonian and Achaemanid Empire periods.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Aboon Dbashmayo -Our Lord's Prayer in Aramaic (Syriac)

Some branches of the Eastern Church still use in their liturgy the Syriac language,which is very close to the Aramaic spoken by Jesus."Our Lord's Prayer'" in Syriac exists in several versions.I have put some of them up here for you to listen.The prayer in Syriac is called Abwoon D' Bashmayo.

the Lord's Prayer in Syriac Aramaic

The Lord's prayer sung in Syriac.

ܐܒܘܢ ܕܒܫܡܝܐ
Abun dbašmayo
Our father
ܢܬܩܕܫ ܫܡܟ
Nethqadaš šmokh
Hallowed be Thy name
ܬܐܬܐ ܡܠܟܘܬܟ
Tithe malkuthokh
Thy Kingdom come
ܢܗܘܐ ܣܒܝܢܟ
Nehwe sebyonokh
Thy will be done
ܐܝܟܢܐ ܕܒܫܡܝܐ ܐܦ ܒܪܥܐ
ykano dbašmayo oph bar`o
On earth as it is in heaven
ܗܒ ܠܢ ܠܚܡܐ ܕܣܘܢܩܢܢ ܝܘܡܢܐ
Hab lan laħmo dsunqonan yowmono
Give us this day our daily bread
ܘܫܒܘܩ ܠܢ ܚܘܒܝܢ ܘܚܬܗܝܢ
Wašbuq lan ħawbayn waħtohayn
And forgive our debts
ܐܝܟܢܐ ܕܐܦ ܚܢܢ ܫܒܩܢ ܠܚܝܒܝܢ
ykano doph ħnan šbaqan lħayobayn
As we have forgiven our debtors
ܠܐ ܬܥܠܢ ܠܢܣܝܘܢܐ
Lo ta`lan lnesyuno
Lead us not into temptation
ܐܠܐ ܦܨܐ ܠܢ ܡܢ ܒܝܫܐ
Elo paşo lan men bišo
But deliver us from evil
ܡܛܠ ܕܕܠܟ ܗܝ ܡܠܟܘܬܐ
Meţul ddilokh hi malkutho
For Thine is the Kingdom
ܘܚܝܠܐ ܘܬܫܒܘܚܬܐ
Wħaylo wtešbuħto
Power and the Glory
ܠܥܠܡ ܥܠܡܝܢ
L`olam `olmin
For ever and ever

Here is some vocabulary from the prayer
Abbun - Our Father

d'Bashmayo - In Heaven

Shmoch -name (probably)

malkutoch - Kingdom

sebyonoch - Will

aykano - like (as)

baro - Earth

bisho - evil

metul = because
d-dheelakh = of which - "yours" (it's a grammatical construct signifying ownership)

hee = is

u-khaila = and - power

u-theshbooktha = and glory

Read also
No such thing as the Lord's Prayer in GALILEAN Aramaic!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Son of God in Aramaic

  In Biblical Aramaic Son of God (ܐܠܗܐ) was bar  'elaha (ܒܪ ܐܠܗܐ) .The genitive case did not exist and it was formed simply by putting two nouns one after the other.In Syriac Son of God would be bar d alaha.

bar elaha in the Hebrew script

 The phrase is said in Mel Gibson's movie the Passion of the Christ.Watch and listen carefully.The High Priest asks :bar elaha hai?The Son of living God?

bar elaha in Syriac Madnkhaya script

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Some Aramaic greetings

So far I have found only these phrases.In the future I will be updating the post should I find more.Take a look.

Galilean Aramaic

Shlamlak -hello (to a man)
Shlamlek-hello (to a woman)


Shlama(eastern Syriac) 
Shlomo(western Syriac)

šlama/ šlomo in the Syriac MadnKhaya script

Ejdar bo hat?
How are you?


Aloho amich/amoch
Bye (God be with you)

Assyrian Neo-Aramaic

shlamalukh (to a man)

shlamalakh (to a woman)

Dakhee vit/vat?
How are you?
(vit is for a male,vat for a female)

Dakhee toon? (formal)
How are you?

Spay vin/van,merci.
I am good,thank you.

Good thank you.

At dakhee vit/vat? And you?

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Arabic to Syriac script (Serto) transliteration table

The Arabic alphabet is a descendant of the Nabatean script which ultimately derived from the Syriac script ,the Serto version.Thus the transliteration from Arabic to Syriac and vice versa presents little difficulties.

As  you can see in the table below the letters are quite similar.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Jesus Christ in Aramaic

Jesus (Ιησούς) in Amaraic was Yeshua ישוע.The word Christ did not exist in Aramaic.It comes from the Greek word Χριστός which means 'the anointed one' and is a translation of the Aramaic Msheekha מְשִׁיחָא (Messiah).So Jesus Christ is Yeshua Msheekha in Aramaic.

So Jesus Christ in Aramaic is Yeshua Msheekha .In Syriac there are of course variants ,Yeshuo Msheekho in Western Syriac,Yeshua Msheekha in Eastern Syriac.You may also see Eeshoo instead of Yeshua.
Yeshua in Syriac

The following video shows you how to write Jesus in the Estrangelo script.

Yeshua written in the Herodian script.

Jesus in the Herodian script
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Syriac Aramaic

leššānā Suryāyā
Syriac language
Syriac developed from Old Syriac,an Aramaic dialect .It was initially spoken by Aramaic speakers in Sassanid Persia and it came to be a major trade,literary,liturgical and a lingua franca of the Middle East,in the so-called fertile Crescent.

By the 8th century A.D. it was mostly replaced by Arabic and by 1200 AD ceased to be a spoken language,used only for liturgical purposes by Syriac Christians up to this day.In 1200 AD and onwards it started evolving into some Neo-Aramaic vernaculars.

Syriac timeline

Syriac was written in Syriac Estrangelo script ,which was the classical script for the language.In 5 AD after the split of Syriac Church into Eastern and Western the Nestorian and Serto versions of Estrangelo evolved and were both were used for writting Syriac.

In the 3rd century AD the Translation of the New Testament was completed from the Greek original.The Syriac Aramaic version of the Bible is called the Peshitta,meaning simple or common.


The first traces of Syriac date back to 500 B.C. and are influences on Imperial Aramaic.


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Friday, June 15, 2012

vowels in Aramaic

After the dissolution of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great as a result Greek influence and culture spread all over the Middle East.It was then that Aramean scholars first became familiar with the Greek alphabet which already had a fully developed and quite accurate vowel system.

On the other hand the Aramaic script indicated basically consonants and its weakness was thus exposed due to this contact.So Arameans thought they could use vowels for the benefit of their own script.

The result was the development of two vowel systems-the first borrowed directly the Greek vowels themselves which were written above the letter.The second used one or two dots above or below the letter to indicate vowels.Later appeared a combined system of the two.

The Estrangela script originally made no use of vowels and these two systems initially developed for Serto and the Nestorian script.Nowadays Greek vowels are used with the Estrangela script as well.

The vowels are five and their Syriac names are Ftoho,Rboso,Hboso,Zqofo and Csoso.

Greek vowels

Syriac vowels

Below follows the first line of John's Gospel written in the Estrangelo script with Greek vowels.

In the beginning was the Word

You should also take into account that dots do not always mark vowels but they are used for other purposes as well (consonant doublication,pronounciation,etc)
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Nestorian Syriac script (Madnkhaya)

The eastern Syriac script is called Madnkhaya or Nestorian after Nestorus-founder of the Eastern Syriac Church.It was used in the eastern Syriac Church in Persia and it started developing after the split of the Syriac Church which resulted not only to two different Churches,but to the developed of different scripts as well.

The Nestorian script came from the Estrangela and it is very similar to it with minor differences.Though an innnovation was introduced-dots above or below the letters to mark vowels.In the Estrangela vowel signs are not used at all.

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

God in Aramaic

There are two words for God in Aramaic El and alaha  (Syriac) or Elahi (Biblical Aramaic).The word is almost identical to the Arabic 'alah'.

Jesus's last words on the cross were Εli,Εli lama sabbachtani?-God,God,why have you forsaken me? This phrase is from the New Testament the original being in Greek-Ηλί,Ηλί λαμά σαβαχθανί;In the same book there is another version of the same phrase-Ελοί,Ελοί λαμά σαβαχθανί;

elahi-God in the Aramaic Square script (Hebrew)

Here is the word Elahi with the vowels (the dots).

Now let us take a look how el and alaha are written in the Syriac Estrangela script.

eli or ʾyl
alaha or ʾlhʾ

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Friday, June 8, 2012

'He Is Risen!' in Aramaic.

'Mshiha qam' means 'The Messiah is risen' in Aramaic or you can just say qam!- He is risen!.

Let's take a look at how the phrase is written in the Herodian version.Vowels are not written so we just write the consonats 'qm'.Don't forget that Aramaic is read form right to left as 'mq'.

I have also prepared a short video.Take a look.

Aramaic cartoon-He is risen!

Recently I have discovered a site selling e-greeting cards one of which is very interesting.It's a cartoon in the Aramaic Language called 'He is Risen',about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Mary runs hurrily to Apostle Peter's home to break the news that they have taken Jesus.When she arrives knocks on the door and shouts Simon,Simon Kepha!Which is the Aramaic name of Apostle Peter.

You can watch the video here.

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Aramaic-speaking television channel from Sweden.

Suryoyo Sat is a Swedish channel that broadcasts in Syriac Aramaic.Other channels might exist but it is the only one that I am aware of.It broadcasts in Arabic and English as well.Here is the link to the original site.Enjoy!

Suryoyo has recently been a great help in the attempt to revive Syriac Aramaic as a spoken language in Israel.You can read more about that here.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Reviving Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke

By Diaa Hadid
Jish, Israel: Two villages in the Holy Land’s tiny Christian community are teaching Aramaic in an ambitious effort to revive the language that Jesus spoke, centuries after it all but disappeared from the Middle East.
The new focus on the region’s dominant language 2,000 years ago comes with a little help from modern technology: an Aramaic-speaking television channel from Sweden, of all places, where a vibrant immigrant community has kept the ancient tongue alive.
In the Palestinian village of Beit Jala, an older generation of Aramaic speakers is trying to share the language with their grandchildren. Beit Jala lies next to Bethlehem, where the New Testament says Jesus was born.
And in the Arab-Israeli village of Jish, nestled in the Galilean hills where Jesus lived and preached, elementary school children are now being instructed in Aramaic. The children belong mostly to the Maronite Christian community. Maronites still chant their liturgy in Aramaic but few understand the prayers.
“We want to speak the language that Jesus spoke,” said Carla Hadad, a 10-year-old Jish girl who frequently waved her arms to answer questions in Aramaic from school teacher Mona Issa during a recent lesson.
“We used to speak it a long time ago,” she added, referring to her ancestors.

Atif Zarka, 64, a volunteer Aramaic teacher's assistant holds a copy of the Gospel of Luke in Aramaic script in the Arab village of Jish, northern Israel.

During the lesson, a dozen children lisped out a Christian prayer in Aramaic. They learned the words for “elephant,” ”how are you?” and “mountain.” Some children carefully drew sharp-angled Aramaic letters. Others fiddled with their pencil cases, which sported images of popular soccer teams.
The dialect taught in Jish and Beit Jala is “Syriac,” which was spoken by their Christian forefathers and resembles the Galilean dialect that Jesus would have used, according to Steven Fassberg, an Aramaic expert at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
“They probably would have understood each other,” Fassberg said.
In Jish, about 80 children in grades one through five study Aramaic as a voluntary subject for two hours a week. Israel’s education ministry provided funds to add classes until the eighth grade, said principal Reem Khatieb-Zuabi.
Several Jish residents lobbied for Aramaic studies several years ago, said Khatieb-Zuabi, but the idea faced resistance: Jish’s Muslims worried it was a covert attempt to entice their children to Christianity. Some Christians objected, saying the emphasis on their ancestral language was being used to strip them of their Arab identity. The issue is sensitive to many Arab Muslims and Christians in Israel, who prefer to be identified by their ethnicity, not their faith.
Ultimately, Khatieb-Zuabi, a secular Muslim from an outside village, overruled them.
“This is our collective heritage and culture. We should celebrate and study it,” the principal said. And so the Jish Elementary School become the only Israeli public school teaching Aramaic, according to the education ministry.
Their efforts are mirrored in Beit Jala’s Mar Afram school run by the Syrian Orthodox church and located just a few miles (kilometers) from Bethlehem’s Manger Square.
There, priests have taught the language to their 320 students for the past five years.
Some 360 families in the area descend from Aramaic-speaking refugees who in the 1920s fled the Tur Abdin region of what is now Turkey.
Priest Butros Nimeh said elders still speak the language but that it vanished among younger generations. Nimeh said they hoped teaching the language would help the children appreciate their roots.
Although both the Syrian Orthodox and Maronite church worship in Aramaic, they are distinctly different sects.
The Maronites are the dominant Christian church in neighboring Lebanon but make up only a few thousand of the Holy Land’s 210,000 Christians. Likewise, Syrian Orthodox Christians number no more than 2,000 in the Holy Land, said Nimeh. Overall, some 150,000 Christians live in Israel and another 60,000 live in the West Bank.
Both schools found inspiration and assistance in an unlikely place: Sweden. There, Aramaic-speaking communities who descended from the Middle East have sought to keep their language alive.
They publish a newspaper, “Bahro Suryoyo,” pamphlets and children’s books, including “The Little Prince,” and maintain a satellite television station, “Soryoyosat,” said Arzu Alan, chairwoman of the Syriac Aramaic Federation of Sweden.
There’s also an Aramaic soccer team, “Syrianska FC” in the Swedish top division from the town of Sodertalje. Officials estimate the Aramaic-speaking population at anywhere from 30,000 to 80,000 people.
For many Maronites and Syrian Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land, the television station, in particular, was the first time they heard the language outside church in decades. Hearing it in a modern context inspired them to try revive the language among their communities.
“When you hear (the language), you can speak it,” said Issa, the teacher.
Aramaic dialects were the region’s vernacular from 2,500 years ago until the sixth century, when Arabic, the language of conquering Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula, became dominant, according to Fassberg.
Linguistic islands survived: Maronites clung to Aramaic liturgy and so did the Syrian Orthodox church. Kurdish Jews on the river island of Zakho spoke an Aramaic dialect called “Targum” until fleeing to Israel in the 1950s. Three Christian villages in Syria still speak an Aramaic dialect, Fassberg said.
With few opportunities to practice the ancient tongue, teachers in Jish have tempered expectations. They hope they can at least revive an understanding of the language.
The steep challenges are seen in the Jish school, where the fourth-grade Aramaic class has just a dozen students. The number used to be twice that until they introduced an art class during the same time slot — and lost half their students.
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