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|ܐܬܘܪܝܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ Ātûrāyâ, ܣܘܪܝܬ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ Sûret-Ashuri|
Sûret in written Syriac
|Region||Hakkari Turkey, Urmia Iran|
|Native speakers||unknown (undated figure of 220,000)|
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic (also known as Aššuri, Assuri, Ashuri, Aturi, Assyrian, Aisorski, Assyrianci, Assyriski, Lishana Aturaya, Neo-Syriac, Sooreth, Suret, Sureth, or Suryaya Swadaya) is a Neo-Aramaic dialect, spoken by an estimated 220,000 people (1994 SIL estimate), formerly in the area between Lake Urmia, north-western Iran, northern Iraq, north-eastern Syria and Siirt, south-eastern Turkey, but now more widely throughout the Assyrian–Chaldean–Syriac diaspora.
Ethnologue estimates that as of the mid-1990s, about 80,000 speakers lived in the Assyrian homeland in the Middle East, while the majority of speakers lived abroad, most of them in the United States or in Europe. Most speakers are members of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East. Assyrian Neo-Aramaic is to a considerable extent mutually intelligible with Chaldean Neo-Aramaic and to a lesser extent with Turoyo.
The Neo-Aramaic languages evolved from Middle Aramaic by the 13th century. The division of the Assyrians was a consequence of the religious schism of 1552 which led to the formation of the Chaldean Church. Chaldeans were originally Assyrians before this schism of 1552, causing them to split from the Assyrian people and form an audience and affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church.
All Christian dialects of Aramaic have been heavily influenced by the Syriac language, a dialect of Eastern Middle Aramaic, that became the literary and liturgical language of many churches in the Fertile Crescent and also, as linguist Geoffrey Khan suggests, Akkadian elements . Therefore Christian Neo-Aramaic has a dual heritage: literary Syriac and colloquial Eastern Aramaic. The Christian dialects are often called Sûret, Syriac, or Sûryāya Swādāya, Colloquial Syriac.
Russian linguists studied Assyrian Neo-Aramaic as spoken by immigrant speakers in Georgia and Armenia at the end of the 19th century. They called the language Айсорский, Aysorskiy, from Armenian: ասորի asori. However, by the 1930s, the official name of the language in Russian had become Ассирийский, Assiriyskiy, or Assyrian.
SIL Ethnologue distinguishes five dialect groups: Urmian, Northern, Central, Western, and Sapna, each with sub-dialects. Standard literary Assyrian is based on the Urmian dialect and is known as "General Urmian" (since the 1830s), with a second standard dialect derived from General Urmian eveloping in the 20th century, known as "Iraqi Koine".
Northeastern Neo-Aramaic is a dialect continuum, and because of the high intelligibility between dialects, and due to the high level of exposure of the non-standard dialects to General Urmian or the Iraqi Koine.
The Urmia dialect has become the prestige dialect of Assyrian Neo-Aramaic after 1836, when that dialect was chosen by Justin Perkins, an American Presbyterian missionary, for the creation of a standard literary dialect of Assyrian.
In 1852, Perkins' translation of the Bible into General Urmian was published by the American Bible Society with a parallel text of the classical Syriac Peshitta.
During the First World War, many Assyrians living in Ottoman Turkey were forced from their homes, and many of their descendants now live in Iraq. The relocation has led to a separate dialect usually called Iraqi Koine. It is a mixture of Ashiret dialects with General Urmian. Iraqi Koine does not really constitute a new dialect, but an incomplete merger of dialects. Elements of original Ashiret dialects can still be observed in Iraqi Koine, especially in that of older speakers.
- Northern group:
- Central group:
- Western group (western Hakkari Province):
- Upper Tiari
- Lower Tiari
- Lower Barwari
The Central and Western groups are often grouped together as Ashiret dialects. They, and especially the Western group, have more in common with Chaldean Neo-Aramaic than with General Urmian. Ashiret dialects are often characterised by the presence of the fricatives θ (th) and ð (dh), where other dialects pronounce them either as stops (t and d) or, in the case of the Northern group, often eliding them.
Assyrian is written in the Madnhāyā version of the Syriac alphabet, which is also used for classical Syriac. In the 1930s, following the state policy for minority languages of the Soviet Union, a Latin alphabet for Assyrian was developed and some material published. However, this innovation did not displace the Syriac script.
|Hello (how are you?)||Shlama (dakhit?)|
|I'm fine||Spy een|
|What is your name?||Muyleh Shimakh (female)/Muyleh Shimookh (male)|
|My name is ___||Shimee eeleh ____|
|Good morning||Qedamtakh brikhta (female)/Qedamtookh brikhta (male)|
|God bless you||Alah natirakh (female)/Alah natirookh (male)|
|I want water||Bayyan miya (female)/Bayyin miya (male)|
|Thank you||Basimta (female)/Basima (male)|
|Uncle||Khaloowa (Maternal) / Mammoonah (Paternal)|
|Cow / bull||Tawirrta / tora|
|Gun||Dubanja / qoorma|
- Heinrichs, Wolfhart (ed.) (1990). Studies in Neo-Aramaic. Scholars Press: Atlanta, Georgia. ISBN 1-55540-430-8.
- Remarks on the Historical Background of the Modern Assyrian Language, Geoffrey Khan, University of Cambridge
- Maclean, Arthur John (1895). Grammar of the dialects of vernacular Syriac: as spoken by the Eastern Syrians of Kurdistan, north-west Persia, and the Plain of Mosul: with notices of the vernacular of the Jews of Azerbaijan and of Zakhu near Mosul. Cambridge University Press, London.
|Assyrian Neo-Aramaic test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
|For a list of words relating to Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, see the Assyrian Neo-Aramaic category of words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Assyrian Neo-Aramaic alphabets at Omniglot
- Semitisches Tonarchiv: Dokumentgruppe "Aramäisch/Neuostaramäisch (christl.)" (text in German).
- Online Assyrian (Sureth) / English-French Dictionary by Association Assyrophile de France