Bohtan Neo-Aramaic

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Bohtan Neo-Aramaic
ܣܘܪܬ Sôreth
Native to Georgia, previously Russia
Region Mainly in Gardabani village, Georgia
Native speakers
1,000  (1999)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 bhn

Bohtan Neo-Aramaic is a modern Eastern Neo-Aramaic language. Originally, Bohtan Neo-Aramaic was spoken on the Plain of Bohtan in Şırnak Province of southeastern Turkey, but it is now spoken mostly around the village of Gardabani, near Rustavi in Georgia.

Before World War I, there were around 30,000 speakers of Bohtan Neo-Aramaic on the Plain of Bohtan, around the town of Cizre in Turkey's Sirnak Province. Mostly Assyrian Christians, their language was a northern dialect of Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, but already somewhat more conservative than the standard Alqosh dialect. With the Assyrian Genocide that hit the Assyrians in eastern Turkey at the end of the war, many were forced from their homes. A decimated population travelled from Bohtan and eventually resettled in Garbadani in southeastern Georgia, 530 km from their original home. Many of the speakers of Bohtan Neo-Aramaic are over sixty year of age. The younger generations tend to use Georgian or Russian instead.

The latest study of the language was carried out by Samuel Ethan Fox in 1999, showing that Bohtan Neo-Aramaic has retained many conservative features of Chaldean and Assyrian Neo-Aramaic which are not present in the standard Alqosh and Urmia dialects, but has also developed new features that are not present in other dialects.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bohtan Neo-Aramaic at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  • Fox, Samuel Eithan, 'A Neo-Aramaic dialect of Bohtan', in W. Arnold and H. Bobzin (eds.), „Sprich doch mit deinen Knechten aramäisch, wir verstehen es!“ 60 Beiträge zur Semitistik Festschrift für Otto Jastrow zum 60. Geburtstag, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2002, pp. 165–180.
  • Heinrichs, Wolfhart (ed.) (1990). Studies in Neo-Aramaic. Scholars Press: Atlanta, Georgia. ISBN 1-55540-430-8.
  • 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.