Barzani Jewish Neo-Aramaic

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Barzani Jewish Neo-Aramaic
לשניד דינן Lišānîd d-Jānān
Native to Israel
Region Jerusalem, originally from Bijil in Iraq
Native speakers
20 (2004)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 bjf
Glottolog barz1241[2]

Barzani Jewish Neo-Aramaic is a modern Jewish Aramaic language, often called Neo-Aramaic or Judeo-Aramaic. It was originally spoken in three villages near Aqrah in Iraq.[3] The native name of the language is Lishanid Janan, which means 'our language', and is similar to names used by other Jewish Neo-Aramaic dialects (Lishan Didan, Lishanid Noshan).[4][3][5][6][7][8]

Origin and use today[edit]

The Jewish inhabitants of a wide area from northern Iraq, eastern Turkey and north western Iran mostly spoke various dialects of modern Aramaic. The turmoil near the end of World War I and resettlement in Israel in 1951 (when eight families from Bijil moved to the new Jewish state) led to the decline of these traditional languages. This particular and distinct dialect of Jewish Neo-Aramaic was spoken in the villages of Bijil, Barzan and Shahe. It was known as Bijili until recently.

The last native speaker of Bijil Neo-Aramaic died in 1998. The remaining second-language speakers are all related and over 70 years of age, and most from Barzan. The first language of these speakers is either Hebrew or Kurdish, and some also speak Arabic or another Neo-Aramaic dialect. Thus, the language is effectively extinct.

Not enough evidence about Barzani Jewish Neo-Aramaic has been gathered to establish a connection with other Neo-Aramaic dialects. It may be related to Lishanid Noshan, which has clusters around Arbil to the south east of Barzan. There may be some similarities between Barzani and the subdialect of Lishanid Noshan formerly spoken in the village of Dobe, 50 km north of Arbil. The Sandu dialect of Jewish Neo-Aramaic is quite similar to Barzani. However, studies suggest that it has more in common with Lishana Deni. There is evidence that the language was also spoken in the nearby village of Nerim, but no speaker from that village remains.

There are some rare texts written in Barzani Jewish Neo-Aramaic.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barzani Jewish Neo-Aramaic at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Barzani Jewish Neo-Aramaic". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ a b Sabar, Ariel (2008-09-16). My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. ISBN 1-56512-490-1.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Sabar" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  4. ^ MUTZAFI, H. (2002). "BARZANI JEWISH NEO-ARAMAIC AND ITS DIALECTS". Mediterranean Language Review 14: 41–70. 
  5. ^ Mutzafi, H. (2008). "Trans-Zab Jewish Neo-Aramaic". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 71 (03): 409–431. doi:10.1017/S0041977X08000815. 
  6. ^ a b MUTZAFI, H. (2004). "Two texts in Barzani Jewish Neo-Aramaic". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 67 (01): 1–13. doi:10.1017/s0041977x04000011. 
  7. ^ Sabar, Yona (September 1974). "Nursery Rhymes and Baby Words in the Jewish Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Zakho (Iraq)". Journal of the American Oriental Society (American Oriental Society) 94 (3): 329–336. doi:10.2307/600067. ISSN 0003-0279. JSTOR 600067. 
  8. ^ Khan, Geoffrey (2004-05-15). Jewish Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Sulemaniyya and Salabja [Halabja], The. Brill. ISBN 90-04-13869-2. 

External links[edit]