Neo-Aramaic dialect of Hertevin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Hértevin language)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
ܣܘܪܬ Sôreth
Pronunciation[ˈhɛrtəvən], [ˈsorɛθ]
Native toTurkey
RegionSiirt Province
Native speakers
1,000 (1999)[1]
Syriac (Madnhāyâ alphabet)
Language codes
ISO 639-3hrt
ELPNorthern Northeastern Neo-Aramaic

Hertevin is a dialect of Northeastern Neo-Aramaic originally spoken by Chaldean Catholics in a cluster of villages in Siirt Province in southeastern Turkey. Speakers of Hértevin Aramaic have emigrated mostly to the West, and are now scattered and isolated from one another. A few speakers remain in Turkey. The closest related language variety is Bohtan Neo-Aramaic.[2] Hertevin also shares many similarities with Turoyo.


Hértevin was 'discovered' by linguist Otto Jastrow in 1970, and first described in publication by him two years later. His recordings of the language are available on Heidelberg University's Semitic Sound Archive.

The speakers of the Hértevin dialect of Neo-Aramaic are traditionally Chaldean Catholics. Their area of habitation in and around the village of Hertevin (called Hertevinler in Turkish and Härtəvən in Kurdish), near the town of Pervari in Siirt Province is at the very northeastern extreme of the area where Eastern Neo-Aramaic languages were traditionally spoken. Thus, Hértevin is a peripheral dialect that has developed quite differently from related languages.

All Hértevin speakers are bilingual in Kurdish, and many also speak other languages. The Syriac alphabet is used for writing, but almost no literature in the Hértevin dialect exists. Church liturgy is in Syriac.


Its major phonetic feature is the loss of the voiceless velar fricative x, which has become a voiceless pharyngeal fricative, ħ. The original voiceless pharyngeal fricative has retained that pronunciation. In all the other dialects of eastern Neo-Aramaic the opposite is true: the voiceless pharyngeal fricative has been lost and merged with the voiceless velar fricative. /x/ does occur in loanwords to Hertevin.[citation needed] The [θ] and [ð] that occur in some other dialects of NENA merged back to [t] and [d].[3]

Another feature of Hértevin Neo-Aramaic is its set of demonstratives. As with other languages of the eastern group, Hértevin makes no distinction between 'this' and 'that', and uses a single set of pronouns to cover both meanings: āwa (m. sg.), āya (f. sg.) and āni (pl.). However, unlike the other languages, Hértevin has developed an emphatic form of these pronouns that indicates 'this one right here': ōhā, ēhā and anhī.

Although belonging to the eastern, or northeastern, group of Neo-Aramaic dialects, Hértevin shares some features with the Turoyo language, of the central group, originating from nearby Mardin Province.

Consonant phonemes[4]
Labial Dental/Alveolar Palatoalveolar Velar Uvular Pharyngeal Glottal
plain emphatic
Stop / Affricate p b t d k ɡ q ʔ
Fricative f s z ʃ ʒ x (ɣ) ħ (ʕ) h
Nasal m n
Approximant w j
Trill r (ṛ)
Lateral l (ḷ)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hertevin at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. ^ Jastrow 1988, p. 6.
  4. ^ Jastrow 1988, p. 3.

Further reading[edit]

  • Jastrow, Otto (1988). Der neuaramäische Dialekt von Hertevin (Provinz Siirt) (in German). Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-02767-0.
  • Jastrow, Otto (1990). "Personal and Demonstrative Pronouns in Central Neo-Aramaic: A Comparative and Diachronic Discussion Based on Ṭūrōyo and the Eastern Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Hertevin". In Wolfhart Heinrichs (ed.). Studies in Neo-Aramaic. BRILL. pp. 89–103. doi:10.1163/9789004369535_009. ISBN 978-1-55540-430-7.
  • 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.
  • Takashina, Yoshiyuki. 1990. Some Remarks on Modern Aramaic of Hertevin. Journal of Asian and African Studies 40: 85-132.
  • Takashina, Yoshiyuki (1990). "TWO RESIDUAL NOTES ON MODERN ARAMAIC OF HERTEVIN". Orient. 26: 105–122. doi:10.5356/orient1960.26.105.

External links[edit]