By Lecturer in Hebrew and Aramaic at the Faculty of Oriental Studies Geoffrey Khan
Being direct descendants of the Aramaic spoken by way of the Jews in antiquity, the nonetheless spoken Jewish Neo-Aramaic dialects of Kurdistan deserve distinct and shiny curiosity. Geoffrey Khan's A Grammar of Neo-Aramaic is a special list of 1 of those dialects, now at the verge of extinction. This quantity, the results of wide fieldwork, encompasses a description of the dialect spoken via the Jews from the sector of Arbel (Iraqi Kurdistan), including a transcription of recorded texts and a thesaurus. The grammar includes sections on phonology, morphology and syntax, preceded through an introductory bankruptcy studying the location of this dialect when it comes to the opposite identified Neo-Aramaic dialects. The transcribed texts list folktales and bills of customs, traditions and stories of the Jews of Kurdistan.
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Additional resources for A Grammar of Neo-Aramaic. The dialect of the Jews of Arbel
Examples of this include the tld > l shift and the presence of unaspirated consonants in some loanwords. This could have come about by migrations of Jewish NENA speakers from other geographical areas at some stage in history. The existence of these migrations are alluded to in the text of one of the informants (L:34-41). An alternative explanation is that the borrowing of these features took place at an early period when they still existed in the Kurdish dialect. Arabic influence on the Arbel Neo-Aramaic dialect is seen mainly in borrowed lexical items, including nouns, adjectives, verbs and particles.
Pek hatin. g. Aramaie reSa 'head' is used also as a preposition meaning 'upon' by a calque on the Kurdish ser, which is used either as a noun ('head') or a preposition ('upon') (cf. Garbell 1965b: 175). A number of other features of the Arbel dialect can be traced to Kurdish influence. g. gorake 'the man' (< Aram. gora + Kurd. g. arbamin 'fourth' (< Aram. arba + Kurd. -min). g. g. e < *mayye (cf. 3). A number of syntactic parallels between the Aramaie dialect and Kurdish are likely to have arisen by such linguistic contact.
In the transcription only the primary emphatic is marked by a dot under the Ietter. The identification of the primary emphatic is based on historical etymology and comparisons of emphasis spread in forms from the same root. Jtr$, in which the emphatic segment is the 1$1. tl. On the basis of these considerations the I$1 can be identified as the primary emphatic and the forms are transcribed as tar$iwiilu and tari$ respectively. g. J*t~n), taxnlwiile [trex'ni:wa:le:J 'they ground it' (B:117), ~a/mu [srel'mu:] 'their face' (L: 224 < *~almii).
A Grammar of Neo-Aramaic. The dialect of the Jews of Arbel by Lecturer in Hebrew and Aramaic at the Faculty of Oriental Studies Geoffrey Khan