Further Jewish Neo-Aramaic Innovations

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The present article presents new findings related to Jewish Neo-Aramaic (JNA) innovations in the framework of North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic (NENA). The dialectal spectrum of JNA is so wide and variegated, that some geographically distant JNA varieties are markedly different from each other on all levels of language structure. Despite this great heterogeneity, the JNA dialects share supra-regional features that bind these varieties together to the exclusion of all, or the vast majority of, the Christian NENA (C.NENA) dialects. There appear to be no grounds, however, for a genetic classification of NENA into two principal branches, JNA and C.NENA. Distinct Jewish versus Christian NENA isoglosses have, rather, most plausibly emerged by gradual diffusion of innovations throughout NENA-speaking communities of the same confession (Jewish or Christian), while skipping geographically adjacent, but religiously distinct, NENA-speaking communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-181
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Jewish Languages
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018


  • Jewish Neo-Aramaic (JNA)
  • North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic (NENA)
  • communal dialects
  • dialect continuum
  • diffusion of innovations
  • isogloss


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