Neo-Aramaic as a source of hitherto unattested Aramaic words and meanings

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Abstract

The spectrum of Neo-Aramaic languages and dialects, spoken in an arch of language-islets that stretch from south-western Syria to south-western Iran, exhibits rich lexical repositories inherited from early layers of the Aramaic language. Within this wealthy lexical legacy, some genuine Aramaic lexical items are not attested in any of the literary Aramaic sources, hence it is only by virtue of these modern lexical manifestations that the existence of the ancient Aramaic antecedents of these words can be inferred or reconstructed. Such historical lacunae concern also meanings that must be of considerable antiquity, yet these meanings, pertaining to well-known Aramaic words, have no evidence in literary Aramaic, having surfaced only in the modern era. This article discusses ten selected cases of pre-modern Aramaic words and meanings that were discovered by etymological and comparative examination of their modern reflexes in North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic (NENA), Western Neo-Aramaic and uroyo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalBrill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Neo-Aramaic
  • comparative Semitic linguistics
  • etymology
  • literary Aramaic

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