Samaritan Aramaic

Abraham Tal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Samaritan Aramaic, a branch of Western Aramaic, circulated in Palestine along with Jewish Aramaic and Christian Aramaic during the Roman and Byzantine periods. It was the language of Samaria: the territory enclosed between the Galilee in the North, Judaea in the South, the river Jordan in the East and the Mediteranean littoral in the West. Along with Hebrew, Greek and Latin, Aramaic was a language of everyday life in communities in certain Hellenistic cities outside Samaria (such as Gaza, Ascalon, Emmaus, Yamnia and Antipatris). With inroads made by Arabic in the 7 th century C.E., Aramaic was gradually abandoned as a spoken language. Aramaic continued to be commonly used as a written language until the 10 th century C.E., and appears sporadically in later liturgical compositions. Samaritan Aramaic shares with the adjacent Jewish and Christian dialects the characteristics of Western Aramaic, as inherited from the Standard Aramaic which held sway in the region during the Hellenistic and early Roman periods. Bred on the territory formerly dominated by Hebrew, there is little wonder that, like other Western Aramaic dialects, Samaritan Aramaic manifests an abundance of Hebrew influence in both grammar and vocabulary.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Semitic Languages
Subtitle of host publicationAn International Handbook
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9783110251586
ISBN (Print)9783110186130
StatePublished - 23 Dec 2011


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