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Eastern vs. Western dialects of 1st century Aramaic
ScorpioSniper2 Wrote:I used to identify myself as a Greek primacist, but now I'm more neutral (but leaning more toward Aramaic for the most part). I just love studying the Peshitta text. Just out of curiosity, how similar is the Talmud, Targum, and Babylonian Aramaic dialects to the Syrian dialect?

Any serious Aramaic speaker (I don't mean student, I mean someone who actually speaks any dialect of modern Aramaic on a daily basis with family and friends) can, with only a little bit of effort, understand any other modern or even ancient dialect.

Aramaic has a nearly four thousand year history. The farther you go back in time, like English, the more study is needed.

However, dialects from the same general time period are less different. First century Aramaic, no matter which geographic area it was spoken in, had a very high degree of intelligibility.

What I'm saying is that if someone understands Edessene Aramaic of the first century, they will have very little trouble understanding Galilean Aramaic of the first century.

That's why Eusebius didn't bring up a dialectic divide in the story of the literary exchange between Our Lord and King Abgar of Edessa. Eusebius wasn't an uneducated man. He was a student of Aramaic, and he obviously didn't see a linguistic problem in the exchange (whether it really happened or not is not important.)

The various Aramaic dialects you listed, and the Aramaic of the Peshitta (even though written in different scripts) are very close, about as close as various English dialects. There are small differences even among the ones you listed, but not anything that would make them not understandable to a speaker of a different dialect who actually studied the differences and adjusted himself to them.

If a non-native speaker can study and translate multiple dialects (many clergy and professors can do just that), how hard would it be for a speaker in any dialect to learn others?

Aramaic has always been varied in dialect, as varied as modern Arabic or modern Spanish. Doesn't mean we should call Mexico's Spanish "Mexicaniac."


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Re: Eastern vs. Western dialects of 1st century Aramaic - by Paul Younan - 04-10-2013, 04:37 AM

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