By Holger Gzella
Aramaic is a continuing thread operating in the course of the a number of civilizations of the close to East, historic and glossy, from a thousand BCE to the current, and has been the language of small principalities, international empires, and a good percentage of the Jewish-Christian culture. Holger Gzella describes its cultural and linguistic historical past as a continual evolution from its beginnings to the arrival of Islam. For the 1st time the person levels of the language, their socio-historical underpinnings, and the textual assets are mentioned comprehensively in gentle of the most recent linguistic and old examine and with abundant awareness to scribal traditions, multilingualism, and language as a marker of cultural self-awareness. Many new observations on Aramaic are thereby built-in right into a coherent old framework.
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Extra info for A Cultural History of Aramaic: From the Beginnings to the Advent of Islam (Handbook of Oriental Studies, Volume 111)
However, there is a slow increase in topical studies on individual linguistic phenomena (such as Gzella 2004 on the interaction of tense, aspect, and modality in Achaemenid Official Aramaic against its wider Aramaic background; similarly Kuty 2010 for Targumic Aramaic). Such work is now facilitated by electronic resources (see Kaufman 2008). 31 An early but still very rewarding study along these lines is Beyer 1966; see now also the recent survey by van Peursen 2008 and the balanced discussion of diversity in the preclassical Syriac inscriptions by Healey 2008.
Introduction 25 All consonants could be lengthened (“geminated”) with a somewhat longer time between onset and release, as in Italian mamma; regressive assimilation of /n/ to the following consonant, as in other Semitic languages, also caused consonantal length, similarly assimilation of /l/ in some verbal roots (cf. 2). 2). e. 3 below). Aramaic preserved reflexes of the Proto-Semitic short vocalic phonemes */a/, */i/, and */u/, as well as their long counterparts */ā/, */ī/, and */ū/ (conventionally marked by a macron), and the diphthongs */aw/ and */ay/.
And the highly diverse modern vernaculars, Aramaic32 has undergone a creative evolution that exhibits a strong tendency towards the emergence of many variations in complex grammatical sub-systems. Phonemes merged and allophones turned into phonemes again; nominal dimensions like 32 This label derives from the name “Aram,” which refers to a population group in biblical as well as Assyrian sources and a region in Syria in the Old Aramaic inscriptions, but its etymology is debated (Lipiński 2000b: 132–133 suggests an internal plural of the Semitic word for ‘wild bull’ as an original totemic animal).
A Cultural History of Aramaic: From the Beginnings to the Advent of Islam (Handbook of Oriental Studies, Volume 111) by Holger Gzella