A Cultural History of Aramaic: From the Beginnings to the by Holger Gzella

By Holger Gzella

Aramaic is a continuing thread working in the course of the a variety of civilizations of the close to East, historic and sleek, 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 background as a continual evolution from its beginnings to the appearance of Islam. For the 1st time the person stages of the language, their socio-historical underpinnings, and the textual assets are mentioned comprehensively in mild of the newest linguistic and historic study and with considerable realization 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 ancient 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)

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43 44 45 Huehnergard 1995 presents such an expanded trait list. Cf. especially Huehnergard 1991. So Kaufman 1988. 2 The Grammatical Core of Aramaic A brief sketch of the basic grammatical system underlying the Aramaic languages from the first textual attestations down to the literary idioms of Late Antiquity can serve as an Archimedean point for relating the diachronic developments that evolved during the time frame covered here and that will be discussed in the respective Chapters. The following overview is not meant as a reconstruction of a hypothetical “Proto-Aramaic” (a concept of extremely dubious value given the unclear status of Samʾalian on the one hand and the amount of linguistic convergence in Syria-Palestine on the other, as has been outlined in the previous Section), but rather focuses on the earliest historical stage of Aramaic as it appears in direct and unambiguous evidence.

See also below on /ṣ/. Beyer 1984: 101. 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/.

Especially Huehnergard 1991. So Kaufman 1988. 2 The Grammatical Core of Aramaic A brief sketch of the basic grammatical system underlying the Aramaic languages from the first textual attestations down to the literary idioms of Late Antiquity can serve as an Archimedean point for relating the diachronic developments that evolved during the time frame covered here and that will be discussed in the respective Chapters. The following overview is not meant as a reconstruction of a hypothetical “Proto-Aramaic” (a concept of extremely dubious value given the unclear status of Samʾalian on the one hand and the amount of linguistic convergence in Syria-Palestine on the other, as has been outlined in the previous Section), but rather focuses on the earliest historical stage of Aramaic as it appears in direct and unambiguous evidence.

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