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For instance, the word "many", 00ygs, is pronounced "SaG'iYoAA". This is not the phonetic rendering I am familiar with from standard English dictionaries and so I don't know how to pronounce this word in Western Aramaic.

Any suggestions of how I can find out how to use this lexicon's pronunciation guide?
For consonants, match each one of these:
A B G D H O Z K Y ; C L M N S E I / X R W T
in order to Syriac alphabet: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->

Note that Wikipedia article has the equivalent IPA sounds, so you can hear. Try to use Chrome or other browser able to play ogg audio format. E.g.: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... _fricative</a><!-- m -->

Vowels: a o e i u
Diacretics: ' dot above, Qushaya
, dot below, Rukkakha
_ line under
* Seyame

For vowels if you know any Latin based language and pronounce them as such you will be closer to how they should be pronounced.
English aprox.:
a: a in Father. I don't think it has to be as long as English but sound should be the same.
o: o in Phone but try to drop the U part completely and retain just the O. In English this is more of a diphthong, Latin based languages, Greek, Syriac, Hebrew, etc. is a clean O without the rounding toward U.
e: a in Day but retain just the E without the Y part. Again you find this sound clean in Latin based languages, Hebrew, etc.
i: ee in Meet - this one is like English but maybe not necessarily as long.
u: oo in Moon - again I don't think it has to be as long as English but the sound should be the same.

English speaking people seem to have real difficulty not pronouncing both o and e as diphthongs.

I hope this helps. Also this is all based on my observations, I am not a native or a specialist in the field.
Also note that you would have to install <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m --> font and maybe use IE browser (if on Windows) to have words come out of the lexicon showing in Estrangela not 00ygs like you posted.
I guess Chrome and others could be configured to show Estrangela font, but didn't look into it.

For how to post estrangela in forum posts see this: <!-- l --><a class="postlink-local" href="">viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1896</a><!-- l -->
00ygs=[font="Estrangelo (V1.1)"]00ygs[/font]
Hi borota, thx again for your help and info. I will study it and let you know how it works out for me.
I have studied the information and links you provided and have learned much borota, thx. I am still struggling with how to say these words though. As I mentioned, the word for "many" is [font="Estrangelo (V1.1)"]00ygs[/font] which the lexicon reports is pronounced: "SaG'iYoAA".

Is the sound for "Sa" something like "sah", or "sa" where the vowel "a" is short, as in "paw"? Or does this syllable sound like "say"? I have the same lack of understanding of the other elements of "SaG'iYoAA". The wikipedia .ogg site you referenced did not seem to have a way to say any more than the one character discussed, at least I haven't been able to discover how to do it.

I was hoping to produce a video for my own use along the lines of one I have produced of a Greek Lord's Prayer at: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->

I had no idea it would be so difficult to learn how to pronounce a few sentences in aramaic, and yet rather than be discouraged, I am more determined than ever.

While perusing this forum I have found much information on the text and meaning, but very little on the pronouncing and speaking; is this so, and if so, why? I'm thinking, in my ignorance, that there has been much more research on the written word than on the spoken...

Do you know any of the folks who created the lexicon at, or those that maintain it today?

Wouldn't it be great if I had a time machine where I could go back and get someone to read this for me (read left to right):
[font="Estrangelo (V1.1)"]Nyd dk Nysnl
lq4 9w4y 0mxl
<rbw 0cqw
bhyw Yhwdymltl
wbs wlwk0
wnh yrgP
lq4w 0sk
bhyw Jwhl rm0w
wbs wt40 hnm Jwklk
wnh Ymd 0qtydd Fdx
Plxd 00ygs
d40tm 0nqbw4l 0m+Yd
Nydb9Jwtywh Ynrkwdl[/font]
You could sign up with
They go through each letter in very great detail. Was very helpful for me.
Speaking each letter sounds fun and I am a bit concerned because if I learned English letter by letter it might not get me far in correct pronunciation of an English word. If I were to try English that way I would likely end up pronouncing "book" as "boke." If it comes to this I will give it a try, thanks borota.

In my native tongue which is a Romance language, we write the same way we speak (almost) always. So I guess that's why I didn't understand what your stumbling block was at first.

Aramaic is the same like my native language in that respect. Like Hebrew, Greek, Latin, etc. they all employ a phonetic writing system. English is rather an exception, most alphabetic writing is phonetic, as far as I know.

In Peshitta Aramaic, there are certain exceptions in certain contexts, but if you know the sound of each letter/vowel, in most cases you will get it right. Some times you would see certain signs for consonants that shouldn't be read - because the language evolved slightly while writing stayed the same, etc. Also certain cluster of letters sometimes may yield different sounds, but these are exceptions.

In my native language we have those too, once you know the rules there are consistently applied though. Unlike English where unless you know the word, you can never be 100% sure how it should be pronounced.

So Aramaic is phonetic, the letters (almost) always indicate clearly the sound they stand for. The exceptions I think are something for when one gets to a more advanced level.
Cool Greg, thanks again. I think I'm getting it. If I learn the correct sound for each letter, and if I then make these individual letter sounds in a row, so to speak, I will be close to the mark. Like 'venite' with Latin vowels becomes vay-knee-tay, or close enough I reckon. I can't wait to try this with the Aramaic letters in my prayer. I'll let you know how it goes.
"You got it, dude", Michelle said.

Note that I am also learning as we speak, so experts here please feel free to correct whatever needs straightening. I hope I am not the case where I know enough just to be dangerous <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

By the way, Paul Younan answered one of your posts directly, he is the owner of this site. He is a pretty busy person, if you are lucky enough though, he might answer some of your questions if you address them to him. The lexicon is his handiwork but he does stand on the shoulders of others, which he duly acknowledges at that link. He is also a deacon in one of the Aramaic churches in Chicago. He created John 1 pdf/audio I pointed you at in some other post. He reads Biblical Aramaic at least each Sunday in his church. Deacons together with the priest lead the liturgy service in Aramaic churches. As you could imagine they can certainly read Aramaic. As a native Aramaic he also speaks fluently a number of modern day Aramaic dialects...

Steve Carruso is an Aramaic academic, with extensive knowledge in the field. You will see his name pop-up in various modern day Aramaic projects and works.

Me, I am a pretty beginning student still, like you. Aramaic is one of my hobbies, if you could call it so.
Tim Wrote:For instance, the word "many", 00ygs, is pronounced "SaG'iYoAA". This is not the phonetic rendering I am familiar with from standard English dictionaries and so I don't know how to pronounce this word in Western Aramaic.

Any suggestions of how I can find out how to use this lexicon's pronunciation guide?

Hi Tim,

My apologies for the pronunciation guide in this lexicon. Unfortunately, I am unable to modify anything related to the lexicon for legal reasons. It was a compilation effort by a different group, and has its benefits. The pronunciation guide is _not_ one of them.

For pronunciation of words, it's best to learn the alphabet (which as Borota pointed out, is largely phonetic) - and pick up a modern printed copy of the New Testament complete with vowel points. The unpointed text of the Interlinear on this site is not suited for learning pronunciation.

The word ("many") you originally inquired about is pronounced - saa-gee-yea - in more traditional Latin transliteration. Without a voweled text, all you have is consonants which is useless practically.

Dear Greg and Paul,

I was very happy to read your posts, thank you both. In the short time since I discovered your forum, you have provided me with a gold mine of thought-provoking information. As much as I like to hear myself talk, or think of people reading what I wrote, I will limit myself.

Many thanks to you for the technical information you provided me; prior to corresponding with you I spent many hours on the web researching what it would take for me to learn my prayer to little effect. Now I am well on my way. But more than that, I find myself uplifted and saddened. Uplifted to think that the tradition of the native language of my Lord and Savior is not only alive today, but has been continued through the millenniums since his resurrection. Though I thought it was a dead language at first, I am saddened to know that it is now alive and yet not ubiquitous in the Christian world. I hope this changes.

I admire what you have done for all, and am very grateful for your helping me. I've got a lot to work on now and I'm looking forward to it tremendously.

Your friend, Tim.