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A map of Semitic Languages
Shlama Akhi Rudolf

The truth is, there is never a standardization of a language. Governments or language authorities continually define and codify standards in a futile attempt to achieve a standard, but the reality is that these efforts are at best, temporal. The standard Saudi Arabian dialect that they teach in schools in your nation is really a myth. If you actually go to Saudi Arabia and travel from region to region, or from Bedouin tribe to Bedouin tribe, you will see many different Saudi Arabian Arabic varieties. Multiply that by thousands of years of Arabic history, and the number is mind boggling.

The situation is even worse for languages like Aramaic, which have no governing authority or official status. The last time Aramaic had this status was during the age of the three empires (Assyrian, Chaldean and Persian) - and even then, the attempts to standardize it was about as successful as Arabic or English today.

Again, the truth is (and I've always said this) - there is no one dialect or standard that everyone can understand in any generation, of any language. That is history and anthropology. It was as true in 1st century Palestine or Mesopotamia, as it is in 21st century America, Greece, China or Arabia.

Language works outwardly from the basic family unit, to villages, then clans and tribes, then greater metropolitan areas and then finally to nations.

A snapshot of any language during any time period is like a snowflake. The center is common among all the branches of the snowflake, and is mutually shared and easily comprehensible. The individual blades or forks in the snowflake are the various dialects. And as each snowflake is different, so is each language family.

So the snowflake diagrams of Semitic languages tend to be less complex patterns than those of other languages, because culturally it is a well established fact that Semitic people are rather resistant to change, preferring to cling tightly to history.

Like I said earlier, if you were to approach the Indo-European family of languages with the same approach Akhan Steve used for his linear chart (starting with the ancient root and breaking modern Aramaic down so finely at the tribal level), I suppose the length of the paper you write it on would stretch out for miles.

Today, like first-century Palestine, you cannot speak just your local tribal Aramaic variety. Because you will not be looked upon as very educated.

When modern Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs meet, they can immediately assess the situation with a few words in greeting and know how to continue the conversation. This can happen at family gatherings as inter marriage between different Aramaic groups are common.

There is no standard modern koine Aramaic, there are several depending on the community and church.

There was no standard back in Maran Jesus' time, either. This myth of a single Aramaic dialect that He preached in is, not only ridiculously out of touch with known anthropological science and history, but also scripturally inaccurate and impossible.

Aramaic was just as fragmented then, as it is today, as it was during the Empires, as it was during the first ages when it was spoken only by a bunch of Bedouin sheep herders.

The writers of the Aramaic NT would have, like the purported writers of the Greek NT, chosen a single literary form which would have had the maximum reach in audience.

Today, a modern author from the Tyari clan will not compose a work in his local dialect unless his audience is limited to his tribe only. He will write in either Iraqi Neo Aramaic koine or in English, or in Arabic. If there are tribal dialectical quirks in his composition, he will standardize them so as to smooth them out for other speakers of Aramaic who do not understand his little quirks.

Our critics often point out that the Aramaic NT can't be the original, because it is not consistent with the quirks of various Galilean varieties of that time period (as if the GNT matches this criteria).

I say, that is precisely why the Peshitta is the original. It was written in the most widely-understood Aramaic dialect in the world at that time. The dialect of a kingdom. If the apostles were only concerned about evangelizing their little insignificant villages in the galilee, then we are following the wrong religion, right? <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->


Messages In This Thread
A map of Semitic Languages - by Bram - 02-01-2014, 05:49 AM
Re: A map of Semitic Languages - by Paul Younan - 02-01-2014, 04:06 PM
Re: A map of Semitic Languages - by Bram - 02-02-2014, 12:53 PM
Re: A map of Semitic Languages - by Paul Younan - 02-02-2014, 04:43 PM
Re: A map of Semitic Languages - by Bram - 02-04-2014, 12:14 AM

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