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Assyrian Language Question

I am new to this site. I am very curious about the Assyrian language, what Assyrians today call Suiraye, which is related to the ancient Aramaic. I have started learning Hebrew and have found that there are many similarities between the two languages. Apparently, Aramaic was spoken by the Jews in the time of Christ. What I want to know is, how did that language come to be spoken in Israel and how did it come to be spoken by Assyrians in Urmi, if the ancient Assyrians spoke Akkadian? What is the relationship between Akkadian and Aramaic and what is the path that the latter language took throughout history? Is there a book that deals with this subject?

Thank you in advance for any information.

Hi Alita. Aramaic had the universal status that English has today for about two thousand years.

Much like Arabic today is spoken by all ethnic groups in the middle east as a lingua franca since the times of the Arab conquest - Aramaic was spread throughout the Assyrian empire after their conquests. Later it was also employed during the Chaldean and later the Persian empires.

Aramaic was actually also in the heritage of the Hebrew tribes because their ancestors were Arameans. It was very close to Hebrew and also shared the same simple alphabet.

Akkadian is related to Aramaic but the writing system was far more complicated and hence it retained a usage more for the governmental religious and educated segments of the population. Aramaic became the language of the common people. It was later made an official language alongside Akkadian.

Assyrians today speak a modern version of Aramaic that is heavily influenced by Akkadian and also more modern languages like Arabic, Kurdish and Persian depending on which country they live in.

Shamasha Paul.
Thank you Paul. Another thing I have been wondering now that I am getting more into the study of languages, is where/when/how did Hebrew originate? It seems different people have different ideas and I was just wondering what people on this forum think.

Thanks in advance, and Happy Easter. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->
Hi Alita. I think of Hebrew as Aramaic that's been heavily influenced by Canaanite languages. It represents a branch from the ancient aramean language. But all groups borrow features from their neighbors. In the case of the Hebrew tribes, this also included the script of the Phoenicians. Later they incorporated the Assyrian square script which we are familiar with today.

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