Assyrian (Neo-Syriac) Language
a collective name for the modern East Aramaic dialects (such as Urmia, Salamass, Jilu, Tiari, and Mosul), belonging to the family of Hamito-Semitic languages. It is spoken by the Assyrians (Syrians) in Iran, Turkey, Iraq, and Syria and by immigrants from these countries in the USSR and United States. The Urmia dialect was the basis of the literary Assyrian language that developed in the 1840’s. It is used in newspapers, literature, and church and pedagogical writings. Assyrian is structurally very different from the general Semitic type. Substantial changes have taken place at all levels under the influence of the surrounding languages—in phonology, morphology, and syntax. Several ancient Semitic phonemes have disappeared, and new ones have appeared. Vowel harmony has increased. Conjugations of the verb have changed, with aspect conjugation giving way to tenses. Verbal nouns (participles, infinitives) are used as personal verbal forms. Synthetic forms are often replaced by analytical ones. The vocabulary contains many foreign loan words (Turkic, Persian, Arabic).
REFERENCESIushmanov, N. V. “Assiriiskii iazyki ego pis’mo.” In Pis’mennost’ i revoliutsia, collection 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1933.
Tsereteli, K. G. Sovremennyi assiriiskii iazyk. Moscow, 1964.
Tsereteli, K. G. Materialy po arameiskoi dialektologii. Vol. 1: Urmiiskii dialekt. Tbilisi, 1965.
Kalashev, A. Russko-aisorskii i aisorsko-russkii slovar’. Tiflis, 1894.
Friedrich, J. “Neusyrisches in Late nschrift aus der Sowjetunion.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 1959, vol. 109, part 1.
Maclean, A. J. A Dictionary of the Dialects of Vernacular Syriac. Oxford, 1901.
K. G. TSERETELI