The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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).


Iushmanov, 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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Where Semitists and historical linguists in general have been overly hasty to attribute language change to language contact, including some very ill-conceived notions of "contact" that often involve considerable hand-waving, Kapeliuk has distinguished herself by addressing the larger picture suggested by the evidence of relatively far-flung but ultimately related languages, positing internal processes driven by their own evolution as an alternative to traditional narratives of contact, induced change ("Languages in Contact: The Contemporary Semitic World," "Some Common Traits in the Evolution of Neo-Syriac and Neo-Ethiopian," "Regularity and Deviation in Peripheral Neo-Semitic," "Is Modern Hebrew the Only 'Indo-Europeanized' Semitic Language?
Within this former dialect continuum, the speech of the Tur 'Abdin would naturally have more closely resembled that of nearby villages across the Tigris than the dialects of the Anti-Lebanon, but this is no reason to conclude that "Turoyo is closely connected with the other Neo-Syriac dialects, rather than with the Ma'lula group" (Blau 1968: 605 n.
They are restricted to this dialect group and do not survive in the Neo-Syriac dialects, as do other grammatical features, such as the infinitive forms of the derived stems.