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Related to Syriac: Syriac Orthodox Church
Syriac(sēr`ēăk'), late dialect of AramaicAramaic
, language belonging to the West Semitic subdivision of the Semitic subfamily of the Afroasiatic family of languages (see Afroasiatic languages). At some point during the second millenium B.C.
..... Click the link for more information. , which is a West Semitic language (see Afroasiatic languagesAfroasiatic languages
, formerly Hamito-Semitic languages
, family of languages spoken by more than 250 million people in N Africa; much of the Sahara; parts of E, central, and W Africa; and W Asia (especially the Arabian peninsula, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and
..... Click the link for more information. ). The early Christians of Mesopotamia and Syria gave the Greek name Syriac to the Aramaic dialect they spoke when the term Aramaic acquired the meaning of "pagan" or "heathen." The oldest Syriac script, which dates back to the 1st cent. A.D., evolved from the Aramaic alphabet. Syriac began to yield to Arabic after the coming of Islam in the 7th cent. A.D. Today it survives as the tongue of a few thousand people in the Middle East. It is also used as a liturgical language of the Syrian Orthodox Church (see Jacobite ChurchJacobite Church
, officially Syrian Orthodox Church, Christian church of Syria, Iraq, and India, recognizing the Syrian Orthodox patriarch of Antioch as its spiritual head, regarded by Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox as heretical. It was founded (6th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. ).