Author Topic: Which milat speaks the proper Assyrian?  (Read 1471 times)

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Offline Cascade

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Which milat speaks the proper Assyrian?
« on: June 11, 2015, 03:21:45 AM »
Is it more accurate to use the "th" in Betha (house) and matha (village) like how Tyarehs do? Or are beta and mata the correct pronunciations?

At least, which utterance is closer to ancient Assyrian (Syriac/Aramaic)?


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Offline mrzurnaci

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Re: Which milat speaks the proper Assyrian?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2015, 08:41:41 AM »
Western dialect Assyrians speak the very closest to Syriac as possible.

Beta is supposed to be pronounced Betha but I always thought Tyari-Assyrians said "beysha"?

Offline Cascade

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Re: Which milat speaks the proper Assyrian?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2015, 09:25:01 AM »
Western dialect Assyrians speak the very closest to Syriac as possible.

Beta is supposed to be pronounced Betha but I always thought Tyari-Assyrians said "beysha"?
It varies. Ashetnayas say "betha". Girasnayehs say "besha". Never heard of "beysha" (with an 'ey')? Sounds like an Urmian ("beyta") with "sh".

Western dialects go overboard with the O sounds (shlomo, ahono). This makes their dialect sound constrictive and lacking vowel harmony.

What are some words that have the normal T and D sound in Syriac (no th or dh)?
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 10:52:19 PM by Neon »
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. - Charles Darwin

Assyrian Voice Forum

Re: Which milat speaks the proper Assyrian?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2015, 09:25:01 AM »

Offline Carlo

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Re: Which milat speaks the proper Assyrian?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2015, 01:14:26 PM »
[Side note: this thread needs to be moved to the Language section]

We need to distinguish between "Ancient Assyrian," "Aramaic," and "Syriac."

"Ancient Assyrian" usually refers to various dialects of Akkadian that spanned thousands of years before Christ. When you hear "Neo-Assyrian," it doesn't usually refer to the Assyrian Neo-Aramiac that we speak today, but to the Akkadian dialect that was spoken in the Neo-Assyrian Empire around 1000 BC to the fall of Nineveh in 612 BC and in a reduced state in the centuries afterwards up until Aramaic completely took over.

"Aramaic" is a Western Semitic language (unlike the Eastern Semitic Akkadian) that started supplanting Akkadian around the beginning of the Neo-Assyrian empire in 1000 BC. It didn't completely take over until the 1st century AD. Aramaic and Akkadian underwent a lot of mutual influence in this thousand-year span: borrowing words form each other, influencing each other's grammars and pronunciation, and so on.

"Syriac" is an Eastern dialect of Aramaic that began to form after the Greek invasions in the 3rd century BC.

Now that that's clear, the Akkadian for "house" is bet-/bit- and "place/land" is maat-, with "hard" t-sounds. The th-sound and all other rukkaakhaa sounds are a feature of Aramaic which also later spread to Hebrew but not to Akkadian. That being said, "house" in Aramaic is usually "baytaa" or "bethaa" (depending on the dialect), while Classical Syriac has "baytaa" in the emphatic state and "beth" in the construct, so both pronunciations for taw exist there. Whereas the words for "house" in Akkadian and Aramaic are probably cognates, Aramaic definitely borrowed the word maat- from Akkadian and, undergoing the usual rukkaakhaa sound shifts, became maathaa (also the pronunciation found in Classical Syriac).

Modern dialects that have maataa most likely didn't preserve the non-spirantized t-sound all the way back from Akkadian times, instead, probably just lost the th-sound within the last few centuries while other dialects preserve it. Having said that, there really is no "proper" way to say a word. Every dialect has both preserved and changed something from a previous dialect; no one dialect is completely more archaic than another.

Offline Cascade

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Re: Which milat speaks the proper Assyrian?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2015, 10:49:59 PM »
[Side note: this thread needs to be moved to the Language section]

We need to distinguish between "Ancient Assyrian," "Aramaic," and "Syriac."

"Ancient Assyrian" usually refers to various dialects of Akkadian that spanned thousands of years before Christ. When you hear "Neo-Assyrian," it doesn't usually refer to the Assyrian Neo-Aramiac that we speak today, but to the Akkadian dialect that was spoken in the Neo-Assyrian Empire around 1000 BC to the fall of Nineveh in 612 BC and in a reduced state in the centuries afterwards up until Aramaic completely took over.

"Aramaic" is a Western Semitic language (unlike the Eastern Semitic Akkadian) that started supplanting Akkadian around the beginning of the Neo-Assyrian empire in 1000 BC. It didn't completely take over until the 1st century AD. Aramaic and Akkadian underwent a lot of mutual influence in this thousand-year span: borrowing words form each other, influencing each other's grammars and pronunciation, and so on.

"Syriac" is an Eastern dialect of Aramaic that began to form after the Greek invasions in the 3rd century BC.

Now that that's clear, the Akkadian for "house" is bet-/bit- and "place/land" is maat-, with "hard" t-sounds. The th-sound and all other rukkaakhaa sounds are a feature of Aramaic which also later spread to Hebrew but not to Akkadian. That being said, "house" in Aramaic is usually "baytaa" or "bethaa" (depending on the dialect), while Classical Syriac has "baytaa" in the emphatic state and "beth" in the construct, so both pronunciations for taw exist there. Whereas the words for "house" in Akkadian and Aramaic are probably cognates, Aramaic definitely borrowed the word maat- from Akkadian and, undergoing the usual rukkaakhaa sound shifts, became maathaa (also the pronunciation found in Classical Syriac).

Modern dialects that have maataa most likely didn't preserve the non-spirantized t-sound all the way back from Akkadian times, instead, probably just lost the th-sound within the last few centuries while other dialects preserve it. Having said that, there really is no "proper" way to say a word. Every dialect has both preserved and changed something from a previous dialect; no one dialect is completely more archaic than another.
Very articulate and eloquent information up there! So....the T sound goes way more back than Th (I thought the latter was more "primitive") - Interesting.

Can you explain the diphthongs? Did Akkadians/Syriacs use tora or tawra for cow, zooyzeh/zoozeh for money. What about the consonant in warda (flower)? Did Akkadians/Syriacs use a V or W for waw?
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 10:55:04 PM by Neon »
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. - Charles Darwin

Offline Carlo

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Re: Which milat speaks the proper Assyrian?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2015, 12:37:55 PM »
Can you explain the diphthongs? Did Akkadians/Syriacs use tora or tawra for cow

"Cow/bull" in Akkadian is shoor-, so neither "o" nor "aw." :)

It's shor in Hebrew, thawr in Arabic, and tawraa (emphatic state) and tor (absolute/construct states) in Classical Syriac. Usually with Classical Syriac, they have the diphthong in the emphatic state and a long monophthong in the absolute/construct states:

  • baytaa (ܒܲܝܬܵܐ) -> beth (ܒܹܝܬ݂), "house"
  • tawraa (ܬܲܘܪܵܐ) -> tor (ܬܘܿܪ), "bull"
  • yawmaa (ܝܲܘܡܵܐ) -> yom (ܝܘܿܡ), "day"
  • qaysaa (ܩܲܝܣܵܐ) -> qes (ܩܹܝܣ), "stick, wood"
  • `aybaa (ܥܲܝܒܵܐ) -> `ev (ܥܹܝܒ݂), "(storm) cloud"

It's important to note that Classical Syriac is just a particular dialect once spoken in Edessa. It isn't synonymous with Ancient Aramaic and doesn't always preserve the most archaic form; bethaa (like I mentioned in my previous post), toraa, yomaa, etc. are also found in many Aramaic dialects (including some modern ones).

It's a very real possibility that the versions with a monophthong were the original pronunciations that were preserved in the absolute and construct states. A similar thing happened in English with "child" (chaayld) and "children," the monophthong "i" was preserved in the plural while it changed to the diphthong "aay" in the singular.

zooyzeh/zoozeh for money.

Zooze, no question. It's a monophthong even in the original Akkadian. The diphthongization of "oo" to "ooy" is a very recent phenomenon.

What about the consonant in warda (flower)? Did Akkadians/Syriacs use a V or W for waw?

As a consonant, waw was always a "w." Classical Syriac has beth rakkikhtaa for "v" (which later changed to "w") and Akkadian doesn't have "v" at all. Wardaa is spelled with a waw, so most likely "w," though the word does come from Old Persian, so I'm unsure of the original pronunciation. The pronunciation of waw as a "v" found in some modern dialects is very recent and probably a result of influence from languages like Modern Persian.

Offline Cascade

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Re: Which milat speaks the proper Assyrian?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2015, 01:47:31 AM »
"Cow/bull" in Akkadian is shoor-, so neither "o" nor "aw." :)

It's shor in Hebrew, thawr in Arabic, and tawraa (emphatic state) and tor (absolute/construct states) in Classical Syriac. Usually with Classical Syriac, they have the diphthong in the emphatic state and a long monophthong in the absolute/construct states:

  • baytaa (ܒܲܝܬܵܐ) -> beth (ܒܹܝܬ݂), "house"
  • tawraa (ܬܲܘܪܵܐ) -> tor (ܬܘܿܪ), "bull"
  • yawmaa (ܝܲܘܡܵܐ) -> yom (ܝܘܿܡ), "day"
  • qaysaa (ܩܲܝܣܵܐ) -> qes (ܩܹܝܣ), "stick, wood"
  • `aybaa (ܥܲܝܒܵܐ) -> `ev (ܥܹܝܒ݂), "(storm) cloud"

It's important to note that Classical Syriac is just a particular dialect once spoken in Edessa. It isn't synonymous with Ancient Aramaic and doesn't always preserve the most archaic form; bethaa (like I mentioned in my previous post), toraa, yomaa, etc. are also found in many Aramaic dialects (including some modern ones).

It's a very real possibility that the versions with a monophthong were the original pronunciations that were preserved in the absolute and construct states. A similar thing happened in English with "child" (chaayld) and "children," the monophthong "i" was preserved in the plural while it changed to the diphthong "aay" in the singular.

Zooze, no question. It's a monophthong even in the original Akkadian. The diphthongization of "oo" to "ooy" is a very recent phenomenon.

As a consonant, waw was always a "w." Classical Syriac has beth rakkikhtaa for "v" (which later changed to "w") and Akkadian doesn't have "v" at all. Wardaa is spelled with a waw, so most likely "w," though the word does come from Old Persian, so I'm unsure of the original pronunciation. The pronunciation of waw as a "v" found in some modern dialects is very recent and probably a result of influence from languages like Modern Persian.
Thanks for this epic info!!  :)

If I can bother you with a few more. Lol...

*I heard the "b" in bet (as in alap bet), is uttered with a V in some forms of Syriac (vit/vet)? 

*Is table pronounced as "mess" or "mees" in old Aramaic and Akkadian? For instance, Urmians say mees and Tyari's say mess. I want to know the background of the "eh"/"ee" sounds in Assyrians here.

*What about little, is it "zora" or "soora"?
« Last Edit: June 14, 2015, 05:23:13 AM by Neon »
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. - Charles Darwin

Offline mrzurnaci

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Re: Which milat speaks the proper Assyrian?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2015, 05:22:53 PM »
Thanks for this epic info!!  :)

If I can bother you with a few more. Lol...

*I heard the "b" in bet (as in alap bet), is uttered with a V in some forms of Syriac (vit/vet)? 

*Is table pronounced as "mess" or "mees" in old Aramaic and Akkadian? For instance, Urmians say mees and Tyari's say mess. I want to know the background of the "eh"/"ee" sounds in Assyrians here.

*What about little, is it "zora" or "soora"?

Mees isn't Syriac; all Syriac nouns end in "-ah".

"mees" is Turkish...

Offline Cascade

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Re: Which milat speaks the proper Assyrian?
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2015, 03:24:53 AM »
Mees isn't Syriac; all Syriac nouns end in "-ah".

"mees" is Turkish...
What about "speaking" - is it "sawotheh" or "hamzoomeh"? One sounds Arab and the other sounds Farsi...
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. - Charles Darwin

Offline mrzurnaci

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Re: Which milat speaks the proper Assyrian?
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2015, 02:05:32 PM »
What about "speaking" - is it "sawotheh" or "hamzoomeh"? One sounds Arab and the other sounds Farsi...


Well Accordin' to ma Syriax Lexiconz, "talk" or "speak" verb is written with the root verb "M-L-L"

talkativeness is "malaluta"

here's a usage sentence :3 - "what are you saying?" -> "ma 'eet maluleh?"

http://www.assyrianlanguages.org/sureth/dosearch.php?searchkey=17674&language=id

Offline Carlo

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Re: Which milat speaks the proper Assyrian?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2015, 02:57:02 PM »
*I heard the "b" in bet (as in alap bet), is uttered with a V in some forms of Syriac (vit/vet)?

That's beth rakkikhtaa, not vit/vet/veth (one of the conditions for letters taking rukkaakhaa is that they have to follow a vowel, so the "b" in the letter name beth can't be rakkikhtaa because it's at the beginning of the word and, thus, not after a vowel. Modern Hebrew calls the letter vet, though.).

The beth in older Aramaic and early Classical Syriac was most likely pronounced as an English "v" at some point, however, it turned into a "w" very early on. Both Eastern and Western dialects pronounce it as "w," so this change most likely happened in or before the 5th century CE when the Eastern/Western dialects began to diverge. There's only one modern dialect I know that pronounces it as "v," and that's Iranian Urmian dialects (I say "Iranian" Urmian as opposed to Urmians who migrated elsewhere and do not have the "v," for example, Urmians who fled to Iraq after WWI). It's very hard to believe that they preserved the original ancient "v" for 15 centuries while everybody else changed it to a "w," it's more likely that they changed it back to a "v" under influence from Persian and/or Azeri within the last century or so.

*Is table pronounced as "mess" or "mees" in old Aramaic and Akkadian? For instance, Urmians say mees and Tyari's say mess. I want to know the background of the "eh"/"ee" sounds in Assyrians here.

*What about little, is it "zora" or "soora"?

Like mrzurnaci said, mez/mes word is not native (almost all common nouns end in -aa), so it doesn't exist in Old Aramaic and Akkadian. The "eh" sound is, however, more original in this case, having shifted to "ee" in some dialects. The words for "hand" and "holiday" are homophones in some dialects ("eedaa") because the sounds converged, while they are still distinct in others ("eedhaa" vs. "ehdhaa").

Same goes for "o," it's more original than "oo." Classical Syriac is z`ora, the "z" turns into a "s" in many dialects because it precedes "`" (ܥ) (the technical name for this phenomenon is "assimilation" and it occurs to ease pronunciation).

The "eh -> ee" and "o -> oo" are very typical vowel shifts that occurred across many different languages. This includes English, actually: "ee" was a long "e," not a long "i"; and "oo" was a long "o," not a long "u" (the spelling makes sense, right? We don't write "ii" or "uu" for those sounds.). The "o -> oo" vowel shift also occurred in Turoyo, hence "killer" is qoToolo in Turoyo and qaaToolaa in some Eastern dialects, both having shifted from the original qaaTolaa that's still found in some other dialects.

What about "speaking" - is it "sawotheh" or "hamzoomeh"? One sounds Arab and the other sounds Farsi...

Cawtaa/cothaa (ܨܘܬܐ) is found in Classical Syriac; the Arabic word cawt is likely a cognate or a loanword from Aramaic. The root of mhamzomeh is definitely Iranian, probably a compound of Kurdish hem ("also, too") and ziman ("tongue").

Offline Cascade

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Re: Which milat speaks the proper Assyrian?
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2016, 01:52:12 AM »
Mees isn't Syriac; all Syriac nouns end in "-ah".

"mees" is Turkish...
In Turkish it's masa, which comes from Arabic's "miḥaşş".
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. - Charles Darwin

 

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