Author Topic: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary  (Read 4753 times)

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This is a great news and a great day!


Love notes and divorce papers. Accounting ledgers and legal briefs. Omens, letters between kings, thoughts on the benefits of flaxseed and the fortune-telling properties of sheep livers.

All were carved in stone or written in cuneiform on clay tablets in ancient Mesopotamia — the cradle of human civilization — between 2500 BC and AD 100. Scholars at the University of Chicago have worked for nearly a century on a comprehensive guide for those reading the ancient language in which some of the earliest days of human history were written.

Ninety years in the making, the 21-volume, 28,000-word Chicago Assyrian Dictionary is complete. Started in 1921, the dictionary was created over the years by about 85 employees writing on millions of index cards in up to five large offices at the school’s Oriental Institute at University Avenue and 58th Street.

The first volume was published in 1956. Forty years after that, the current editor saw the beginning of the end.


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Online mrzurnaci

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2011, 01:35:32 AM »
let the rebuilding/modernization of language begin!
I wonder how much the entire thing costs

Offline A.G

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2011, 04:22:34 PM »
Well said.

Our problem is that those who we call "Linguist" are destroying the Assyrian heritage of our spoken language (Souwadaya) by adding new foreign words, for example "Zayna" (Aramaic) meaning "Arm" knowing that Jakku (Akkadian) is the origin of Jakka that we use today meaning "Arm", and "Qreeta" (Village) instead of "Mata" from the Akkadian (old Assyrian) "Matu".

The reformation of our language should be done only by Assyriologist, and we have many of them, we don't need "Youlpana D'Eta" to be involved in something that was always before this "Youlpana", and what we call "Lishana Atiqa" is in reality "Lishana Bulbicha" because it's not Assyrian. Let the right guys do the right job and others sit and learn.

A.G
All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become. (Buddha)

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2011, 04:22:34 PM »

Offline ASHUR

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2011, 01:48:03 PM »
Well said.

Our problem is that those who we call "Linguist" are destroying the Assyrian heritage of our spoken language (Souwadaya) by adding new foreign words, for example "Zayna" (Aramaic) meaning "Arm" knowing that Jakku (Akkadian) is the origin of Jakka that we use today meaning "Arm", and "Qreeta" (Village) instead of "Mata" from the Akkadian (old Assyrian) "Matu".

The reformation of our language should be done only by Assyriologist, and we have many of them, we don't need "Youlpana D'Eta" to be involved in something that was always before this "Youlpana", and what we call "Lishana Atiqa" is in reality "Lishana Bulbicha" because it's not Assyrian. Let the right guys do the right job and others sit and learn.

A.G

Who are the right "guys" and why are we not hearing from them?
It is better to die on your feet, than live on your knees.

Online mrzurnaci

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2011, 03:24:40 PM »
Well said.

Our problem is that those who we call "Linguist" are destroying the Assyrian heritage of our spoken language (Souwadaya) by adding new foreign words, for example "Zayna" (Aramaic) meaning "Arm" knowing that Jakku (Akkadian) is the origin of Jakka that we use today meaning "Arm", and "Qreeta" (Village) instead of "Mata" from the Akkadian (old Assyrian) "Matu".

The reformation of our language should be done only by Assyriologist, and we have many of them, we don't need "Youlpana D'Eta" to be involved in something that was always before this "Youlpana", and what we call "Lishana Atiqa" is in reality "Lishana Bulbicha" because it's not Assyrian. Let the right guys do the right job and others sit and learn.

A.G

Zayna means Arm as in weapons not Arm as in the Human body part, qreeta and mata are both Aramaic but I think we should use Qreeta as town and keep mata as village
« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 03:27:09 PM by mrzurnaci »

Offline Zawoyo

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2011, 11:12:58 AM »
We use qritho for village, too but we use motho for homeland ... and here you can see that matu means land/country and not village in Akkadian:
http://www.premiumwanadoo.com/cuneiform.languages/dictionary/dosearch.php
« Last Edit: June 08, 2011, 11:13:27 AM by Zawoyo »
The Rights of Assyrians -UN Declaration
www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhDtB12aA8I

The existence of the Assyrian Nation & Nationality is a fact
http://www.assyrianvoice.net/forum/index.php?topic=36862.0

̈I´m not interested in helping our ppl because I´m nationalistic, I´m interested because our ppl NEED help!

Offline rumrum

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2011, 12:34:24 AM »
Great news indeed.

A common misconception is that this is the neo-Assyrian language dictionary, it's not, it's Akkadian or what the Ancient Assyrians spoke and wrote on tablets (cuneiform).  A co-worker of mine (older) actually worked on this project in the 70's when he was at University of Chicago.  He said he misses those times.  He said that the Assyrians wrote down EVERYTHING which made it a great effort to translate and know about our culture and of the times.  Plus I don't think it's really for sale as it will be used as reference material for Assyriology and Archeology.

Offline Carlo

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2011, 03:15:55 PM »
Great news indeed.

A common misconception is that this is the neo-Assyrian language dictionary, it's not, it's Akkadian or what the Ancient Assyrians spoke and wrote on tablets (cuneiform).  A co-worker of mine (older) actually worked on this project in the 70's when he was at University of Chicago.  He said he misses those times.  He said that the Assyrians wrote down EVERYTHING which made it a great effort to translate and know about our culture and of the times.  Plus I don't think it's really for sale as it will be used as reference material for Assyriology and Archeology.


I think the "Neo-Assyrian" part refers to the Neo-Assyrian empire and the Akkadian dialect of that period (around 1000 BC - 600 BC), not to the Assyrian Neo-Aramaic we speak today. That Neo-Assyrian (Akkadian) dialect is included in the dictionary, along with other dialects and time periods. 

They actually do sell physical copies of the volumes for around $45 - $150 a pop, but I think that's just to cover the cost of printing. I doubt they're making a huge profit out of it, if at all, since they're also available for free as PDFs here: http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/pubs/catalog/cad/ :)


Offline ASHUR

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Let the right guys do the right job and others sit and learn.
A.G

I'll ask again, based on your statement, who are the right "guys" and why are we not hearing from them?
It is better to die on your feet, than live on your knees.

Offline esz

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2011, 11:15:41 PM »
The issue is that there is no government backing Syriac and therefore no real standardization effort that would be officially accepted. The only way to have this  currently accomplished is to petition the Iraqi government to have a working group of Syriac linguists together to setup a standarization body. Only through this way will the language become modernized and foreign words purged from the its vocabulary.

Online mrzurnaci

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2011, 08:10:39 PM »
The issue is that there is no government backing Syriac and therefore no real standardization effort that would be officially accepted. The only way to have this  currently accomplished is to petition the Iraqi government to have a working group of Syriac linguists together to setup a standarization body. Only through this way will the language become modernized and foreign words purged from the its vocabulary.

your right in every way, but I doubt the Iraqi government will even consider to establish a group of Syriac linguists, We need to form one of our own
« Last Edit: June 13, 2011, 08:12:44 PM by mrzurnaci »

Offline A.G

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2011, 02:08:36 PM »
Dear Ashur, Carlro

The right guys are the ones who studied the original Language (Akkadian), they are the ones who should reform, not confused "Shamasheh". And here I do not mean that we should speak Akkadian (Old Assyrian). but at least to change the Turkish, Persian, English words used by Assyrians today, to a simplified Akkadian. Do you know that if call God by his Assyrian nama it would be "Ashur" ?, because Alaha is an Aramean pronunciation from Illu (Master in Old Assyrian).

Dear Zurnaci, Matu was "Land" and "Homeland" in old Assyrian.. whatever ... but we can simply use another term to a "Village", if we are going into details we will find that "Village", "Town", "City", "Homeland" ... all had different terms in Akkadian (Old Assyrian), but I was giving an example to tell you that we are "replacing" the Assyrian language by a strange one, but we are not reforming.

A.G
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Offline ASHUR

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2011, 05:57:12 PM »
Dear Ashur, Carlro

The right guys are the ones who studied the original Language (Akkadian), they are the ones who should reform, not confused "Shamasheh".

That is my point and question.  WHO are "the right guys" or "the right ones".  By who, I mean name, education, affiliated organizations, etc.  For example, Dr. Edward Odisho, Ph.D. is a linquist professor at Northeastern Illinoin University and an expert in the Aramaic language and has published scores of research papers and articles in various international publications and has authored five books, the most recent being Techniques of Teaching Pronunciation in ESL, Bilingual and Foreign Language Classes (2003) and A Linguistic Approach to the Application and Teaching of the English Alphabet, Edwin Mellen Press (2004).  Do we know if he was part of the team?
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Offline Free_Assyria

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2011, 02:55:41 AM »
Great stuff, so when does it go on sale?
"The World has no glory without the Assyrians"

Offline esz

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2011, 09:40:14 AM »
You can either buy it directly or download it for FREE from http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/pubs/catalog/cad/

Offline A.G

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2011, 08:41:33 PM »
Dear Ashur, let those who studied Aramaic reform the Neo-Aramaic for the Aramians in the north of Damascus, we have nothing to do with that.

We have many people who studied Akkadian such as Ninib Lamassu (UK), Zak Cherry (Sweden), George Sulaiman (Germany)... and many others that I may not recall .. and Scholars like Simo Parpola can help alot in such project.


A.G
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Offline dok101

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2011, 04:13:33 AM »
I understand why the Akkadian dialect of the Neo-Assyrian empire is referred to as Neo-Assyrian.  What I do not understand is why our Assyrian-Aramaic vernaculars are referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, etc.  What is so "neo" about our vernaculars?  And, although it has been used now for decades interchangeably, I sincerely wish folks would stop referring to our vernacular as Syriac.  Syriac, as you all know, is our liturgical language.  According to Dr. Geoffrey Khan, Professor of Semitic Philology and Chairman of the Faculty Board at Cambridge:

Quote
In sum, the evidence adduced above demonstrates that the dialects of Modern  Assyrian are unlikely to be direct descendants of the literary Syriac language,  although they are undoubtedly related to it. Rather they existed side-by-side  with it for centuries. Some of the features of the modern spoken dialects that differ from literary Syriac can be shown to have emerged at a much earlier period by the fact that they occasionally surface in written texts by a process of linguistic interference. Some features of morphology, moreover, are typologically more archaic than the corresponding features in Syriac. Likewise, some lexical items of the modern dialects are not attested in Syriac but have roots that can be traced to antiquity in the Akkadian language.


http://www.aina.org/articles/rothbotmal.pdf
http://www.ames.cam.ac.uk/general_info/biographies/hebrew/Khan.htm

Quote
neo-
1. new, recent, or a new or modern form or development


Seriously, this seems like just a tad bit of Western bias.  For instance, why are not the modern Greek vernaculars referred to as Neo-Greek?  The archaeological (including linguistic) record clearly establishes that the Assyrians adopted Aramaic and made it their own at least a century or two before Nineveh's fall.  

Quote
Post Empire
The “Melammu Project”
Aramaic = Assyrian language
5th century BCE
Achaemenid Empire
Greek philosophers and scholars
Thucydides reports that the Persian Artaphernes, who was carrying a message from the Great King to Sparta, was taken prisoner, brought to Athens, and the letters he was carrying were translated from the Assyrian language.
Thucydides 4.50.2:
He was conducted to Athens, where the Athenians got his dispatches translated from the Assyrian character (Assuriôn grammatôn) and read them.
————————————————–
http://www.jewfaq.org/alephbet.htm
“[T]he Hebrew alphabet that [Jews] use today is referred to as Assyrian Script (in Hebrew, K’tav Ashuri).”


Assyrian-Aramaic, modern Assyrian, or Neo-Assyrian-Aramaic are all OK, in my opinion.  Syriac, however, is not. 
« Last Edit: June 18, 2011, 04:54:58 AM by dok101 »

Offline dok101

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2011, 05:11:41 AM »
Quote
The cuneiform script - used to write both Assyrian and Babylonian, and first used for the Sumerian language - is, according to Dr Finkel, the oldest script in the world, and was an inspiration for its far more famous cousin, hieroglyphics.

Its angular characters were etched into clay tablets, which were then baked in the sun, or fired in kilns.

This produced a very durable product, but it was very hard to write, and from about 600BC, Aramaic - which is spoken by modern-day Assyrians in the region - began to gain prominence, simply because it was easier to put into written form, researchers believe.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13715296

More like at least 700 BCE.  But that is OK.  At least they spared us the indignity of reading our millennia-old self-appellation enclosed in quotations. 

Offline Carlo

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2011, 03:57:33 PM »
I understand why the Akkadian dialect of the Neo-Assyrian empire is referred to as Neo-Assyrian.  What I do not understand is why our Assyrian-Aramaic vernaculars are referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, etc.  What is so "neo" about our vernaculars?  And, although it has been used now for decades interchangeably, I sincerely wish folks would stop referring to our vernacular as Syriac.  Syriac, as you all know, is our liturgical language.  According to Dr. Geoffrey Khan, Professor of Semitic Philology and Chairman of the Faculty Board at Cambridge:

http://www.aina.org/articles/rothbotmal.pdf
http://www.ames.cam.ac.uk/general_info/biographies/hebrew/Khan.htm

Seriously, this seems like just a tad bit of Western bias.  For instance, why are not the modern Greek vernaculars referred to as Neo-Greek?  The archaeological (including linguistic) record clearly establishes that the Assyrians adopted Aramaic and made it their own at least a century or two before Nineveh's fall.  

Assyrian-Aramaic, modern Assyrian, or Neo-Assyrian-Aramaic are all OK, in my opinion.  Syriac, however, is not. 


For Greek, the casual distinction is "Greek" and "Ancient Greek." To a classicist though, it's "Greek" and "Modern Greek." To a linguist, you'd have to be specific in both cases: "Ancient Greek" and "Modern Greek."

It's not really a Western bias, just "academic specificity." The exact name of the language varies depending on the context. For example, you'd be silly if you were from Chicago and went around in casual everyday conversations and said you speak "Inland Northern American English," just "English" will do (unless there's a specific reason for highlighting your particular dialect). It's the same with "Assyrian Neo-Aramaic" and "Assyrian." Usually, when you say you speak "Assyrian," people will think you mean "Assyrian Neo-Aramaic" and not "Assyrian Akkadian."

The "Syriac" name just describes the specific branch of eastern Aramaic we speak; it's a translation for Sooreth. Our literary language is usually called "classical" or "Edessan Syriac." :)

Online mrzurnaci

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Re: After 90 years, U. of Chicago completes Assyrian Dictionary
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2011, 01:14:27 PM »
despite our name "Neo-Aramaic"

our language is more like a soup of akkadian and aramaic, but what puts me in a bind is, should we be using more Akkadian vocabularies/verbs? or should be use more Aramaic vocabulary/verbs? or lastly, should we use both languages to have more than one word for one meaning like how English has the word "quell" from Old english "cwellan" and another synonym "assassinate" from Arabic حشاشين "Hashasheen"
both mean "to kill" even though one is more distinct in meaning than the other.

 

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