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Šlomo Surayt

An Introductory Course to Surayt-Aramaic (Turoyo)

 

ARAMAIC-ONLINE PROJECT (2014-2017)

 

edited by

Shabo Talay

  

 

A1 – A2

 

 

  The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

Preface

“Šlomo Surayt – An Introductory Course to Surayt-Aramaic (Turoyo)” has been developed within the framework of the Aramaic-Online Project (2014–2017), realised by a consortium consisting of four European universities – Free University of Berlin (Coordinator), University of Bergen (Applicant/Coordinator), University of Cambridge, Leipzig University – and the St Ephrem Syriac Orthodox Monastery in the Netherlands. This project, which has been co-funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union, has developed an online course and additional teaching material in Surayt Aramaic, which is classified as a severely endangered language by UNESCO.

The course content has been produced through an iterative process, directed by Prof. Dr. Shabo Talay at the Freie Universität Berlin. Each unit has been reviewed several times by the team members. In addition, the course content and methodology have been evaluated by the advisory board and external volunteers.

Overall, the course is a product of a long and demanding process of teamwork consisting of content developers, reviewers, translators, technical editors, layout designers, and software developers. Despite all review cycles, we are fully aware that readers might find mistakes and there are elements to be improved. We kindly ask all readers to share their findings and feedback with the course developers by sending an email to aramaic.online@gmail.com.

We would like to thank all those who made this project possible. First of all the partner organisations with their staff members involved; the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU), our associated partners KANO Suryoyo and the Inanna Foundation. We are grateful to all organisations and individuals who have supported the project during the dissemination activities in different European countries.

Special thanks go to Arve Kjell Uthaug and Dr. Ludmilla Torlakova from the University of Bergen for their invaluable support and involvement in all stages of the Aramaic Online Project.  

 

 

Berlin, July 2017

Shabo Talay

On behalf of the Aramaic-Online Project

 

Production team

Prof. Dr. Shabo Talay              (scientific director, content developer, reviewer, final editor)

Murat Can                               (author of the main texts, content developer, reviewer)

Barbara A. Üzel                       (content developer, reviewer)

Nicolas Atas                            (content developer, reviewer)

Dr. Naures Atto                       (reviewer, content developer for cultural notes)

Polycarpus Dr Augin Aydin     (reviewer)

Dr. Jean Yoseph                      (reviewer, layout editor)

Hanibal Romanos                    (reviewer)

Soner Ö. Barthoma                  (project coordinator, reviewer)

 

External Reviewers 

Prof. Dr. Otto Jastrow (Tallinn); Dr Jan van Ginkel (Free University of Amsterdam), Prof Werner Arnold (University of Heidelberg), Prof. Dr. Sergey Loesov (Moscow); Ass. Prof. Dr. Ablahad Lahdo (Uppsala)

 

Language Versions

German:          Barbara A. Üzel, Dr. Jean Yoseph, Charlotte Asbrock, Dr. Stefanie Rudolf, Eddie Talay

English:           Dr Naures Atto (main translation), Keri Miller (transl. Ch.1–2 and grammar Ch. 13–16), Lea Rasche (transl. grammar  boxes Ch. 3–12)

Swedish:         Hanibal Romanos, Dr. Ablahad Lahdo (transl. the grammar boxes)

Dutch:             Murat Can, Martin Can, Katrin Can and Özcan Bozkurt (transl. Ch.1–2)

French:            Nicolas Atas

Arabic:            Dr. Jean Yoseph

Turkish:           Ellie Dogan

 

Voices

Female:           Barbara A. Üzel, Ninhursag Tadaros

Male:               Murat Can, Dr. Jean Yoseph, Dr. Yousef Kouriyhe

 

Technical development and layout

Prof. Dr. Eckehard Schulz, Andy Wermcke,

Jonathan F. Schmid, Dr. Jean Yoseph and Soner Ö. Barthoma

 

Advisory board

Prof. Otto Jastrow (Tallinn University), Prof. Geoffrey A. Khan (University of Cambridge),

Prof. Arnold Werner (University of Heidelberg), Dr. Jan van Ginkel (Free University of Amsterdam)

 

Design

Freie Universität Berlin, CeDIS (Website)

Spektrum 44 GmbH, Germany (Web design)

Sharokin Betgevargis, USA (Logo, corporate design)

TBA Form, Sweden (Book layout)

Introduction

Surayt is a Neo-Aramaic language originally spoken in Turabdin, a region in southeastern Turkey, traditionally inhabited by Syriac Christians. In academia, Surayt has also become known as “Turoyo”. However, the speakers themselves have not accepted this academic term. They usually call their language Surayt. This term goes back to Classical Syriac Suryå'īṯ and means “Syriac” or “the way Syrians speak”. Today in Europe, many speakers simply use the term Suryoyo for their language.

 

 

Figure 1: Map showing where Surayt was originally spoken

In this course, we have chosen to use the term Surayt because its speakers in Turabdin traditionally used it. It can also be used alongside the term Turoyo, which has been more in use among Western scholars.

Surayt spoken in the diaspora is not the same as any of the local dialects in Turabdin. The language presented in Šlomo Surayt is a slightly unified version of Surayt, which developed in the diaspora, and which can be considered as unique for its new context.

Today, only about 1,500 people in the area of origin in Turabdin speak Surayt. However, in the European diaspora more than 250,000 people call it their “mother tongue”. Surayt is not a dialect of Classical-Syriac (kṯobonoyo), which is still used as liturgical language in Syriac churches. Within the Neo-Aramaic languages, Surayt is classified as Eastern Neo-Aramaic, which also includes the Jewish and other Christian Neo-Aramaic dialects of Iraq and Iran.

The following table demonstrates the classification of Surayt within Neo-Aramaic languages:

Western Aramaic

Eastern Aramaic

Western Neo-Aramaic

Eastern Neo-Aramaic

Maʿlula,

Baxʿa,

Ǧubbʿadīn

 

Western Syriac

Eastern Syriac

Surayt/Turoyo

Mlaḥsō

 

Northeastern Neo-Aramaic (NENA)

-        Christian NENA

-        Jewish NENA

Neo-Mandaic, Iran

The native speakers of Surayt call themselves mainly Suryoye (Sg.m Suryoyo, f. Suryayto). In Western languages, there is a dispute among different groups about naming the speaker community.  The learner can come across the same group with different names, such as Syriac, Aramaean, Assyrian and compound versions of these terms. To avoid discussions about this issue in the English version we use the term ‘Syriacs’. In other languages, we use one of the accepted common terms. We would like to emphasize that the aim of Šlomo Surayt is to offer an opportunity to everybody to learn Surayt, not to enter into discussions about the name of the people who speak or who originally spoke this language.

Until we started with our project, Surayt did not have a standardized orthography. For this project, we have developed a new orthography to be used for writing in both Syriac and Roman alphabets. Thus the writing system used in Šlomo Surayt is the result of debates and discourses, which have taken place in several colloquia and workshops since 2012 at the University of Bergen, the University of Cambridge and at the Freie Universität Berlin, as well as in the Mor Afrem Monastery in the Netherlands. Many experts, academic professionals and native speakers participated in these orthography meetings.

About the Course

Šlomo Surayt aims to teach Surayt as it is spoken among its native speakers today. The course provides learners with a level of communicative competence on a range of topics. Each unit includes material that advances the reading, writing, listening, and pronunciation skills of the learner, and additionally contains “cultural notes” to contextualize the language.

The course is equivalent to A1-A2 level (beginner level) according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Each level consists of 8 learning units; in total 16. The learning units contain texts and dialogues of everyday encounters and situations, structured grammatical explanations, and exercises related to the vocabulary and grammar. The vocabulary is presented not merely in word-format, but also teaches phrases. Each unit ends with a full word list.

The lessons are built around topics relevant to the contemporary life of Surayt speakers. The main fictive characters chosen in the narrative live in the diaspora and communicate about different basic topics, such as greetings, family, food, clothes, farming and work. Almost 90 per cent of the course content is enhanced with sound files, recorded by native Surayt speakers (in both female and male voices). This will help learners to learn and practice the correct pronunciation of words and phrases, and to grasp the language melody specific to Surayt.

The exercises are constructed to consolidate the knowledge of the learned vocabulary, in both word and phrase format, and linked directly to the grammar. The thematic cultural notes offer learners a unique opportunity to contextualize language learning within the broad framework of culture. At the end of the book, learners will find a list of verb conjugations, and a detailed glossary consisting of the whole vocabulary used in the book.   

Learning Surayt can be fun if you are interested, but difficult if you are not motivated, which is the case for learning any new language. Learners familiar with Semitic languages have definitely some advantages in learning Surayt, but the course does not require any previous knowledge. In order to familiarise the learner with the writing and sound system of Surayt, the first two chapters introduce the phonology and the newly developed orthography.

The course is designed as a complete resource for both independent and classroom–based learners who wish to acquire the ability to speak, understand, read and write basic Surayt. The online version is provided in seven languages – English, German, Swedish, Dutch, French, Arabic and Turkish.

Previous Teaching Material for Surayt

In the beginning of the 1980s, the Swedish Government started to teach Surayt at Swedish schools in the frame of “mother-tongue education” regulations. For this purpose, a project has been established at the National Swedish Institute for Teaching Material (SIL) to develop and produce teaching and educational material in Surayt. The staff of this project is under the supervision of Dr. Yusuf Ishak, who developed a new Roman-based Surayt alphabet and published a grammar, a dictionary, several schoolbooks, and instruction material.

Otto Jastrow’s Lehrbuch der Ṭuroyo-Sprache (Semitica Viva 2. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1992) is still the only scientific comprehensive textbook for learning Surayt. In the last decade, the following textbooks on Surayt have been published in different European countries: 

Jan Beṯ-Sawoce: Svensk-nyvästsyrisk Lärobok - Swedi-Şurayt [Ţuroyo], Södertälje: Nsibin 2008. based on: Jastrow Otto, Lehrbuch der Ṭuroyo-Sprache).

Murat Can: Toxu Yёlfina Surayt. Laten we Surayt leren. Glane-Losser: Bar Hebraeus Verlag 2014.

Mikael Oez: Modern Aramaic in Practice. Modern Aramaic Press 2014.

Sami Ucel: Ṯuroyo. Der syrisch-aramäische Dialekt von Turabdin. Wien: Selbstverlag 2015.

These publications, primarily  aimed at native learners of Surayt, have raised great awareness about this endangered language and contributed to its development. Apart from these attempts, Šlomo Surayt is the first online course, which integrates the latest IT tools in language learning. It proposes a unified standard for the language, which is based on scholarly research and it aims at a broad acceptance within the speaker community. In order to address the needs of the target groups the course is provided in both the Syriac alphabet and the Latin alphabet, using both writing systems side by side. In the presentation of the course, modern didactic methods have been used, including complete sound files, in order to make language learning a pleasure.

Published simultaneously in all of the primary languages of the countries in which Syriacs reside, it is hoped that Šlomo Surayt will reach out to a worldwide audience of Surayt speakers and new learners from any community. It aims at instilling a new sense of language identity in second and third generation Surayt speakers all over the world and at motivating and encouraging them to improve their command of their ancestral mother tongue.

An academic bibliography of Surayt and a list of publications in Surayt can be found in the Appendix-I.

 

 

The Surayt Alphabet

According to the LATIN Order

Aa

arnuwo

rabbit

ܐܰܪܢܘܘܳܐ

 ܰ ،ܐܰ ـܰܐ

Bb

bayto

house

ܒܰܝܬܐ

ܒ

Cc

cezo

goat 

ܥܶܙܐ

ܥ

Čč

čanta

bag

 ܫ̰ܰܢܛܰܐ

ܫ̰ 

Dd

dawmo

tree

ܕܰܘܡܐ

ܕ

Ḏḏ

iḏo

hand 

ܐܝܕ݂ܐ

ܕ݂

Ee

emo

mother

ܐܶܡܐ

 ܶ ،ܐܶ ـܶܐ

Ëë

ëšmo

name

ܐܷܫܡܐ

 ܷ ،ܐܷ ـܷܐ

Ff

filo

elephant

ܦܝܠܐ

ܦ

Gg

gamlo

camel 

ܓܰܡܠܐ

ܓ

Ġġ

ġamo

concern

ܓ݂ܰܡܐ

ܓ݂

Hh

huryo

crib 

ܗܘܪܝܳܐ

ܗ

Ḥḥ

ḥmoro

donkey 

ܚܡܳܪܐ

ܚ

Ii

kiso

sack

ܟܝܣܐ

ܝ

Jj

jazwe

coffee pot 

ܔܰܙܘܶܐ

ܔ

Kk

kalbo

dog 

ܟܰܠܒܐ

ܟـ ܟ

Ll

lampa

lamp 

ܠܰܡܦܰ݁ܐ

ܠـ ܠ

Mm

malko

king 

ܡܰܠܟܐ

ܡـ  ܡ

Nn

nargo

axe 

ܢܰܪܓܐ

ܢـ ـܢ

Oo

oṯo

fܳlag

ܐܳܬ݂ܐ

 ܳ ،ܐܳ ـܳܐ

Pp

plan

plan

ܦ݁ܠܰܢ

ܦ݁ 

Qq

qaṭën

cat 

ܩܰܛـܷܢ

ܩ

Rr

rišo

head

ܪܝܫܐ

ـܪ ܪ

Ss

sayfo

sword 

ܣܰܝܦܐ

ܣ

Ṣṣ

ṣafono

soap 

ܨܰܦܳܢܐ

ܨ

Šš

šalfo

knife 

ܫܰܠܦܐ

ܫ

Tt

taclo

fox 

ܬܰܥܠܐ

ܬ ـܬ

Ṭṭ

ṭuro

mountain

ܛܘܪܐ

ܛ ـܛ

Ṯṯ

ṯawbo

panel (of fabric) 

ܬ݂ܰܘܒܐ

ܬ݂ ـܬ̣ 

Uu

muzo

banana

 ܡܘܙܐ

ܘ

Vv

villa

villa 

ܒ݂ܝܠܠܰܐ

ܒ݂

Ww

wardo

flower 

ܘܰܪܕܐ

ܘ

Xx

xuṣa

ring 

ܟ݂ܘܨܰܐ

ܟ̣ـ ܟ݂ 

Yy

yawno

dove 

ܝܰܘܢܐ

ܝ

Zz

zuze

money 

ܙܘܙܶܐ

ܙ

Žž

žabaše

watermelon 

ܙܱ̃ܒܰܫܶܐ

ܙ̃

  

 II

 

The Surayt Alphabet

According to the SYRIAC Order

Aa

arnuwo

rabbit

ܐܰܪܢܘܘܳܐ

ܰ  ،ܐܰ ـܰܐ

Bb

bayto

house 

ܒܰܝܬܐ

ܒ

Vv

villa

villa 

ܒ݂ܝܠܠܰܐ

ܒ݂

Gg

gamlo

camel 

ܓܰܡܠܐ

ܓ

Ġġ

ġamo

concern 

ܓ݂ܰܡܐ

ܓ݂

Jj

jazwe

coffee pot 

ܔܰܙܘܶܐ

ܔ

Dd

dawmo

tree 

ܕܰܘܡܐ

ܕ

Ḏḏ

iḏo

 hand

ܐܝܕ݂ܐ

ܕ݂

Hh

huryo

crip 

ܗܘܪܝܳܐ

ܗ

Ww

wardo

flower, rose 

ܘܰܪܕܐ

ܘ

Zz

zuze

money 

ܙܘܙܶܐ

ܙ

Žž

žabaše

watermelon 

ܙܱ̃ܒܰܫܶܐ

ܙ̃

Ḥḥ

ḥmoro

 donkey

ܚܡܳܪܐ

ܚ

Ṭṭ

ṭuro

mountain 

ܛܘܪܐ

ܛ ـܛ

Yy

yawno

dove 

ܝܰܘܢܐ

ܝ

Kk

kalbo

dog

ܟܰܠܒܐ

ܟـ ܟ

Xx

xuṣa

ring 

ܟ݂ܘܨܰܐ

ܟ̣ـ ܟ݂

Ll

lampa

 lamp

ܠܰܡܦܰ݁ܐ

ܠـ ܠ

Mm

malko

king 

ܡܰܠܟܐ

ܡـ ܡ

Nn

nargo

axe 

ܢܰܪܓܐ

 ܢـ ـܢ

Ss

sayfo

sword 

ܣܰܝܦܐ

ܣ

Cc

cezo

goat 

ܥܶܙܐ

ܥـ ܥ

Ff

filo

elephant 

ܦܝܠܐ

ܦ

Pp

plan

plan 

ܦ݁ܠܰܢ

ܦ݁ 

Ṣṣ

ṣafono

soap 

ܨܰܦܳܢܐ

ܨ

Qq

qaṭën

cat 

ܩܰܛـܷܢ

ܩ

Rr

rišo

head 

ܪܝܫܐ

ܪ

Šš

šalfo

knife 

ܫܰܠܦܐ

ܫ

Čč

čanta

bag 

 ܫ̰ܰܢܛܰܐ

ܫ̰

Tt

taclo

fox 

ܬܰܥܠܐ

ܬ ـܬ

Ṯṯ

ṯawbo

panel (of fabric) 

ܬ݂ܰܘܒܐ

ܬ݂  ـܬ̣ 

 

  

 III

 

Vowels and Vowel Signs

Aa

arnuwo

ܰ

ܐܰܪܢܘܘܳܐ

ܐܰ ـܰܐ 

Ää

(short a, not used yet)

ġäläbe

ܱ

ܓ݂ܱܠܱܒܶܐ

ܐܱ ـܱܐ

Oo

oṯo

ܳ

ܐܳܬ݂ܐ

ܐܳ ـܳܐ

Ee

emo

ܶ

ܐܶܡܐ

ܐܶ ـܶܐ

Ëë

(short e)

ëšmo

ܷ

ܐܷܢܐ

ܐܷ ـܷܐ

Ii

iḏo

ܝ

ܐܝܕ݂ܐ

ܐܝ

Uu

ucdo

ܘ

ܐܘܥܕܐ

ܐܘ

 

Please consider the following important points:

1) Vowels in open syllables are long and short in closed syllables.

2) There are no words in Surayt that start with a vowel. All words written with an initial vowel in Latin have to start with /Olaf ܐ/ when writing in Syriac characters.

aṯro

homeland

ܐܰܬ̣ܪܐ

 ono

I

ܐܳܢܐ

ëšmo

name

ܐܷܫܡܐ

emo

mother

ܐܶܡܐ

iḏo

hand

ܐܝܕ݂ܐ

ucdo

now

ܐܘܥܕܐ

3) The vowel /o/ at the end of a word is always expressed by /Olaf ܐ/ only, without /Zqofo ܳ /. For examples see 2.

4) The vowels /a/ and /e/ at the end of a word are written with /Olaf ܐ/ accompanied by the vowel signs /Ftoḥo ܰ / and /Rboṣo ܶ / respectively:

bote

houses

ܒܳܬܶܐ

niše

women

ܢܝܫܶܐ

bira

beer

ܒܝܪܰܐ

Holanda

Netherlands

ܗܳܠܰܢܕܰܐ

 

Where these vowels indicate a pronominal suffix our system uses /He ܗ / accompanied by the vowel sing for the corresponding vowel:

grëšle

he pulled

ܓܪܷܫܠܶܗ

grëšla

she pulled

ܓܪܷܫܠܰܗ

babe

his father

ܒܰܒܶܗ

baba

her father

ܒܰܒܰܗ

 

5) The vowel /u/ is always written with /Waw ܘ / and i with /Yudh  ܝ /. Therefore, when using these vowels, there is no need to use the Syriac vowel signs /Ḥboṣo ܺ / for /i/ and /Cṣoṣo ܽ / for /u/:

rišo

head

ܪܝܫܐ

briṯo

world

ܒܪܝܬ̣ܐ

šuro

wall

ܫܘܪܐ

malkuṯo

kingdom, paradise

ܡܰܠܟܘܬ̣ܐ

 

6) We have introduced the sign ܷ (Rboṣo under the character) for the vowel phoneme /ë/ which is a centralized short /e/:

šëšmo

sesame

ܫܷܫܡܐ

kodëmxo

she is sleeping

ܟܳܕܷܡܟ̣ܐ

 

 

 IV

 

Using the Online Course

 Symbols

A       Type your answer.

B       Contents of the learning unit.

C       Listen (audio file – click on the blue-colourized words/phrases to listen the specific the word/phrase. To listen the dialogue as a whole click on the icon (W) or on the section heading.

D       Learn/do the concerned exercise.

E      Translate.

 

Hints

In most of the exercises hints are provided. In some exercises hints are deliberately not provided in order to stimulate the learner to put effort to find the right answers in the text/dialogue or in grammatical explanations.

In order to view the hints please move your mouse either on empty spaces or in multiple choice exercises click on the left/right side of the options.

  

 IV