Neuaramäische Morphosyntax im areallinguistischen Kontext


The aim of this project is to document and investigate the morphosyntax of a selection of North-eastern Neo-Aramaic (NENA) dialects, focusing on their role in a linguistic area. The NENA dialects are a highly diverse family of languages spoken by Christian and Jewish communities originating in northern Iraq and neighbouring countries. With a three thousand-year written record, Aramaic is of particular importance to historical linguistics. Recently the dialects have drawn attention for their potential contribution to our understanding of language contact. The NENA dialects are members of a ‘linguistic area’, where languages in long-term contact have converged over time. All the dialects have undergone intense structural changes as a result, whilst showing great diversity from dialect to dialect in the precise effects.

This project will focus on identifying structures in the dialects that have developed to replicate structures already existing in neighbouring languages, looking at the mechanisms by which such developments arise as well as their motivations. The types of sociolinguistic scenarios that led to the creation of the linguistic area will also be investigated. Our findings will help bring Neo-Aramaic, hitherto inaccessible to general linguists, to a wider audience, as well as contribute to the now urgent documentation of these highly endangered dialects.

  • FB Linguistik
Gutman, Ariel (2015): Some Features of the Gaznax Dialect (South-East Turkey) KHAN, Geoffrey, ed., Lidia NAPIORKOWSKA, ed.. Neo-Aramaic and its Linguistic Context. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2015, pp. 305-321. ISBN 978-1-4632-0410-5

Some Features of the Gaznax Dialect (South-East Turkey)


A presentation of the North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic Gaznax dialect, spoken in South-East Turkey, with special attention to some features distinguishing it from neighboring Judi dialects. It contains the following sections: 1) Introduction; 2) Phonology; 3) Distinctive Lexical Items; 4) Pronominal System; 5) Copulas; 6) Verbal Conjugation; 7) Genitive Constructions; 8) A Text Sample.

Forschungszusammenhang (Projekte)

Gutman, Ariel (2015): Forgetting Language : Language change and language death as cases of forgetting GALIZIA, Giovanni, ed., David SHULMAN, ed.. Forgetting : An Interdisciplinary Conversation. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2015, pp. 99-112. ISBN 978-965-493-846-4

Forgetting Language : Language change and language death as cases of forgetting


Languages change constantly, either because of “internal” factors, or because of “external” pressures, namely contact with other languages. In extremis, these pressures may cause the total disuse of a language, a situation which has been termed “language death”. Can these changes be seen as cases of forgetting? The paper examines some cases of language change and language death, and evaluates the pertinence of the notion of “forgetting” to these processes. Two points are underlined: First, a distinction must be made between individual-level and cultural-level forgetting, as no individual speaker is forgetting the language in the process of language change. Second, forgetting is never merely the loss of information: whenever a linguistic item is lost, it is necessarily replaced by another one. Thus, forgetting cannot be seen as the consequence of language change, but it is rather its driving motor.
The role of linguists and the emerging discipline of “language documentation” will be examined as well. Is the creation of a “language archive” an anti-dote to language forgetting? Can a language archive help in the revival, or reminiscence, of a language? So far, no language archive has lived up to such a hope. The revival of Modern Hebrew, though, shows that the process of language death is not necessarily irreversible.

Forschungszusammenhang (Projekte)

  Gutman, Ariel (2015): Gideon Goldenberg: Semitic languages : Features, structures, relations, processes Linguistic Typology. 2015, 19(1), pp. 131-139. ISSN 1430-0532. eISSN 1613-415X. Available under: doi: 10.1515/lingty-2015-0005

Gideon Goldenberg: Semitic languages : Features, structures, relations, processes


Review article of Gideon Goldenberg's book, Semitic languages, emphasizing its importance to the field of linguistic typology.

Forschungszusammenhang (Projekte)

Name Kennziffer Beschreibung Laufzeit
Sachbeihilfe/Normalverfahren701/1101.03.2012 – 28.02.2015
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Laufzeit: 01.03.2012 – 28.02.2015