Evening in Chaldean Neo-Aramaic.


Evening is noospa in Chaldean Neo-Aramaic. 

Chaldean is considered a sister language of Assyrian Neo-Aramaic. Linguistically these two are dialects of the same language but often they are classified as different languages due to political reasons.

Chaldeans ,the Kaldāye (ܟܲܠܕܵܝܹܐ) as their are known in the Chaldean language are Assyrian Catholics adherent to Chaldean Catholic Church.

Chaldean Catholics from Marcin,Turkey,19nth century.

Read also

A Chaldean American success story.


Aramaic coin of Baaltars.



Baaltars (combination of Baal and Tarsus) was the guardian god of the city of Tarsus in the Persian Empire.

Baal originally ment lord or owner in Northwest Semitic languages but it came to mean god.

In the left of the coin there are the Aramaic letters TN and an M under the throne. The coin's backside reads MZDI in Aramaic which is Mazday or Mazaios the Persian satrap of Cilicia.

AR Stater, 361/360-334 BC, Tarsus,Cilicia.

The lion attacking the bull was a common imagery at Persepolis-the religious capital of the Persian Empire.

Combat between lion and bull (Persepolis).


I 'm confused. Aramaic,Amharic,Armenian.

Is Aramaic Amharic or Armenian?

Of course not. They are all separate languages.

There is quite a lot of people out there that mistake Amharic or Armenian for Aramaic just because their name has three same letters 'Arm' and it sounds more or less the similar to them.

Semitic languages.

Aramaic and Amharic

Aramaic and Amharic are distant relatives both belonging to the Semitic language family. They belong to different branches of the family. 

Semitic languages were/are Hebrew, Phoenician,Arabic,Tigrinya and Maltese.

Aramaic is a Northwest Semitic language first spoken in Upper Mesopotamia while Amharic is a south Semitic language which first appeared in the area of modern day Ethiopia.

Amharic is called አማርኛ Amarenna, sounding like Aramaic.

Aramaic originated in what is nowadays northern Iraq, Northwestern Syria and Southeastern Turkey. It became a major language and spread all over the so-called Fertile Crescent and the native one for many peoples like the Jews besides the Arameans who first spoke it.

Read also When did the Jews shift to Aramaic?

A dialect of Aramaic, Galilean Aramaic is believed to have been the native language of Jesus Christ.

Aramaic is still spoken to this day in pockets in the Middle East in various countries and in the West by the diaspora. These are the Neo-Aramaic languages like Assyrian Neo-Aramaic which has the biggest number of Speakers their estimate ranging from half to one million.

All Semitic languages share a common ancestor and a similar common shared vocabulary. And that is as close as Aramaic and Amharic get.

Semitic languages belong to a bigger language family called Afro-asiatic. Ancient Egyptian and its' descendant Coptic were Afro-asiatic languages.

Armenian and Aramaic

Armenian has no connection to Aramaic whatsoever. It originated in the Caucasus and it is an Indo-european language as opposed to Aramaic which is a Semitic one.

The only similarity they have between them is that their name sounds similar in English.

Medieval Armenia.

So,no Aramaic is not Armenian nor Amharic. They are all different.


Is Syriac and Aramaic the same?

In short, the answer is yes but sometimes no.

Syriac is Aramaic.

Syriac is just a phase in the long history of Aramaic languages.

Arameans are thought to first have appeared in the region between northern Levant and the Tigris river at about 1200 BC. 

There they formed various Aramaic speaking kingdoms like the kingdom of Aram.

The first written Aramaic is dated to about 1000BC. This was is called Old Aramaic or Ancient Aramaic and was written in the Phoenician alphabet.

From Phoenician sprung the Aramaic alphabet.

At about 200AD new regional dialects of Aramaic rose to prominence.

These were Syriac Aramaic dialects. The alphabet for Syriac was different from earlier Aramaic. It was more cursive and probably styled upon Byzantine Greek minuscule.

So,yes Syriac is Aramaic. It is to what some dialects of Old Aramaic evolved to.

Syriac and Aramaic.

Sometimes the term Aramaic is used separately to refer only to Old Aramaic not including the Syriac phase. 

And this why you will sometimes see reference to the Aramaic language and Syriac language as separate.


When did Jews shift to Aramaic?

The Egyptians fearing the expansion of the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar moved their armies north to Assyria. They faced their enemies at Carchemish were they were defeated in 605BC.


After their victory the Babylonians  besieged Jerusalem which resulted in Jehoiakim-king of Judah paying tribute to the Neo-Babylonian empire and young nobility of the kingdom of Judah (Bēyt Dāwīḏ in Aramaic) being transferred and kept hostages in Babylon.

Battle of Carchemish.

But in 603BC Nebuchadnezzar's army was defeated by the Egyptians ruled by Nechu II and as a result Jehoiakim revolted against his Babylonian overlords refusing to pay tribute.

Nebuchadnezzar waisted no time and moved against Jerusalem again which was captured and utterly destroyed.

The Jewish nobility and many others were forcibly exiled to Babylon. There they were forced to learn Aramaic the common language of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.

Destruction of Jerusalem.
Exile to Babylon.

In 539BC the Achaemenid Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great invaded Babylonia turning it into a satrapy and subsequently giving rise to the so-called Imperial Aramaic.

A ziggurat temple.

After the fall of Babylon Cyrus allowed the exiled Jews to return to Judah. Many of them never returned settling in Lebanon, Syria and Upper Mesopotamia areas where Aramaic was the dominant language.

Others went back to Judah and rebuilt Jerusalem and the Second Temple.

Return to Zion.

The exile to Babylon and  the settlement of the Jews in Aramaic speaking areas resulted in Hebrew gradually falling out of use in favour of Aramaic.

Hebrew ceased to be a spoken language between the 2nd and 4th century C.E. after the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire.

Mered Bar Kokhba
 מֶרֶד בַּר כּוֹכְבָא

Nevertheless it continued to be used as a liturgical language.

From this time on, a  Bible interpreter -the meturgeman (translator) translated orally the Bible from Hebrew to the vernacular Aramaic. This practice lead to the targumim  (translations).

The exile of Babylon in the Bible.

Ezra 1:1-4

Cyrus Helps the Exiles to Return 
 1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: 2 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. 3 Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. 
4 And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’


Why you cannot learn the language of Jesus Christ.

In a few words ,because it is an obscure dialect, very poorly attested.

There are articles,posts,videos all over the internet with pompous titles about 'the language of Jesus Christ' ,the 'Lord's Prayer in Galilean Aramaic'- the dialect Jesus spoke-,'Jesus Christ's Aramaic lives on'  and many other titles of the like.

But such claims are an overstatement out of place and out of time. I will try to explain some facts about the Aramaic language, Jesus's native Galilean Aramaic dialect.

Aramaic -not one but hundreds of dialects.

First off Aramaic in not one monolithic language unchanged through time. Every language undergoes many  changes from the moment it appears. In time it changes in vocabulary,grammar, pronunciation ,it breaks up into dialects and so forth.

The same goes for Aramaic. It has changed a lot since it first appeared in the ancient kingdom of Aram around the city of Edessa. It broke up in two major dialectal branches ,Eastern and Western from which in turn broke off many dialects/languages.

You cannot expect that Aramaic has remained one and the same from the 11nth century BCE since it is thought to first appear among the Arameans til modern days. 

So,when you hear about Aramaic you need to ask yourself what Aramaic? what dialect? what time?

What language did Jesus speak?

It is agreed by linguists and historians that Yeshua Mshiha, Jesus Christ spoke Aramaic as his mother tongue.

His dialect was Galilean Aramaic spoken in the region of Galilea.

Galilean Aramaic was different from the dialect spoken in Jerusalem.

It belonged to the Western Aramaic branch while Jerusalem Aramaic belonged to the Eastern Aramaic branch.

Galilean had many differences from Jerusalem Aramaic.

It was heavily influenced by Greek -a language of prestige at the time- to the point that even  its phonology had changed having Greek like features like the loss of of guttural and ejective sounds unlike its Jerusalem relative. That indicates that speakers of Galilean Aramaic were bilingual in Aramaic and Greek. A Galilean speaker would stick out in Jerusalem. His accent would immediately give him away.

The original Lord's Prayer in Aramaic.

There is no such thing as the Lord's Prayer in Galilean Aramaic.

The 'original' Lord's Prayer in Aramaic most of the time is in Syriac Aramaic. There is no such thing as the Lord's Prayer in Galilean. Not in it's original form anyway. Even the Syriac version is not the original since it's a translation from Greek.

There are though reconstructions of the Lord's Prayer in Galilean Aramaic but these are subject to future modifications since they are a reconstruction.

Why you cannot learn the language of Jesus Christ.

Because Galilean is an obscure, very poorly attested dialect. It is in the process of being reconstructed by linguists during the last 50 years by comparison with changes in other Aramaic dialects, living or dead.

It's closest living relative is the Aramaic of the Syrian village of Maaloula.But there is a huge time span since Galilean Aramaic was spoken and the language of Maaloula in modern-day Syria.

These two have distant similarity both belonging to the Western branch. Maalula Aramaic is a rare specimen of a surviving member of the Western Branch.

Nevertheless studying the Maalula dialect, comparing it with Galilean can help linguists see which changes occurred in phonology, grammar, vocabulary and reconstruct some attributes of Galilean.


Jesus did not speak Syriac Aramaic. 
Syriac belongs to the Eastern branch and it became the vehicle of Syriac Christianity in the Middle East.

Most Modern Aramaic languages like Assyrian Neo-Aramaic or Turoyo the mountain Aramaic,the two most widely spoken Neo-Aramaic languages, are descendants of Syriac.

So,which Aramaic should one learn?
That depends. Maybe you want to go for a modern spoken dialect of Aramaic. There is a huge variety of Neo-Aramaic languages differing from region to region ,from city to city,from village to village.
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic is the most spoken modern Aramaic dialect with about 1 million speakers.

If you choose an ancient dialect it would be wise to go for a well-documented one like the Imperial Aramaic of the Persian Empire or Classical Syriac to get a thorough grounding in an Aramaic language. Once you got one of these well under your belt you can branch off to obscure dialects
like Galilean Aramaic.

Further reading (external link).


Assyrian Neo-Aramaic.

Assyrian Neo-Aramaic is the most spoken modern Aramaic dialect with about 9 hundred thousand speakers.It's most prestigious dialect is the Urmian dialect.

It is traditionally spoken in Upper Mesopotamia, Northern Iraq, North-northeast Iran , Azerbaijan, North-northeast Turkey and Northern Syria. But due to continuous wars in the region and persecution from the 20th century and onwards the bulk of its speakers have immigrated abroad.

Nowadays it is considered endangered because the second generation does not fully acquire the language being adapted in the language of the country they are living in.


Assyrian Neo-Aramaic is not to be confused with Assyrian , a dialect of the Ancient Akkadian ,another Semitic language,the language of the ancient Assyrians.

The Akkadian at one time adopted Aramaic as their second official language along with Akkadian. Bilingualism was widespread and due to the fact that Aramaic and Akkadian had similar grammar and vocabulary,both being Semitic, Aramaic eventually completely supplanted Akkadian.


Assyrian Neo-Aramaic is written in the Eastern Madnkhaya version of the Syriac script.

Syriac Eastern script (Madnkhaya).


Chaldean is considered a sister dialect of it by some but that is a matter of debate more like political than linguistic..

Modern Assyrians

Assyrian Neo-Aramaic and Turoyo make up the bulk of the modern Assyrian speakers.

Assyrian Neo-Aramaic phrases

Hello (lit. Peace be upon you).

Shmlam'alokh (singular male)

Shlam'alakh (singular female)

Shlam'alokhun (plural)

ܫܠܡ ܐܠܗܘܢ

How are you?


Dakheet(oon)? (pl.)

External links



Hebrew Niqqud vowels for Aramaic.

Hebrew script for Aramaic.

As I have explained many times the Hebrew alphabet known as ktav ashuri is often used to write Aramaic , Imperial Aramaic, Biblical Aramaic and Judeo-Aramaic dialects mainly.

So,it would be necessary to learn the Hebrew alphabet.


Development of the Niqqud vowels.

In late Antiquity ,early Medieval Age systems of diacritic dots were devised to denote vowels and teach the correct pronunciation, the so called Niqqud (נִקּוּד) -'diacritics' or Nikud for religious texts in Old Hebrew ,mainly for the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible.

Due to phonological changes in Modern Hebrew  young Hebrews do not distinguish between the subtle differences that the various diacritics mark.

Here is a table of the Niqqud vowels.

Niqqud schools.

Various dotting systems appeared during Late Antiquity with the most popular being the Tiberian dotting system from the school of Tiberias devised for the Masoretic texts to denote correct vocalization and accent. 

Jewish scholars from the city of Tiberias in Israel under Arab rule came up with a system of diacritics for the correct reading of the Tanakh.

Other notable diacritics systems are the Babylonian Niqqud and Palestinian Niqqud.

Hebrew scribes were obviously inspired by the East Syriac dotting system (Sassanid Syriac) and came up with a similar system of their own for ancient Hebrew texts.

Basic diacritics

niqqud with אאַאֶאֵאִאָאֹאֻאוּ

diacriticnamedescriptionhow to read
ַpatahhorizontal line under letterа
ָqamatza «т»  under letterа
ֵtseretwo dots under letters horizontallyэ
ֶsegōlthree dots under letters like a triangleэ
ִhiriqdot under letterи
י ִhiriq with yoddot under letter followed by yof
ֹholam haserdot over letterо
וֹholam marethe 'waw' letter with a dot aboveо
ָqamatz qatanthe «т» symbol under letter like qumutz, под буквой о
ֻqubbutzthree diagonal dots over lettersу
וּshurukletter 'waw' with a dot on the leftу


Let's take for example the word 'melek', king in Aramaic.

Here we got three dots, segols,/ɛ/, under the M and L and two dots ,a shewa under the K.

The letter Alef with a segōl underneath.

Read also

Syriac vowels


Write 'our Father in Heaven' in Galilean.


'Our father in Heaven' in Galilean Aramaic is:

Hebrew letters

אבנן דבשמייא

?bnn dbshmyy?

ʔabənan dəvəšᵘmaya


Handwriting - the Hebrew letter Alef


Print form




Handwritten form.

Due to its close resemblance to the square Aramaic alphabet and for ease nowadays the Hebrew alphabet is used to write Imperial, Biblical and Judeo-Aramaic dialects.

So,it would be very useful to learn it.

The handwritten forms of the Hebrew letters differ from their printed variants. They are call ktav (כתב), 'writing' in Hebrew.

Ezra 6:1

The sixth book of Ezra is written part in Aramaic (6:1-6:18) part in Hebrew  (6:19-6:22).


א בֵּאדַיִן דָּרְיָוֶשׁ מַלְכָּא, שָׂם טְעֵם; וּבַקַּרוּ בְּבֵית סִפְרַיָּא, דִּי גִנְזַיָּא מְהַחֲתִין תַּמָּה--בְּבָבֶל

ʾ bēʾdayin dārǝyāweš malkāʾ, śām ṭǝʿēm; ûbaqqarû bǝbêt siprayyāʾ, dî ginzayyāʾ mǝhaḥătîn tammâ--bǝbābel

 1 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the scrolls, where the treasures were laid up, in Babylon.


the king

in Babylon

שָׂם טְעֵם
śām ṭǝʿēm
to issue a decree


The Aramaic monolith.

There are many people who go about the internet sharing stuff,for example the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic ,the Syriac version ,'in the language of Jesus Christ' as they say.

This is utterly wrong and a common misconception among those who know very little about Aramaic if any. They just share links of what they think is in the language of Jesus Christ.

First off Jesus did not speak Syriac but he spoke Galilean Aramaic. Syriac came later. It appeared at about 1 AD in Edessa and it became a major literary language of the Middle East for the Syriac Christianity from 4 to 7 AD.

Furthermore Galilean and Syriac belong to different branches within the Aramaic language family. Galilean belonged to the Western branch of the Aramaic languages while Syriac to the Eastern. 

Text in Galilean ,the Herodian script.

Text in Syriac.

Not only that but they are written in different alphabets ,too. Galilean is written in a square script, the so-called Herodian script is preferred which came from Phoenician and resembles the Hebrew alphabet. While Syriac evolved later and is written in a cursive form which was apparently influenced by  Byzantine Greek minuscule.

Syriac cursive

As you would have noticed I spoke about the Aramaic language family not Aramaic language. And that is true indeed. Aramaic is not a monolithic language but a whole bunch of related dialects-languages from different times too. From antiquity to modern times.

Byzantine Greek minuscule.

So, when you speak about Aramaic you need to clarify which Aramaic. Galilean? Syriac?  Classical Syriac?Assyrian Neo-Aramaic? Mandaic? Turoyo? And these are but a few of the Aramaic bunch.

You also need to know which time you are referring to. Proto-Aramaic ? Aramaic of the Persian Empire? Aramaic of Syriac Christians of classical antiquity?  Modern Neo-Aramaic languages?

So, keep in mind that Aramaic is not one language like a big monolith that stands from ancient times through eternity unchanged. Aramaic is a whole language family with different branches, dialects and from different times,too.

Languages change. They evolve ,break up into dialects,get influenced by other languages. Some survive the test of time ,others disappear. That's the way languages work.

I hope this helped a bit to clear up the Aramaic mess.


Did Christ and Pontius Pilate Need an Interpreter?


One of the lesser mysteries of Easter is the language in which Jesus Christ and Pontius Pilate conversed during their famous confrontation as reported in the New Testament. It's an old question and there's an ample literature about it both in the form of publications and of blog comments -- and controversy (see Sources below). I was unaware of how much controversy until I came to do the research for this post. But let's take a quick look at it in the perspective of this blog.

People assume that because Jesus was Jewish he must have known Hebrew, and because Pilate was a Roman he must have spoken Latin. That's no doubt true but it's a misleading simplification. Because both of them were bilingual (or multilingual) like most of the people in their respective communities. The problem is that on the face of it their languages didn't coincide.

First Pilate. As a Roman 'equestrian' from Italy and prefect of the Roman province of Judea, he had to know Latin, the official language of the Empire. Yet it may well not have been his first language. Because by his time Latin had been overtaken for conversation in everyday life by Greek. Not Classical Greek but the dialect that had permeated the Middle East and even Rome since Alexander the Great's conquests in the fourth century BCE: Koine. On the other hand, he is known not to have been sympathetic to his Jewish subjects; according to the Jewish historian Joesphus, he repeatedly caused trouble because of his insensitivity to Jewish customs. So it's unlikely he took the trouble to learn their language.

As for Jesus and all the native inhabitants of Judea, their everyday language wasn't Hebrew. Since the time of the exile to Babylon in the sixth century BCE it had been overtaken by another much more widespread Semitic language, Aramaic. There are still pockets of Aramaic speakers in Syria, or there were until the current conflict. I support the consensus view that as the child of humble parents, he spoke it as his mother tongue, and he continued to use it. Hebrew, however, was by no means out of the picture. Above all it had remained the religious language of the Jews, as it still is. It was the liturgical language, the language of the Old Testament and the language of disputation among the scribes and rabbis. As an orthodox Jewish male, Jesus would have been taken by his father to the synagogue from an early age and given a thorough grounding in it. Later he would need it for disputations.

As for the controversy over which was his dominant language, it need not detain us: the fact is he was bilingual. There's sometimes an element of chauvinism in the controversy. One scholar writes: "I was stunned by the extent to which some people get worked up about the language(s) of Christ." In 2014,
"Benjamin Netenyahu and Pope Francis appeared to have a momentary disagreement. 'Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew,' Netenyahu told the Pope at a public meeting in Jerusalem. 'Aramaic,' interjected the Pope. 'He spoke Aramaic but he knew Hebrew,' Netenyahu shot back." 
Thus far we seem to have two bilinguals confronting one another without a common language. But there remains one more possibility. Did Jesus, like Pilate, speak Greek? Koine Greek was widely used in the Palestine of Christ's time. There were Greek-speaking communities in Galilee, including one not far from Jesus' home town of Nazareth, and there's evidence in the New Testament that he spoke it on occasion. This, then, is the likely solution: the interrogation probably took place in Greek.

According to the Gospel of Luke, members of the Sanhedrin, a council of learned men, accompanied Jesus to Pilate, so it can't be ruled out that one of them might have acted as interpreter. However, there's no mention of an interpreter in the Gospels and the recourse to Greek would have made it unnecessary.

Even if you're one of the many who don't believe Jesus Christ existed (see Gathercole below), you can read the above as an exercise in historical sociolingistics.

Koine Greek. Wikipedia,  2017.

Pontius Pilate. Wikipedia, 2017.

Who, what, why: What language would Jesus have spoken? BBC Magazine Monitor, 27 May 2014. Click [here] or go to http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-27587230.

Mark D. Roberts. What language did Jesus speak? Why does it matter?  Patheos, 2010. Click [here] or go to http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/series/what-language-did-jesus-speak-why-does-it-matter/.

Mark Ward. Did Jesus speak Greek? theLab, 9 December 2015. Click [here] or go to https://academic.logos.com/did-jesus-speak-greek/.

Simon Gathercole. What is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived and died? Guardian Unlimited, 13 April 2017. Click [here] or go to https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/14/what-is-the-historical-evidence-that-jesus-christ-lived-and-died


Word of God

 The Word of God comes in two meanings-the first being the Bible, the sacred writings of the Christian faith. That is the modern interpretation of the 'word of God'.

But what did the ,let's say ,the Apostles mean when they spoke about the word of God?

John 1:1 - ܒ݁ܪܺܫܺܝܬ݂ ܐܺܝܬ݂ܰܘܗ݈ܝ ܗ݈ܘܳܐ ܡܶܠܬ݂ܳܐ ܘܗܽܘ ܡܶܠܬ݂ܳܐ ܐܺܝܬ݂ܰܘܗ݈ܝ ܗ݈ܘܳܐ ܠܘܳܬ݂ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ ܘܰܐܠܳܗܳܐ ܐܺܝܬ݂ܰܘܗ݈ܝ ܗ݈ܘܳܐ ܗܽܘ ܡܶܠܬ݂ܳܐ ܀ 
b݁rishiyti ʾiytiawh݈y h݈woʾ meltioʾ whuw meltioʾ ʾiytiawh݈y h݈woʾ lwoti ʾalohoʾ waʾlohoʾ ʾiytiawh݈y h݈woʾ huw meltioʾ ܀
John 1:1 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

In a few words, they spoke about the manifestation and the mind of God.

The word of God is mentioned forty one times in the New Testament alone.

In the Peshitta ,the classical Syriac translation of the New Testament the word of God is meltiah daloho.

ܡܶܠܬ݂ܶܗ ܕ݁ܰܐܠܳܗܳܐ


'Peace be upon you.'

שלם לכון

 Shlam  lᵉḵon

Peace be upon you.

Shlam (שלם)- peace

lᵉḵon (לכון) or lkwn - upon you

Syriac Aramaic 

 Shlomo 'aleykhun 

ܫܠܳܡܳܐ ܥܰܠܶܝܟ̣ܽܘܢ 

Shlomo or Shlama means hello in Syriac.

Compare that with the  Hebrew:

שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם
shālôm ʻalêḵem

Vocalization of Galilean Aramaic.


Galilean Aramaic-belonging to the Western branch, had a distinct phonology compared to to Eastern Aramaic of Jerusalem and generally Judea.

Galileans tended to soften guttural and emphatic consonants in a Greek like way and they were probably were frowned up and seen as country bumpkins by locals of Jerusalem.

A Galilean would immediately stand out in Jerusalem as a provincial person with a thick accept to the ears of a local in Judea.

Transliteration to IPA (International Phenetic Alphabet):

1. ˀ/ʾ [ʔ]
2. b [b]
3. v/ḇ [β]
4. g [ɡ]
5. ḡ [ɣ]
6. d [d]
7. ḏ [ð]
8. h [h]
8. w [w]
9. z [z]
10. ṭ [tˤ]
11. ḥ [ħ]
12. y/i [j]
13. k [k]
15. 14. ḵ [x]
16. l [l]
17. m [m]
18. n [n]
19. s [s]
20. ˁ/ʿ [ʕ]
21. p [p]
22. p̄ [ɸ/f]
23. ṣ [sˤ]
24. q [q]
25. r [ʁ]
26. š [ʃ]
27. [t]
28. ṯ [θ]

• Vowels
1. ə [ə]
2. a [ʌ]
3. e [ɛ]
4. i [ɪ/i]
5. o [o]
6. u [u]

• Dipthongs
â/ai [aːj]
ê/ei [e̝]
î/i [ɪ̞]

Watch the whole playlist of Galilean vocalization.

Was Jesus a Hellenized Jew?

Nowadays most scholars accept that Jesus Christ was a Jew.But could it be that he was a Hellenized Jew?

Meaning of Hellenized
First let's take a look at what Hellenized means. It means under the influence of Greek culture.

Spread of the Greek language during
 the Diadochi and Roman times.

After the conquests of Alexander the great ,Greek culture spread far and wide eastwards including the middle East, especially around Antioch (modern-day Turkey) ,Western Syria , Lebanon and Alexandria in Egypt.

A portion of the local Jewish population came under the influence of Greek civilization and became Hellenized.

Antioch was one of the two biggest centers of Hellenized Jews -the other being Alexandria where the Septuagint was produced - the first translation of the Hebrew Bible in Greek.

Mother toungue of Jesus Christ.
It is also widely accepted that the mother toungue of Jesus was Galilean Aramaic- a dialect of the Western branch of Aramaic.

All Western Aramaic dialects came under the influence of Greek - Galilean Aramaic, Nabbatean, Samaritan, Palmyrene and others.

Traits of Galilean
Galilean though poorly attested has features attained obviously under the influence of the Greek language.

Galilean tended to soften ejected and guttural consonants unlike dialects of Eastern Aramaic in the area (Greek lacks emphatic and guttural sounds). It had a lot of loanwords from Greek as well as Latin.The choice of words was also different something like the differences between American English and British English.Even the word order was different resembling in some cases that of Greek.

Hellenized Jews bilingual in Greek and Aramaic would often mix the two languages. So, Jesus apart from Galilean could probably speak Greek fluently as well as Hebrew to some extent and some Latin.

Hebrew was already a dead language- centuries ago- by that time for the lower-class Jews whose native language was Aramaic. Hebrew was still used as a language of liturgy though.

A speaker of Galilean would sound strange in Jerusalem and his accent would give him away immediately.

After a little while those who stood by came and said to Peter, “Surely you are also one of them, for your speech gives you away.” – Matthew 26:73

Furthermore Galilea was north of Jerusalem closer to Antioch, a big urban center of Hellenized Jews.

The above would also explain why the New Testament was written originally in Greek .

So, could Jesus Christ be a Hellenized Jew?

Differences of a dialect.
Hellenistic Judaism


What kind of Aramaic is it spoken in the movie 'The Passion of the Christ'?

The well-known and for many the controversial film The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson is entirely in the Aramaic language.
But what kind of Aramaic is it spoken?

The Aramaic dialect used in the movie is a hypothetical one .It was infact reconstructed by a scholar of Aramaic- William Fulco- who was hired to translate the dialogues of the script into Aramaic.

This reconstructed Aramaic was mostly based on the vernacular and grammar of Eastern Aramaic dialects.

Fulco incorporated elements from the Book of Daniel and he also used Syriac Aramaic for words that were difficult to reconstruct.

Why wasn't the Aramaic spoken by Jesus used in the movie?

It is maintained that Jesus Christ spoke Galilean Aramaic ,a dialect of the branch of Western Aramaic, which  is very slim attested to this day and remains an obscure dialect. Efforts are continued by scholars to reconstruct Jesus mother toungue based on the few evidence that exists of it.

Read also

some Aramaic phrases from the movie. 

Shtey - drink. The scene when Pilate invites Jesus to water. 

Abba shbakhun - Father forgive them. The scene, after Jesus is put on the cross. 

Meleke Judaya - King of the Jews. The stage in the Great Council.

Nechek - kiss. The scene, Judas kiss.

Jeshuh men Nzaret - Jesus from Nazareth.

'Tree of life' in Aramaic (Galilean).

Galilean Aramaic¹
אילנה דחיה

אילן חייה (ʔilan ḥayya)

“The Tree of Life.”

ʔilana dᵉḥayyah

The Tree of Life.

Vocabulary and grammar
ʔilana - tree
dᵉ - of 
ḥayyah - life
The double y (יי) shows that the y is a consonant.

The tree of life is the source of eternal life in various mythologies and religions. It is the connection between heaven and earth. In Christianity it first appears in Genesis 2:9.

Genesis 2:8-9 The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Tree-Of-Life

1.Galilean was the Aramaic dialect Jesus spoke.

Sinner in Aramaic.

Sinner in Syriac Aramaic is xattaya.


As in:
Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me - a sinner.

ܡܪܝ ܫܘܥ ܡܫܝܚܐ ܒܪܗ ܕ ܐܠܗܐ ܪܚܡ ܥܠܝ ܚܛܝܐ

Mar Yeesho Msheeha breh d Alaha rahhem al xattaya.

Titulus crucis- the sign on The Cross.

The Titulus Crusis is a piece of the wooden sign(title panel or titulus) that was supposedly put on Jesus's cross when he was crucified.

On the sign it is inscribed the phrase-' Jesus Nazarene , king of the Jews' in three languages Latin,Greek and Aramaic.

The phrase reads in the three languages as follows:

• (c). זה הוא ישוע מלך היהודים

The sign is nowadays kept at a church in Rome and it claimed that this is the original sign hang on the actual cross of Jesus.

This is rejected by scholars as a forgery of medieval times.

The Lord's prayer in Samaritan Aramaic.

In the picture below there's the Lord's prayer in Samaritan Aramaic.

Here is its' transliteration in modern Hebrew letters.

אבינו שבשמים : יקדש שמך : תבוא מלכותך : יהי רצונך כאשר בשמים וכן בארץ : לחמנו דבר יום ביומו תן לנו היום : וסלח לנו את חובותנו כאשר סלחנו לבעלי חובותנו : ואל תביאנו לנסין : כי אם הצלנו מרע : כי לך המלכות וגבורה וכבוד לעולם עולמים : אמן

Next there its' transliteration in the Latin script reading from left to right.

ʾbynw šbšmym : yqdš šmk : tbwʾ mlkwtk : yhy rṣwnk kʾšr bšmym wkn bʾrṣ : lḥmnw dbr ywm bywmw tn lnw hywm : wslḥ lnw ʾt ḥwbwtnw kʾšr slḥnw lbʿly ḥwbwtnw : wʾl tbyʾnw lnsyn : ky ʾm hṣlnw mrʿ : ky lk hmlkwt wgbwrh wkbwd lʿwlm ʿwlmym : ʾmn

Read also
The Samaritan alphabet.
The Lord's prayer in Aramaic.


'I love the Aramaic language!' (phrases)

Syriac Aramaic
ܪܳܚܶܡ ܐ̄ܢܐ ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ

Transliteration letter by letter 
roḥem ʾ̄nʾ lshnʾ swryyʾ

Phonetic transliteration
Rohem Ana lishana suraya.

I love the Aramaic language.

roḥem to love (1st person sh)
ʾ̄nʾ - ana- I

lshnʾ -lishana- language
swryyʾ - suraya- Aramaic (Syriac)


Gospel of Barnabas- fake or real?

There is a great 'discovery' circulating for a long time now especially among Muslim circles- the so-called Gospel of Barnabas.

 This fake,fake, fake. The gospel is written in the Eastern Syriac script on blackened leather to make it look ancient.

Nevertheless the book is indeed quite old-it seems to have been written in the Middle Ages around 1500 C.E. by a European.

Its' translation in Arabic at the beginning of the 20th century became a major success in the Muslim world with hundreds of thousands of copies sold as it was forwarded as  proof that Jesus announces the coming of Mohammed. The book was supposedly  written in 1 A.D. and was deliberately hidden by Christians for a long time because of its' content according to a popular belief in the Muslim world.

But a close study of the book revealed that it contains basic linguistic, geographical and historical errors thus it couldn't have been written by Barnabas himself as claimed.

There are hundreds of such forged 'Syriac' documents .

Read more about how genuine the Gospel of Barnabas is here.

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