Aramaic love poem
צלמא דידיך באספקלריה
הוא שיר טב מכל שיריא דידי
דוק׃ אבד דמו דידיך
הדן ודויא אחרייא דידי׃ אנא חבב יתיך
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The Aramaic language
My little love poem translated into Aramaic (autonym : Arāmāyā, ארמיא), a language which, like Hebrew, belongs to the Afro-Asian Northwest Semitic group of languages of the Middle East. These two languages are or have been the main languages of the Jewish people.
The Aramaic name comes from the Syrian region which is its cradle, and it is a language attested since a thousand years BC, which is still spoken.
Aramaic, the language of the Assyrian Empire, will play a great prestige at the time of the splendor of this empire, and without replacing the other languages, it will be the language that will unify all the regions of the empire.
In the Assyrian empire in -600 Aramaic, widespread by merchants, Aramaic which can be described as ancient, becomes the common language to the detriment of Akkadian. It already has several dialects, of which we find written traces on stones.
It was Aramaic, and not Akkadian, that the Jews exiled to Babylon in -597 brought back on their return, 60 years later.
Then until -300, it becomes the language of the ancient East; standardized it becomes the lingua franca of a vast territory ranging from Egypt to India. The written testimonies of this period are numerous, they are tales, fables or texts imbued with philosophy, which come to us from different regions.
Then until +200, we will see the language separate into two dialectal zones (eastern and western (Arabia and Palestine with the Nabataean)).
The language is then very widespread in the first centuries (in Persia), and remains the language of the Persian empire, and the main language of the Near East for many centuries.
Later until +700, literatures will emerge in different dialects and writing systems: Samaritan, Judeo-Aramaic, Christian-Palestinian, Syriac, Babylonian, Nestorian, Mandean.
And it is from the year 700 that we begin to speak of modern Aramaic, the one that we still find today in some communities.
Today modern Aramaic is on the verge of extinction and has only 400,000 speakers, spread over a few dialect groups in Syria and Lebanon.
This language close relative to Phoenician and the Hebrew also has some similarities with Arabic. It is also characterized by a very rich vocabulary with many borrowings from Akkadian and Persian.
There are two main branches: Western Aramaic (Samaritan etc.), and Eastern Aramaic (Syriac etc., and modern Aramaic dialects).
Aramaic is one of the most ancient languages, among the languages spoken today, if we except Coptic reserved for worship.
After having used the Phoenician script for a long time, a proper Aramaic script will develop (-600).
One of the strengths of Aramaic was precisely its intelligent and innovative alphabetic writing system, which gave it advantages over Akkadian, which used cuneiform. This alphabetical writing gradually will be taken up by the majority of languages.
Aramaic was the language spoken in Jerusalem and Nazareth during the time of Christ.