[b-hebrew] Aramaic in Babylonia

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Wed Jul 6 01:26:20 EDT 2005

The Hermopolis letters, as you wrote, were probably written by Arameans.
Anyway, my question is about Babylonia.

And yes, spoken Arabic, of which there are hundreds of dialects, is
different from the written language, which is a "modernized" version of
Classical (that is, Quran) Arabic. It's used throughout the Arab world for
literature, official documents, newspapers, television news etc. It's very
much like Koine Greek was used during the Classical period. But just like
Koine did actually reflect the Attic of a certain period, which then became
the standard written form of Greek for a thousand years and more, so does
"written Arabic" reflect the actual spoken language of some period.
Presumably, Babylonian Akkadian also reflected the spoken language of some
group at some time.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Lisbeth S. Fried" <lizfried at umich.edu>
To: "'b-hebrew'" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, July 06, 2005 12:05 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Aramaic in Babylonia

> Yigal,
> The Hermopolis letters, published in TAD A 2.1-6,
> were written in Aramaic. They are dated to the end
> of the 6th,
> which I suppose is too late for what you want.
> These were not written by Egyptians, but probably
> by Babylonians, Arameans or Jews. They were
> probably members or related to members of a
> garrison at Syene or Luxur. These are the earliest
> that I know of. They seem to reveal a spoken
> language.
> This is an interesting problem tho. It is my
> understanding of modern Arabic that spoken Arabic
> differs mightily from the written. When two who
> speak the same spoken Arabic dialect write letters
> they still must use the written form, since
> according to my informants, you cannot write the
> spoken form. If all this is correct, it implies
> that these Aramaic letters, which sound so
> colloquial, may not reveal the spoken language at
> all, but could reveal rather only a language used
> for writing.
> Best,
> Liz
> *Lisbeth S. Fried, Ph.D.
> *The Frankel Center for Judaic Studies
> *and the Department of Near Eastern Studies
> *University of Michigan
> *2068 Frieze Bldg
> *105 S. State St.
> *Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1285
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