[b-hebrew] Aramaic in Babylonia

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Wed Jul 6 20:04:39 EDT 2005

On 06/07/2005 21:59, Karl Randolph wrote:

>As for when, others on this list indicate that it could have started already during the Assyrian period, and like the German example above, starting with the cities, merchants and intellectual classes, gradually spreading throughout the whole society.

I am sure that no one has a problem accepting that Akkadian gradually 
lost ground and was replaced by a different but related language, 
Aramaic. This would be like the similar process of German immigrant 
communities in North America gradually changing to speaking English. But 
they do this not by some form of convergence between German and English, 
but by a change from one language to a distinct one. Similarly, Akkadian 
did not gradually change into Aramaic, but was replaced by it. At least 
that is what most scholars think, and a gradual merging between 
significantly different languages would be almost unprecedented.

As for when this happened, the best answer seems to be "we don't know". 
There are very few records of spoken languages, for obvious reasons.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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