The Difference Between Syriac and Aramaic

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This article is part of the personal blog of His Excellency, Hadrian Mar Elijah Bar Israel, the Emeritus Metropolitan of the Nazarani Church, and editor of the Netseran Encyclopaedia.


A number of people have been claiming online that Syriac is the same language which was spoken by Yeshue and His apostles. This claim comes from a revisionist view of history which has been being driven by purely political motives, in order to raise money from American Christians for a war that only a handful of Middle Eastern fanatics really want.

Regardless of their claims, the true language spoken by Yeshue wasn’t Syriac, it was Galilean Aramaic[1]. What is the difference between Syriac and Aramaic? Well… Everything actually. They’re simply not the same language. In fact Syriac and Aramaic actually share very little in common with one another, and are not mutually intelligible.

Syriac represents a divergent language, a dialect of western Aramaic, which eventually changed so much that it is now a totally different language; with little to no relation to the original. The two languages use different alphabets which they use to write different words which are pronounced differently, using different grammar and different sentence structure and orthographies. In short they are different in every possible respect in which a divergent language could be different from its parent language.

A comparable relationship exists between French and Haitian Creole, whereas Creole was once an African dialect of French, which became isolated within Haiti, where it developed into a language entirely its own. There are great discontinuities between the two languages however, and they are no longer mutually intelligible.

For context, this is how you say, “I am happy” in both French and Creole:

    • FRENCH: Je suis heureux
    • CREOLE: Mwen kontan

And now when we look at "I am happy" in Aramaic, verses Syriac, we see a similar discontinuity. A discontinuity which is only made worse by the fact that they use different alphabets:

    • ARAMAIC : חידיא ון Pronounced : khidya wen
    • SYRIAC : ܦܫܝܗܝܐ ܙܐ Pronounced : fshihoyo-no

Political motives aside, we can see just by looking at the words that Syriac does NOT represent a continuity with the language of Yeshue. They're not even similar. The people who are claiming that they are know they are lying in order to draw people into supporting terrorism. These people, like all fanatics everywhere, need to be confronted about their lies.


References

  1. Hadrian Mar Elijah Bar Israel, How Do We Know That Galilean Aramaic is the Language of Yeshue?, Righteous Endeavour, 2015