Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

Research Article

Trans-Zab Jewish Neo-Aramaic1

Hezy Mutzafia1

a1 Tel Aviv University, email: yehezmu@post.tau.ac.il


The present article seeks to describe a major group of Jewish North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic (NENA) dialects located across the Great Zab river in the eastern and south-eastern parts of the dialectological map of NENA, hence the term “Trans-Zab Jewish Neo-Aramaic” (“Trans-Zab”, for short) chosen for this dialect group. A large set of phonological, morphophonological, morphological and lexical innovations, shared by all members of this group, is presented. Each of the Trans-Zab features is compared with contrastive parallel features in other, selected NENA varieties. Finally, an internal classification of Trans-Zab into three subdivisions is proposed, based on a comparison of three respective paradigms of the positive present copula.


1 Note the following abbreviations: Ar. = Arabic; C. = Christian dialect of... (e.g. C.Urmi); intr. = intransitive; J. = Jewish dialect of... (e.g. J.Urmi); JBA = Jewish Babylonian Aramaic; JKS = J. Koy Sanjaq; K = Kurdish; tr. = transitive. For abbreviations related to Neo-Aramaic dialects see note 2.