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A Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Kurdistan


Auteur : Georg Krotkoff
Éditeur : American Oriental Society Date & Lieu : 1982, New Haven & Connecticut
Préface : Pages : 172
Traduction : ISBN : 0-940490-64-1
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 175x250 mm
Code FIKP : Liv. Eng. Kro. Neo. N°3994Thème : Linguistique

Présentation
Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
A Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Kurdistan


A Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Kurdistan


Georg Krotkoff

American Oriental Society

General information. The presentation of new materials in a linguistic field in which all publications to date still fit very easily on the top of a single desk hardly needs an elaborate justification. Especially in the case of the Neo-Aramaic (henceforward NA) dialects, however, the preservation of all authentic recorded texts is imperative in view of the many factors which, in the course of this century, have decimated and dispersed these communities and endangered their very existence. Just as is the case with so many material remains from antiquity, the past hundred years have seen more destruction of minority societies than the preceding millennium—a millennium during which these societies managed to preserve their religious and linguistic identity in spite of the vicissitudes of Near Eastern history.

The texts contained in this book were recorded during the first half of 1959 in Baghdad from the mouth of a twenty-five year old Chaldean by the name of Shabo, a native of the village Aradhin in Iraqi Kurdistan. The village is situated some ten miles west of Amadia, and in 1959 its southern end could be reached by a partially paved road which branched north from the highway connecting ...



FOREWORD

It is with great relief that I can finally see this little book off on its way. It has taken much of my thought and energy over the past years, and my fellow workers in the field will have to judge whether the effort was well spent.
Almost exactly a century and a quarter ago, the American Oriental Society pioneered Neo-Aramaic studies by publishing the first systematic grammar of the Urmia dialect by D. T. Stoddard. It is, therefore, particularly gratifying to me that my monograph was accepted for publication in the American Oriental Series, and my special thanks go the Secretary-Treasurer Stanley Insler and to Editor Jack M. Sasson.

Valuable help through constructive criticism in the course of the preparation of the manuscript was given to me by my colleagues and friends Delbert R. Hillers, Alan S. Kaye, Edward Y. Odisho, and the referees for the publication committee, Yona Sabar and Peter T. Daniels. To all of them I wish to express my deep appreciation for their readiness to sacrifice their time and share their knowledge.
The book could not have been published in this form if it were not for the financial assistance graciously given by the Department of Near Eastern Studies of the Johns Hopkins University under its chairman Hans Goedicke and matched by Dean of Arts and Sciences Sigmund R.
Suskind. Author and readers owe them a debt of gratitude.

Finally, the initial encouragement for the recording project, given by the Phonogrammarchiv der osterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Vienna under its then director Walter Graf, must be acknowledged with due thanks. This encouragement included the loan of portable recording equipment at a time when tape recorders were not yet as commonplace as they are now. The master tapes containing the texts published in this book are on deposit with the Phonogrammarchiv.

Baltimore, September 1982
Georg Krotkoff



INTRODUCTION


1.1. General information. The presentation of new materials in a linguistic field in which all publications to date still fit very easily on the top of a single desk hardly needs an elaborate justification. Especially in the case of the Neo-Aramaic (henceforward NA) dialects, however, the preservation of all authentic recorded texts is imperative in view of the many factors which, in the course of this century, have decimated and dispersed these communities and endangered their very existence. Just as is the case with so many material remains from antiquity, the past hundred years have seen more destruction of minority societies than the preceding millennium—a millennium during which these societies managed to preserve their religious and linguistic identity in spite of the vicissitudes of Near Eastern history.

The texts contained in this book were recorded during the first half of 1959 in Baghdad from the mouth of a twenty-five year old Chaldean by the name of Shabo, a native of the village Aradhin in Iraqi Kurdistan. The village is situated some ten miles west of Amadia, and in 1959 its southern end could be reached by a partially paved road which branched north from the highway connecting Dohuk and Amadia. It appears as Aradina on the map of Asia 1:1.000.000 published by the British War Office in 1942 (3rd edition 1943), sheet North J 38 (Tabriz), where it is located at approximately 37° T latitude, 43° 20' longitude. From the words of Shabo (6.103/4.) we may gather that Aradhin was of greater importance in the past than its condition at the time of my visit in 1959 and the very rare occurrence of its name in the relevant literature suggest. Unfortunately. 1 have no information about its present state, and I can only hope that reports in recent years of the total destruction of Kurdish and Chaldean villages in connection with the Iraqi-Kurdish conflict have been exaggerated.

Shabo had spent the first eighteen years of his life in the village, where his albinie complexion and poor eyesight caused him more than the usual hardship while working in the fields. Like so many other Chaldean villagers, he sought to improve his lot by moving to Baghdad where he found employment as a servant in a private home. Endowed with an intelligent and inquisitive mind, he tried to improve whatever meager education the village school had been able to offer him.. Thus, by the time we met, he was fluent in a rather refined Arabic and had even taught himself some English. As to his native tongue, he maintained its fluency by frequenting relatives in Baghdad and by occasionally visiting the village. He aiso had a knowledge of Kurdish, but 1 am unable to assess the degree of his proficiency.

Having found in Shabo a willing and capable informant, 1 refrained from prejudicing myself by reference to any published information. After a few preliminary sessions, during which we went over the basic notions of the language and translated short sentences, the following method evolved: Shabo would speak on a given subject for about half an hour. Then we would play back his speech from the magnetic tape in short portions, and I would repeat every word as often as necessary to obtain Shabo’s approval and then write it down in phonetic script. For every sentence the translation was also noted immediately, and additional vocabulary was recorded on the margin.

My instruction to Shabo was to speak naturally as he would to his relatives and friends in his village. Yet, characteristically for such recording situations, my informant first had to overcome the artificiality of the situation, his self-consciousness, and the awareness that he was speaking “for the record.” At our first session I asked him to tell a story. He gave a version of ‘The Treasure of the Hanging Man’ (Stith Thompson, No. 910 D) which he had heard from his grandfather. It is full of slips into the literary idiom, of Arabic words, and of other infelicities, and is, therefore, given last in this book (6.115.ff) as an example of a contaminated text.
Since, after this first trial, 1 had doubts as to Shabo’s talents as a story teller, I decided to have him tell everything he knew about his village and the life of its people. This task Shabo performed systematically and conscientiously. His initial inhibitions meanwhile disappeared and his speech flowed naturally.

My peregrinations, other more pressing tasks, and the vague hope of being able one day to go back to collect more material have kept me, for so many years, from publishing this study. But I do not think that I should wait any longer. To be sure, only texts covering every possible life situation would give the assurance that no grammatical category has been missed, but after having completed my analysis of the corpus, I feel that it provides the basis for a virtually complete description of this particular dialect of NA. May this publication also serve as a monument to Shabo and his people.

1.2. Neo-aramaic and the dialect of Aradhin. The NA dialects are the surviving remains of the once widespread Aramaic language of antiquity. They are spoken by religious minorities in mountainous retreat areas and are divided into three main groups: The westernmost Maclula group spoken in a few villages in Syria north of Damascus, the Turoyo group spoken in the area of Tur Abdin in eastern Turkey, and the easternmost group which is mostly identified with its main literary representative, the dialect of Urmia (present name Rezaieh) in northwestern Iran. In the publications dealing with this third group the language may be labelled Modern Syriac (Stoddard), Vernacular Syriac (Maclean), Modern Assyrian (Tsereteli), Modern Chaldean (Sara), or Fellihi (Sachau); the last designation is limited to the dialects of the plain of Mosul. There are considerable phonetic and even structural differences within this group. The isoglosses which characterize the subdivisions differ according to geographical location and religious affiliation, since the dialects of the Jews are at variance with those of the Christians even if they are geographically close. The Christian dialects seem to be, on the whole, mutually understandable despite the fact that they gave rise to two different literary forms—one developed by the missionaries in Urmia, and the other used in the publications of the Dominican press in Mosul.

The texts, as dictated by Shabo after his initial inhibitions were overcome, exhibit such structural consistency that there is no doubt that they do indeed represent his native dialect. As may be expected for purely geographical reasons, it is more closely related to the Fellihi than to other recorded dialects of eastern NA. In particular, a comparison of the vocabulary with Maclean’s dictionary shows that the phonetics, and especially the vocalization, coincide with the variants marked Al. (for Alqosh, the main representative of Fellihi). Occasionally, however, the coincidence may be with K. (Kurdistan) or Ash. (Ashitha) to the exclusion of Alqosh. Note the coincidence of the non-spirantized i:da ‘hand’ for Alqosh and the distant Urmia, but i:Sa for Aradhin and Kurdistan. The geographically closest dialect described so far is that of the village Mangesh (Sara), but even a rapid glance will show that it is far from being identical with that of Aradhin.

It should also be noted that dialects differ not only in phonetics, morphology and lexicon, but also in the more elusive preference they may give to otherwise common lexemes within idiomatic expressions. As an example, the sentence “Leave him alone!” will be given below in different dialects according to my informant:

Iraqi Arabic: juiz ‘anna
Aradhin: pruq minne
Telkef: ur minne (*’br)
Nestorian: bri minne
Jewish: psi minne
…..




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