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The Neo-Aramaic dialect spoken by Jews from the region of Arbel (Iraqi Kurdistan)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 February 2009

Geoffrey Khan
Affiliation:
Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Cambridge

Extract

Aramaic-speaking Jewish communities used to be found in various towns and villages throughout north-eastern Iraq, north-western Iran and southern Turkey before the mass exodus of Iraqi Jewry to the state of Israel in 1950–51. In Iraq, the Aramaic speakers were found in an area that may be denned as the land lying above a line drawn on a map across the country through the towns of Musil and Kirkuk. Aramaic was not the first language of all Jews of the area. In the large towns of Musil, Kirkuk, Aqra, as well as Arbel, Arabic was the Jewish vernacular. In some villages the Jews spoke Kurdish as their first language. In Iran, Aramaic-speaking Jewish communities were found as far south as Kerend. The northern limits of the Jewish Aramaic area were formed by communities in the region of lake Van in southern Turkey and those around lake Urmia in north-west Iran (Hopkins, 1993: 62–4).

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 1999

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