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Assyrian Neo-Aramaic

A language of Iraq

ISO 639-3: aii

Population 30,000 in Iraq (1994). Population total all countries: 210,231. Ethnic population: 4,250,000 (1994).
Region Northern Iraq, Baghdad, Basrah, Karkuk, Arbil. Also spoken in Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Lebanon, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia (Europe), Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey (Asia), United Kingdom, USA.
Alternate names   Lishana Aturaya, Suret, Sooreth, Sureth, Suryaya Swadaya, Assyrian, Neo-Syriac, Assyriski, Aisorski, Assyrianci
Dialects Close linguistically to other Northeastern Aramaic varieties. Inherent intelligibility is hard to estimate due to intense exposure of most speakers throughout the Assyrian diaspora to many dialects, especially to Urmi and Iraqi Koine. Only because of this exposure is actual intelligibility between different dialects as high as 80% to 90%. Subdialects of the Urmian group: Urmi, Sipurghan, Solduz; of the Northern Group: Salamas, Van, Jilu, Gavar, Qudshanis, Upper Barwari, Dez, Baz; of the Central Group: Mar Bishu, Nochiya (Shamezdin), Tergawar, Anhar; of the Western Group: Tkhuma, Lower Barwari, Tal, Lewin. The Sapna cluster includes Aradhin, Tina, Daudiya, Inishke, Benatha. Standard literary Assyrian is based on Urmi. Many speakers have left the original areas and have developed a common spoken and written form based on the prestigious Urmi dialect as spoken by those from Iraq living in Baghdad, Chicago, and elsewhere (Iraqi Koine). Most Christians understand it. The Urmi subdialect of this language is different from the Urmi subdialect of Lishán Didán. All dialects of Western, Northern, and Central Assyrian are spoken in Syria.
Classification Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern
Language use In some countries, young people speak the language of that country, not Assyrian Neo-Aramaic.
Language development Syriac script. Radio programs. Bible: 1852–1919.
Comments The Assyrian and Chaldean separated denominationally in the 16th century. Christian (Nestorian and other).

Also spoken in:

Armenia

Language name   Assyrian Neo-Aramaic
Population 3,000 in Armenia (1999). Ethnic population: 15,000.
Region Erevan and scattered throughout Transcaucasia.
Alternate names   Aisorski, Sooreth
Language use Most speakers in Armenia are older adults. Many speakers use Russian as primary language.
Comments 'Aisor' is the Russian name for the people. The Assyrian and Chaldean separated denominationally during the 16th century. Christian (Nestorian).
   

Georgia

Language name   Assyrian Neo-Aramaic
Population 3,000 in Georgia (1999). Ethnic population: 14,000.
Region Erevan and scattered throughout Transcaucasia.
Alternate names   Aisorski
Language use Most speakers are older adults. Many use Russian as primary language.
Comments 'Aisor' is the Russian name for the people. Christian (Nestorian).
   

Iran

Language name   Assyrian Neo-Aramaic
Population 10,000 to 20,000 in Iran (1994). Ethnic population: 80,000 (1994).
Region Reza'iyeh (Rizaiye, Urmia, Urmi). Most in TehranTehran.
Dialects Iranian Koine (General Urmi).
Comments The Assyrian separated denominationally from the Chaldean in the 16th century. Christian (Nestorian).
   

Syria

Language name   Assyrian Neo-Aramaic
Population 30,000 in Syria (1995). Ethnic population: 700,000.
Region Over 30 villages on the banks of the Khabur River, northern Syria.
Alternate names   Lishana Aturaya, Suret, Sureth, Suryaya Swadaya, Assyrian, Neo-Syriac, Assyriski, Aisorski
Comments Christian (Nestorian).