Assyrian Neo-Aramaic


A language of Iraq

Alternate Names
Aisorski, Assyrian, Assyrianci, Assyriski, Lishana Aturaya, Neo-Syriac, Sooreth, Suret, Sureth, Suryaya Swadaya

30,000 in Iraq (1994). Population total all countries: 232,300. Ethnic population: 4,250,000 (1994).


Northern Iraq, mainly Dahuk and Ninawa governorates, 2 enclaves, one northeast of Buhayrat al Mawsil, the other, at Turkish border; scattered in Baghdad, Al Basrah, At Ta’mim (Kirkuk), and Arbil governorates.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b (Threatened). Recognized language (2005, Constitution, Article 4(1)), constitutional term: Syriac. Unevenly recognized except in Kurdistan Region.


Central Assyrian (Anhar, Mar Bishu, Nochiya, Shamezdin, Tergawar), Northern Assyrian (Baz, Dez, Gavar, Jilu, Qudshanis, Salamas, Upper Barwari, Van), Sapna (Aradhin, Benatha, Daudiya, Inishke, Tina), Urmi Assyrian (Sipurghan, Solduz, Urmi), Western Assyrian (Lewin, Lower Barwari, Tal, Tkhuma). Similar linguistically to other Northeastern Aramaic varieties. Inherent intelligibility is difficult to estimate due to extensive exposure throughout the Assyrian diaspora to many dialects, especially Urmi and Iraqi Koine. As a result, intelligibility between dialects is as high as 80%–90%. Urmian group subdialects: Urmi, Sipurghan, Solduz; Northern Group: Salamas, Van, Jilu, Gavar, Qudshanis, Upper Barwari, Dez, Baz; Central Group: Mar Bishu, Nochiya (Shamezdin), Tergawar, Anhar; Western Group: Tkhuma, Lower Barwari, Tal, Lewin; Sapna Group: Aradhin, Tina, Daudiya, Inishke, Benatha. Standard literary Assyrian is based on Urmi. Many left original areas and developed a common spoken and written form based on the prestigious Urmi dialect as spoken in Baghdad, the United States, and elsewhere (Iraqi Koine). Most Christians understand it. This Urmi variety is different from Lishán Didán Urmi variety. All dialects of Western, Northern, and Central Assyrian are spoken in Syria. A member of macrolanguage Syriac [syr].

Language Development
Radio programs. Bible: 1852–1919.

Syriac script [Syrc].

Other Comments

Religious separation of Assyrian and Chaldean happened in the 16th century. Christian (Nestorian).

Also spoken in:

Expand All Collapse All