Aramaic scripts

Jamal31

Banned
American English
Hello,

I saw this article on Wiktionary, and it lists the Aramaic in three different scripts:

Aramaic: ‎(bāḇāʾ) / בבא ‎(bāḇāʾ) / ܒܒܐ ‎(bāḇāʾ)

I recognize the last one as Syriac Aramaic script, and I have heard the second script as "Imperial Aramaic", but have never heard of any name for the first script. Can anyone provide any insight into the subject?
 
  • fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    בבא is Hebrew square script. ܒܒܐ is Syriac Estrangelo script. Imperial Aramaic looks quite different from both. By the way, the transcription with final hamza is totally wrong, at least in the case of Syriac.
     

    Delvo

    Senior Member
    American English
    I saw this article on Wiktionary, and it lists the Aramaic in three different scripts:
    This link just goes to a Wiktionary "word of the day" page. You copied & pasted the wrong link... unless their word of the day several days ago was "Aramaic".

    Aramaic: ‎(bāḇāʾ)
    There's nothing there. It's possible that what you originally saw used an image instead of text, so, when you selected it all and pasted into a place that's just for text, the image couldn't be included. This makes me suspect that what you were looking at was Imperial Aramaic or another version roughly as old and pretty similar to it, because it tends to get represented in images instead of text because there were no Unicode characters assigned to it until recently.

    Even now I don't think that most of those who would be interested are aware that a Unicode Aramaic character set has been added, because I see people here at this forum talking about Aramaic words but illustrating them with Hebrew or Syriac letters. Here are the Unicode Aramaic letters: ... notice that what you get in most programs doesn't look the same as the representations in the big boxes at the left on the Unicode website; I don't know what font they used to generate those. The word you gave as an example would be using these characters.

    Incidentally, Unicode also now has a Phoenician character set, representing even older versions of the same 22 letters from before the "Aramaic" era: . Your example word would be using these.

    / בבא ‎(bāḇāʾ)
    That's Hebrew. I have seen it described as a modern style of Aramaic a few times, but it's more often considered a separate alphabet. It has a separate set of character codes assigned to it (as opposed to the possibility of a single character set with Hebrew and Aramaic as merely different fonts), and is still in use today, including widespread awareness and use of its Unicode characters (in at least two common standard computer fonts, not to mention the countless other styles you could find on signs and in publications in Israel or in synagogues outside of Israel).

    / ܒܒܐ ‎(bāḇāʾ)
    That's Syriac. Again, although it's possible to think of this as a version of the Aramaic alphabet, it seems to be more often treated as a separate alphabet of its own, and it has yet another completely separate group of Unicode entries, not just a font style to apply to some kind of non-existent common Phoenico-Aramao-Syrio-Hebrew character set. This alphabet is still used by those who speak the Syriac language, which is descended from the Aramaic language and is sometimes described as a member of an "Aramaic language family", and is now a minority language in Middle Eastern countries where the primary language is now Arabic. Several hundred years ago, it was more common and its speakers & writers were more culturally influential.

    Although the Hebrew and Syriac languages are more closely related to each other than either of them is to Arabic, the Arabic and Syriac alphabets are more closely related to each other than either of them is to the Hebrew one. Some would even say that the Arabic alphabet developed from the Syriac one, although that would need to be such an old version of "Syriac", so close to late Aramaic, that it wouldn't have some of the visible classic/modern Syriac traits yet.

    Although both the Hebrew and Syriac alphabets did descend from Aramaic and are used for the Hebrew and Syriac languages instead of the Aramaic language, more than just time, language association, and gradually evolving font styles separates Aramaic from the younger ones. Aramaic came with several phonetic ambiguities, including six letters that could represent either a plosive or a fricative, a lack of any consistent way to deal with vowel sounds, and the letter "shin" carrying both the sounds "s" and "sh". Aramaic had no solutions for these, but Hebrew and Syriac developed their own separate independent solutions, so we could use their creation and implementation as the cut-off time between "still Aramaic" and "not Aramaic anymore".

    Wow, my Phoenician and Aramaic characters just vanished! I've never seen anything like that before! Normally, unsupported characters would at least be represented by the little "unsupported character" symbol box. That goes against my theory that you were dealing with an image in the first place, but still supports the conclusion that what you were looking at was actually standard Aramaic.
     
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    Jamal31

    Banned
    American English
    That's odd, the url I included for the hyperlink was en.wiktionary.org/wiki/[akkadianword] . Perhaps because the character cannot display on the forum it redirects to the main page as a result of a broken url.

    The page was the Akkadian word for door, gate ‎(bābu [KA2])

    Under the 'Descendants' heading, it gave the three scripts of Aramaic I mentioned, then Arabic and Middle Persian.

    Here's an image of the page:

    https://i.imgur.com/0vP53yO.png

    And here is the Aramaic part with the script I was referring to underlined:

    https://i.imgur.com/P39RCoz.png
     
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    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    The first (on the left) is Imperial Aramaic script, the second is Hebrew square script, the third is Syriac Estrangelo script. The language in all three cases is different stages of Aramaic (all wrongly transcribed by the idiots who control wiktionary).
     

    Jamal31

    Banned
    American English
    Thanks, fdb. If it's not too much trouble, would it be possible for you to explain what is mistaken in the transliterations?
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    Imperial Aramaic should be bāb, bābā; Old Syriac should be bāḇā, Western Syriac bovo, Eastern Syriac bawa. The hamza (ʼ) is wrong in all forms.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I wondered if the transcriptions were automatic and didn't know about quiescent alephs, but all the forms have an explicit tr= parameter, with the apostrophe. It's not, I suspect, a deliberate policy about what a transliteration is and what a transcription is (a perennial source of argument), because they don't transliterate the aleph in Hebrew lo "not" (don't know how to copy right-to-left scripts, sorry).
     
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