Syriac: Resources for learning Syriac

zaw

Senior Member
Arabic
Hi,

Could somebody give me the name of a good textbook and dictionary for Syriac? If you could provide me with a list of resources for learning Syriac, that would be best.

Toda raba
 
  • Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    I haven't really used it much but Wheeler McIntosh Thackston's Introduction to Syriac seems pretty decent. However, you should get Daniel M. Gurtner's Introduction to Syriac Key to Exercises & English-Syriac Vocabulary along with it. By the way, the latter makes the following interesting observation on the first page of his key:

    "As is the case with most students of Syriac, I learned this language almost entirely on my own."

    So, I don't think there are many places where you can study Syriac; if you want to learn it you'll have to do it on your own.
     
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    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    Helen Younansardaroud "Classical Syriac Course Book" is actually very good (unlike Muraoka and Thakston). I think you can download it for free.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Helen Younansardaroud "Classical Syriac Course Book" is actually very good (unlike Muraoka and Thakston). I think you can download it for free.

    Just curious, I'd be interested to hear what you find better about it. I've only poked around a tiny bit in Muraoka.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    On second thought, Wheeler McIntosh Thackston's Introduction to Syriac doesn't seem to be that good. For example, he translates pe'al ܣܠܩ סלק as 'he went forth, he went out', even though it means 'he went up'.

    וְאַרְבַּ֤ע חֵיוָן֙ רַבְרְבָ֔ן סָלְקָ֖ן מִן־יַמָּ֑א שָׁנְיָ֖ן דָּ֥א מִן־דָּֽא׃
    (דניאל ז ג)

    יְדִ֙יעַ֙ לֶהֱוֵ֣א לְמַלְכָּ֔א דִּ֣י יְהוּדָיֵ֗א דִּ֤י סְלִ֙קוּ֙ מִן־לְוָתָ֔ךְ עֲלֶ֥ינָא אֲת֖וֹ לִירוּשְׁלֶ֑ם קִרְיְתָ֨א מָֽרָדְתָּ֤א וּבִֽאישְׁתָּא֙ בָּנַ֔יִן ושורי וְשׁוּרַיָּ֣א אשכללו שַׁכְלִ֔ילוּ וְאֻשַּׁיָּ֖א יַחִֽיטוּ׃
    (עזרא ד יב)
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    On second thought, Wheeler McIntosh Thackston's Introduction to Syriac doesn't seem to be that good. For example, he translates pe'al ܣܠܩ סלק as 'he went forth, he went out', even though it means 'he went up'.

    וְאַרְבַּ֤ע חֵיוָן֙ רַבְרְבָ֔ן סָלְקָ֖ן מִן־יַמָּ֑א שָׁנְיָ֖ן דָּ֥א מִן־דָּֽא׃
    (דניאל ז ג)

    יְדִ֙יעַ֙ לֶהֱוֵ֣א לְמַלְכָּ֔א דִּ֣י יְהוּדָיֵ֗א דִּ֤י סְלִ֙קוּ֙ מִן־לְוָתָ֔ךְ עֲלֶ֥ינָא אֲת֖וֹ לִירוּשְׁלֶ֑ם קִרְיְתָ֨א מָֽרָדְתָּ֤א וּבִֽאישְׁתָּא֙ בָּנַ֔יִן ושורי וְשׁוּרַיָּ֣א אשכללו שַׁכְלִ֔ילוּ וְאֻשַּׁיָּ֖א יַחִֽיטוּ׃
    (עזרא ד יב)
    Firstly, you are greatly oversimplifying. Look at the entry for slq in CAL (Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon). It has a very wide range of meanings that includes all these things.

    Secondly, Syriac is not the same as Biblical Aramaic. You can't use a Biblical Aramaic usage to prove how a word is used in Syriac.
     

    radagasty

    Senior Member
    Australia, Cantonese
    On second thought, Wheeler McIntosh Thackston's Introduction to Syriac doesn't seem to be that good. For example, he translates pe'al ܣܠܩ סלק as 'he went forth, he went out', even though it means 'he went up'.

    It can mean either, as Drink points out, so Thackston is not wrong per se, but ‘to go up’ is the more basic meaning of ܣܠܩ in Syriac, so, in the absence of context, it would have been preferable to give that as the definition.

    One problem with Thackston, especially in the later lessons, is that the chapter vocabulary lists are keyed to the exercises, so he gives the gloss that suits the context of the exercise, even if that does not represent the most basic or most common meaning of the word.

    And, very often, you can guess what the exercises are from the vocabulary list. For instance, among the nouns to be learnt in Lesson 18 are virgin, marriage, bridegroom, bride, lamp, vessel and oil, from which you can easily surmise that the reading exercise will be the parable of the wise and foolish virgins from Matt 25.
     
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