Yeah, I think so - but it can be pretty hard to determine considering how divergent Aramaic dialects are. Old dialects of Aramaic (especially the Jewish ones) seem really similar to the point that it's almost mutually intelligible. Modern dialects are a different story though - centuries of Iranian, Turkic and Arabic influence on Assyrian/Eastern dialects have made them barely any more intelligible than Arabic at first listen (and some of the dialects from Nineveh in Iraq have been heavily influenced by Arabic vocabulary in the last 30-50 years as well). The dialects of Syria are even more heavily influenced by Arabic, and barely spoken enough for me to get a real idea. Of course, Modern Hebrew is also different to older incarnations of the language.Yes, I'm fairly convinced that Arabic is closer to Hebrew than it is to Aramaic, but would you agree that Hebrew and Aramaic are still closer to each other than either of them is to Arabic?
With all that said though, I remember listening to some Assyrian songs before I had ever studied the language and being able to pick out entire phrases (4-5 words) and understand them. I feel like the vocabulary and some aspects of word formation of Aramaic and Hebrew are closer than either is to Arabic, but Arabic and Hebrew have really similar verb conjugations which always trips me out.
That's a good point.It looks more like a Greek-inflected version of Maltese to me. But like I said (years ago), languages like Maltese, Cypriot Arabic and the even more exotic Arabic dialects of central Asia are all part of what we call "Arabic" so bringing them into this discussion doesn't make much sense.