Requests for new languages/Wikipedia Assyrian Neo Aramaic

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A committee member provided the following comment:

Eligible language. You are encouraged to contribute on incubator:Wp/aii. --Millosh (talk) 11:10, 6 February 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • The community needs to develop an active test project; it must remain active until approval (automated statistics, recent changes). It is generally considered active if the analysis lists at least three active, not-grayed-out editors listed in the sections for the previous few months.
  • The community needs to complete required MediaWiki interface translations in that language (about localization, translatewiki, check completion).
  • The community needs to discuss and complete the settings table below:
What Value Example / Explanation
Language code aii (SILGlottolog) A valid ISO 639-1 or 639-3 language code, like "fr", "de", "nso", ...
Language name Assyrian Neo-Aramaic Language name in English
Language name ܣܘܪܝܬ or ܣܘܪܬ Language name in your language. This will appear in the language list on Special:Preferences, in the interwiki sidebar on other wikis, ...
Language Wikidata item Q29440 - item has currently the following values:
Item about the language at Wikidata. It would normally include the Wikimedia language code, name of the language, etc. Please complete at Wikidata if needed.
Directionality RTL Is the language written from left to right (LTR) or from right to left (RTL)?
Links Links to previous requests, or references to external websites or documents.

Project name ܘܝܟܝܦܝܕܝܐ "Wikipedia" in your language
Project namespace ܘܝܟܝܦܝܕܝܐ usually the same as the project name
Project talk namespace ܕܘܪܫܐ "Wikipedia talk" (the discussion namespace of the project namespace)
Enable uploads no Default is "no". Preferably, files should be uploaded to Commons.
If you want, you can enable local file uploading, either by any user ("yes") or by administrators only ("admin").
Notes: (1) This setting can be changed afterwards. The setting can only be "yes" or "admin" at approval if the test creates an Exemption Doctrine Policy (EDP) first. (2) Files on Commons can be used on all Wikis. (3) Uploading fair-use images is not allowed on Commons (more info). (4) Localisation to your language may be insufficient on Commons.
Optional settings
Project logo File:Wikipedia-logo-v2-aii.png This needs to be an SVG image (instructions for logo creation).
Default project timezone Continent/City "Continent/City", e.g. "Europe/Brussels" or "America/Mexico City" (see list of valid timezones)
Additional namespaces For example, a Wikisource would need "Page", "Page talk", "Index", "Index talk", "Author", "Author talk".
Additional settings Anything else that should be set
submit Phabricator task. It will include everything automatically, except additional namespaces/settings. After creating the task, add a link to the comment.


Assyrian Neo-Aramaic is language spoken by more than 200,000 people.


ISO code, Name and other concerns[edit]

  1. I believe that this new wikipedia should be named "Syriac Wikipedia" and use the ISO "SYR" instead. I have expressed my concerns regarding NENA languages and the fallacy of breaking them along religious lines into "Chaldean" and "Assyrian". After all Syriac is the term used to describe this language in the Iraqi constitution and in public schools where this language is taught.
    As a native speaker of I am somehow wary of this project's influence on arcwiki (Classical Syriac). This new project might draw valuable active users from arcwiki.--Rafy (talk) 13:31, 16 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Different ISO codes[edit]

  • It is agreed upon that the Aramaic Wikipedia is for classical Syriac Aramaic (ISO code arc) as Aramaic is a very broad term. There is a proposal to change the name of the Aramaic WP to Syriac WP (ISO code SYC) which was delayed for technical issues.
  • Let's face the reality. There aren't many contributors in the Aramaic WP. The main reason is that there is a big gap between the spoken Neo-Aramaic and the classical Syriac Aramaic. I am speculating that there will be more contributors in this Neo- Aramaic WP and that it will grow in a much faster pace and will be more detailed.
  • I'm personally not planning to abandon Aramaic WP. I think the Neo-Aramaic WP is a good project to attract many people who are willing to contribute but the above mentioned gap is the obstacle. By getting this obstacle out of their way, they will start contributing in this spoken language, and they will manage themselves without any help from us. --Basharh (talk) 02:22, 17 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, indeed the should be renamed as it is in reality not written in ethnologue:arc, but ethnologue:syc. --MF-W 10:02, 17 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]
I don't contest that arcwiki should be renamed to Classical Syriac Wikipedia (SYC). I just don't think that it's wise to create wise to create different Wikipedias for cld (Chaldean Neo-Aramaic) and(aai (Assyrian Neo-Aramaic) since these are just two almost identical varieties of the same language. AFAIK the difference in Grammar and spelling is negligible, the main difference is that the modern Aramaic vernacular of the Nineveh plains relies heavily on Arabic, something we should try to avoid anyway in this new Wikipedia I assume.--Rafy (talk) 21:42, 17 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]
I actually don't think there's that big of a gap between the Neo-Aramaic and Classical Syriac. I think some parts of the gap between my dialect (Tyari) and, say, the Urmi dialect can be just as big, as my dialect often shares many similarities with Classical Syriac that it does not with Urmi.
Personally, I don't think the many dialects of Assyrian Neo-Aramaic are viable as a written language in general (let alone in an entire wiki). I used to edit arc.wikipedia using my own phonetic-based spelling of my own dialect (back when I didn't know any Classical Syriac) when I realized that I couldn't understand others' edits because they were doing the same thing for their dialect. There are too many variations in terms of vocabulary (or lack thereof, hence borrowings from other languages), grammar, pronunciation, and so on. Classical Syriac often remedies those problems in the same way Hochdeutsch does for German and al-fuṣḥā does for Arabic. --334a (talk) 04:11, 18 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]

As I mentioned before, Classical Syriac should be studied in order to be understood. This is a big issue for people who didn’t have the chance to study it, so they are unable to contribute in its WP. How many active users do we have there?

The gap between the dialects is sometimes big, but that is usually in the phonetics and the loanwords. I find it easier to read an article written in Urmi dialect than listening to the same article. Again I recall reviewing some articles written at the beginning of the arcwiki and they were written in Toroyo dialect. This dialect is a mixture of Eastern and Western Neo-Aramaics and at times is very hard to understand even when written. In the other hand I don’t think the grammar differences among the Eastern Neo-Aramaic dialects are big enough to cause a problem. The solution to solve the vocabulary and phonetic issues is to go back to the Classical Syriac dictionary and try to use the standardize words as much as possible. Good example is to write lishana like ܠܫܢܐ rather than ܠܝܫܢܐ or ܠܘܫܢܐ or any other form. Another example to use ܬܢܚܬܐ (sigh) rather than the loanwords ܗܣܪܬ or ܗܨܪܐ.

I strongly agree with keeping the arcwiki alive and as active as possible, side by side with this new Wikipedia. I strongly believe that this new WP will attract people that are willing to contribute but the only obstacle is the lack of enough knowledge of the Classical Syriac and here is the importance of this project.--Basharh (talk) 06:45, 19 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Khonee Bashar,
Any standardized dialect different from the user's has to be studied as well. If one dialect must be chosen as a standard to be learned and used by everyone, why use something like Urmi? Instead, why not use Classical Syriac? Speakers of Neo-Aramaic have a huge advantage anyway over others when it comes to learning Classical Syriac. I do not think the low number of contributors to the arc wiki are due to Classical Syriac being the language used; rather, I think it's due partly to our lack of promoting the site and partly to the overall low literacy rates among Aramaic speakers. Anyway, if people have time to edit Wikipedia, then they surely have time to learn some Classical Syriac. It is not difficult if you know a Neo-Aramaic dialect already.
I don't know about other people, but I have a very hard time understanding other dialects. That's lessened when I read instead of hear, as you said, but not by a large enough margin for complete intelligibility. Even when users write in Classical Syriac and some of their modern dialectal words creep in, I still have a hard time understanding everything. The fact that not everyone understands Tyari or Urmi or Turoyo is the main reason we switched to Classical Syriac in the first place.
For vocabulary and phonetics, I don't really see the purpose of "going back to the Classical Syriac dictionary". Why is it permissible to use Classical Syriac for vocabulary and pronunciation but not for grammar? Creating a hybrid language with Classcial Syriac vocabulary and pronunciation with Neo-Aramaic grammar seems very strange to me (especially considering this language has never existed in the past and has no historical basis, unlike pure Classical Syriac). It would be just as hard to learn this hybrid language as it would be to learn Classical Syriac but without the added benefits of Classical Syriac. Also, loanwords are what make a language/dialect what it is. Every language has loanwords, including Classical Syriac (see wikt:Category:Classical Syriac terms derived from other languages, and that's not even a complete list).
I'm interested in what grammars and dictionaries would be used to standardize this Neo-Aramaic dialect. A lot of them, I've found, are written by people who do not fully know what they are talking about, so I would be extremely cautious. --334a (talk) 14:46, 20 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]
I think it is easier to “study” other dialects than studying Classical Syriac, as the difference among these dialects as Rafy mentioned is not that big, I pretty much can understand most of the dialects. Classical Syriac has a bit complicated grammar and usage of words including roots of verbs which is why you see those dialectical words in the arcwiki. And don’t forget we sometimes have to come up with new unused terms like ܬܫܢܝܬܐ that I used for insurance even though it is not mentioned in any dictionary (I hope it is good enough to bear that meaning).
I don’t think by using the Classical Syriac dictionary for vocabulary and pronunciation with the Neo-Aramaic grammar we are creating a hybrid language. The Classical Syriac and the Neo-Aramaic are dialects of the same language that were used in different times and were apart for a long while, and there are many suggestions to simplify Classical Syriac grammar. The usage of the Classical Syriac dictionary for vocabulary and pronunciation is a way to standardize and make the dialects come close to each other (especially when using the same words as in lishana, which is the case in most widely used words) with simpler grammar that they use on daily basis. Still there will be words that some will not understand, in this case we could use more than one word as in this example by using the standard word and adding some clarification to it.
Because the Neo-Aramaic speakers are influenced by different languages, they are using different loanwords according to the region that they live in. I don’t want to stop using the loanwords at all but to eliminate the newly introduced ones that are used in different ways as the above example of ܗܣܪܬ or ܗܨܪܐ in which the first one is Farsi/Turkish loanword (which in turn is an Arabic loanword to Farsi and Turkish languages) and the latter is Arabic loanword. So it could be used like ܬܢܚܬܐ (ܗܣܪܬ/ܗܨܪܐ).
Again I am in favor of promoting the Classical Syriac among Neo-Aramaic speakers, but unfortunately this is not practical for so many reasons. Please let me know if you or anybody else has difficulty understanding this article and I welcome any suggestion to improve the dialect used there.--Basharh (talk) 05:30, 22 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Khonee, you're probably in the category of speakers who have come into contact with other dialects enough to understand them. I, however, have barely spoken with people who don't speak my dialect and, as a result, have a very hard time understanding them (sometimes as little as 25% comprehension, usually around 50%). I do not think I am alone in this category of people. They don't understand my dialect either, evidenced by the fact that any older person who normally speaks my dialect will "switch" dialects when speaking to them, claiming that they don't understand our dialect so we have to switch to "appease" them or something.
I think the dialectal words crop up because the writer hasn't quite separated their Neo-Aramaic dialect from Classical Syriac, not because of Classical Syriac's complexity. Coining new words all the time like ܬܫܢܝܬܐ is perfectly normal for a wiki (especially one written in an ancient language). :)
We'll leave it up to the neutral nakhrayeh to decide whether we're creating a hybrid language here or not, though I think most will agree with me that we are. Are you planning on adding clarification to a word (i.e. writing the Neo-Aramaic word in brackets immediately after the Classical word) in every circumstance? That seems tedious to me. If they're reading the wiki (especially without vowels), we should assume they can already read and comprehend the language. If not, they can use a dictionary or actually learn the language first.
Until how far back are we planning to stamp out the foreign words? More importantly, what are some examples of dictionaries and grammars that would be used to learn this "standardized" Neo-Aramaic language? I think the "complicated" grammar of Classical Syriac actually adds to its clarity. In my Neo-Aramaic dialect, for example, there is no way to form passives: they've merged into the same meaning. E.g. preleh means "he paid", pirya used to mean "he/it is paid", but they've now merged to both mean "he paid". Also, malkeh means "his king" or "his kings", while it only means one singular king in Classical Syriac (in which "his kings" would be malkaw[hy]).
I think with the Internet, it's now easier than ever to promote the learning of Classical Syriac. We're not using all the tools available to us; for example, there's no article on Classical Syriac grammar on the English Wikipedia. On the dialect in the article you wrote:
  • My dialect doesn't have ܟܐ. What are its meaning and uses?
  • Should ܗܝܡܢܝ̈ have a Nun at the end of it? Even a silent one?
  • I see you're using spellings like ܦܫܠܗ. Is that the standard? I have also seen forms like ܦܝܫܠܗ and ܦܝܫ ܠܗ (the closest one to Classical Syriac, actually) and ܦܫ ܠܗ.
  • The number "one" I've seen written as ܚܕ and ܚܕܐ (usually with a mtalqana and without distinguishing gender) and even ܚܐ.
  • ܓܪܓ is a foreign word.
  • Do you actually use the ܝܗܘܢ- ending in ܚܛܝܬ̈ܝܗܘܢ in the Neo-Aramaic dialects? I say something like "-éheh" and I've seen it written as ܝܗܝ-. What's the full inflection of possessive endings look like?
  • Related to the above point, is the ending on ܫܡܗ (shimmeh) the standard ending? I've seen/heard ܫܡܘܗܝ (shimmoh). Same goes for the feminine ending.
  • Are we going to use Classical plurals as well? Would the plural of ܫܡܐ be ܫܡܗ̈ܐ or ܫܡ̈ܢܐ? For ܫܢܬܐ, is it ܫܢ̈ܝܐ or ܫܢ̈ܐ?
  • Are we using ܗܕܐ or ܐܝܐ or ܐܗܐ?
  • Are we using ܩܕܡ or ܩܐܡ (see here)?
So, to me, it looks like you've arbitrarily chosen a point between your Neo-Aramaic dialect and Classical Syriac that, currently, no one uses (and no one has used) in quite the same form. Also, an Eastern Neo-Aramaic wiki would alienate the Western Neo-Aramaic speakers, which wouldn't happen in the Classical Syriac wiki. --334a (talk) 15:56, 24 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]
As you said, I have come in contact with other dialects enough to know that the gap between most of these dialects is not big and it is even smaller when they are written. I too switch dialects when speaking to speakers of other dialects, this switching could be big or small depending on the other speakers’ dialect and contact with my dialect.
Not separating the dialect from classical is an issue that is present in many languages as Arabic for instance. I don’t think that would be a problem in this new WP as long as the used word is intelligible by most people.
I am not creating a hybrid language, I am trying to standardize or get the Neo-Aramaic dialects closer. The article should be comprehensible to Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Chaldean speakers, I asked couple people to read it and they understood most of it, you did not tell me if this article is comprehensible.
Clarifications will only be added when deemed necessary, e.g. using ܪܵܒܵܐ or ܟܲܒܝܼܪܵܐ for ܣܓܝ or when using ܓܘܼܪܵܐ for ܪܲܒܵܐ or when using ܓ̰ܲܠܕܹܐ or ܩܲܠܵܐ for ܩܲܠܘܼܠܵܐ (early).
We should be open to use vowels here as we are only using Eastern Syriac fonts.
We will be using common used loanwords at least as clarifying words. We don’t have dictionaries or grammar books off-hand. I think in the example of his kings we could use ܡܠܟ̈ܘܗܝ, and that is the soul of standardization of these dialects. I did not use “my dialect” in the article that I translated, I used what is common among most of the dialects.
ܫܡܫܐ ܟܹܐ ܙܲܪܩܵܐ means the sun is rising. Actually in my dialect we say ܕܸܟܙܲܪܩܵܐ. So it is present continuous.
I think ܗܝܡܢܝ̈ should be ܗܝܡܢܝ̈ܢ. I will fix that.
I think ܦܝܫ ܠܗ is the one as it is the closest to Classical Syriac. I will fix that too.
I guess ܚܕ is good enough, even ܚܕܐ is acceptable as the D and A are silent in all dialects anyways. Same for ܬܪܝܢ or ܬܪܬܝܢ where N is silent but should be written.
We could use ܘܠܐ and put ܓܪܓ as clarification. I’ve never heard ܓܪܓ in other languages; do you know its origin?
ܚܛܝܬ̈ܝܗܘܢ is used as ܚܸܛ̈ܝܵܬ݂ܘܼ or ܚܸܛ̈ܝܵܬܲܝ in different dialects. so ܚܛܝܬ̈ܝܗܘܢ is the best, and even better if we use ܚܛܝܬ̈ܝܗܝܢ for feminine.
ܫܸܡܸܗ and ܫܸܡܵܗ are used in some dialects, and ܫܡܘܗܝ in others so we will favor the first as it is the closest to Classical Syriac.
We could use the Classical plural as clarification and for teaching purposes but not as standard.
ܗܢܐ and ܗܕܐ are the best examples why we need Classical Syriac. By doing this, we are standing at the same distance from all used dialects. If we go with ܐܝܐ or ܐܗܐ and many more in different others, we will create a big mess.
Definitely we will use ܩܕܡ and ܒܬܪ and depending on the dialect, they can make the D or T silent. in the example you gave ܩܐܡ means (current, present) not ܩܕܡ.
I read some articles in Neo-Aramaic but this is my first try to write, or to be more accurate translate, so it is not well organized. But to say no body has used is not correct, there are novels that were published using a very similar approach, I will try finding some links.--Basharh (talk) 04:49, 25 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Khonee, like I said, we'll leave it for others to decide whether a hybrid language that has never been spoken and has no historical basis is being created or not. I too understood most of it, but that's because I know Neo-Aramaic and I've studied Classical Syriac. There's really no reason for me not to understand it.
I don't know about using vowels; spelling is rocky using Neo-Aramaic as it is. We tried that on back when it was Neo-Aramaic and it didn't work too well across different dialects. The word for "house", for example, has many pronunciations: bayta (classical and present in some Neo-Aramaic dialects), beta, betha, beeta, all of which would be written differently with vowels and other diacritics but have the same basic consonantal spelling (ܒܝܬܐ).
Dictionaries and grammars are essential to standardizing the language so that it can be used more effectively. If we have to resort to Classical Syriac to fill in the blanks, what does that say about the stability of Neo-Aramaic?
I would say something like shimsha holah zraqa in my dialect. I don't use b- very often or ke at all (and neither does Classical Syriac for both). The word gerek--also pronounced "garig"--is used in Kurdish and Turkish, at least. Most of the solutions seem to revolve around going to Classical Syriac in any and all cases of clarity or neutrality between dialects (which is what we did anyway at arc.wikipedia on a full scale). I say this: why not just go full on Classical Syriac? The only thing that doesn't seem to be Classical Syriac are the verbal forms and some of the vocabulary. Like I said before, new users coming on to this project who have only known Neo-Aramaic are going to have to learn all these Classical Syriac forms anyway.
To me, it used to look like a midway point between Neo-Aramaic and Classical Syriac. Using Classical Syriac to solve all the problems, though, now it just looks like a very thin line is all that separates this proposed wiki and the Classical Syriac wiki. --334a (talk) 18:18, 26 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not the only one that is suggesting "creating" this language, there are other people who got involved in the Syriac education process in northern Iraq, and publishing books on grammar was suggested in the last conference, even though I have some comments on the language used. I personally would favor using Classical Syriac all along, but that proved impractical especially in the absence of a country that will make this language an official one. we have languages that used this method to simplify their usage, Greek is a good example and I didn't hear anybody saying that the modern Greek is a hybrid language. There are linguistics that consider modern Hebrew hybrid, because of what they consider an extensive usage of foreign words and the big gap between the ancient and modern language.
We will use Classical Syriac dictionary for the spelling and vowel use.
You are 100% correct in describing the very thin but very important and practical line that separates the sister Classical Syriac wiki and Neo-Aramaic wiki.--Basharh (talk) 04:08, 30 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]
As Bashar already mentioned, North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic has some official status in Iraq and there have been quite some progress in standardising this variety the last couple of years. However, I still find it much easier to write using Classical Syriac. The main reason here is the lack of any published "standard" Neo-Aramaic grammar books. I believe that if a crash course in grammar and format based on that used in public schools is made available, many literate and semi-literate native speakers would have little trouble contributing to this Wikipedia.--Rafy (talk) 23:22, 1 October 2012 (UTC)[reply]
I have the same issues trying to promote the classic syriac wikipedia among the neo-aramaic speakers but its very hard for them to write any think because they not used to it, And i have no issues understanding the article that you have written about Jesus Christ. its all good keep the good work cheers.ܐܫܘܪܝܐ ܗܠ ܡܘܬܐ (talk) 03:26, 23 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Well we need active community to make this test page a true WP. I hope that more people will start contributing. --Basharh (talk) 04:49, 25 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]
There isn't really anything that I can tell that isn't already mentioned. I would encourage everybody to make Neo Aramaic languages more familiar with global community. The thing is though, that I believe that all wikilanguages should be written in a standardized form. We can all acknowledge Assyrian Neo Aramaic is far from a standardized dialect, but so are other Neo Aramaic dialects.
As for calling this new WP the Syriac Wikipedia with the ISOcode SYR like Rafy proposed, I feel that Syriac dialects other than Assyrian and Chaldean, are left out. According to SIL, Syriac is a micro language containing Assyrian Neo Aramaic and Chaldean. Although my own dialect Turoyo is ofcourse a Syriac dialect, SIL refuses to add Turoyo to the Syriac micro language group (for I don't know what reason). But even if we would accept Turoyo, I would stumble on several problems. First off, Turoyo is spoken by either Syriacs from Tur Abdin, or Syriacs from Syria. The difference in these dialects is hard to understand for a lot of people (for example I use ܡܢܕܝܠܐ, mandelo for towel, while most speakers from Syria would use ܦܫܟܝܪܗ, pashkeere). Secondly, even the Turoyo of Tur Abdin itself differs from village to village. Although my own Midyat dialect is understandable for most Turoyo speakers, I find it somehow hard to understand what people mean when they speak in their Kafro or Aynwardo etc. dialects, since they are using many Kurdish loan words. What I am basicly trying to say, is that in order to start a new WP there should be guidelines on how to write etc. Did anyone made such a proposal first? Michaelovic (talk) 17:00, 9 November 2012 (UTC)[reply]