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ISO 15924 Armi, 124 Imperial Aramaic

Unicode
Unicode
alias

Imperial Aramaic

Unicode
Unicode
range

U+10840–U+1085F

This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode
Unicode
characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

History of the alphabet

Egyptian hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs
32 c. BCE

Hieratic
Hieratic
32 c. BCE

Demotic 7 c. BCE

Meroitic 3 c. BCE

Proto-Sinaitic 19 c. BCE

Ugaritic 15 c. BCE Epigraphic South Arabian 9 c. BCE

Ge’ez 5–6 c. BCE

Phoenician 12 c. BCE

Paleo- Hebrew
Hebrew
10 c. BCE

Samaritan 6 c. BCE

Libyco-Berber
Libyco-Berber
3 c. BCE

Tifinagh

Paleohispanic (semi-syllabic) 7 c. BCE Aramaic 8 c. BCE

Kharoṣṭhī
Kharoṣṭhī
4 c. BCE Brāhmī 4 c. BCE

Brahmic family
Brahmic family
(see)

E.g. Tibetan 7 c. CE Devanagari
Devanagari
13 c. CE

Canadian syllabics 1840

Hebrew
Hebrew
3 c. BCE Pahlavi 3 c. BCE

Avestan 4 c. CE

Palmyrene 2 c. BCE Syriac 2 c. BCE

Nabataean 2 c. BCE

Arabic 4 c. CE

N'Ko 1949 CE

Sogdian 2 c. BCE

Orkhon (old Turkic) 6 c. CE

Old Hungarian c. 650 CE

Old Uyghur

Mongolian 1204 CE

Mandaic 2 c. CE

Greek 8 c. BCE

Etruscan 8 c. BCE

Latin 7 c. BCE

Cherokee (syllabary; letter forms only) c. 1820 CE

Runic 2 c. CE Ogham
Ogham
(origin uncertain) 4 c. CE

Coptic 3 c. CE Gothic 3 c. CE Armenian 405 CE Georgian (origin uncertain) c. 430 CE Glagolitic 862 CE Cyrillic c. 940 CE

Old Permic 1372 CE

Hangul
Hangul
1443 (probably influenced by Tibetan) Thaana
Thaana
18 c. CE (derived from Brahmi
Brahmi
numerals)

v t e

Arameans

Aramaic language Aramaic alphabet

Syro-Hittite states

Biblical region Aram-Damascus Paddan Aram Aram Rehob Aram Soba

Aramean kings

Irhuleni Hezion Tabrimmon Ben-Hadad I Hadadezer Hazael Ben-Hadad III Rezin

Aramean cities

Amrit Arpad Bit Bahiani Coba Höyük Gidara Hama Qarqar Ruhizzi Sam'al Tell Aran Tell Halaf Til Barsip Upu Zobah

v t e

The ancient Aramaic alphabet
Aramaic alphabet
is adapted from the Phoenician alphabet and became distinctive from it by the 8th century BCE. It was used to write the Aramaic language
Aramaic language
and had displaced the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet, itself a derivative of the Phoenician alphabet, for the writing of Hebrew. The letters all represent consonants, some of which are also used as matres lectionis to indicate long vowels. The Aramaic alphabet
Aramaic alphabet
is historically significant since virtually all modern Middle Eastern writing systems can be traced back to it as well as numerous non-Chinese writing systems of Central and East Asia. That is primarily from the widespread usage of the Aramaic language
Aramaic language
as both a lingua franca and the official language of the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian Empires, and their successor, the Achaemenid Empire. Among the scripts in modern use, the Hebrew alphabet
Hebrew alphabet
bears the closest relation to the Imperial Aramaic script of the 5th century BC, with an identical letter inventory and, for the most part, nearly identical letter shapes. The Aramaic alphabet
Aramaic alphabet
was an ancestor to the Nabataean alphabet and the later Arabic alphabet. Writing systems (like the Aramaic one) that indicate consonants but do not indicate most vowels other than by means of matres lectionis or added diacritical signs, have been called abjads by Peter T. Daniels to distinguish them from alphabets, such as the Greek alphabet, which represent vowels more systematically. The term was coined to avoid the notion that a writing system that represents sounds must be either a syllabary or an alphabet, which would imply that a system like Aramaic must be either a syllabary (as argued by Ignace Gelb) or an incomplete or deficient alphabet (as most other writers have said). Rather, it is a different type.

Contents

1 Origins 2 Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
(The First Persian Empire)

2.1 Aramaic-derived scripts

3 Languages using the alphabet

3.1 Maaloula

4 Letters

4.1 Matres lectionis

5 Unicode 6 See also 7 References 8 Sources 9 External links

Origins[edit]

Bilingual Greek and Aramaic inscription by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka at Kandahar, Afghanistan, 3rd century BC.

The earliest inscriptions in the Aramaic language
Aramaic language
use the Phoenician alphabet.[1] Over time, the alphabet developed into the form shown below. Aramaic gradually became the lingua franca throughout the Middle East, with the script at first complementing and then displacing Assyrian cuneiform, as the predominant writing system. Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
(The First Persian Empire)[edit] Around 500 BC, following the Achaemenid conquest of Mesopotamia under Darius I of Persia, Old Aramaic
Old Aramaic
was adopted by the Persians as the "vehicle for written communication between the different regions of the vast Persian empire with its different peoples and languages. The use of a single official language, which modern scholarship has dubbed as Official Aramaic, Imperial Aramaic or Achaemenid Aramaic, can be assumed to have greatly contributed to the astonishing success of the Achaemenid Persians in holding their far-flung empire together for as long as they did."[2] Imperial Aramaic was highly standardised; its orthography was based more on historical roots than any spoken dialect and was inevitably influenced by Old Persian. The Aramaic glyph forms of the period are often divided into two main styles, the "lapidary" form, usually inscribed on hard surfaces like stone monuments, and a cursive form whose lapidary form tended to be more conservative by remaining more visually similar to Phoenician and early Aramaic. Both were in use through the Achaemenid Persian period, but the cursive form steadily gained ground over the lapidary, which had largely disappeared by the 3rd century BC.[3]

Stele with dedicatory lapidary Aramaic inscription to the god Salm. Sandstone, 5th century BC. Found in Tayma, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
by Charles Huber in 1884 and now in the Louvre.

For centuries after the fall of the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
in 331 BC, Imperial Aramaic, or something near enough to it to be recognisable, would remain an influence on the various native Iranian languages. The Aramaic script would survive as the essential characteristics of the Iranian Pahlavi writing system.[4] 30 Aramaic documents from Bactria
Bactria
have been recently discovered, an analysis of which was published in November 2006. The texts, which were rendered on leather, reflect the use of Aramaic in the 4th century BC in the Persian Achaemenid administration of Bactria
Bactria
and Sogdiana.[5] The widespread usage of Achaemenid Aramaic in the Middle East
Middle East
led to the gradual adoption of the Aramaic alphabet
Aramaic alphabet
for writing Hebrew. Formerly, Hebrew
Hebrew
had been written using an alphabet closer in form to that of Phoenician, the Paleo- Hebrew
Hebrew
alphabet. Aramaic-derived scripts[edit] Since the evolution of the Aramaic alphabet
Aramaic alphabet
out of the Phoenician one was a gradual process, the division of the world's alphabets into the ones derived from the Phoenician one directly and the ones derived from Phoenician via Aramaic is somewhat artificial. In general, the alphabets of the Mediterranean region (Anatolia, Greece, Italy) are classified as Phoenician-derived, adapted from around the 8th century BC, and those of the East (the Levant, Persia, Central Asia and India) are considered Aramaic-derived, adapted from around the 6th century BC from the Imperial Aramaic script of the Achaemenid Empire. After the fall of the Achaemenid Empire, the unity of the Imperial Aramaic script was lost, diversifying into a number of descendant cursives. The Hebrew
Hebrew
and Nabataean alphabets, as they stood by the Roman era, were little changed in style from the Imperial Aramaic alphabet. A cursive Hebrew
Hebrew
variant developed from the early centuries AD, but it remained restricted to the status of a variant used alongside the noncursive. By contrast, the cursive developed out of the Nabataean alphabet in the same period soon became the standard for writing Arabic, evolving into the Arabic alphabet
Arabic alphabet
as it stood by the time of the early spread of Islam. The development of cursive versions of Aramaic also led to the creation of the Syriac, Palmyrene and Mandaic alphabets, which formed the basis of the historical scripts of Central Asia, such as the Sogdian and Mongolian alphabets.[6] The Old Turkic script
Old Turkic script
is generally considered to have its ultimate origins in Aramaic,[7][8][6] in particular via the Pahlavi or Sogdian alphabets,[9][10] as suggested by V. Thomsen, or possibly via Karosthi (cf., Issyk inscription). Aramaic is also considered to be the most likely source of the Brahmi script, ancestor of the Brahmic family
Brahmic family
of scripts, which includes Devanagari. Languages using the alphabet[edit] Today, Biblical Aramaic, Jewish Neo-Aramaic dialects and the Aramaic language of the Talmud
Talmud
are written in the Hebrew
Hebrew
alphabet. Syriac and Christian Neo-Aramaic dialects are written in the Syriac alphabet. Mandaic is written in the Mandaic alphabet. The near-identity of the Aramaic and the classical Hebrew
Hebrew
alphabets caused Aramaic text to be typeset mostly in the standard Hebrew
Hebrew
script in scholarly literature. Maaloula[edit] Further information: Western Neo-Aramaic In Maaloula, one of few surviving communities in which a Western Aramaic dialect is still spoken, an Aramaic institute was established in 2007 by Damascus University
Damascus University
that teaches courses to keep the language alive. The institute's activities were suspended in 2010 amidst fears that the square Aramaic alphabet
Aramaic alphabet
used in the program too closely resembled the square script of the Hebrew alphabet
Hebrew alphabet
and all the signs with the square Aramaic script were taken down. The program stated that they would instead use the more distinct Syriac alphabet, although use of the Aramaic alphabet
Aramaic alphabet
has continued to some degree.[11] Al Jazeera Arabic also broadcast a program about Western Neo-Aramaic and the villages in which it is spoken with the square script still in use.[12] Letters[edit]

Letter name Aramaic written using IPA Equivalent letter in

Syriac script Imperial Aramaic Hebrew Phoenician Arabic Brahmi Nabataean Kharosthi Maalouli Aramaic

Image Text Image Text

Ālap

ܐ

𐡀‬ /ʔ/; /aː/, /eː/ א‬ 𐤀‬ ا‬

Bēth

ܒ

𐡁‬ /b/, /β/ ב‬ 𐤁‬ ب‬

Gāmal

ܓ

𐡂‬ /ɡ/, /ɣ/ ג‬ 𐤂‬ ج‬

Dālath

ܕ

𐡃‬ /d/, /ð/ ד‬ 𐤃‬ د ذ‬

ܗ

𐡄‬ /ɦ/ ה‬ 𐤄‬ ه‬

Waw

ܘ

𐡅‬ /w/; /oː/, /uː/ ו‬ 𐤅‬ و‬

Zain

ܙ

𐡆‬ /z/ ז‬ 𐤆‬ ز‬

Ḥēth

ܚ

𐡇‬ /ħ/ /χ/ ח‬ 𐤇‬ ح خ‬

Ṭēth

ܛ

𐡈‬ emphatic /tˤ/ ט‬ 𐤈‬ ط ظ‬

Yodh

ܝ

𐡉‬ /j/; /iː/, /eː/ י‬ 𐤉‬ ي‬

Kāp

ܟ

𐡊‬ /k/, /x/ כ ך‬ 𐤊‬ ك‬

Lāmadh

ܠ

𐡋‬ /l/ ל‬ 𐤋‬ ل‬

Mem

ܡ

𐡌‬ /m/ מ ם‬ 𐤌‬ م‬

Nun

ܢ

𐡍‬ /n/ נ ן‬ 𐤍‬ ن‬

Semkath

ܣ

𐡎‬ /s/ ס‬ 𐤎‬ س‬

ʿĒ

ܥ

𐡏‬ /ʢ/ /ʁ/ ע‬ 𐤏‬ ع غ‬

ܦ

𐡐‬ /p/, /ɸ/ פ ף‬ 𐤐‬ ف‬

Ṣādhē

ܨ , 𐡑‬ emphatic /sˤ/ צ ץ‬ 𐤑‬ ص ض‬

Qop

ܩ

𐡒‬ /qˁ/ ק‬ 𐤒‬ ق‬

Rēsh

ܪ

𐡓‬ /r/ ר‬ 𐤓‬ ر‬

Shin

ܫ

𐡔‬ /ʃ/ ש‬ 𐤔‬ ش‬

Taw

ܬ

𐡕‬ /t/, /θ/ ת‬ 𐤕‬ ت ث‬

Matres lectionis[edit] Main article: Mater lectionis In Aramaic writing, Waw and Yodh serve a double function. Originally, they represented only the consonants w and y, but they were later adopted to indicate the long vowels ū and ī respectively as well (often also ō and ē respectively). In the latter role, they are known as matres lectionis or "mothers of reading". Ālap, likewise, has some of the characteristics of a mater lectionis because in initial positions, it indicates a glottal stop (followed by a vowel), but otherwise, it often also stands for the long vowels ā or ē. Among Jews, the influence of Hebrew
Hebrew
often led to the use of Hē instead, at the end of a word. The practice of using certain letters to hold vowel values spread to Aramaic-derived writing systems, such as in Arabic and Hebrew, which still follow the practice. Unicode[edit] Main articles: Syriac ( Unicode
Unicode
block) and Imperial Aramaic (Unicode block) The Syriac Aramaic alphabet
Aramaic alphabet
was added to the Unicode
Unicode
Standard in September 1999, with the release of version 3.0. The Syriac Abbreviation (a type of overline) can be represented with a special control character called the Syriac Abbreviation Mark (U+070F). The Unicode
Unicode
block for Syriac Aramaic is U+0700–U+074F:

Syriac[1][2] Official Unicode
Unicode
Consortium code chart (PDF)

  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F

U+070x ܀ ܁ ܂ ܃ ܄ ܅ ܆ ܇ ܈ ܉ ܊ ܋ ܌ ܍

܏  SAM 

U+071x ܐ ܑ ܒ ܓ ܔ ܕ ܖ ܗ ܘ ܙ ܚ ܛ ܜ ܝ ܞ ܟ

U+072x ܠ ܡ ܢ ܣ ܤ ܥ ܦ ܧ ܨ ܩ ܪ ܫ ܬ ܭ ܮ ܯ

U+073x ܰ ܱ ܲ ܳ ܴ ܵ ܶ ܷ ܸ ܹ ܺ ܻ ܼ ܽ ܾ ܿ

U+074x ݀ ݁ ݂ ݃ ݄ ݅ ݆ ݇ ݈ ݉ ݊

ݍ ݎ ݏ

Notes

1.^ As of Unicode
Unicode
version 10.0 2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

The Imperial Aramaic alphabet
Aramaic alphabet
was added to the Unicode
Unicode
Standard in October 2009, with the release of version 5.2. The Unicode
Unicode
block for Imperial Aramaic is U+10840–U+1085F:

Imperial Aramaic[1][2] Official Unicode
Unicode
Consortium code chart (PDF)

  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F

U+1084x 𐡀 𐡁 𐡂 𐡃 𐡄 𐡅 𐡆 𐡇 𐡈 𐡉 𐡊 𐡋 𐡌 𐡍 𐡎 𐡏

U+1085x 𐡐 𐡑 𐡒 𐡓 𐡔 𐡕

𐡗 𐡘 𐡙 𐡚 𐡛 𐡜 𐡝 𐡞 𐡟

Notes

1.^ As of Unicode
Unicode
version 10.0 2.^ Grey area indicates non-assigned code point

See also[edit]

Syriac alphabet

References[edit]

^ Inland Syria and the East-of-Jordan Region in the First Millennium BCE before the Assyrian Intrusions, Mark W. Chavalas, The Age of Solomon: Scholarship at the Turn of the Millennium, ed. Lowell K. Handy, (Brill, 1997), 169. ^ Shaked, Saul (1987). "Aramaic". Encyclopædia Iranica. 2. New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul. pp. 250–261.  p. 251 ^ Greenfield, J.C. (1985). "Aramaic in the Achaemenid Empire". In Gershevitch, I. The Cambridge History of Iran: Volume 2. Cambridge University Press. pp. 709–710.  ^ Geiger, Wilhelm; Kuhn, Ernst (2002). "Grundriss der iranischen Philologie: Band I. Abteilung 1". Boston: Adamant: 249ff.  ^ Naveh, Joseph; Shaked, Shaul (2006). Ancient Aramaic Documents from Bactria. Studies in the Khalili Collection. Oxford: Khalili Collections. ISBN 1-874780-74-9.  ^ a b Kara, György (1996). "Aramaic Scripts for Altaic Languages". In Daniels, Peter T.; Bright, William. The World's Writing Systems. Oxford University Press. pp. 535–558. ISBN 0-19-507993-0. CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) ^ Babylonian beginnings: The origin of the cuneiform writing system in comparative perspective, Jerold S. Cooper, The First Writing: Script Invention as History and Process, ed. Stephen D. Houston, (Cambridge University Press, 2004), 58-59. ^ Tristan James Mabry, Nationalism, Language, and Muslim Exceptionalism, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 109. ^ Turks, A. Samoylovitch, First Encyclopaedia of Islam: 1913-1936, Vol. VI, (Brill, 1993), 911. ^ George L. Campbell and Christopher Moseley, The Routledge Handbook of Scripts and Alphabets, (Routledge, 2012), 40. ^ Beach, Alastair (2010-04-02). "Easter Sunday: A Syrian bid to resurrect Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2010-04-02.  ^ Al Jazeera Documentary الجزيرة الوثائقية (11 February 2016). "أرض تحكي لغة المسيح". Retrieved 27 March 2018 – via YouTube. 

Sources[edit]

Byrne, Ryan. “Middle Aramaic Scripts.” Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier. (2006) Daniels, Peter T., et al. eds. The World's Writing Systems. Oxford. (1996) Coulmas, Florian. The Writing Systems of the World. Blackwell Publishers Ltd, Oxford. (1989) Rudder, Joshua. Learn to Write Aramaic: A Step-by-Step Approach to the Historical & Modern Scripts. n.p.: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011. 220 pp. ISBN 978-1461021421. Includes a wide variety of Aramaic scripts. Ancient Hebrew
Hebrew
and Aramaic on Coins, reading and transliterating Proto-Hebrew, online edition (Judaea Coin Archive).

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aramaic alphabet.

Comparison of Aramaic to related alphabets Omniglot entry

v t e

The Northwest Semitic abjad

ʾ

b

g

d

h

w

z

y

k

l

m

n

s

ʿ

p

q

r

š

t

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 200 300 400

History Phoenician

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v t e

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large small bird-worm

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v t e

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French-ordered scripts (see for more)

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Devanagari
(Hindi  / Marathi  / Nepali) Bengali Punjabi Sinhalese Tamil Urdu etc.

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Symbols in braille

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Organisations

Braille
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3arabizi Alay (Indonesia) Denglisch Doge Fingilish (Persian) Greeklish Gyaru-moji (Japan) Jejemon (Philippines) Leet
Leet
("1337") Lolspeak / LOLspeak / Kitteh Martian language (Chinese) Miguxês (Portuguese) Padonkaffsky jargon
Padonkaffsky jargon
(Russian) Translit Volapuk

See also English internet slang (at Wiktio

.