Cover image for Language Change in the Wake of Empire: Syriac in Its Greco-Roman Context By Aaron Michael Butts

Language Change in the Wake of Empire

Syriac in Its Greco-Roman Context

Aaron Michael Butts

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ISBN: 978-1-57506-421-5

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Linguistic Studies in Ancient West Semitic

Language Change in the Wake of Empire

Syriac in Its Greco-Roman Context

Aaron Michael Butts

It is well documented that one of the primary catalysts of intense language contact is the expansion of empire. This is true not only of recent history, but it is equally applicable to the more remote past. An exemplary case (or better: cases) of this involves Aramaic. Due to the expansions of empires, Aramaic has throughout its long history been in contact with a variety of languages, including Akkadian, Greek, Arabic, and various dialects of Iranian. This books focuses on one particular episode in the long history of Aramaic language contact: the Syriac dialect of Aramaic in contact with Greek.

 

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  • Table of Contents
It is well documented that one of the primary catalysts of intense language contact is the expansion of empire. This is true not only of recent history, but it is equally applicable to the more remote past. An exemplary case (or better: cases) of this involves Aramaic. Due to the expansions of empires, Aramaic has throughout its long history been in contact with a variety of languages, including Akkadian, Greek, Arabic, and various dialects of Iranian. This books focuses on one particular episode in the long history of Aramaic language contact: the Syriac dialect of Aramaic in contact with Greek.

In this book, Butts presents a new analysis of contact-induced changes in Syriac due to Greek. Several chapters analyze the more than eight-hundred Greek loanwords that occur in Syriac texts from Late Antiquity that were not translated from Greek. Butts also dedicates several chapters to a different category of contact-induced change in which Syriac-speakers replicated inherited Aramaic material on the model of Greek. All of the changes discussed in the book are located within their broader Aramaic context and analyzed through a robust contact linguistic framework.

By focusing on the Syriac language itself, Butts introduces new – and arguably more reliable – evidence for locating Syriac Christianity within its Greco-Roman context. This book, thus, is especially important for the field of Syriac studies. The book also contributes to the fields of contact linguistics and the study of ancient languages more broadly by analyzing in detail various types of contact-induced change over a relatively long period of time.

Chapter 1. Introduction

Part 1: Prolegomena

Chapter 2. The Contact Linguistic Framework

Chapter 3. The Sociohistorical Setting

Part 2: Loanwords

Chapter 4. Greek Loanwords in Syriac: The Methodological Framework

Chapter 5. The Phonological Integration of Greek Loanwords in Syriac

Chapter 6. The Morphosyntactic Integration of Greek Loanwords in Syriac

Part 3: Grammatical Replication

Chapter 7. Grammatical Replication: The Methodological Framework

Chapter 8. The Syriac Copula ʾi aw(hy) Replicated on Greek ἐστίν

Chapter 9. The Syriac Conjunctive Particle den Replicated on Greek δέ

Chapter 10. Conclusion

Appendix 1. Greek Loanwords Inherited in Syriac

Appendix 2. Citations for Verbless Clauses Bibliography

Indexes

Index of Authors

Index of Biblical Sources

Index of Syriac Words

Index of Greek Words

Index of Subjects

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