3 years (2019-2022)
DESCRIPTION OF THE RESEARCH PROJECT(S)
These two overlapping projects have the aim of documenting and the endangered Neo-Aramaic and Iranian languages of Western Asia and studying their interrelationship, as well as the interrelationship of the cultures of the peoples who speak the languages. Aramaic has been spoken in Western Asia since antiquity and survives in a few isolated linguistic islands, where it is still the spoken language of various minority groups (Christians, Jews and Mandeans). The speakers of Aramaic have lived in close contact with Muslim speakers of Iranian languages such as Kurdish and Gorani for many centuries. The ERC project team is producing linguistic atlases of the region, which will demonstrate linguistic convergences between Aramaic and Iranian languages and also migration patterns of the speakers. The British Academy project is focusing on the shared folklore of the Aramaic Christians and the Muslim Kurds in northern Iraq, demonstrating how popular culture has been shared across the two religious communities. We have created an online database that gives access to recordings of Neo-Aramaic and Kurdish dialects, as well as linguistic sketches of the dialects (nena.ames.cam.ac.uk).
PRINCIPAL RELEVANT PUBLICATIONS
Geoffrey Khan, Masoud Mohammadirad, Dorota Molin and Paul M. Noorlander, Neo-Aramaic and Kurdish Folklore from Northern Iraq: A Comparative Anthology with a Sample of Glossed Texts, 2 vols.
WHY/HOW DOES YOUR PROJECT ADVANCE OUR KNOWLEDGE ON BILINGUALISM/MULTILINGUALISM/CONTACT?
The projects demonstrate convergence of Aramaic (Semitic) with Iranian languages (Indo-European).
WHAT IS THE SOCIAL IMPACT OF YOUR PROJECT?
The projects provide evidence of close social interaction and sharing of cultures of different religious groups, history of minority groups without any written history.
LOCATION AND/OR IMPACT OF YOUR PROJECT