Mandaic language

From Academic Kids

The Mandaic language is the liturgical language of the Mandaean religion; a vernacular form is still spoken by a small community in Iran around Ahwaz. It is a variety of Aramaic, notable for its plene writing (see Mandaic alphabet) and the large degree of Iranian influences in its grammar and lexicon.

Mandaic (Mandayi, Mandi, Subbi, Sa'iba)
Spoken in: Iran, Iraq, USA
Region: Iranian Khuzestan
Total speakers: 1,000 speakers of Neo-Mandaic
Ranking: Not in top 100
Genetic classification: Afro-Asiatic

  Central Semitic
    Eastern Aramaic

Official status
Official language of: None
Regulated by: None
Language codes
ISO 639-1None
ISO 639-2sem
SILMID for Modern Mandaic, MYZ for Classical Mandaic
See also: LanguageList of languages

Classical Mandaic is a Northwest Semitic language of the Eastern Aramaic sub-family, and is closely related to the language of the Aramaic portions of the Babylonian Talmud, as well as the language of the incantation texts found throughout Mesopotamia. It is also related to Syriac, another member of the Eastern Aramaic sub-family, which is the liturgical language of many Christian denominations throughout the Middle East.


Neo-Mandaic represents the final stage of the phonological and morphological development of Classical Mandaic. As such, it pertains to a constellation of Neo-Aramaic dialects, which range from Lake Van and Lake Urmia in the north, to Damascus and Ahwāz in the south, clustered in small groups. The Neo-Aramaic dialect-groups that developed in isolation from one another are mutually unintelligible, and must therefore be considered separate languages. In terms of its grammar, Neo-Mandaic is the most conservative among the Neo-Aramaic dialects, preserving the old Semitic "suffix" conjugation (or perfect). The phonology, however, has undergone many innovations, the most notable being the loss of the so-called "guttural" consonants.

Neo-Mandaic survives in three subdialects, which arose in the cities of Shushtar, Shah Wali, and Dezful in northern Khuzestan, Iran. The Mandaean communities in these cities fled persecution during the 1880s and settled in the Iranian cities of Ahwaz and Khorramshahr. While Khorramshahr boasted the largest Mandaic-speaking population until the 1980s, the Iran-Iraq War caused many to flee into diaspora, leaving Ahwaz the only remaining Mandaic-speaking community.

External links

Template:Neo-aramaicde:Mandšische Sprache fr:langue mandťenne


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