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Mirian Syriac language

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Mirian Syriac (lišōnā Suryāyā d-Mirya) is a Syriac dialect that is used as the liturgical language in the Mirian Church of the East. It diverged from the common Syriac tongue during the early third millennium AD, and is directly descended from the Syriac spoken by the Christians on the Malabar Coast of southwestern India. The language is currently used in the Hawaiian Islands as a result of the most recent branch of the Assyrian diaspora. It is the easternmost portion of Aramaic languages.

Pronunciation: [liʃɑːnɑː surjɑːjɑː d:mirja]

Language family: Afro-Asiatic > Semitic > Central Semitic > Northwest Semitic > Aramaic > Eastern Aramaic > Syriac > Mirian

Native to: Kerala, India; Hawaiian Islands

Writing system: Mirian Syriac abjad

Phonology

The phonetic notation of speech sounds (within slashes) in this article follows IPA format. The bolded letters that are not bracketed represent how Mirian Syriac words are transliterated using the Latin alphabet.

Vowels

Mirian Syriac has 5 vowel qualities and 10 length contrasts.

Table of Mirian Syriac vowel phonemes
Short Long
Front Central Back Front Central Back
Close i /i/ u /u/ ī /iː/ ū /uː/
Mid e /ɛ/ o /o ~ ɔ/ ē /ɛ/ ō /oː/
Open a /a ~ ə/ ā /aː/

Consonants

Mirian Syriac contains approximately 27 consonant phonemes, including allophones. In contrast to Classical Syriac, a reduction of the dental fricatives /θ/ and /ð/ takes place in Mirian Syriac.

Table of Mirian Syriac consonant phonemes
Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyn-
geal
Glottal
plain emphatic plain
Nasal m /m/ n /n/
Plosive p /pʰ/ b /b/ t /tʰ/ d /d/ /tˤ/ k /k/ g /ɡ/ q /q/ /ʔ/
Fricative f /f/ v /v/ /sˤ/ s /s/ z /z/ š /ʃ/ /x/ g /ɣ/ [ħ] /ʕ/ h /h/
Approximant w /w ~ v/ l /l/ y /j/
Trill r /r/

Grammar

As in other Semitic and Afro-Asiatic languages, many Mirian Syriac words are built off of consonantal roots (monoliteral, biliteral, triliteral, quadriliteral, etc.). For example, the triliteral root š-q-l has the semantic meaning of "to take" or "to lift," so the following forms can be constructed from this basic root:

  • šqowl: "has taken"
  • nišqowl: "will take"
  • šāqiyl: "takes" or "is taking"
  • ’ašqiyl: "has set out"

Nouns and adjectives

Nouns and adjectives in Mirian Syriac are based on consonantal roots and carry grammatical gender (masculine and feminine), and number (singular and plural), and exist in three grammatical states (as opposed to grammatical cases).

Verbs

Tense and aspect

Conjugations/verbal stems: G-stems and P-‘-L

Word order

As in many of its Semitic sister languages, the typical word order of Mirian Syriac is Verb–Subject–Object (VSO).

Basic vocabulary

Below is a list of about 210+ basic words in both English and Mirian Syriac. This list may grow to become more inclusive of other common words, but is currently limited to 210 core vocabulary.

Each Mirian Syriac word is given in its Semitic (consonantal) root transliteration in Latin letters.

English-Mirian Syriac Basic Vocabulary
English Mirian Syriac
above (prep.) l‘yl
all kl
and w
ash ’pr
at b-
back (spine) gp
bad (evil) byš
belly bṭn
below ltht
big kbyr
bird prḥw
black šḥwr
blood dm
bone grm; ṭm
branch (of a tree; arm) pšḥ
breast hdy
child yld
cloud ‘nn
cold ḥryḥ
correct; true qvštn
day ywm
dirty ṣ‘
dog klb
dry ybš
dull; blunt qhh
dust ‘pr
ear ’dn
earth; soil ’r‘
egg by‘t’
Eight tmny
eye ‘yn
far mrḥyq
fat; grease šmyn
father ’b
feather ’brh
Fifty ḥmšyn
fire nr
fish nwn
Five ḥmš
flower pqḥ
fog qṭrh
Four ’rb‘
fruit pyr
good ṭb
grass dt’
green yrq
hair š‘r’
hand yd
he hw
head r’š
heavy kdyr
house byt
how? ’ykn
husband b‘l
I ’n’
if ’n
in; inside by; lgw mn
intestines m‘yn
lake ymt’
leaf ṭrp
left syml
leg; foot rgl
lightning brq
liver kbd
long ’rwk
louse qlm
man/male gbr
meat/flesh bsr
moon shr
mosquito mṣr
mother ’m’
mouth pwm
name šm
narrow ’lṣ
near qrb
neck prq
needle mḥṭ
new ḥdt
night lly
Nine tš‘
no; not l’
nose nš (Loan from Indic languages)
old bly
One ḥd
One hundred m’h
One thousand ’lp
other ’ḥry
painful; sick k’b; kwrhny (diseased)
person; human being ’nš
rain mṭr
rat ‘wqbr
red smyq
right ymyn
road; path ’wrḥ; šbyl
root ‘qr
rope ḥbl
rotten mḥḥ
salt mlḥ
sand ḥl
sea ym
Seven šv‘
sharp ḥryp
short kry
shoulder ktp
shy; ashamed bhyt
Six ’št
skin mšk
sky rqy‘; šmyn
small z‘wr
smoke tnnh
snake hywy
spider gwgy
star kwkb
stick; wood dhq; qys
stone kyp
tail dnb
Ten ‘sr
that hw (masc.); hy (fem.)
thatch; roof mṭll
they ’nwn (masc.); ’nyn (fem.)
thick ḥbyṣ
thin nḥb
this hn
thou ’nt (masc.); ’nty (fem.)
Three tlṭ
thunder r‘m
to bite dbṣ
to blow nšb
to breathe khh
to burn yqd
to buy zbn
to chew lgm
to choose gby
to climb slq
to come ’ty; qrb (to approach)
to cook bšl
to count mny; ḥšb
to cry ‘ws
to cut; hack psq
to die; be dead mwt
to dig ḥpr
to dream ḥlm
to drink šty
to eat ’kl
to fall npl
to fear dḥl
to flow rdy
to fly prḥ
to grow rby
to hear šm‘
to hide ṭšy; ṭmn
to hit mḥy
to hold ’ḥd
to hunt ṣyd
to kill qṭl
to know, be knowledgeable yd‘
to laugh gḥk
to lie down dmk
to live, be alive ḥyy
to open, uncover ptḥ; gly
to plant nṣb
to pound, beat rq‘; ḥbṭ
to say ’mr
to scratch srṭ
to see ḥzy
to sew ḥwṭ; tpr
to shoot rmy
to sit ytb
to sleep dmk
to sniff, smell rḥrḥ
to spit rqq
to split ḥll; sṭp; ṣlḥ
to squeeze mṣy
to stab, pierce dqr
to stand qwm
to steal gnb; ḥṭp (snatch)
to suck ynq
to swell zwy
to swim š‘t
to think ḥšb; hgy (meditate)
to throw zrq; znq
to tie up, fasten kpt
to turn hpk
to vomit g‘m
to walk hlk
to work plḥ; p‘l (to labor)
to yawn zmb (loan from Indic)
tongue lšn
tooth šn
Twenty ‘sryn
Two tryn
warm ḥm
water my’
we hnwn/hnyn (masc./fem.)
wet rgh
what? mh
when? ’mty
where? ’ykw
white ḥwr
who mn
wide rwyḥ
wife b‘ylh
wind rwḥ
wing gp
woman/female ’nth
woods/forest ‘b
worm (earthworm) twl‘; twl‘ d’r‘’
year šnh
yellow yrq
you ’nt/’nty (masc./fem.)

See also

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