Friday, September 06, 2013 1:15 pm
The growth and decline of the Aramaic language
By The Associated Press
A look at the growth and decline of the Aramaic language through the centuries:
ANCIENT ROOTS: Aramaic is part of the language family that includes Hebrew and was widely used during the time of Roman conquest in the Holy Land and, many scholars believe, likely the main language of Jesus Christ. Some parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls are written in a form of Aramaic, which had many dialects.
DECLINE: Aramaic use began to fall off as other languages - such as Arabic - dominated with the spread of Islam beginning in the 8th century. Aramaic retained a role in the liturgies of some branches of Eastern Christianity.
CURRENT USE: Forms of Aramaic are used in small communities around the Middle East, including Assyrians and Chaldean Christians, but it is considered to be under threat because of emigration and the pressures from dominant languages such as Arabic and Turkish.