Syriac alphabet

Syriac alphabet
Estrangela-styled alphabet
Script type
Impure abjad
Time period
c. 1 AD – present
DirectionRight-to-left script
LanguagesAramaic (Classical Syriac, Western Neo-Aramaic, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, Turoyo, Christian Palestinian Aramaic), Arabic (Garshuni), Malayalam (Karshoni), Sogdian
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Syrc (135), ​Syriac
  •  Syre, 138 (ʾEsṭrangēlā variant)
  •  Syrj, 137 (Western variant)
  •  Syrn, 136 (Eastern variant)
Unicode alias
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

The Syriac alphabet (ܐܠܦ ܒܝܬ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ ʾālep̄ bêṯ Sūryāyā[a]) is a writing system primarily used to write the Syriac language since the 1st century AD.[1] It is one of the Semitic abjads descending from the Aramaic alphabet through the Palmyrene alphabet,[2] and shares similarities with the Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic and Sogdian, the precursor and a direct ancestor of the traditional Mongolian scripts.

Syriac is written from right to left in horizontal lines. It is a cursive script where most—but not all—letters connect within a word. There is no letter case distinction between upper and lower case letters, though some letters change their form depending on their position within a word. Spaces separate individual words.

All 22 letters are consonants, although there are optional diacritic marks to indicate vowels and other features. In addition to the sounds of the language, the letters of the Syriac alphabet can be used to represent numbers in a system similar to Hebrew and Greek numerals.

Apart from Classical Syriac Aramaic, the alphabet has been used to write other dialects and languages. Several Christian Neo-Aramaic languages from Turoyo to the Northeastern Neo-Aramaic dialect of Suret, once vernaculars, primarily began to be written in the 19th century. The Serṭā variant specifically has been adapted to write Western Neo-Aramaic, previously written in the square Maalouli script, developed by George Rizkalla (Rezkallah), based on the Hebrew alphabet.[3][4] Besides Aramaic, when Arabic began to be the dominant spoken language in the Fertile Crescent after the Islamic conquest, texts were often written in Arabic using the Syriac script as knowledge of the Arabic alphabet was not yet widespread; such writings are usually called Karshuni or Garshuni (ܓܪܫܘܢܝ). In addition to Semitic languages, Sogdian was also written with Syriac script, as well as Malayalam, which form was called Suriyani Malayalam.

Cite error: There are <ref group=lower-alpha> tags or {{efn}} templates on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=lower-alpha}} template or {{notelist}} template (see the help page).

  1. ^ "Syriac alphabet". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved June 16, 2012.
  2. ^ P. R. Ackroyd, C. F. Evans (1975). The Cambridge History of the Bible: Volume 1, From the Beginnings to Jerome. Cambridge University Press. p. 26. ISBN 9780521099738.
  3. ^ Maissun Melhem (21 January 2010). "Schriftenstreit in Syrien" (in German). Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 15 November 2023. Several years ago, the political leadership in Syria decided to establish an institute where Aramaic could be learned. Rizkalla was tasked with writing a textbook, primarily drawing upon his native language proficiency. For the script, he chose Hebrew letters.
  4. ^ Oriens Christianus (in German). 2003. p. 77. As the villages are very small, located close to each other, and the three dialects are mutually intelligible, there has never been the creation of a script or a standard language. Aramaic is the unwritten village dialect...

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia · View on Wikipedia

Developed by Nelliwinne