Jewish Palestinian Aramaic

Jewish Palestinian Aramaic
Region Palestine
Era 200 - 1200 AD
Hebrew alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3 jpa
Glottolog pale1261[1]

Jewish Palestinian Aramaic was a Western Aramaic language spoken by the Jews in Roman and Byzantine Palestine in the early first millennium. A dialect of this language was spoken by Jesus (see Language of Jesus).[2]

There were some differences in dialect between Judaea and Galilee, and most surviving texts are in the Galilean dialect: Michael Sokoloff has published separate dictionaries of the two dialects.


After the defeat of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 AD, the center of Jewish learning in the land of Israel moved to Galilee. With the Arab conquest of the country in the 7th century, Arabic gradually replaced this language.

The most notable text in this dialect's corpus is the Jerusalem Talmud, which is still studied in Jewish religious schools and academically, although not as widely as the Babylonian Talmud, most of which is written in Jewish Babylonian Aramaic. There are some older texts in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, notably the Megillat Taanit: the Babylonian Talmud contains occasional quotations from these.

Many extant manuscripts in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic have been corrupted over the years of their transmission by Eastern Aramaic-speaking scribes freely correcting "errors" they came across (these "errors" actually being genuine Jewish Palestinian Aramaic features). To date, all formal grammars of the dialect fall victim to these corruptions, and there is still no published syntax.


Verbal patterns

There are six major verb stems or verbal patterns (binyanim) in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic. The form pe‘al (פְּעַל) “to do”, the form Aph'el (אַפְעֵל) “let do”, and the form Pa'el (פַּעֵל) “like to do”, are all in the active voice. But the form Itpe'el (אִתְפְּעֵל), the form Itaph'al (אִתַפְעַל) and the form Itpa'al (אִתְפַּעַל) are essentially reflexive and have usually function in a passive sense.

Aramaic binyan Hebrew binyan Aramaic example Hebrew parallel English translation
פְּעַל Pe'al קַל Qal/Pa'al כְּתַב כָּתַב he wrote
אִתְפְּעֵל ithpe'el[3] נִפְעַל Niphal אִתְכְּתֵיב נִכְּתַב it was written
אַפְעֵל Aph'el הִפְעִיל Hiphil אַפְקֵד הִפְקִיד he deposited
אִתַפְעַל Ittaph'al[4] הָפְעַל Hophal אִתַפְקַד הָפְקַד it was deposited
פַּעֵל Pa'el פִּעֵל Pi'el קַדֵיש קִדֵש he sanctifed
אִתְפַּעַל Ithpa'al[5] נִתְפַּעַל Nitpa'al וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ נִתְקַדַּשׁ it was sanctifed
Past tense
Hebrew past tense Aramaic past tense Romanization of Aramaic English translation
(אני) קטלתי קטלית qatlet I killed
(אתה) קטלת קטלת qtalt you killed
(הוא) קטל קטל qtal he killed
(אנחנו) קטלנו קטלנן qtalnan we killed
(אתם) קטלתם קטלתון qtalton you killed
(הם) קטלו קטלו qtalu they killed
Present tense
Hebrew present tense Aramaic present tense Romanization of Aramaic English translation
קוטל קטל qatel (he) kills
קוטלת קטלה qatla (she) kills
קוטלים קטלין qatlin (they) kill
קוטלות קטלן qatlan (they) (f.) kill
Future tense
Hebrew future tense Aramaic future tense Romanization of Aramaic English translation
(אני) אקטול נקטול neqtol I will kill
(אתה) תקטול תקטול teqtol you will kill
(הוא) יקטול יקטול yeqtol he will kill
(אנחנו) נקטול נקטול neqtol we will kill
(אתם) תקטלו תקטלון teqtelun you will kill
(הם) יקטלו יקטלו yeqtelu they will kill

See also


  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Palestinian Jewish Aramaic". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. "'Passion' Stirs Interest in Aramaic". National Public Radio. 25 February 2004. Retrieved 3 September 2011. Jesus would have spoken the local dialect, referred to by scholars as Palestinian Jewish Aramaic, which was the form common to that region, Amar says.
  3. Gustaf Dalman: Grammatik des jüdisch-palästinischen Aramäisch, 2nd ed. Leipzig 1905, p. 402.
  4. Gustaf Dalman: Grammatik des jüdisch-palästinischen Aramäisch, 2nd ed. Leipzig 1905, p. 402.
  5. Gustaf Dalman: Grammatik des jüdisch-palästinischen Aramäisch, 2nd ed. Leipzig 1905, p. 402.


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