The Neo-Mandaic Dialect of Khorramshahr
Neo-Mandaic is the only surviving dialect of Aramaic to be recognized as a direct descendant of any of the classical dialects of Late Antiquity. The Mandaeans who speak it are adherents of a pre-Islamic Gnostic sect, the only such sect to survive to the present day. As such, Mandaic may be considered as both a living language of the modern Middle East and also the vehicle of one of the great religious traditions of that region, along with Hebrew, Arabic, and Persian. Unfortunately, Neo-Mandaic is severely endangered, and all signs indicate that the current generation of speakers is likely to be the last. As a description of an endangered language, this work addresses one of the chief concerns of linguists in the 21st century, namely the impending loss of the majority of the world’s languages and the immense threat to both linguistic and cultural diversity that it represents. This grammar is the fi rst account of a previously undocumented dialect of Neo-Mandaic, and most thorough description of any Neo-Mandaic dialect. In addition to a description of its phonology, inflectional paradigms, and morphosyntax, it includes a collection of ten texts, transcribed and translated, as well as a concise lexicon of the vocabulary found within these texts.