The Teaching of Corpus Languages in Higher Education: Late Eastern Aramaic (Syriac) at the University of Salamanca

The Teaching of Corpus Languages in Higher Education: Late Eastern Aramaic (Syriac) at the University of Salamanca

Vega María García González (University of Salamanca, Spain)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3379-6.ch011

Abstract

Late Eastern Aramaic (Syriac) is one of the main languages of the Aramaic linguistic group. During the Middle Ages, it became the liturgical language of the Christian communities that arose in the Near and Middle East. Its scholars wrote a large amount of literature and implemented a movement for the translation of Greek theological and scientific works. The extent of Arabic after the Muslim conquest led to the gradual disuse of Late Eastern Aramaic. However, today it still remains a communication and liturgical language in several churches. The aim of this chapter is to offer an overview of Late Eastern Aramaic (Syriac) language teaching at the University of Salamanca, including a summary of the learning goals and a description of the approach and method followed. It is preceded by a brief introduction to the tradition of the studies about this language.
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Classification Of The Aramaic Linguistic Group

Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family of languages. It belongs to its Northwestern branch, alongside Ugaritic and Canaanite languages such as Phoenician and Hebrew2. While Aramaic is a language, it is more accurate to describe it as a linguistic group, since it is made of several different languages and dialects. However, all of its varieties, despite their geographical spread, share linguistic features that form a continuum that goes from ancient to modern times (Yildiz, 2000a: p.43)3. The division of the Aramaic linguistic group is a particular subject of discussion that has given rise to different proposals. The classification suggested by Fitzmyer (1979), who divides it into five main stages according to chronological criteria, is considered the starting point for further research4.

Figure 1.

Classification of the Aramaic linguistic group according to Yildiz (2000a), Ribera-Florit (2001) and Rubin (2008), based on Fitzmyer (1979)

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Key Terms in this Chapter

Grammar-Translation Method: Traditional teaching method whose main goal is reading foreign literature in its original language through the learning of grammar and the practice of translation.

Syriac Language: Common name given to the Late Eastern Aramaic language, which is considered by several scholars as inaccurate from linguistic and historical approaches.

Translation-Grammar Method with Internet-Supported Face-To-Face Learning: Teaching method where the former is enriched through the use of Internet as a resource.

E-Learning: Teaching-learning method that offers training via computers and digital support, enabling asynchronous communication between teacher and student.

Aramaic Linguistic Group: Group of languages that belongs to the Northwestern Semitic branch of the Semitic family of languages.

Eclectic Approach: Teaching approach that advocates the freedom of the teachers in order to choose different teaching methods and strategies for achieving the learning goals.

Internet-Supported Face-to-Face Learning: First level of e-learning where the virtual environment acts as a repository of material while most of the teaching-learning process remains on-site.

Late Eastern Aramaic: One of the main Aramaic languages that spread through Near and Middle East between the 3rd and the 8th centuries, becoming liturgical language of several Christian churches until today.

Corpus Language: Language that does not have native speakers whose production has been recorded and can be studied by scholars.

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