Hértevin language

Hértevin language

Infobox Language
nativename=ܣܘܪܬ "Sôreth"
pronunciation=/'hɛrtəvən/, /ˈsorɛθ/
region=Siirt Province
fam3=West Semitic
fam4=Central Semitic
fam5=Northwest Semitic
fam7=Eastern Aramaic
fam8=Central Eastern Aramaic
fam9=Northeastern Central Eastern Aramaic
script=Syriac abjad (Madnhāyâ variant)

The Hértevin language is a modern Eastern Aramaic or Syriac language. It was originally spoken in a cluster of villages in Siirt Province in southeastern Turkey. Speakers of Hértevin Aramaic have emigrated mostly to the West, and are now scattered and isolated from one another. A few speakers may remain in Turkey.

The speakers of the Hértevin dialect of Neo-Aramaic are traditionally Chaldean Catholics. Their homeland in and around the village of Hertevin (called Hertevinler in Turkish and Härtəvən in Kurdish), near the town of Pervari in Siirt Province is at the very northeastern extreme of the area where Eastern Neo-Aramaic languages used to be spoken, before the upheavals of the twentieth century. Thus, Hértevin is a peripheral dialect that has developed quite differently from related languages. Although belonging to the eastern, or northeastern, group of Neo-Aramaic dialects, Hértevin shares some features with the Turoyo language, of the central group, originating from nearby Mardin Province.

Hértevin language was 'discovered' by linguist Otto Jastrow in 1970, and first described in publication by him two years later. Its major phonetic feature is the loss of the voiceless velar fricative "x", which has become a voiceless pharyngeal fricative, "ħ". The original voiceless pharyngeal fricative has retained that pronunciation. In all the other dialects of eastern Neo-Aramaic the opposite is true: the voiceless pharyngeal fricative has been lost and merged with the voiceless velar fricative.

Another feature of Hértevin Neo-Aramaic is its set of demonstratives. As with other languages of the eastern group, Hértevin makes no distinction between 'this' and 'that', and uses a single set of pronouns to cover both meanings: āwa (m. sg.), āya (f. sg.) and āni (pl.). However, unlike the other languages, Hértevin has developed an emphatic form of these pronouns that indicates 'this one right here': ōhā, ēhā and anhī.

All Hértevin speakers are bilingual in Kurdish, and many also speak other languages. The Syriac alphabet is used for writing, but almost no literature in the Hértevin dialect exists. Church liturgy is in Syriac.


* Jastrow, Otto (1990). Personal and Demonstrative pronouns in Central Neo-Aramaic. In Wolfhart Heinrichs (Ed.), "Studies in Neo-Aramaic", pp. 89–103. Atlanta, Georgia: Scholars Press. ISBN 1-55540-430-8.
* Maclean, Arthur John (1895). "Grammar of the dialects of vernacular Syriac: as spoken by the Eastern Syrians of Kurdistan, north-west Persia, and the Plain of Mosul: with notices of the vernacular of the Jews of Azerbaijan and of Zakhu near Mosul". Cambridge University Press, London.

See also

* Aramaic language
* Assyrian Church of the East
* Assyrian Neo-Aramaic
* Chaldean Neo-Aramaic
* Syriac alphabet
* Syriac language

External links

* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=hrt Ethnologue report for Hértevin] .
* [http://semarch.uni-hd.de/dokumentgruppen.php4?ST_ID=5&DT_ID=42 Semitisches Tonarchiv: Dokumentgruppe "Aramäisch/Neuostaramäisch (christl.)" (text in German)] .

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