Aramaic: The Oldest Living Middle Eastern Language

May 04, 2016

gpi-aramaic-homeAramaic is the oldest continuously spoken and written language in the Middle East, even older than written Hebrew and Arabic. It is among the oldest written languages in the world.


Approximately three thousand years ago, Aramaic speakers were mainly located in the Near East. Writers and readers of Aramaic, a group trained for political, commercial and religious employment, lived in the regions now covered by Iraq, Syria, and adjacent areas.


The obstacles facing this language include immigration, a decline in vocabulary and loss of prestige of this language and other ancient language dialects. This decline can be slowed down in various areas like Iraq with the help of various elements.


An establishment of an Aramaic cultural zone, support of the elevation of the Aramaic language at higher learning institutions and the establishment of online language learning programs related to this language, are all solutions to help preserve the language.

To read more, please see: Assyrians: Speaking the Oldest Living Language of the Middle East.

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  • Jonathan Orr-StavOn May 05, Jonathan Orr-Stav said:
    "The oldest written language in the world"? Not exactly. Aramaic originally used cuneiform writing, which it inherited from Sumerian, but abandoned that in favour of the more efficient Canaanite script around 1000 BCE, which it then refined and developed and made its own.
  • Natalie Williams - GPIOn May 05, Natalie Williams - GPI said:
    Hi Jonathan. Thank you for providing that interesting information. The history of languages is complex and fascinating!