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At the beginning of the twentieth century Aramaic-speaking Jews lived in thriving communities in villages and towns in northern Iraq, south-eastern Turkey and western Iran. These communities have all disappeared from these regions, where they had lived since antiquity. Most settled in the State of Israel in the 1950s. Aramaic is now spoken only by a small number of elderly members of these migrant communities. In this lecture I shall talk about my work with the surviving Aramaic-speaking Jews and and my documentation of their endangered Aramaic dialects. I shall also discuss their relations with the Muslim and Christian communities in Iraq and Iran. Geoffrey Khan (PhD, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, 1984) is Regius Professor of Hebrew at the University of Cambridge. His research publications focus on three main fields: Biblical Hebrew language (especially medieval traditions), Neo-Aramaic dialectology and medieval Arabic documents. He is the general editor of The Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics and is the senior editor of Journal of Semitic Studies. His most recent book is The Tiberian Pronunciation Tradition of Biblical Hebrew, 2 vols, Cambridge Semitic Languages and Cultures 1 (University of Cambridge & Open Book Publishers, 2020).

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Lecture by Geoffrey Khan on the Aramaic-speaking Jews who lived in villages and towns in northern Iraq, Turkey and Iran

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