Neo-Aramaic (Soureth)

Since February 2007, we've been offering an introductory course in Sureth (contemporary Aramaic) at Inalco (Paris), open to students of Licence III and Master I in the Department of Arab Studies (Near and Middle East), Hebrew, Kurdish, Persian and Turkish. This introductory course requires no prior knowledge of this living Semitic language.

Discover the language

What is Soureth?

Soureth (or Northeastern Neo-Aramaic) is the main contemporary Aramaic dialect, spoken today by around 500,000 people worldwide. It is the language of the Christians and Jews of Kurdistan, and in particular the language of the Iraqi Christians (known as Assyro-Chaldeans or Syriacs), who are often in the news; it is also used in Iran, Syria, Turkey, and in countries of emigration: France, Germany, Benelux, Denmark, Scandinavia (Sweden, Norway and Finland), North America (Canada and the USA), Armenia, Georgia, Russia and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand).
His study is aimed at students of Arabic, Hebrew, Kurdish, Persian and Turkish, and more generally at all those interested in the political and cultural current affairs of the Near and Middle East, or who wish to communicate in their own dialect with the last users of a language that has borne witness to the material and spiritual history of mankind for three thousand years.

Soureth in France

In France, the number of speakers of Soureth is estimated at around 20,000, including 10,000 in the Paris region, most of whom live in the Seine-Saint-Denis département (Clichy-Sous-Bois, Montfermeil and Bondy), Val-d'Oise (Arnouville, Chaumontel, Domont, Ecouen, Ezanville, Garges, Gonesse, Saint-Brice-Sous-Forêt, Sarcelles, Villiers-le-Bel...). Most of the Assyro-Chaldeans in Val d'Oise and Seine-Saint-Denis come from the last ten villages in south-eastern Turkey, which were abandoned or evacuated in the 1980s, and arrived in France in the mid-1980s. The remaining 10,000 speakers, most of them Iraqis, fled the 1991 Gulf War and the violence that followed it over the last three decades. They live mainly in the following towns and departments: Lyon (Rhône), Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône), Nantes (Loire Atlantique), Pau (Pyrénées Atlantique) and Tours (Indre-et-Loire), etc.
In 2007, an introductory course in Soureth was launched at Inalco, as part of the Master I and Licence 3 courses in Near/Middle Eastern Arabic. In 2008, the first Soureth manual for French-speaking learners was published by Editions Geuthner (Paris). In 2016, a second work, Parlons soureth, araméen contemporain, was published by L'Harmattan (Paris). Finally, an elementary grammar of Soureth is available online at Langues et Grammaires du Monde dans l'espace francophone:

Training courses

This course is open to Bachelor III and Master I students in the Department of Arabic Studies (Near and Middle East), Hebrew, Kurdish, Persian and Turkish.
It requires no prior knowledge of this living Semitic language.

Introductory course in soureth (contemporary Aramaic)

Brochure soureth (571.99 KB, .pdf)