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LINGUIST List 17.714

Wed Mar 08 2006

Diss: Lang Description: Häberl: 'The Neo-Mandaic Di...'

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        1.    Charles Häberl, The Neo-Mandaic Dialect of Khorramshahr

Message 1: The Neo-Mandaic Dialect of Khorramshahr
Date: 06-Mar-2006
From: Charles Häberl <haberlfas.harvard.edu>
Subject: The Neo-Mandaic Dialect of Khorramshahr

Institution: Harvard University
Program: Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Charles George Häberl

Dissertation Title: The Neo-Mandaic Dialect of Khorramshahr

Dissertation URL: http://www.mandaic.org

Linguistic Field(s): Language Description

Subject Language(s): Mandaic (mid)

Dissertation Director:
Jorunn J Buckley
Wolfhart P Heinrichs
John Huehnergard
Prods Oktor Skjærvø

Dissertation Abstract:

This work represents the first account of a previously undocumented dialect of Neo-Mandaic, and the first complete descriptive grammar of any dialect of Neo-Mandaic. The data contained within is unique for numerous reasons. As a distinct branch within the Eastern Neo-Aramaic sub-family, and one of the most conservative dialects of Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Mandaic has the potential to contribute much to the comparative and historical grammar of this family. Furthermore, as the only surviving dialect of Aramaic from those attested in Late Anquity, Mandaic properly belongs alongside the classical languages of the modern Middle East such as Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, and Syriac, and it is my belief that an increase in our understanding of Mandaic can only lead to a renewed appreciation of Mandaic as a classical language.

This language is severely endangered, and all signs indicate that it will slowly become extinct over the next few decades. As an account of an endangered and dying language, this work also addresses one of the chief concerns of linguistics in the 21st century, namely the impending loss of the majority of the world's languages and the concomitant blow to both linguistic and cultural diversity that it represents. While it will not be possible to save all of the world's languages from extinction, we may still have an opportunity to document many of them before they disappear without a trace. This dissertation epresents my own modest contribution to this task.

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