John Healey's, Leshono Suryoyo, is an introductory grammar for those wishing to learn to read Classical Syriac, one of the major literary dialects of Aramaic and the language of one of the main groups of Middle Eastern churches, including the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Church of the East, and the Chaldaean Church. From the first centuries of the Christian era, Syriac was used by the main theological and historical writers of this tradition (Ephrem the Syrian, Philoxenus of Mabbogh, Thomas of Marga, and Barhebraeus). It also continues to be used in worship.
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John Healey (Ph.D., University of London) is Professor of Semitic Studies in the University of Manchester (U.K.). His many research publications include books and articles on various dialects of Aramaic, especially on Nabataean Aramaic (inscriptions from Jordan and Saudi Arabia) and on Syriac (originally the Aramaic dialect of Edessa in southern Turkey). He has also published a book on the early history of the alphabet. His teaching is mostly concerned with Aramaic and Syriac and the religious history of the Middle East.Review:
The outstanding value of Professor Healey's book, manifesting his long teaching experience, is in its clarity and simplicity, evident in numerous small matters. To give just a few examples, technical grammatical terms are avoided when the point can be explained without using them. The explanations of the use of enclitic forms of pronouns, and of the repetition of pronouns which is so characteristic of Syriac texts, are particularly useful, coming as they do near the beginning of the book at a stage when these matters often bother students, making them feel they are failing to grasp some subtle point. ... Many students of Syriac have never heard the language spoken: the CD fills this gap excellently. Hearing the correct placing of the accents makes it easier to understand why some final vowels, though still written, are no longer pronounced... The chanted text are a delight, particularly the Ephrem, which will surprise most listeners hearing such work for the first time with its immediate appeal, spirit and melodiousness... --Gillian Greenberg of University College London, the Journal of Semitic Languages, 2008 53(1):185-186
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