Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit's (coming) BACK!

"Christ's endangered language," Aramaic. (It may be more accurate to say it's fighting a rearguard action at Oxford.)

It is the language that Christ spoke, but is regarded as "endangered" with ever fewer scattered groups of native speakers.

But in Oxford, Aramaic has been flourishing again, with a course in the ancient language drawing people from as far afield as Liverpool and London. There are now 56 people learning Aramaic at the university, including three classics professors, solemnly completing their weekly homework tasks and regularly attending the free lunchtime lessons, more than the numbers studying Greek.

Their first lesson might have surprised the writers of the books of David and Ezra in the Bible, and of the Talmud, both originally written in Aramaic: the scholars pored over a transcription of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

David Taylor has previously taught the language to groups of two or three people in his study, and was astounded by the turnout for his first public lesson. Though a few fell by the wayside, more than 40 stayed the course until the classes ended in time for Christmas.

More at the Guardian.

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