Aramaic Grammar #1

  • Rav Joshua Amaru

Aramaic Grammar #1.

 We will begin with the conjugation of verbs since in Aramaic, as in Hebrew, the vocabulary is structured around the various verb forms.  Like in Hebrew, Aramaic has root verbs that are ususally three letters long.  These can take different forms, called binyanim, whereby the root in each binyan functions as an independent verb.  We will not go into the binyanim, as it is perfectly possible to treat each binyan as a distinct verb.  In this lesson we will focus on learning the pronouns I, you, he , she, etc. and how one conjugates a verb in the present tense. 

      (For the purists amongst you:  Technically speaking, Babylonian Aramaic does not use a present tense.  Instead it uses a participle which when attached to a noun or pronoun, functionally is understood as the present tense.  Thus the conjugations listed here are technically not verb conjugations but merely matching the appropriate participles with their number and gender.  It looks like a full fledged conjugation because of the phenomenon of attaching pronouns as suffixes. For our purposes there is no difference, so I will continue to refer to this as conjugation in the present tense. In the chart below, I will show how the basic participle form: כתיב, כתבא, כתבי   is attached to the various pronouns.) 

Take a look at the following table.  In it we have given you the pronouns as well as the appropriate conjugations for the verb katav כתב.  Try to learn both the pronouns and the appropriate endings for the verb.

 

 

translation conjugation

translation of pronoun into Hebrew and English

pronoun

I write

כתיבנא (כתיב+-נא)

I

אנא

You (masc.)write

כתיבת, כתבת (כתיב +-ת)

you (masc.)          

את, אנת

you (fem.)write

כתיבת, כתבת (כתבא+-ת)

you (fem.)

את

he writes

כתיב, כתיבהו (כתיב+-הו) 

he

איהו,ניהו

she writes

כתבה, כתבא, כתבי (כתב + -י)

she

איהי, ניהי

we write

כתבינן, כתבנא (כתבי + -נן)

we

אנן

you (masc.) write

כתביתו (כתבי +-תו)

you (pl. masc.)

אתון

  you (fem.) write

כתביתי (כתבי + -תי)

you (pl. feminine)

אתין

they (masc.) write

כתיבין, כתיבי, כתבינהו (כתבי + -נהו)

they (pl. masc.)

אינהו,אינון, נינהו

they (fem.) write

כתיבן, כתבינהי (כתבי + נהי)

they (pl. fem.)

אינהי, נינהי, אינין

 

Now fiil out the following two tables for practice: 

translation conjugation

translation of pronoun into Hebrew and English

pronoun

I do

I

 

You (masc.) do

you (masc.)          

you (fem.) do

you (fem.)

 

he does

עביד

he

איהו, ניהו

she does

she

we do

we

 

you (masc.) do

you (pl. masc.)

 

  you (fem.) do

you (pl. feminine)

 

they (masc.) do

they (pl. masc.)

they (fem.) do

they (pl. fem.)

 

translation conjugation

translation of pronoun into Hebrew and English

pronoun

I take

I

 

You (masc.) take

you (masc.)          

you (fem.) take

you (fem.)

 

he takes

שקיל

he

איהו, ניהו

she takes

she

we takes

we

 

you (masc.) take

you (pl. masc.)

 

  you (fem.) take

you (pl. feminine)

 

they (masc.) take

they (pl. masc.)

they (fem.) take

they (pl. fem.)