Syriac Grammar

Classical Syriac Grammar

*Terms of Use – Feel free to download and print as many copies as you would like.  However, please do not alter any of the material, post it to another website, or publish it in any other form.  Thanks!

For questions, comments, corrections, or feedback, feel free to send me an e-mail at classicalsyriac@hotmail.com.

*Latest Updates
-May 14, 2021 – Update to Appendix 2 – Vocabulary Guide
-April 30, 2021 – Update to Practice Sheet 4.1.
-April 29, 2021 – Substantial Update to Chapter 4
-April 15, 2021 – Minor Update to Chapter 3.
-April 12, 2021 – Practice Sheet 3.2 (Brand New Exercise)
-April 3, 2021 – Added chapter 2 vocabulary to Quizlet.
-April 1, 2021 – Update to Practice Sheet 3.1.
-March 31, 2021 – Complete update to Practice Sheet 3.3.
-March 26, 2021 – Addition of Word Order Possibilities to Verbless Clauses in Chapter 3.
-March 20, 2021 – Substantial Changes to Chapter 3.

1. Syriac Grammar – Chapter 1

a) Classical Syriac Grammar – Week 1 – Alphabet – Estrangela

b) Practice Sheet 1.1 – Alphabet Tracing Sheet – Estrangela

c) Practice Sheet 1.2 – Alphabet Practice Sheet – Estrangela

d) Practice Sheet 1.3 – Alphabet Sequence Practice – Estrangela

e) Practice Sheet 1.4 – Alphabet Practice with Following Letter Attached – Estrangela

f) Practice Sheet 1.5 – Alphabet Practice with Previous Letter Attached – Estrangela

g) Practice Sheet 1.6 – Syriac to English Transliteration – Estrangela

h) Practice Sheet 1.7 – Copy Work – Estrangela

i) Practice Sheet 1.8 – Alphabet Tracing Sheet – West Syriac (Serto)

j) Practice Sheet 1.9 – Alphabet Tracing Sheet – East Syriac

2. Syriac Grammar – Chapter 2

a) Classical Syriac Grammar – Week 2 – Vowels – Estrangela

b) Practice Sheet 2.1 – Vowel Points and Pronunciation – Estrangela

c) Practice Sheet 2.2 – Dividing Words into Syllables

d) Practice Sheet 2.3. – Estrangela – Transliteration with Vowels

e) Practice Sheet 2.4. – Estrangela – Copy Work With Vowels

f)  Chapter 2 Vocabulary Memorization Sheets

g) Memorize Vocabulary Using Quizlet

3. Syriac Grammar – Chapter 3

a) Classical Syriac Grammar – Week 3 – Other marks, Nouns, Inseparable Prepositions, Waw, Genitival ܕ, Verbless Clauses – Estrangela

b) Chapter 3 Vocabulary Memorization Sheets

c) Practice Sheet 3.1 – Memorizing Noun Paradigms

d) Practice Sheet 3.2 – Adding Prepositions, the Conjunction ܘ, and the Particle ܕ to Other Words

e) Practice Sheet 3.3 – Translation – Syriac to English

4. Syriac Grammar – Chapter 4

a) Classical Syriac Grammar – Week 4 – Overview of Finite Verbs, Peal Perfect, Direct Object, Negation, Steps for Translation – Estrangela

b) Practice Sheet 4.1 – Memorizing the Pe’al Perfect

c) Practice Sheet 4.2 – Translation – Syriac to English

d) Memorize Chapter 4 Vocabulary Using Quizlet

5. Syriac Grammar – Chapter 5

a) Classical Syriac Grammar – Week 5 – Independent Personal Pronouns, Enclitics, Pronominal Suffixes on Prepositions – Estrangela

b) Practice Sheet 5.1 – Memorizing Independent Personal Pronouns

c) Practice Sheet 5.2 – Memorizing Pronominal Suffixes on Prepositions and Particles

d) Practice Sheet 5:3 – Translation – Syriac to English

6. Syriac Grammar – Chapter 6

Classical Syriac Grammar – Week 6 – Adjectives, Comparisons, Demonstratives, Relative/Interrogative ܐܝܢܐ

Practice Sheet 6.2 – Memorizing Demonstratives and Relative/Interrogative ܐܝܢܐ

7. Syriac Grammar – Chapter 7

Classical Syriac Grammar – Week 7 – Pronominal Suffixes on Nouns, Relative Clauses, Anticipatory Pronominal Suffixes – Estrangela

8. Syriac Grammar – Chapter 8

a) Classical Syriac Grammar – Week 8 – Pa‘‘el, ’Ap‘el, ’Etpe‘el, and ’Etpa‘‘al Perfect (Regular Verbs)

b) Practice Sheet 8.1 – Memorizing the Pa‘‘el, ’Ap‘el, ’Etpe‘el, and ’Etpa‘‘al Perfect (Regular Verbs)

9. Syriac Grammar – Chapter 9

b) Practice Sheet 9.1 – The Pe‘al Perfect of Verb ܗܘܵܐ

Appendix #1 –  Syriac Grammar – Verb Charts

Syriac Verb Chart: Strong Verb (Estrangela)

Appendix #2 – Syriac Grammar – Vocabulary Guide

Vocabulary Guide (Up to Chapter 8)

36 thoughts on “Syriac Grammar

  1. Thanks so much Dr. Francois. These are by far the best online Syriac teachings I’ve encountered. I especially appreciate your inclusion of vocabulary words in your video presentations, because it really helps people like me who have little to no Syriac knowledge to be able to hear how words of a new language should be properly pronounced.

    One more thing before I go. Do you or will you be posting videos on the Syriac vowel system?

    • Hi Harry. Thanks for leaving the comment. I’m glad the material is helpful. I am planning on doing two or three videos (I think!) on Syriac vowels: one doing a basic introduction to Syriac vowels, one that gives the vowels used in the eastern script, and possibly one that gives the vowels in the western script. Hopefully I’ll be able to get one or two of them up some time in January – but we’ll see what happens. Thanks again for the feedback.

  2. Very helpful and well done!

    By the way, allow me to mention the very impressive site syri.ac, which may be of interest to readers here.

    Thank you and God bless you.

  3. I’ve only recently become interested in Syriac, and your grammar has been amazing for keeping this newfound obsession alive! Thank you so much for the work you do on this! I’m in the throes of study even now 😀

    • Thanks for leaving the comment. I appreciate it. I’m in the middle of preparing lectures for a last minute course I’m teaching in a couple of weeks so I haven’t been able to put up any new Syriac material for the website for a bit. Once that’s done I’m hoping to be able to get some new material up. Glad you’re enjoying it.

  4. Thank you every much for your work ! Very helpful and clear.
    Where could I ind a oriental syriac dialect dictionary with full vocalisation, if such a dictionary does exist ?
    Thanks again, I will pray for you !
    Frère Hugues.
    Abbaye de Randol
    F.-63450 Cournols
    France

    • Are you looking for a Syriac to French dictionary, a Syriac to English dictionary, a Syriac to Latin dictionary, or a Syriac to Syriac dictionary? Or is there another kind of dictionary you are looking for? Let me know and I can give you a recommendation.

      • I am looking for an Eastern Syriac dictionary written in an European language, if this does exist !
        Many thanks for all your work !
        With my prayers
        F. Hugues Bohineust.

  5. Dear Dr. Mark François,

    My daughter is using your site to study Syriac. She’s going into ch. 4 and I can’t keep pace with her. She’s 15. I need a tutor to answer her questions and check her work. Please refer me to someone who is knowledgeable in Estrangela and I’ll pay them.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Jason. It’s great to hear that she’s using the material. I would have to do some thinking about how this would work, but I would be willing to check her work and answer her questions myself for free (depending on the time commitment). I’m just happy that she’s using the material. Send me an e-mail at classicalsyriac@hotmail.com and we can figure out how it might work.

  6. Thank you so much for your amazing work. Your videos are so professional and easy to follow. Do you plan to have more videos? That will he great! I have intermediate knowledge of Syriac grammar, I want to become advanced.

    • Hi Ester. Thanks for leaving a comment – I appreciate it. I’m hoping to do some more videos soon. I was pretty busy this year preparing courses that I taught in May and June. But now that those courses are done, I should have a bit more time – assuming the marking doesn’t take too long. But I’m definitely hoping to make some more this summer.

  7. Excellent effort, very professional, informative and educative.. Keep the good work Dr. Francois. May Hashem ybrakh otkha.

  8. These are great resources!

    Quick question: I’m interested in learning Syriac so that I can read Ephrem the Syrian’s poems and hymns and the Peshitta. Where would I find affordable versions of those texts?

    Thanks!

  9. Hi I am from India and east syriac is the liturgical language of our church.
    But I find that you pronounce the letter ܦ as `f´ while we pronounce it as `p´ why is that…

    • That’s a good question. The answer is that there are different traditions for how the letter ܦ is pronounced. One factor has to do with the pronunciation that was used in the dialect of Aramaic that readers of Syriac used in their everyday language. The other factor has to do with the church tradition that readers are a part of. As far as I know, everyone pronounces ܦ as a “p” when no vowel sound comes before it and when it is not doubled. West Syriac and an earlier version of East Syriac pronounce it as an “f” when it is preceded by a vowel sound. This was also the case in Imperial Aramaic. However, since at least the 10th century CE, the letter ܦ in East Syriac has been pronounced as a “p” even if it is preceded by a vowel sound. In some cases it can even be pronounced like a “w” (e.g. ܢܲܦܫܵܐ = nawšā). I don’t know if that’s the case for how East Syriac is pronounced in India but that’s how it would be pronounced in Iraq in some cases. Hope that makes sense. I would be interested to hear how you pronounce ܢܲܦܫܵܐ. Hope everything is going well with you in India. I know that India is being hit very hard with COVID right now. All the best.

    • That’s a good question. It is normally pronounced Ava. However, in the East Syriac version of Galatians 4:6 it seems to be pronounced as Abba. The reason why that’s the case is because it is transliterating the word Abba that is being quoted in the Greek text.

  10. Do you speak neo aramaic….
    Do you thing applying the neo aramaic setence formation gramatical rules, into classical aramaic can help us to start talking in the classcal aramaic?

    • Unfortunately, I don’t speak neo-Aramaic. My understanding, though, is that neo-Aramaic is quite different from Classical Syriac. Part of it has to do with historical development within the language, part of it has to do with influence from other languages, but one of the biggest issues is that neo-Aramaic dialects aren’t direct descendants of Classical Syriac. I’m familiar with some of the differences between Classical Syriac and neo-Aramaic dialects but, without being able to speak any of the dialects, I couldn’t say whether or not it would be helpful for actually speaking Classical Syriac.

      • But you do think that classical syriac was a spoken language right? What do you think is the best way to start talking in it again..? Can you try to make up some sentences…?

      • It was definitely a spoken language at one point. It was based on the Aramaic dialect that was spoken at Edessa. I’m not really an expert in that area but I imagine that Classical Syriac would have functioned somewhat like Standard German a couple of hundred years ago – Standard German was used in official settings but at home everyone spoke their own dialect. It would certainly be possible to start speaking Classical Syriac again today but it wouldn’t be straightforward. If I were the one doing it, I would start by trying to learn northeastern Neo-Aramaic (i.e. Assyrian) and work backwards.

      • The north eastern aramaic (assyrian) that you mentioned….
        Is it the same language they used to film The Passion of Christ..?

      • I don’t believe it is. The language used in the Passion of the Christ seems to mimic the Aramaic that is found in Ezra and Danie. For example, there were several places where I heard כל קבל די (kol qovel di). There were also several places where the pronunciation wouldn’t have matched up with later forms of Aramaic.

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