Syriac Heritage and Language Project

Syriac Language
Syriac Language

The Research Topic of the Project

Oral documentation of Syriac heritage and Syriac language both Eastern and Western in Syria by registering its different daily, ritual and ceremonial uses.

Communities Involved in the Project

The Syrian community including Christian local communities; specialists in ancient languages, historical studies, contemporary history, theology, church heritage, anthropology, linguistics, history, literature, religion, sociology, cultural studies and documentation and archiving; as well as the human society.

The Context of the Project and its Elements

The project includes documentation of the Syriac heritage and Syriac language spoken today throughout the Syrian Arab Republic, especially in Maaloula and its environs, and the north-east of Syria. The local groups who still speak the Syriac language, and write to a lesser extent, are relatively few (a few hundred thousand inhabitants before the war on Syria)

The project covers both western and eastern regions of Syria, including Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and the Diaspora

The project involves documenting the Syriac heritage with all its manifestations and traditions, the history of the Syriac language and its branches, cultural patterns, literatures, orthography, grammar and vocabulary. It also covers the evolution of Syriac language and spread, and anything that relates to its heritage and modernity.

Fields to work on

Documenting the oral history of the contemporary rituals, social traditions, knowledge and practices in the Syriac language and details of the daily life of its speakers. This includes documenting the way this language is written, its grammar and current teaching methods as well.

Documenting all physical files and important and traditional contents associated with Syriac language and culture, such as books, manuscripts, pictures, icons, architecture, clothes, etc. This project aims at producing an inventory and lists of the possible Syriac manuscripts in Syria and neighboring countries, and an account of the world’s most important museums and libraries containing manuscripts and traces of Syriac (hundreds of thousands).

Documenting Syriac language and Syriac heritage from this perspective is an archiving of an important aspect of Syria’s contemporary and ancient history, preserving a heritage threatened with extinction, and reviving an integrated social model that is still viable

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