Aramaic Online Project
LEARN SURAYT (TUROYO) ONLINE
Within the framework of EU Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership Programme, Freie Universität Berlin, University of Bergen, University of Cambridge, Leipzig University and St Ephrem Syriac Orthodox Monastery in the Netherlands since September 1, 2014 have launched the Aramaic-Online project to develop an online course and new language learning materials in Turoyo Aramaic, called Surayt which is the original language of more than 250,000 people in Europe.
- Surayt is a Neo-Aramaic language, traditionally spoken by Syriac Christians (also known as Arameans and Assyrians) in different countries in the Middle East and among a worldwide diaspora.
- Surayt is a continuation of the ancient Aramaic language – famous as the language of Jesus – with a distinguished cultural and linguistic history over a period of more than 3,000 years.
- Surayt has predominantly been a spoken language, and classified as 'severely endangered' by UNESCO, because of the emigration or expulsion of its speakers from their native areas in the last 50 years.
- There is no standardized way of writing Surayt, both in Syriac and Latin alphabets, which has impacts on the effective use of the language both in producing literature with this language and also in everyday written communications such as in social media.
- The future viability of Surayt is therefore related to the efforts and projects that aim to develop durable educational sources and innovative tools for teaching Surayt.
In order to address the aforementioned problems, the Consortium will realize the following aims and objectives:
- Develop an online course at A1, A2 and B1 levels (each 10 learning units with glossary and grammar).
- Make the course available in English, German, Swedish, Dutch, French, Turkish and Arabic.
- Develop new language-learning materials, including the textbook of the online course and a manual for learning Surayt.
- Standardize the writing by developing a new orthography both in Syriac and Latin letters.
- Develop new curricula for teaching Surayt at tertiary institutions (universities).
- Organize a training workshop for the language teachers.
- Organize the first international conference on Surayt.
- Organize a summer language school for the youth.
- Organize Info Days about the online course in different countries.
1st Year Achievements
Here are some of our achievements in the first year of the project:
- Finished the A1-level of the online-course which consists of 10 learning units. Each learning unit includes grammar boxes and cultural notes. The course will be open to public in January 2016.
- Translated the course into German and Arabic; translation work into other languages (English, Swedish, Dutch and Turkish) is under progress.
- Started the work for A2 level which will be finalized in the second project year and B1 level in the final year of the project.
- Organized the International Conference on Surayt Aramaic (27-30 August 2015, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge).
- Developed the first draft documents of the new orthography and the curriculum.
- Organized various dissemination activities in different countries.
The project results, especially the online course will be a new and unique opportunity for all interested native and non-native learners of this language to learn and/or improve their language skills. Overall, the project results are expected to have a remarkable impact on the future viability and vitality of this endangered language.
For more information about the project, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website (launching end November 2015).