Of the other Aramaic languages, the Pales tinian Aramaic is represented chiefly in the literary remains of the Aramaic-speaking Chris tians of Palestine and the discussions of the Thibbis in the Palestinian schools on the minute regulations of post-exilic Judaism, while the Samaritan is of importance chiefly because of the translation of the Pentateuch into this speech. The Mandaic, one of the Christian dialects of Mesopotamia, has but scanty literary remains, and is of importance chiefly for the insight it affords into the peculiarities of the Nandrean sect. Palmyrene and Nabataean are represented chiefly by mortuary and commemorative inscrip tions, belonging to the early centuries of our era, while the modern dialects have now a large litera ture—Bible translations, Sunday-school books, and religious works—due to the efforts of various mis sionary societies. A feature of the Aramaic speech, which is illustrated by the above sketch, is the large geographical extent occupied by it. covering as it does practically the entire range of Semitic settlements. with the exception of Southern Arabia and Abyssinia. As early as the Eighth Century B.C. we find Aramaic a current speech in the extreme north of Syria at the foot of the Taurus range. Monuments of rulers in this district, found by German explorers at Senjerli, contain inscriptions in Aramaic. The southern limit of Aramaic is marked by inscriptions found at Teima in north ern Arabia, and belonging to the period before Mohammed. In the later days of the Babylonian
Empire, -kramaie even superseded the native Babylonian as the current speech of the people, so that the Hebrews, upon coming to Babylonia, adopted Aramaic and not Babylonian, in place of Hebrew. In Palestine proper, Aramaic also crept in at a comparatively early period. After the return of the Hebrews from the Babylonian exile, Hebrew rapidly declined and assumed the character of a sacred and learned language in contrast to the ever-growing popularity of Ara ma ic as the speech of the people. For the cial traits of Aramaic, see SEMITIC LANGUAGES.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Zimmer!), Very/c.ichende GramBibliography. Zimmer!), Very/c.ichende Gram- matik der semitischen Sprachen (Berlin, 1898) ; the grammars of Biblical Aramaic by Kautzsch (1884), Marti (1896), and Stra•k (1897) ; Del man, Grammatik des jiiilis•h-palastiniNehen dra miiisch (Leipzig, 1894) ; Levias, Grammar of the Babylonian Talmud (Cincinnati, 1900); Peter mann, Breris Lingua. Samaritame Grammatica (Leipzig. 1867) ; Nfildeke, Mandaisehe Gramma tik (Halle, 1875) ; ifl...Syrischc Grammatik (Leip zig. 1898) ; id., Grammatik der neu.syrisehen (Leipzig, 1868) ; Duval, Grammaire sy riaque ( Paris. ) clean. Grammar of l'er vacular Syriac. (Cambridge, 1895) ; NilIdeke, Gram. der neusyri8chen Sprache (Leipzig, 1863).