Confusing Words

As is mentioned elsewhere, there are a number of words or phrases that people who are familiar with other dialects of Aramaic may find confusing (or may even — at first glance — seem wrong). We will build a list of them here.


  • Bagin = “because” (as opposed to the Syriac metul)
  • Besura = “news” or “gospel” (in Syriac it can be confused for “flesh” or other uncomfortable words). To avoid ambiguity we try to use the form besortha, which is less easily confused.
  • Hesda = “grace” or “blessing” (in Syriac it means “curse”).

Grammatical notes:

  • In Galilean, the Subject precedes the Participle where in many other dialects if follows it. Take for example the Syriac /amar ‘na lak/ vs the Galilean /ana amar lak/ or /ana amar yathak/. The Participle most often expresses the simple Present tense (“I say” “I go”).
  • Although Galilean is exceedingly fond of using Infinitives (perhaps moreso than any other dialect) it does not use the grammatical constructs known as the Infinitive Absolute or the Infinitive Construct.
  • The verb /’ith/ (“there is”) is never used with pronominal suffixes (as opposed to dialects such as Syriac where it is used with pronominal suffixes more times than not).

Simply Missing:

The following words, where they may be common in other dialects, are simply absent in Galilean Aramaic.

  • Som – The verb “to put” or “to place.” Depending on context either /yahab/, /nathan/, or /`abad/ is used instead (often with /al-/ in the sense of “to put”).
  • Todah or Taude – The word for “thank you.” In Galilean we find /yishar/ or /ishar/ instead, albeit rarely.
  • -Aith and -uth adverbs are completely absent in Galilean with two exeptions: /tabith/ or /tabuth/ (“good, well”) and /ya’uth/ (“well, proper, right”).

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