Aramaic Audio Course (2023 edition)
The pronunciation used in these lessons is Western Sephardic.(Sephardic Pronunciation of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews (London).)
This pronunciation was once widespread across Europe, but is now almost extinct. The reason why the King James Bible used Abraham and not Avraham, Jacob and not Jacov, and the Tower of Babel, and not Bavel, and why Sabbath has two b's, is because of the application of the rules of this pronunciation system.
The Gradual Immersion Method: A Better Way to Learn Ancient Aramaic
As a new student of Aramaic, you may be wondering about the best way to gain reading proficiency. Traditional methods involve memorizing vocabulary lists, verb conjugations, and grammar rules before slowly translating texts. However, there is a better way – the gradual immersion method.
In this method, you are given complex exemplary sentences taken directly from ancient Aramaic texts, to analyze word-by-word, clause-by-clause. The Aramaic syntax is broken down into manageable pieces as you parse the grammar and logic. You then reassemble the parts to build back the full sentence. Along the way, vocabulary and definitions are introduced in their context.
By repeating this learn-by-doing approach, you gain an intuitive feel for the language. The repetitive process allows you to absorb the forms and structures through usage and repetition, not explicit rules. Hearing how each component fits together enhances understanding and retention.
The biggest advantage over textbook methods is the practical application of grammar concepts instead of abstract memorization. You also get to learn an authentic historical pronunciation - that of the Western Sephardim, which has similarities to the pronunciation of the north of ancient Palestine in the time of the Second Temple.
Here is a link to Solomon Sebag's Hebrew Primer, in which he clearly expounds this pronunciation system The book was published at 2, Heneage Lane (an address I am intimately familiar with, having lived there for over two years)
I am using the Aramaic translation of Genesis for the first part of this series, the "Targum Onkelos".
The usual Prendergast Method applies - do not move on to the next lesson, until you can quickly give the oral translation of this one. Repeat the lesson as often as necessary.
TEXT used here is from Targum Onkelos, composed: Talmudic Israel and/ or Babylon, c.80 - c.120 CE
Targum Onkelos is the official eastern (Babylonian) targum (Aramaic translation) to the Torah.
However, its early origins may have been western, in Israel.
Some identify this translation as the work of Aquila of Sinope in an Aramaic translation (Zvi Hirsch Chajes), or believe that the name "Onkelos" originally referred to Aquila but was applied in error to the Aramaic instead of the Greek translation.
The translator is unique in that he avoids any type of personification. Samuel D. Luzzatto suggests that the translation was originally meant for the "simple people". This view was strongly rebutted by Nathan Marcus Adler in his introduction to Netinah La-Ger.
In Talmudic times, and to this day in Yemenite Jewish communities, Targum Onkelos was recited by heart as a verse-by-verse translation alternately with the Hebrew verses of the Torah in the synagogue. The Talmud states that "a person should complete his portions of scripture along with the community, reading the scripture twice and the targum once (Shnayim mikra ve-echad targum)." This passage is taken by many to refer to Targum Onkelos.
The Samothrace Aramaic Audio Course
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Public Access Sample Exercise-Lessons
EXERCISE LESSON 1 Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 1 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 2 Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 2 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 3 Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 3 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 4 Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 4 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 5 Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 5 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 6 Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 6 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 7 Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 7 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 8 Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 8 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 9 Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 9 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 10 Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 10 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 11 Genesis Chapter 2 Verse 3 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 12 Genesis Chapter 2 Verse 7 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 13 Genesis Chapter 6 Verse 1 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 14 Genesis Chapter 6 Verse 2 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 15 Genesis Chapter 6 Verse 3 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 16 Genesis Chapter 6 Verse 4 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 17 Genesis Chapter 6 Verse 5 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 18 Genesis Chapter 6 Verse 6 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 19 Genesis Chapter 6 verse 7 Targum Onkelos
EXERCISE LESSON 20 Genesis Chapter 6 verse 8 and 9 Targum Onkelos