The ethical dative in Aramaic

Steven E. Fassberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The ethical dative (dativus ethicus) has been attested without interruption in Aramaic dialects from the Official Aramaic period down through Neo-Aramaic. The extent and durability of this linguistic feature is discussed. Though its frequency differs from corpus to corpus, it is alive in some Neo-Aramaic dialects and its distribution in Modern Aramaic suggests that it was more widespread in pre-Modern Aramaic than the written texts show. It is most probably a colloquial feature that penetrated written texts to a limited extent. In the only real evidence we possess of spoken Aramaic, namely, Neo-Aramaic, it has, in different dialects, become an integral part of some verbal forms and does not express any identifiable nuance. Its precise meaning and use in pre-Modern Aramaic remain elusive.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)101-116
Number of pages16
JournalAramaic Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2018


  • Late Aramaic linguistics
  • Linguistics and epigraphy
  • Linguistics and epigraphy
  • Middle Aramaic
  • Neo-Aramaic linguistics
  • Old and Official Aramaic
  • Targum studies


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