Learning Syriac

I’m going to have a go at learning Syriac.  It’s rather a lot of years since I left full-time education, so I face the prospect with trepidation.  An academic here in the UK is going to run 4 intensive Saturdays for us, starting in December.  The bad news is 5 weeks of homework between the first and the second. It will be most interesting to see if I can learn anything. I wonder if other people would like to recount their experiences of picking up a language as a mature student outside the education system.  I don’t agree with the idea that no-one is entitled to use an ancient text unless they can read it in the original — how many academics even can consult most oriental languages (Syriac, Ethiopic, Armenian, Persian, etc) in this manner?  But I think that we can all agree that we would rather be able to!

4 Responses to “Learning Syriac”


  1. Patrik

    Good luck! Syriac isn’t that difficult, at least not if you have studied some Hebrew or Arabic. If you’re looking to be able to “consult” you should focus on learning how the root consonants change, if you need more you basically will have to start memorizing those roots, something that is a bit tricky in my experience since so many sound alike. But Syriac is definitely doable.

  2. Roger Pearse

    Thank you for your good wishes, and suggestions. Root consonants, eh?

    Of course I have no Hebrew or Arabic — only some Latin! It will be most interesting to see how it goes.

  3. Jacques

    Syriac is easy and sublime, I wholeheartedly encourage you to devour that most holy language :) I do not think you will resist falling in love with it.

  4. Roger Pearse

    My love may not survive 5 weeks of homework over Christmas, tho…! :) We’ll see..



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