Garshuni or Karshuni (Syriac alphabet: ܓܪܫܘܢܝ, Arabic alphabet: كرشوني) are Arabic writings using the Syriac alphabet. The word "Garshuni" was used by George Kiraz to coin the term "garshunography", denoting the writing of one language in the script of another.[1]


Garshuni originated in the seventh century, when Arabic was becoming the dominant spoken language in the Fertile Crescent, but the Arabic alphabet was not yet fully developed. There is evidence that writing Arabic in Garshuni influenced the style of modern Arabic script.

After this initial period, Garshuni writing has continued to the present day among some Syriac Christian communities in the Arabic-speaking regions of the Levant and Mesopotamia.


The Syriac alphabet has three principal varieties:

The Syriac alphabet is extended by use of diacritics to write Arabic Garshuni.

Garshuni script


Occasionally, other languages such as Turkish, Persian, Sogdian, the Kurdish languages and Malayalam have been written in the Syriac alphabet, and these are sometimes also referred to as "Garshunis".

For the analogous Jewish practice of writing Arabic in Hebrew letters, see Judeo-Arabic languages.

Today, Assyrians use the word 'garshuni' when referring to a spoken language written using something other than its corresponding script, i.e. spoken Assyrian written using Latin script. "Garshuni" comes from the word "grasha" which literally translates as "pulling".

See also



  1. Kiraz, George (2012). Turras Mamlla: A Grammar of the Syriac Language. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press. pp. volume 1, 291 ff. ISBN 978-1-4632-0183-8.

External links

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