Mlahsô language

ܡܠܚܬܝܐ Mlaḥsô, ܣܘܪܝܝܐ Suryô
Native to Syria, Turkey
Region Qamishli in northeastern Syria, two villages in Diyarbakır Province of southeastern Turkey
Native speakers
3 (1998) (date missing)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 lhs
Glottolog mlah1239[1]

Mlaḥsô (Syriac: ܡܠܚܬܝܐ), sometimes referred to as Suryoyo, is a Modern West Syriac language, a dialect of Aramaic. It was traditionally spoken in eastern Turkey and northeastern Syria by members of the Assyrian people. Additionally, many Mlaḥsô speakers residing in Mlaḥsô village were Christians of Jacobite faith.[2] Aside from their native language, Mlaḥsô, speakers were fluent in Turkish, Arabic, Armenian, Kurdish, and Zaza.

The last speaker of Mlaḥsô, Ibrahim Ḥanna, died in 1998 in Qamishli. His daughters, Munira in Qamishlo, Shamiram in Lebanon, and son Dr. Isḥaq in Germany are the only left who can speak the language, but they have no one to converse with.

General Information

The village in which Mlaḥsô was spoken, the village of Mlaḥsô, was established by two monks from the Tur Abdin.

The Ṣurayt of Mlaḥsô is closely related to the Ṣurayt of Turabdin. It was spoken in the villages of Mlaḥsô and ˁAnsha near Lice, Diyarbakır, Turkey.

Mlaḥsô is more conservative than Turoyo in grammar and vocabulary, using classical Syriac words and constructions while also preserving the original Aramaic form.[3] However, it is phonologically less conservative than Turoyo. This is particularly noticeable in the use of s for classical θ and y (IPA /j/) for ġ. Mlaḥsô renders the combination of vowel plus y as a single, fronted vowel rather than a diphthong or a glide.


The name of the village and the language is derived from the earlier Aramaic word mālaḥtā, 'salt marsh'. The literary Syriac name for the language is Mlaḥthoyo. The native speakers of Mlaḥsô referred to their language simply as Suryô, or Syriac.[4]

Current status

On 3 May 2009, a historical event in the history of the Mlaḥsô Ṣurayt language took place. This day, the Suroyo TV program series Dore w yawmotho was about the village Mlaḥsô (and Tamarze). Dr. Isḥaq Ibrahim was a guest and spoke in the Ṣurayt of Mlaḥso with his siblings (sister Shamiram in Lebanon, and a sister Munira in Qamishlo) on the phone live. Turabdin Assyrians/Syriacs viewers and those present at the show could for the first time ever in modern time hear the language live.

Reasons for Extinction

The Mlaḥsô language has gone into extinction due to:


English Mlaḥsô
person nṓšo
father avó
paternal uncle dozó
trouble renyó
donkey ḥmṓrō
one ḥā
door tár'ṓ
goat ḗzō
great, big rābṓ
house baytṓ
ten 'esrṓ
grapes 'envḗ
mouth pēmṓ
morning safrṓ
three tlōsō
sleep šensṓ
hand īzṓ
seven šav'ṓ
today yōmā́n
in, into lġāv
brother āḥṓ
why lmūn
what mūn
much, many, very sāy
town mzītṓ
cock toġó

Example Phrases

English Mlaḥsô
They sleep dōmxī́
I wash māsī́ġno
He loved rhī́mle
She gave hī́vla
I sold zābḗnli
He demanded tlī́ble
He stole gnī́vle
His house baytā́v
His place duksā́v
From him mēnā́v

Example Sentences

English Mlaḥsô
Where is my hen? eyko-yo talġuntézi

See also


  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Mlahso". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. Jastrow, Otto (1985). "Mlaḥsô: An Unknown Neo-Aramaic Language of Turkey". Journal of Semitic Studies. 30: 265–270. doi:10.1093/jss/xxx.2.265.
  3. Kim, Ronald. 2008. "Stammbaum or Continuum? The Subgrouping of Modern Aramaic Dialects Reconsidered." In Journal Of The American Oriental Society 128, no. 3, 505-531.
  4. Jastrow, Otto. 1997. "Der Neuaramaische Dialek von Mlahso." In British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, reviewed by Geoffrey Khan. 299-300. British Society for Middle Eastern Studies.

Further reading

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