Sureth Modern Syriac, Neo-Syriac, Felliḥi

The term Sureth (< surāʾith ‘in Syriac’) refers to a number of North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic dialects spoken by E. Syrians in North Iraq, especially in the villages of the Mosul plain. The use for literary purposes of what is seemingly a koine based on the Alqosh (and Telkepe?) dialects has been attested since the end of the 16th cent. Later on, 19th and 20th cent. Sureth texts exhibit dialectal features of other districts, such as the mountain villages on the Iraqi-Turkish border or the town of Mosul. The ms. transmission of Sureth texts is characterized by phonetic spelling, unlike the rather historico-etymological standard in use for Urmia Neo-Aramaic (Assyrian). The earliest attested texts are religious poems belonging to the dorekthā genre. Wedding songs in Sureth (zmeryāthā d-rāwe) have been recorded in written form by European and Assyrian scholars. Spoken or literary varieties of Sureth are also known as Felliḥi, Iraqi koine, Modern Syriac, Neo-Syriac, Vernacular Syriac.

See also Aramaic.

See Fig. 44.


  • I.  Guidi, ‘Beiträge zur Kenntnis des neuaramäischen Fellīḥī-Dialektes’, ZDMG 39 (1883), 293–318.
  • O.  Jastrow, ‘The Neo-Aramaic languages’, in The Semitic languages, ed. R.  Hetzron (1997), 334–77.
  • J. Rhétoré, Grammaire de la langue soureth ou chaldéen vulgaire selon le dialecte de la plaine de Mossoul et des pays adjacents (1912).
  • E.  Sachau, Skizze des Fellichi-Dialekts von Mosul (1895).
  • E.  Sachau, ‘Über die Poesie in der Volkssprache der Nestorianer’, Sitzungsberichte der Königlich-Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin 11.8 (1896), 179–215.

| Sureth |


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