Inspired by: How to say Adonainu Moreinu VeRabeinu in Aramaic

I'd like to understand Talmudic/Aramaic Grammar a little better and am looking for a good resource that will break it down for me.

However, my understanding of grammar in general is very weak, especially the terms used to describe the various grammatical structures (binyanim). When I see terms like "reflexive" or "po'el yotzei" to describe the grammatical structure, I have no idea what that means, and I just sort of tune it out.

Is there a good grammatical resource for Talmudic/Aramaic grammar out there that doesn't assume I know anything about grammar in general?

One of the answer to the question linked to above mentioned Yitzhak Frank's Grammar for Gemara and Targum Onkelos. Would that fit the bill? I found it on Google Books and glanced through it, but I wasn't sure.

I once picked up a copy of English Grammar for Students of Spanish by Emily Spinelli. Instead of assuming you knew the grammatical jargon and jumping right into the spanish, it would first explain the English grammatical rule. (This review explains it well). It looks like this is part of a series of books on various languages (but not Aramaic).

This is pretty much what I'm looking for, but with Aramaic.

Here's an example that made me realize I need to brush up on my grammar, trying to figure out what the word "משתבח" means:

Berachot 6A says:

ומי משתבח קוב"ה בשבחייהו דישראל

Jastrow translates it (middle of the second column) as:

Does the L-rd pride himself on the praises of Israel?

But Jastrow also translates (bottom of second column) "משתבח" as "to praise one's self"

Soncino translates it as:

Does, then, the Holy One, blessed be He, sing the praises of Israel?

But is the Soncino using the version found in the Ein Yaakov?

ומי משבח קוב"ה בשבחייהו דישראל

Very confusing.

  • 2
    po'el yotzei
    – Double AA
    Mar 15, 2013 at 18:16
  • 1
    I have a book at home for biblical Hebrew (not Aramaic) that, for each grammatical concept, explains how it works in English and then how that same idea works in Hebrew. Hebrew is not the same as Aramaic, but they share a lot. Would that be helpful to you? Mar 15, 2013 at 18:51
  • 1
    I don't know if this would be useful, but as far as Biblical Hebrew grammar goes, a great reference book is Ben-Zeev's "Talmud Lashon Ivri". It's a bit old, but in my opinion, still the best I've seen. You're not going to get any understanding of the English terminology, but the Hebrew jargon (like poel yotzei) is all there.
    – jake
    Mar 15, 2013 at 19:23
  • 1
    – Double AA
    Mar 19, 2013 at 3:00
  • 2
    There's a series of lectures on the topic from WebYeshiva here: webyeshiva.org/class.php?cid=888
    – Ephraim
    Oct 31, 2013 at 4:34

2 Answers 2


There is a kuntress (pamphlet / small thin paperback book) called Aiding Talmud Study put together by Rabbi Aryeh Carmell. Included within is a concise summary of many points of the Dikduk/Grammar of the Aramaic of the Talmud Babli. I'm not sure whether or not it is still in print, but this is without a doubt an incredible resource for Torah learning that anyone serious about knowing probably all of the general rules behind how the Gemara's pronoun declensions and verb conjugations needs to own (or, at the very least, to spend a solid amount of time studying).


I'll recommend A Manual of Babylonian Jewish Aramaic by David Marcus.

From the preface:

The method adopted is the inductive one whereby grammar is learnt directly as it is encountered in the text... To work with this manual the student is expected to have some knowledge of Hebrew but not of any other Aramaic dialect. The manual is hence geared primarily for beginners in Talmud and Jewish studies, but it is hoped that more advanced students will profit from it as well.

That is the basic information you need to know about it. The manual contains in total several texts from throughout the Talmud, and they are used as examples to teach the grammar contained within.

Here is a Google preview/examples.

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