I know a bit of Aramaic, but I'd really like to improve my skills. Recently I have been paying more attention to the Aramaic parts of our davening and sections from the Zohar featured in the siddur (Nusach Ari) but that is not enough to learn a language. Is there anywhere online in which I can start studying Hebrew's sister language?

I found this website, although it teaches Syriac-Aramaic, which is different in some subtle ways from Jewish-Aramaic, including using an entirely different script. (Also, Syriac is primarily used by Christians in the Eastern Lands, so it has little to do with Jews and Judaism, although I am sure there are surely some Jews who speak it.)

Put simply, I want to learn the Aramaic of the Targumim and other Rabbinic literature, so I can study that literature; online sources are preferred. Also, no Christian sources either! I know of a blog or two run by Christians that teach Galilean Aramaic for obvious reasons...

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    Off topic as Hebrew not Judaism. It should be moved to: languagelearning.stackexchange.com.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 3:43
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    ezra wants to "learn the Aramaic of the Targumim and other Rabbinic literature." This is explicitly Judaism-motivated and clearly something that experts in Judaism ought to be able to help with. If he's conflating various dialects, that's great information to put in an answer.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 14:26
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    @IsaacMoses I don't see how that is explicitly Judaism motivated. Learning Biblical Hebrew isn't Judaism motivated either.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 15:21
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    @DoubleAA How about now?
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 15:22
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    related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/55988/759 judaism.stackexchange.com/q/27179/759 judaism.stackexchange.com/q/71255/759 This is probably Too Broad (learning a language is a big effort with lots of components and such).
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 15:27

2 Answers 2


When you refer to the Aramaic of the targumim and rabbinic literature, be aware that you are referring to a number of different languages! Linguists refer to the language of the Yerushalmi, for example, as Palestinian Jewish Aramaic and the language of the Bavli as Babylonian Talmudic Aramaic. Some of the targumim belong to the former group, while some have elements of the latter group in them as well. Note also that the language of the Zohar is different again, so passages that you are looking at in your siddur might deviate grammatically from what you see in, for example, Shas.

In my opinion, just as you are not looking for Christian sites, you're also not looking for Jewish sites. You want proper, academic sites that don't support claims with reference to midrash or hagiography. Your intention, if I am not misunderstanding you, is to learn Aramaic in order to improve your grasp of texts that are written in that language. Lots of universities around the world offer courses in various Aramaic dialects, and some of those universities will offer classes online. None of them will be free.

I hate to say it, but I think that your best bet is printed material, not online courses, and I think that the way you were going about it originally was very good. Start with texts that you want to be able to read, have an English translation with you while you are reading them, and consult a dictionary. English translations of all of these texts exist online, if that's your preference.

At the same time, work slowly (or at your own pace) through an introductory grammar, of which there are several. You can find some suggestions in the answers to this question (one of which is by me).

By the way: while Hebrew and Aramaic are related, their relationship is not quite that of "sister languages". It's similar in some ways to the relationship between English and French: in other words, they belong to the same language family, but to two different classes within that family. English is Germanic and French is Romance. Similarly, Hebrew belongs to the Canaanite group, which is distinct from the Aramaic group of Semitic languages. See here.


This video series proved to be helpful in my studies of basic Judeo-Aramaic grammar. Although the purpose of these videos is to teach the language in regards to the Talmud Yerushalmi, they were still incredibly helpful in learning the basics to learn the Bavli as well.

(Even though I've added an answer to my own question, I'm still leaving the answer by Shimon bM marked as the "correct" one. The advice he brought is still extremely helpful, and actually lead me to find what I found, because I was looking for scholarly sources like he suggested.)

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