Authored by: C.G. Häberl

The Semitic Languages

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9780415731959
eBook ISBN: 9780429025563
Adobe ISBN:


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Mandaic (in the form generally described as ‘Neo-Mandaic’ or ‘Modern Mandaic’; ISO/DIS 639–3: mid) is the language of the Mandæan community, which was formerly based in Iraq and Iran (Map 26.1) but is today distributed throughout the world, principally in Europe, Australia and North America, as the result of ethnic cleansing in its homeland. Despite its long history of attestation and copious literature, it is moribund today. Even though the members of the Mandæan community, numbering perhaps 60,000 adherents, are familiar with Mandaic through their sacred literature and liturgy, only a few hundred Mandæans, located primarily in Iran, speak it as a first language. Of these, even fewer use it regularly in writing, primarily to compose the colophons that accompany manuscripts (of which an example is given in §7).

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