Modern Aramaic has been written in a Latin
-based script created by missionaries
to the area and Cyrillic
imposed during the Soviet
occupation. It is now written using a more traditional script based off of Syriac
in both appearence and character, though the origins of its source-script are unknown. From Syriac it carries a marked similarity to Arabic
, though for various reasons the complexity in writing is a great deal less. The orthography
of the writing system is deliberately etymological
, because Aramaic spawned into many divergent dialects and the writing system was intended to span them all as a viable means of communication.
Like Arabic, Modern Aramaic is an abjad, having signs for just consonants and one or two vowels. Other vowels and unrepresented consonants are indicated through diacritics. It is written cursively from right to left, also like Arabic. Yet another similarity is that many of the diacritics are optional; they can be left out and the writing is still intelligable. In languages of the region, vowel distribution is far more regular than in Indo-European languages, so leaving some obvious vowels out is more reasonable and helps to alleviate dialectical pronunciation differences. Modern Aramaic written with full diacritic usage is called 'pointed', whereas the shorthand is called 'unpointed'. Unlike Arabic, however, nearly all Modern Aramaic texts are written pointed, with all diacretics utilized. There are several diacretics serving non-pronunciation purposes, for instance to mark an optional consonant present in Classical Aramaic that's no longer pronounced in Modern Aramaic.
Information sourced from Daniels, Peter T. Bright, William. The World's Writing Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.