Yesterday there was a caller on the show who wanted to know about finding the Our Father in Aramaic. I mentioned that it's found in the Pshitta, an Aramaic translation of Scripture, and it's also available online. Unfortunately, the address of the site I had was too long, so I promised to put it up on the blog this morning.
Unfortunately, after the show, a closer inspection of the site showed it to be kooky to the extreme. The translation they gave of the Aramaic into English was completely wrong, so I decided just to print the text of the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic.
First, though, here's an audio file of it (.wav format):
After doing a little digging around, I found the following nice image, which contains the prayer in English and the Aramaic alphabet, with an Aramaic pronounciation also. Bear in mind that the English and the Aramaic pronunciation runs left-to-right, while the Aramaic script itself runs right-to-left.
Also bear in mind that the pronunciation the prayer is given in Aramaic will vary from one group of speakers to another, based on accent. For example, the first word of the Lord's prayer in Aramaic is Abun, which will be pronounced by some groups as "Ah-boon," others as "Ah-woon," and still others (as in the transliteration below) as "Ah-voon."
One word of warning about the above: What's on the Aramaic transliteration line doesn't always match up to exactly what's on the English line. Because of word division and length, the lines don't match up exactly. For example, on the third line from the bottom in the Aramaic column, you'll see the word Malkutha ("Mal-koo-tha"), which means "Kingdom," but Kingdom is on the fourth line from the bottom in the English column.
I can't go through the whole prayer line by line right now, but some folks might find it interesting to understand a little of how the language works.
The prayer is often called the Abun Dbashmaya in Aramaic, which are its first two words. This is similar to the way we call it the Our Father after it's first two words. But in Aramaic "Abun Dbashmaya" means more than just "Our Father."
The "Our Father" part of it is just the first word: Abun. As you know, one of the Aramaic words for "father" (there are actually several variants) is Abba, which is just spelled ABA in Aramaic (it being understood that the B reduplicates in pronunciation).
In Aramaic, pronouns often take the form of suffixes on the ends of words, and the suffix -un is a pronoun suffix that means "our." When you stick -un on Abba, you get "Abun," meaning "Our Father."
The Aramaic word for "heaven" is shmaya, and you can see that in the second word of the prayer. The prefix b- (sometimes followed by a vowel, sometimes not) is the Aramaic equivalent of "in" (remember the in/on discussion we had recently?), so bashmaya means "in heaven." And the prefix d- is the Aramaic equivalent of "who," "which," or "that." Dbashmaya thus means "who (is) in heaven." (Aramaic sometimes omits the verb "to be," as it does here.)
Thus you can see how "Abun dbashmaya" translates as "Our Father, who art in heaven."