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Is it possible to compare Aramaic to Spanish? If so, what are the differences and what are common? I have Spanish at school, and when I saw Passion of the Christ, I recognized lots of words (I don't remember them now, unfortunately, I just noticed during the film). Is it only the vocabulary that is a bit common, or does the grammar also have things in common?

I'm looking for the lexicon, grammar and word-endings mostly, a comparison between the languages.

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Hello 50ndr33 and welcome to the Linguistics site. Can you expand a bit? For example, what words did you recognize? And what kind of comparison are you looking for? Grammar? Lexicon? No need to answer to me here, you can directly edit the question and add/re-word it. :) – Alenanno Apr 12 '12 at 17:24
@Alenanno Done! – Friend of Kim Apr 12 '12 at 17:28
Just to be clear, most of the dialog in Passion of the Christ is in Aramaic, but some is in Latin (particularly when the Romans are involved). – Joe Apr 13 '12 at 3:55
Latin was also used in the film. Perhaps you refer to the part where Jesus speaks to Pilate in Latin or when Mary Magdalene speaks Latin to the Roman soldiers. – Malka S Nov 17 '12 at 13:46
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Aramaic and Spanish are of entirely different language families: Semitic (a branch of Afroasiatic) and Romance (a branch of Indo-European), respectively. I am not aware of much contact between the two languages, so it is unlikely that one borrowed words or constructions from the other.

What you heard in the film was most likely Latin, the ancestor of all the Romance languages, like Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, and Romanian. And Latin's daughter languages still resemble her a great deal, especially with respect to vocabulary. Notice also how many words English has borrowed from French and Latin: you should be able to recognise various words you know in English when you hear Latin, like entirely, different, language, family, etc (Latin integer, differens, lingua, familia).

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Hmm, so that was all latin.. Thanks! – Friend of Kim Apr 12 '12 at 18:16
Yes, I remember "veritas". Even though that isn't Aramaic but Latin. – Friend of Kim Apr 12 '12 at 18:17
@50ndr33: Yes, exactly. In vino veritas! – Cerberus Apr 12 '12 at 18:22

Spanish was heavily influenced by the Arabic language during the 11th through 13th centuries. Modern Spanish has several hundred loan words taken from Arabic used in common vocabulary. Almohada is probably the most famous (meaning "pillow").

Modern Arabic is related to Semitic languages such as ancient Aramaic languages.

So there is some connection between Spanish and Aramaic. But it's not a very strong connection; not one a casual listener would likely ever notice.

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Modern Arabic is not generally seen as a direct descendant of ancient Aramaic. Aramaic was a Northwest Semitic language more closely related to Hebrew. So it's not accurate to say " Arabic is a modern dialect of the ancient Aramaic languages", but rather just that they are related Semitic languages. – Mark Beadles Apr 16 '12 at 18:26
@MarkBeadles: Thanks, answer updated. I hope it's more accurate now. – Flimzy Apr 16 '12 at 18:54

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