Aramaic was at a certain time a lingua franca in the Middle East, and therefore, it superseded the Old Hebrew alphabet that was more closely related to the Phoenician alphabet. There are several "flavors" of Aramaic scripts, square Estrangela, the ancestor of the Modern Hebrew alphabet, Nestorian "Assyrian" or the Chaldean script and Maronite or the Jacobite script. The Aramaic alphabet is probably also the ancestor of the Indic alphabets and is without reasonable doubt the source of the Old Turkic alphabet and the Arabic alphabet.

Aramaic Estrangela script

Letter Normal
Alap     "A"
Beth   "B"
Gamal   Hard "G"
Daleth     "D"
Heh     "H"
Waw     "W" or "O" or "U",
depending on word
Zain     "Z"
Kheth   "Kh", no English equivalent
(as in Scottish loch)
Teth   Hard "T"
Yodh   "Y" or "E",
depending on word
Kap "K", sometimes "Kh"
Lamadh   "L"
Meem   "M"
Noon "N"
Simkath   "S"
Ain   Similar to "Ahh",
no English equivalent
Payin   "P"
Tsade     "Ts"
Qoph   "Q"
Resh     "R"
Sheen   "Sh"
Taw     "T"
      Lamadh & Alap combined
at end of word
      Taw & Alap combined
at end of word

Jewish sources often write Aramaic using the standard Hebrew alphabet.

See also Alphabet, Aramaic language.\n