Liturgy Institute London

For a detailed and peaceful study of Liturgy

Learn Syriac for Beginners

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1 – 26 July 2024, weekdays for 1, 2, 3, or 4 weeks

IL: SY411;

Taught by: John Elie Semaan


This course is adapted to the level of beginning students. As needed the alphabet will be presented, but the majority of class time will be spent reading texts. During the first two weeks we shall review the pronouns, nouns and adjectives; prepositions, numbers, days and seasons with readings and exercises. During the third and fourth weeks we shall work on verbs in different roots, forms and tenses with readings and exercises. We shall also begin to translate biblical and liturgical texts. At the end of the course each student will be prepared to describe and explain short readings from the Syriac New Testament and to produce translations of the texts.

Enrol for the first two weeks: 1 – 12 July 2024, weekdays
or for all four weeks: 1 – 27 July 2024, weekdays

Hours: 8:30 – 10.00

The course anticipates the student will spend 15 hours in personal reading and study per week.

Location: Liturgy Institute London (at Ealing Abbey)
74 Castlebar Road Ealing London, W5 2DD, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8194 2320

For further details or to register contact the Institute:
E-mail Clare Cogswell, the Registrar, at this linked E-mail address.
Location on Google Maps is found here.

Previous knowledge

This course presumes no knowledge of the Syriac language. It provides an initial presentation of Syriac and then continues with reading Syriac texts and their translation.


Basic Exercises in Syriac Grammar following the Serto, West Syrian form and readings in the Syriac New Testament. 

Course Material

♦ The instructor is preparing his own book for teaching the Syriac language in English and will provide the needed materials.

Other grammars to consult:
♦ J.F. HEALEY, First Studies in Syriac (Birmingham University Semitic Study AIDS), University of Birmingham, Birmingham 1980.
Robinson’s Paradigns and Exercises in Syriac Grammar, 6 ed. rev. J.F. Coakley, Oxford UP, Oxford 2013.

Course activities

♦ Study of basic grammar: verb forms, nouns, pronouns, adjectives.
♦ At the end of the course the student should be able to read in Syriac and translate simple texts from the New Testament.

Notes: Students must be over 18 years of age.

This course is designed for all the students to begin together. Once the course has begun, new students may not join in subsequent weeks.

This course is held in the mornings and may be taken alone or in conjunction with our courses offered during afternoon sessions.

If students enrol in two concurrent courses, they may wish to prepare for the intensive schedule by reading suggested texts before the course begins.

The instructor will arrange with the students to be available regularly for some time at the Institute and is also available by appointment.

Students and the public are invited to attend the annual St Bede Lecture, to be held at Ealing Abbey on Saturday afternoon 6 July at 2.30 PM.



Non-residential day students are welcome.

Limited accommodation is available for students enrolled for either two or four weeks. Non-residential students may enrol in the first, first two, first three or all four weeks.

Page updated on 10 July 2023 by DM.