Aaron Butts

Senior Lector, Semitics

Email: aaron.butts@yale.edu



Aaron Michael Butts (PhD University of Chicago, 2013) joined the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations as Lector of Semitics in 2010 and was promoted to Senior Lector in 2013. His research focuses on the dialectology and reconstruction of the Semitic language family. Among the Semitic languages, he specializes in Aramaic (including Syriac) and Classical Ethiopic. He also works secondarily in Arabic, Old South Arabian, and Northwest Semitic more broadly (Hebrew, Ugaritic, Phoenician, etc.). Publications in the field of Semitic linguistics include:

  1. “Observations on the Verbless Clause in the Language of Neophyti I,” Aramaic Studies 4 (2006): 53-67.
  2. “The Etymology and Derivation of the Syriac Adverbial Ending [-ā’ith],” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 69 (2010): 79-86.
  3. “Reduplicated Nominal Patterns in Semitic,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 131 (2011): 83-108.
  4. “Between Aramaic *’idhayn and Greek de: The Linguistic History of Syriac den,” in proceedings volume of the International Syriac Studies Symposium at Mardin Artuklu University, Mardin, Turkey. Forthcoming.

In the Spring of 2013, Dr. Butts co-convened the North American Conference on Afroasiatic Linguistics (NACAL 41) at Yale University. The theme for this conference was ‘Afroasiatic Languages in Contact’. A number of papers from the conference will be included in a volume on Semitic Languages in Contact that he is currently editing (to be published by Brill in the series Studies in Semitic Languages and Linguistics [SSLL]).

Alongside his research in Semitic linguistics, Dr. Butts has interests in the history and literature of Christianity in the Near East, especially Syriac and Ethiopic as well as Arabic. Publications in this field include:

  1. Jacob of Sarug's Homily on the Tower of Babel (Piscataway: Gorgias Press, 2009).
  2. “The Afflictions of Exile. A Syriac Memrā by David Puniqāyā,” Le Muséon 122 (2009): 53-80.
  3. “The Biography of the Lexicographer Isho' bar 'Ali ('Īsā b. 'Alī),” Oriens Christianus 93 (2009): 60-71. 
  4. “Assyrian Christians,” in Eckart Frahm (ed.), Companion to Assyria (Malden: Wiley Blackwell). Forthcoming.

He was also a co-editor with S. P. Brock, G. A. Kiraz, and L. Van Rompay of the Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage (Piscataway: Gorgias Press, 2011).

Current projects include: 1. a linguistic analysis of contact-induced changes in Syriac due to Greek; 2. a syntax and chrestomathy of Classical Syriac, to be published by Ugarit-Verlag in the series Lehrbücher orientalischer Sprachen (LOS); 3. (with L. Van Rompay) a catalogue of the Ethiopic collection at Duke University; 4. an edition of the Classical Ethiopic version of the History of Joseph, to be included in a volume with the Syriac (ed. K. Heal) and the Arabic (ed. J. Witztum) versions, to be published by Brepols in the series Corpus Christianorum Series Apocryphorum (CCSA).

For further information, see http://pantheon.yale.edu/~ab949/.

Most of Butts’ articles can be downloaded at http://yale.academia.edu/AaronButts.