Drink wrote:I have no idea. I don't know much about the Christian dialects. What would you say are the biggest differentiating factors between what's called Chaldean and what's called Assyrian?
For me, since I'm not an expert in the grammar or vocab, I hear the biggest differences in phonology.
I'm sorry, I don't know IPA so everything I type may not make sense if you don't know Aabic
People usually classify a standard "Assyrian" dialect as the Urmi dialect or the Iraqi Koine dialect, but there are lots of other dialects which differ from these and are still called "Assyrian".
"Chaldean" is usually based on the Nineveh dialects and other Catholic towns. "Assyrian" is definitely the prestige dialect - especially Urmi, which has started to change towards Iraqi Koine - even if Chaldean has almost as many speakers (maybe even more these days).
"Chaldean" contains ح and ع, both of which are usually pronounced as "kh" and "a" in Assyrian (like Hebrew). It also contains ث and ذ, which are pronounced "t" and "d" in Urmi and Iraqi Koine (though some Assyrian dialects do have ث as "th" - not sure about "dh", though). This makes Chaldean sound much closer to Arabic than Assyrian does. Urmi Assyrian has a "v" sound that I think all other (both Assyrian and Chaldean) dialects use "w" for.
This means that Chaldean usually says "mshee7a" for "Jesus/Messiah", but Assyrian has "msheekha" and "7ubba" instead of "khubba".
As I've mentioned, the "ث" sound is "th" in Chaldean but also in many Assyrian Iraqi dialects (but not Urmi and not Iraqi Koine). This means the language is called "Suret" in many "Assyrian" dialects but "Sureth" in Chaldean and many other Assyrian Iraqi dialects. So, in Chaldean and many Assyrian dialects you get "bshena THelookh", but in Iraqi Koine, Urmi and other Assyrian dialects you get "bshena Telookh".
In terms of vocabulary, I'm no expert but I've noticed a few things. Some people say Chaldean is more conservative in its core vocabulary, despite being full of Arabic loanwords as well. In Chaldean they seem to often say "randa" for "good", where Assyrians say "spay". "Why" is often something like "qamo" in a few Assyrian dialects, but in Chaldean I think it's usually "ta maha" or something. "With" is often the same word as "from" - "min" - in Assyrian (and often Chaldean too), but Chaldean sometimes uses "imm" as well (with you = minookh/immookh).
Obviously Iraqi Assyrian and Chaldean share a bit more in terms of vocabulary than Urmi (which is quite influenced by Farsi), but sometimes Chaldean is spoken with such Arabisation that it literally sounds like an Aramaic/Arabic hybrid language with all these Arabic words used in every way (verbs conjugated, nouns, adjectives, idioms). Iraqi Assyrian is noticeably less Arabised.
The grammar seems a bit different but I'm not qualified to speak on that. I have noticed the way "what are you doing?" can sound very different between dialects:
Chaldean: mot wadha? / ma kawdhit?
Iraqi Koine: mot wada?
Urmi: moo vadet?
Syrian Assyrian: malokh wadha?
I can ask my friends for more info about it, actually.