Aramaic is a semitic language that has been spoken in the Middle East since at least the 12th century BC. Inscriptions found in the last centuries were made some years before the oldest Hebrew inscriptions. Known as “the language of Jesus”, Aramaic originated in the northern region of current Syria and rapidly spread to the whole area: it was even the official Assyrian language in the 8th century BC.
Aramaic is currently used by a few speakers in Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran, and in some isolated regions of Australia, Europe and America. Why do some ancient and historical languages dwindle to the brink of extinction?