Aramaic a "Corruption of Hebrew"?

One can get some strange things from a Google news feed given the search term "Aramaic." This one came from a Jewish newspaper "5 Towns Jewish Times" in an article named Understood by Rabbi Abraham Sebrow:

"Aramaic has a special distinction in Jewish law. It is the only language that one is not permitted to use while praying alone. Aramaic is considered a corruption of Hebrew and prayers in that language are not processed in heaven when recited by an individual." (full article)

I can understand that this may be an article of faith, and I will not say anything against it to that regard, but the idea of Aramaic being a corruption of Hebrew is a bit misleading. I can understand that Hebrew is at the heart of Judaism, and that when Aramaic superseded it as the lingua franca of the Jewish People that there were translations that had to be made if not simply for the understanding of the common man (and this is why we have such things as the Aramaic Targums).

However, Aramaic is a language that evolved separately from (albeit closely next to) Hebrew and is not descended from it. Both Ancient Hebrew (a dialect of Canaanite) and Ancient Aramaic come from a much older language from which both of them (including Arabic and a few others) are descended.

I do hope that Rabbi Sebrow meant the former. :-)


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