The aim of my current research project is to produce an annotated edition of a corpus of 33 folk-narratives, ‘the tales of Mamo Yona’. Mamo (‘uncle’) Yona Gabbay Zaqen (Zakho 1867–Jerusalem 1970), an exceptional bearer and performer of the rich tradition of the Jews of Kurdistan and a well-known storyteller throughout Iraqi Kurdistan, was recorded during 1964 by Professor Yona Sabar for the Hebrew University’s Jewish Language Traditions Project (Mifʿal Masorot Ha-Llašon). Thus far only a small portion of this material has been published. The importance of this corpus is not only due to it being a rich sample of the Jewish Neo-Aramaic dialect of Zakho and an attestation of its condition before the contact with Israeli Hebrew; it is important also because it sheds light on various cultural and social aspects of the Jewish communities of Kurdistan, reflecting aspects of social structure, education practices, religion, customs, gender relations, relations with the non-Jewish surrounding, the function of storytelling in the community’s life, and more. The annotated edition will contain a transcription of the original Neo-Aramaic, translation into English, and analyses of the text using both linguistic and folkloristic approaches.
2018-2019: PhD in Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge. Supervisor: Professor Geoffrey Khan. Thesis title: ‘Aspects of the Oral Heritage of the Neo-Aramaic-Speaking Jewish Community of Zakho.’
2011-2012: MPhil in Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge. Supervisor: Professor Geoffrey Khan. Dissertation title: ‘The Neo-Aramaic Speaking Jewish Community of Zakho.’
2007-2010: BA in Jewish Thought, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Aloni, Oz, (2014), The Neo-Aramaic Speaking Jewish Community of Zakho – A Survey of the Oral Culture, MPhil Dissertation, Saarbrücken: Lambert.
Shilo, Varda (2014), Lishana – A Bilingual Anthology of Folktales of the Jewish Community of Zakho, Oz Aloni (ed., tr.), Jerusalem: Minerva Press, [in Hebrew].
Chapters in books
Aloni, Oz, (2014), ‘The Jews of Zakho and Their Language – An Introduction,’ in: Shilo, Varda, Lishana – A Bilingual Anthology of Folktales of the Jewish Community of Zakho, Jerusalem: Minerva Press, [in Hebrew].
Aloni, Oz, (2014), ‘Folk-narratives in the Jewish Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Zakho – The Case of Yosef Ve-ʾEḥav,’ in: Khan, Geoffrey & Napiorkowska, Lidia, eds., Neo-Aramaic and Its Linguistic Context, Piscataway: Gorgias Press.
Aloni, Oz, (2016), ‘The Encounter of Neo-Aramaic and Modern Hebrew – The Personal Experience of a Neo-Aramaic Speaker,’ Carmillim 11, University of Haifa Press, [in Hebrew].
Aloni, Oz, (2018), ‘“The King and the Wazir”: A Folk-Tale in the Jewish North-Eastern Neo- Aramaic Dialect of Zakho,’ in: Vidro, Nadia, et al. (eds.), Studies in Semitic Linguistics and Manuscripts: A Liber Discipulorum in Honour of Professor Geoffrey Khan, Uppsala: Uppsala University Library.