Similarities between Hebrew and Aramaic
A Hebrew speaker can understand Neo-Aramaic or old Aramaic?
I don't speak Hebrew nor Aramaic but I was interested when I was reading about the concept of lexical similarity.
We have old Aramaic phrases in the language but they are consider to be VERY high language:
עוֹרְבָא פָּרַח - Nonsense
נֶחָמָה פּוּרְתָּא - cold comfort, limited consolation
בַּר מִינַן -deceased person
Most Israelis will maybe learn them for the Israeli SAT exam, and probable will never use it afterwards (not in the spoken/written language).
Those phrases are widely used by the lawyers and judges in the court system, but literally no one (except maybe language professors) understand what those people write in their depositions/rulings.....
I've been told by Israelis that Hebrew and Judeo-Aramaic are about as close as English and Dutch. "Aramaic" is a range of dialects or languages which are not always mutually intelligible. They tend to be closer to Hebrew than Arabic is, much less Amharic.
If you learn Talmud, it's about half and half Hebrew/Aramaic. You need to learn a little bit of new vocab and grammar, and then just use a dictionary for some things. One my Rabbis' advice was basically if you just squint and pretend it's Hebrew you can make a pretty good stab at most of it, once you know a couple major tricks like which letters switch and which common verbs have different meanings.