As the name suggests, this resource is an introductory grammar that simply gets you to basic reading proficiency. Keeping with its function, the writing system used in this grammar will NOT resemble anything you will actually see in texts. The consonants are from one tradition (Estrangelo) while the vowel system is from another (Western).
An English translation (1904) of the 2nd German edition (1898), Reprinted by Eisenbrauns (2001).
Theodor Nöldeke's work may be regarded as the standard in the field, similar to what Gesenius' work is for Hebrew.
While students are encouraged to consult the original, Crichton's laborious work offers two advantages: (1) Rubrics are placed in the margin at the beginning of each section for ease of reference, and (2) Crichton undertook the task of compiling the scripture examples into an index that has been sorely lacking in the original.
The original German edition was published in 1880. A second German edition was published in 1898. The blue-volume cover on course reserve is the first edition. The second edition is available online at archives.org
Call Number: ATLA fiche 1986-2981 (Microfilm)
The link takes you to an online version
Duval's work often takes its place next to Nöldeke's and in many ways is more expansive. Even though Duval became a Semitic scholar later in life, he released his grammar only one year after Nöldeke. Unique features include: (1) A list of native grammatical term used by the Syrians, (2) Duval is more comparative in terms of engagement with other Semitic Languages, (3) Duval interacts with more secondary literature, and finally (4) the student may find the sizable list of paradigms at the beginning of the work useful.
Brockelmann's work is also regarded as a standard. It exists in two edition, the latest one published in 1905. It has undergone, however, many revisions and no English translation currently exists.
Its most salient feature is the extensive Chrestomathy at the end of the work. In connection with this, Goshen-Gottstein has published a valuable glossary with Brockelmann's passages in mind (A Syriac-English glossary with Etymological Notes; call number: PJ5491 .G6 1970). Especially helpful in Gottstein's volume are the comparative-Semitic glosses beside each Syriac entry.
Louis Costaz was a Lebanese Jesuit scholar. His grammar is in French and no English translation currently exists. Especially helpful are the distinctions between the "levels" of information. Basic grammatical principles are marked with double vertical lines alongside the section. Intermediate principles are in large print, and advanced principles are in small print. These delineations, along with its manageable size, render this work appropriate for all levels.