From a sociolinguistic point of view what we are witnessing at present concerning the Syriac language is more a case of language shift rather than language death. In our case language death is a correlation of language shift. This distinction is not purely an academic excercise. An accurate diagnosis of a problem is an absolute prerequisite to finding a suitable solution to this problem. There is a lot of effort that is being exerted for the modernising of Literary Syriac. A lot more needs to be done. The resources are limited. It is therefore of extreme importance that due reflection be given to defininf the most crucial problems that the Syriac language is facing. This paper is then to be seen in the light of such a discussion. 

Suggested reading:
Wardini 1998: Modern Literary Syriac: A Case of Linguistic Divorce. Pp. 517-525
in René Lavenant (ed.) 1998: Symposium Syriacum VII: Uppsala
University, Department of Asian and African Languages 11-14
August
1996
. Roma: Pontificio Istituto orientale, (Orientalia Christiana
analecta; 247).