Questions tagged [semitic-languages]

The Semitic languages are a branch of related languages originating in the Near-East and a subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic language family.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
3 votes
3 answers
879 views

Is there a common ancestor between the Hebrew לבן ("lavan", white) and the English "albino"?

I noticed these two words share the same central consonants, and wouldn't it be fascinating if the l-b-n semitic root has a common source to the English "albin-" as in albino and albinism? I ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
48 views

Are there spaces or other marks between word in Ancient Semitic epigraphs?

Are there spaces or other marks between word in Ancient Semitic (i.e. Hebrew, Aramaic, Canaanite) epigraphs?
user avatar
-1 votes
3 answers
150 views

Is the word for "brother-in-law" in Germanic languages related to the Aramaic/Syriac גיס?

Here is the word for "brother-in-law" in various modern Germanic languages: schwager (German), shvugger (Yiddish), swaer (Afrikaans), svoger (Norweigan/Danish), sogor (Croatian), zwager (...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
837 views

Is there some equivalent of a "Grimm's law" that applies to the Semitic language family?

Arabic has سلام‎ (salaam) and Hebrew has שָׁלוֹם‎ (shalom). The words have similar meanings of "peace". This seems like a case of an alveolar fricative shifting to post-alveolar fricative (...
user avatar
  • 223
4 votes
3 answers
436 views

How many sibilants did Old Akkadian cuneiform distinguish?

According to fdb's answer to another question: It is believed that Old Akkadian (at least) still retained the Semitic distinction of s₁, s₂ and s₃ and used different signs for syllables containing ...
user avatar
  • 52k
-1 votes
1 answer
162 views

Are some numbers considered cognates between Semitic languages and Indo-European languages? [duplicate]

0 In hebrew and arabic, the number 7 is "sheva" and "sabah" respectively, and the number six is "shesh" and "sita" respectively. These numbers sound very ...
user avatar
  • 119
7 votes
2 answers
751 views

Validity of aging estimation for Proto-Afro-Asiatic

Tl;dr: What reasons do we have--besides glottochronology--to think that Proto-Afro-Asiatic is actually 14,000 years old? So, if you know much about proto-languages, you might know that Proto-Afro-...
user avatar
  • 714
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Pronunciation of P in Latin, versus Ph in Greek

In Latin, it seems some sounds that are pronounced like an "F" in Greek, are pronounced like a "P", why is this? For example, we have the Greek word Phoenicians, and this word ...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
92 views

What is the etymological difference bewteen ب ر ك and ص ل و‎ roots?

The roots ب ر ك (BRK) and ص ل و‎ (ṢLW) shares a common meaning related to the act of blessing. Is the first one related to the knees, while the later one is rather connected to the notion of eulogy? (...
user avatar
  • 241
6 votes
2 answers
369 views

How widespread across language families is the root, krt, meaning cut/short?

How widespread across language families is the root, krt, meaning cut/short? This root is prevalent across the Indo-European and Semitic language families. It may have spread across languages like ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
158 views

What can limit the plausibility of the Arabic "š-k-l"(ش ك ل) being in the same lineage as the German "gestalt" via its assumed PIE ancestor "*stel"?

They have near-fully overlapping meanings (I would be going out on a limb to say fully equivalent translations) with both the Arabic and German words having their primary use in expressing the meaning ...
user avatar
  • 110
-3 votes
1 answer
133 views

Semitic and Hebrew etymology

Semitic has historically been used to describe ancient languages spanning from Oman to Morocco through Egypt and Somalia. Today, Antisemitic is different to it's etymology, it doesnt refer to berber ...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
176 views

Amharic Emphatics vs Arabic pharyngeals

I grew up speaking Arabic, and I am very comfortable with sounds like ص,ط,ض, etc. However, I was looking at Amharic out of curiosity, and noticed that in place of these pharyngeals, Amharic has ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
339 views

Is the Ethiopian word "falash[a]" related to the words Philistine or Palestine?

I apologize I don't know how to read Amharic or Ge'ez well (at all) [I am most certainly only an amateur at linguistics], and my Hebrew and Arabic are also poor. But I can't help but wonder if the the ...
user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
620 views

Is a final -u in Semitic languages known outside of Akkadian?

Consider Akkadian bētu vs. Hebrew bayit (בַּיִת) (meaning "house") and Akkadian daltu vs. Hebrew delet (דֶּלֶת) (meaning "door"). Are these endings known outside of Akkadian? If so, when did they ...
user avatar
  • 111
6 votes
1 answer
250 views

Can Semitic (Hebrew & Arabic) roots have vowels?

To the best of my knowledge, roots in Semitic, both Arabic & Hebrew, do not contain vowels. They are purely consonantal at the base. I read this a couple of years ago about Hebrew in Levin & ...
user avatar
  • 1,028
3 votes
1 answer
302 views

Similarities between Sumerian and Semitic languages

I noticed that the Sumerian words for mother and father, ama and abba respectively, are very similar to the Hebrew words for mother and father, being ema and abba respectively. Given that Sumerian is ...
user avatar
  • 41
0 votes
1 answer
158 views

Both subject and object of an act defined by same verb?

I have in my hand a rather ancient text in Arabic. There's a frequent construction which I couldn't grasp the full meaning. It is [ transitive verb + preposition ], in which the preposition is fixed ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
552 views

What's the origin of the word "br" in Yemeni Arabic?

Hello everyone What's the etymology of "ber بر", that means "moonlight" in Yemeni? The nearest words I can find in an Egyptian dictionary and in Amharic refer to light, but in ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
102 views

What is the Protosemitic root for asher?

What is the protosemitic root for asher(אשר) in: ehyeh asher ehyeh אהיה אשר אהיה from Exodus 3:14 Note: I'm not sure but I'm guessing it's probably either ʔṯr, ʔšr, or ʔśr.
user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
243 views

What is Proto-Semitic *x̣?

In his Akkadian grammar (specifically the appendix on phonology), Huehnergard lists the following Proto-Semitic consonants: Most of this looks familiar to me. However, *x̣ caught me by surprise; I'm ...
user avatar
  • 52k
7 votes
2 answers
602 views

What does Eastern Aramaic have to say about "(definite) articles are acquired, not lost"?

The current answers on Definite/indefinite articles vs. inflections agree that (definite) articles are acquired by languages, not lost. I'm wondering what Eastern Aramaic has to say about this. ...
user avatar
  • 3,078
2 votes
2 answers
230 views

How similar are the prototype writing systems of Ugarit-Tyre ("Phoenician") and Safaitic?

I understand that that in the ancient Levant, two main writing system patterns were used by the different peoples of the region: Phoenician and Ancient North Arabian. I further understand that both ...
user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

How well do Semitic languages preserve consonants over time?

I'm not too familiar with the details of Semitic languages, but as far as I can tell it seems the tri-consonantal roots of words are relatively important. If the consonants change over time, did they ...
user avatar
  • 111
-2 votes
1 answer
172 views

Is there is a theory according to which both West Asian and East Asian form a sprachbund?

I have noticed that Southwest Asian Languages (SWAL) such as Arabic and Hebrew and Southeast Asian languages (SEAL) such as Thai and Vietnamese and maybe also others, tend to share usage of different ...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
435 views

Is there a name for the form "فعلان" (faʿlan)?

I've noticed the form فعلان (faʿlan) seems to imply emphasis, like in رحمان (raḥmân) which seems to means "All-Merciful". This form seems to exist in other Semitic languages like Hebrew (maybe רַבָּן, ...
user avatar
  • 241
0 votes
2 answers
139 views

is english excellent and arabic galaal related?

in Arabic calāl جلال [#cll msd.] means : great and majestic greatness this word derives from Arabic calla " great"- Aramean gēl, galā " mound" When I saw this Arabic word, I compared it to the word ...
user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
220 views

Wanderwörter between IE and Semitic

Animals have legs, and so it seems do terms for animals. Bulls in particular: Hebrew šūr (שור), Arabic θaur (ثور), Sanskrit sthūra, Greek ταυρος, Latin taurus, Russian туръ, Gothic stiur. Is there ...
user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
403 views

When did the contraction "Allah" originate?

The Arabic word Allāh "God" is notable for a few different features. For one, it contains the sound [ɫ] not found in any other Arabic word; it's also an irregular contraction of the article al- and ...
user avatar
  • 52k
6 votes
1 answer
185 views

At what point did the feminine ending fall silent in Semitic languages?

Hebrew and Arabic both mark feminine nouns with a final consonant in writing, which is pronounced /t/ in certain sandhi-conditioned environments (and is otherwise silent). From what little I know of ...
user avatar
  • 52k
2 votes
0 answers
157 views

Is there a connection between the Sumerian En and the Semite El?

En means lord in Sumerian and El god or deity in Semitic. Semitic peoples use the word lord as a synonym of god, it seems that the same happens with Sumerian and its gods like Enlil, Enki, Enzu etc. ...
user avatar
  • 69
9 votes
1 answer
522 views

How do I gloss a Semitic verb?

"Standard" glossing (following the Leipzig rules) uses a linear model of breaking down words into morphemes. In other words, it assumes you can draw lines between all the morphemes to separate them. ...
user avatar
  • 52k
1 vote
2 answers
203 views

Arabic word for door from root d-l-t or d-l-th

I know that the Hebrew letter 'daleth' originates from the word for 'door', indeed the Modern Hebrew word for door is 'dalet'. Is there an Arabic word for door from this same root - d-l-t or d-l-th? ...
user avatar
  • 63
2 votes
0 answers
168 views

Pre-Hilalian Hilalian dialects comparaison

What are the main differences between Pre-Hilalian Tunisian dialects ( or any other Maghrebi dialects ) and the Hilalian ones ( Pronunciation , vocabulary ... ) . Let’s take the dialect I speak as an ...
user avatar
  • 21
5 votes
3 answers
529 views

Have linguistics found any evidence that Semitic languages influenced Germanic languages or vice versa (in ancient times)?

Have linguistics found any evidence that Semitic languages influenced Germanic languages or vice versa (in ancient times)? BACKGROUND: I suggested to a forum of linguists that a certain Semitic word (...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
618 views

Is it possible for two Semitic (e.g. Arabic, Hebrew) words with the same triliteral root to have different origins?

Learning Arabic, I see some examples of triliteral roots from which words with apparently different meanings are derived. Example: ف ط ر (f-ṭ-r) "to break apart or tear": فَطَرَ • (faṭara) (maybe ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
154 views

Why is it that Babylonian king names do not match their Akkadian equivalent?

I am trying to figure out why it is that Babylonian (and Assyrian) king names do not match their Akkadian transcription. For example, in the one known inscription for Nabonassar, which is written in ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
234 views

What's the difference between לזכור and להיזכר in Modern Hebrew? [closed]

In Modern Hebrew, the words לזכור and להיזכר both mean "to remember" and they both come from the root 'זכר'. As an English speaker, it's as if there were two words, "remember" and "remomber" and there ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
214 views

What is the concept of verb agreement with passive-active level in Hebrew?

In this Duolingo discussion, 'S.Liebermann' mentions that in Hebrew and Arabic, "the verb needs to agree with the level of passive/active" and "Hebrew has 7 degrees of passive/active, while Arabic has ...
user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
415 views

Why does Hebrew transcribe Akkadian š inconsistently?

Biblical Hebrew consistently uses the letter ס (s) to transcribe names with the Akkadian consonant š. For example, Esarhaddon for Aššur-aḥa-iddina, Esther from Ištar, Sargon from Šarru-ukīn (all ...
user avatar
  • 2,705
1 vote
0 answers
83 views

Feminine and neuter plural

The Indo-European feminine declension looks like the neuter plural. The usual explanation seems to be that feminine evolved out of an earlier inanimate collective but the semantics doesn't seem to be ...
user avatar
  • 2,145
7 votes
1 answer
581 views

Phonemic similarities between "mother" and "father" in different language families

The words for "mother" and "father" in at least a few language families have a phonetic similarity which I find interesting. Compare the Latin and Greek words (μήτηρ/πατήρ mater/pater) with the (...
user avatar
  • 459
0 votes
1 answer
165 views

what is the etymology of Hebrew word lasse‘irim לַשְּׂעִירִם

Why would this be translated as a demon/goat? I'm also unclear as to the lemma. Is seems unrelated. Is it שָׂעַר
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
191 views

What is the significance of the super prefixes in Akkadian transcription?

In transcriptions of the Akkadian language, there are frequently superscript prefixes. For example, in the transcription of Amarna Tablet #16: Here there are prefixes such as "matu" and "ilu". What ...
user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
123 views

When did speakers of Semitic languages reach northern Levant and Syria?

Is there an approximate date when speakers of semitic languages reached northern Levant and Syria? I understand that from the linguistic material this can be difficult, but I look for litterature (if ...
user avatar
  • 2,534
3 votes
1 answer
168 views

Semitic (Afroasiatic?) Root Constraints

What is known about the phonological constraints limiting the form of a Semitic (or even Afroasiatic) root? In other words, are there any limits to the possible sequences of radicals? For example, ...
user avatar
-3 votes
1 answer
122 views

Can anyone recommend me some book on semitic linguistics? [closed]

Anything that is for beginners would be appreciated. Something that introduces the subject to someone who is completely new
user avatar
  • 95
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Which modern day dialect of Aramaic is the closest one to the dialect that Jesus of Nazareth spoke in Palestine some 2000 years ago?

Which modern day dialect of Aramaic is the closest one to the dialect that Jesus of Nazareth spoke in Palestine some 2000 years ago? In this video, The Modern Aramaic dialects of the Christians and ...
user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
153 views

What is the process to form nouns from Phoenician verbs?

What is the process to form nouns from Phoenician verbs? I would like to find a nominal form of the Phoenician verb "𐤍𐤑𐤓" (nun-tsade-resh, spelled left-to-right) ("NṠR"/"naṡar") (corresponding to ...
user avatar
  • 31
4 votes
1 answer
512 views

Possible connection between PIE Ablaut and Semitic vowel alternation

Since I started to read about language typology and then got a hint about PIE ablaut system I have been wondering if there might be any prehistorical connection between these families at least ...
user avatar
  • 1,388