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.

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The reason why Semitic languages are written right to left

I have seen a video where the host said the reason why Semitic languages are written right to left is because in the old days in that region paper-like material was scarce and people usually carved ...
blackened's user avatar
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Is there a rule when the use of the definite article on proper nouns is appropriate in Semitic languages?

As far as I understand, according to the conventional grammar of Hebrew (and likely other Semitic languages), the definite article is typically only be attached to common nouns, but not to proper ...
Reb Chaim HaQoton's user avatar
-3 votes
1 answer
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What tribal/regional Yemeni arabic dialects and/or modern south Arabian languages or crioles do SFO and OAK Bay Area Yemeni imigrants speak most?

I think I've noticed near-homogeneity, in SF and Oakland bodegas. But there are reasons to doubt that. I'm interested in: The most common Yemeni lects (or three most commonly natively used, for ...
Ayer AGG'TDd'E-A's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
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Possible influence of Phoenician on local dialects in the British Isles during the Iron Age

I'm very interested in the possible influence of Phoenician, specifically, on local dialects in the British Isles during the Iron Age. I'm curious about any historical and linguistic evidence that may ...
rcgy's user avatar
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2 answers
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How implausible is it for the name "Oslo" to have come from the Semitic root w-ṣ-l instead of from Proto-Norse *ansuz +‎ *lauhō?

I am aware that this is a controversial topic, but in a universe where around c. 500 BCE a population of Canaanite mariners did manage to set up a trading post in what is now Sweden: how plausible is ...
rcgy's user avatar
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4 votes
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Historically, when was whitespace used versus interpuncts versus no-separation?

The Wikipedia article on whitespace claimed until recently that the use of whitespace as a word separator was rare until its promotion by Alcuin of York in the Carolingian Renaissance. But I've found ...
wlad's user avatar
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What are the basic linguistic characteristics of the Maltese language?

I've been looking for a website or something helpful for my presentation about the Maltese language and I didn't find something that offers good explanation of the Phonological, morphological, ...
Nour Fourti's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
380 views

Do classical Arabic verb forms have a passive-active relationship like some Hebrew "buildings" do?

In Hebrew, the 7 verb forms (or "buildings") can be associated into passive-active pairs, e.g. Pa'al - Nif'al, Hef'il-Huf'al, Pi'el-Pu'al (and Hitpa'el on its own). So we can say e.g. "...
Amos Joshua's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
TheEnvironmentalist's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
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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?
Reb Chaim HaQoton's user avatar
-1 votes
3 answers
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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 (...
Reb Chaim HaQoton's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
877 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 (...
paceaux's user avatar
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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 ...
Draconis's user avatar
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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 ...
talopl's user avatar
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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-...
Khove's user avatar
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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 ...
Tyler Durden's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
106 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? (...
Amessihel's user avatar
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2 answers
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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 ...
Perry Webb's user avatar
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1 answer
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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 ...
Layman's user avatar
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1 answer
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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 ...
bandybabboon's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
294 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 ...
Breaking Bioinformatics's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
403 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 ...
Geoff Nixon's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
720 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 ...
user17584's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
361 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 & ...
Tsutsu's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
572 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 ...
iat's user avatar
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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 ...
Think Er's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
602 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 ...
Muhammad Ali's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
123 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.
Chao Somnium's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
343 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 ...
Draconis's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
946 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. ...
Keelan's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
280 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 ...
NoWayHaze's user avatar
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-2 votes
1 answer
195 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
578 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, ...
Amessihel's user avatar
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2 answers
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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 ...
smblblblbl's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
263 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 ...
Bert Barrois's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
464 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 ...
Draconis's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
245 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 ...
Draconis's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
298 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. ...
Sorb's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
677 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. ...
Draconis's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
241 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? ...
MJM's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
237 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 ...
Sieg7's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
615 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 (...
Reb Chaim HaQoton's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
857 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 ...
Metamorphic's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
163 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 ...
Tyler Durden's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
289 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 ...
TheEnvironmentalist's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
250 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 ...
TheEnvironmentalist's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
493 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 ...
b a's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
102 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 ...
cyco130's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
772 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 (...
ktm5124's user avatar
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