23

I'm going to take a slightly different approach than Jk's answer, which does a good job coming at this from a Greco-Roman perspective. Instead, I'm going to focus on the Punic situation because it's a bit of an interest of mine In this early stage of Greek (Classical Attic), we had three alveolar stops (I will come back to the bilabials in a bit, don't worry)...


18

Semitic languages don't always preserve consonants perfectly. In fact, I don't think that there is any Semitic language without multiple classes of conjugation to account for irregularities. All Semitic languages have collapsed at least some phonemes, which makes some originally separate roots homophonous. For example, *θ merges with /ʃ/ in Hebrew, but with ...


15

You are using related in two different senses. When linguists refer to languages being related, they almost always mean "genetically related" - stemming ultimately from the same linguistic source. Most linguists today do not regard Hebrew and Greek as genetically related, but there is a respectable minority who believe that we can trace relationship ...


15

At some time in the history of the Greek languages, the letters Phi, Theta, and Chi represented aspirated consonants /ph/, /th/ and /kh/. The Romans felt that they were different enough from their native sounds /p/, /t/, /k/ (spelled ⟨c⟩) to deserve a special spelling ⟨ph⟩, ⟨th⟩, and ⟨ch⟩. This was the state of sounds at Cicero's time. Later, the Greek ...


12

There are some very controversial theories by the German linguist Theo Vennemann postulating a contact between Phoenician and proto-Germanic in the 6th to 3rd century BCE. The evidence for such contact is very thin and most linguists don't follow Vennemann. The specific question on the origin of the word God was asked here before, and the consensus is that ...


12

That Akkadian word-final -u is the Nominative case ending, the other case endings being -a for Accusative and -i for Genitive. Thus, the case forms of the noun bētu 'house' are: Nom.: bētu Acc.: bēta Gen.: bēti Exactly the same case endings are still present in Literary Arabic (Modern Standard Arabic), although in most spoken Arabic dialects they are ...


11

Yes, some people think Akkadian š was pronounced [s]. For the sibilants, traditionally /š/ has been held to be postalveolar [ʃ], and /s/, /z/, /ṣ/ analyzed as fricatives; but attested assimilations in Akkadian suggest otherwise. For example, when the possessive suffix -šu is added to the root awat ('word'), it is written awassu ('his word') (https://en....


11

Quite a lot of them, in fact! Grimm's Law is probably the most famous description of a regular sound change. But there are an enormous number of these in historical linguistics, some named, some not. For example, the correspondence between Hebrew /v/ and Arabic /b/ stems from a change in Hebrew and Aramaic called begadkefat spirantization, where the short ...


10

Although I haven't heard of the term "degrees of passive/active" before, they are almost certainly talking about the verbal stems. This is a concept indeed alien to Western European (or broader) but common to all Semitic languages. The core idea is that the stems differentiate voice and Aktionsart. In an earlier stage of the language (pre-1000 BCE) there ...


9

This comes down to the ambiguities in the Cuneiform script. Cuneiform doesn't have a one-to-one correspondence between signs and sounds. The sign DIŊIR is a good example. The sign started out in Sumerian meaning an, "heaven". It was used for both the sounds /an/ and for the word an. Because it was pronounced /an/, it started being used for the word An also, ...


9

One page further (p. 587), Huehnergard gives as one of the changes from Proto-Semitic to Old Babylonian: Common Semitic *ḫ and *x̣ merged to ḫ (Huehnergard 2003):      *ḫamisum > ḫamšum ‘five’; *saḫānum > šaḫānum ‘to be warm’;      *x̣apārum > ḫepērum ‘to dig’; *rax̣āṣ́um > raḫāṣ́um ‘to wash’. The reference is to the author's 'Akkadian ḫ and ...


9

First off, it's worth noting that the main contact between Semitic and Sumerian involved Akkadian, not Hebrew, and the Akkadian words are a bit different—"mother" is ummu, and "father" is abu. And there was another Sumerian word for "father", ad(a); ab(a) probably originally meant "elder" (it's sometimes translated into Akkadian as šību, "elder" or "witness")...


8

The feminine ending -at- is pan-Semitic, as in Arabic malik-un “king” vs. malik-at-un “queen”. In pausal position -at-un becomes -ah, so malikatun becomes malikah. There are similar pausal forms in Aramaic, Hebrew, etc. This is all purely Semitic and has nothing to do with Indo-European.


8

Arabic جلال (jalāl) is a well-established part of the triconsonantal root system, built from the root JLL "greatness, magnitude, height". "Excellent" meanwhile has cognates all across the Indo-European world (in Italic, Germanic, Hellenic, Balto-Slavic, and possibly others), which all trace back very nicely to a reconstructed root *k-lH "to be tall". So if ...


7

While Akkadian š is generally cognate with Hebrew š or ś, there's good reason to believe its pronunciation was quite different! The reason it's transcribed as š is mostly historical—Akkadian was first deciphered by comparison to other Semitic languages, so when a certain phoneme seemed to correspond regularly to Hebrew š, they named it š. But there's ...


7

Actually, Zuckermanns hybridisation hypothesis is not as extreme as the relexification approach suggested by Horvath & Wexler (1997: Relexification in Creole and Non-Creole Languages). Zuckermann rejects the notion of Modern Hebrew (or, as he likes to call it, 'Israeli') being a Slavic language with a Hebrew lexicon, but he also rejects the traditional ...


7

The root w-l-d “to beget” (of a man) and “to give birth to” (of a woman) is found not only in Hebrew and Ethiopic, but in all Semitic languages (Akkadian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, South Arabian, Ethiopic etc.) The shift of initial w to y is regular in Hebrew and Aramaic.


7

The feminine ending /t/ is retained in all forms in Akkadian, Ugaratic, South Arabian and Ethiopic. In Canaanaic (Hebrew) and Aramaic it is retained in the construct state but lost in the absolute state in the singular. In classical (Qur’anic) Arabic the feminine /t/ is retained in all forms except the pausal form occurring at the end of each verse. It is ...


7

This is one of the topics addressed by Mike Brame in his MIT dissertation Ch. 5, for Classical Arabic, however I have to say that I find his discussion inconclusive. The prosodic pattern of verbs and deverbals (CCVC, CVCVC, CVC:C...) is convincingly reducible to non-lexical factors (e.g. "is this is 2nd measure derived verb; is this perfective, or ...


7

The basic reasoning is set forth in Ehret 2002, The civilizations of Africa : a history to 1800 in ch. 2. It is based on the claim that there was a civilization living in NE Africa, that they were the speakers of Afro-Asiatic (not Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan or Khoisan), and that their activities can be detected to some extent via archaeology. The physical ...


7

Draconis is correct, but I want to add an additional note. Latin did not "chop off" the final consonant. What really happened is that we start with the word albus, which is an adjective meaning "white", and add another adjectival suffix ending in -inus (-a, -um), to get albinus, essentially "pertaining to" or "relating to ...


6

The concept of “closeness” is actually rather problematic in linguistics. English and French are “close” in the sense that they share a large amount of common vocabulary, but in the sense of genetic relationship the Germanic language English and the Romance language French are only very distantly related, namely through proto-Indo-European. The Aramaic ...


6

Galilean Aramaic is a Western Aramaic language. The only surviving Western Aramaic language is Western Neo-Aramaic, spoken in the villages of Ma'loula, Jubb'adin and Bakh'a n Syria.


6

Let’s just take the beginning: In Afro-Asiatic we have the feminine ending -a which has the following evolution history: -a < -aha < -at < et What does -aha mean in an AA context? There are actually lots of real-life laryngeals in Semitic. Which one is ha? Where does “et” come from? Then you write: where ha is aleph Aleph is the ...


6

The basic explanation is based on a combination of infant anatomical development and parental expectation. Infants don't initially know how to control their velum, so everything is nasalized. Also, when breastfeeding a child has to lower the velum (to breath). This weights the probabilities in favor of the word for "mother" having a nasal. They initially can ...


6

Your cited examples do not involve the same roots in Hebrew and Arabic, they involve similar roots: [t] is not the same as [ṭ] and [f] is not the same as [p]. Semitic šim- "name" appears in Arabic as ism- and in Hebrew as šem: these have the same historical origin, but the synchronic roots are not the same, they are just similar. "Sky" which is from Semitic ...


6

As for the titular question, there's no standard measure of "degree of preservedness", but consonants are historically preserved in Semitic about as well as consonants are preserved in Indo-European – not particularly well (compared to Niger-Congo or Afroasiatic, for instance). The explanation, I think, is the relatively high instance of exotica in the ...


6

Yes, Aramaic through the ages has had a more-or-less complete cycle attested, thanks to its long documented history. Yaudic Aramaic as attested on the inscriptions at Zencirli appears not to have any articles. Imperial Aramaic, which has a large corpus, has a suffix א (-ā) as its definite article, which has been linked to the prefixed ה (h-) in Biblical ...


6

Aramaic gīsā is a shorter form for aḡīsā “wife’s sister’s husband”. I do not have an etymology for this, but it really does not look anything like Indo-European *sueḱuro- or any of its descendants.


6

It seems to be a coincidence. Latin albus comes from PIE *h₂elbhos, which has a lot of descendants: Hittite alpas, Sanskrit ṛbhú, etc. So if there was a borrowing, it would have been back in the PIE stages. There may have been contact between PIE and Proto-Semitic, but the similarity between *h₂elbhos and *L-B-N is much less striking. So I'd consider this ...


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