17

The take of an Israeli linguist: There must be a consensus among scholars about one thing: Modern Israeli Hebrew emerged as a result of language revival, and as such its development from its so-called origins is different from the development of nearly all other living languages today (and all fully-fledged languages spoken by a monolingual community). At ...


16

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 ...


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....


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

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

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

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.


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

Persian had used to use a variety of alphabets throughout the time, so I think it would not make any particular difficulty to read in Persian Arabic alphabet as well. The main difficulties are a) sounds not present in Arabic, yet noticeable in Persian (or other languages using the script), and b) a richer stock of vowels. These two factors elicit in ...


7

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 ...


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 ...


6

There isn't much information on the language referred to by the OP as "Fifa'a", but there is some information on a group of people in Saudi Arabia called the Fayfa. The Fayfa are described in this evangelical religious website as speaking Mehri. Additionally, the Missionary Atlas Project lists the "Fayfa" people and also describes them as speaking Mehri. ...


6

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 ...


6

There are many non-Semitic languages written in Arabic-based script. Persian or Farsi, presently used in Iran is an Indo-European language and use a variant of the Arabic script. Mozarabic language was a language used by Spanish Christians back when Arabic was the main language of learning and literature. It is primarily written in the Arabic script. It is ...


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

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

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

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 ...


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 ...


5

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 ...


5

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 ...


5

These are so-called determinatives. They are not part of the word, but help to define the semantic scope of the following word. The raised “l” means that it is a male personal name. The sign which Knudtzon transcribed as a raised “ilu” means that it is the name of a god. (ilu is the Akkadian word for “god”; the practice of modern Assyriology is to transcribe ...


5

The classic original study is Joseph Greenberg 1950 "The Patterning of Root Morphemes in Semitic" (Word 5, 162–181). A later study with a larger lexicon was conducted by M. Mrayati 1987 "Statistical studies of Arabic language roots". The OCP controversy features this pattern prominently. There are different degrees of strength to the particular effects, for ...


5

@ Brad Miller Not only Telugu, but most; in fact, every Indian language has the same rule of using plural to denote respect. I am a native speaker of Kannada. I know Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Hindi. In Kannada 2nd person singular is "Neenu" (Used for friend or family member) and the second person plural is "Neevu" (Used for elders or superiors) In Tamil, ...


5

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 ...


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