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Re: Proto-Semitic (was Re: markjjones@HOTMAIL.COM)

From:Rob Haden <magwich78@...>
Date:Thursday, March 10, 2005, 15:05
On Tue, 8 Mar 2005 21:05:42 +0100, Steven Williams <feurieaux@...>

>--- Rob Haden <magwich78@...> wrote: >> Here is my hypothesis about the Proto-Semitic stops. >> It seems that there was a three-way opposition >> between voiceless, voiced, and glottalized stops. >> However, there was probably not a glottalized >> bilabial stop, as that phoneme is extremely marked >> and thus very rare in language. So, we get the >> following: >> >> Glottalized: *(p') *t' *k' >> Voiceless: *p *t *k >> Voiced: *b *d *g >> >> Later on, it seems as though *k' became *q. In >> Arabic, *p > f and *g > j, probably via phonetic (> >> phonemic) aspiration and then lenition. There was >> also aspiration and lenition in Hebrew and Aramaic. >> >> I think it's also possible that Proto-Semitic, or >> its ancestor at some point, had an earlier uvular >> stop series, with at least *q and *q' (the voiced >> uvular stop is extremely marked). These may have >> become the phonemic glottal stop and/or (one of?) >> the pharyngeal fricatives. > >Makes sense. It might explain where Arabic got the >voiced pharyngeal fricative, which, IIRC, is very rare indeed.
I think it's rare cross-linguistically, but it's reconstructed for Proto- Semitic itself. Most modern and historically attested Semitic languages don't have it, though. To my knowledge, Arabic and (some of?) the South Arabian languages are the only ones that still have it. - Rob


Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...>