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

From:Rob Haden <magwich78@...>
Date:Sunday, March 13, 2005, 18:10
On Sun, 13 Mar 2005 12:41:41 +0200, Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...>

>On Mar 13, 2005, at 2:01 AM, Rob Haden wrote: >> On Sat, 12 Mar 2005 21:39:12 +0200, Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...> >> wrote: >>> Ancient South Arabian: addition of |m| for indefinite. also |n| for >>> definite (« "han"?) |klbn| vs. |klbm|
>Sorry, i don't know... but i'd expect that the researchers wouldn't >have theorized that one is definite and the other is indefinite if they >didn't appear in the same texts.
No problem. I'd wager, however, that either we see |klbm| first and then |klbn|, or they are present at the same time but in different areas, so some places may have had a change *-m > -n earlier than others. Also, Hebrew has -m but Aramaic has -n.
>> Question: Is the *-m element present in the dual? Arabic has nom. >> -a:n(i), >> acc./gen. -ayn(i). Hebrew has non-terminal -ayim and terminal -Oyim, >> for >> the absolute state only (never the construct state). > >Don't know.
I wonder if the dual forms are morphologically complex: Arabic nom. -a:n(i) < -ayn < *-aym, acc. -ayn(i) < -ayin < -ayim. That would compare it favorably to the Hebrew forms: -ayim/-Oyim. The /a:/ in the Arabic dual nom. is likely from the same source as the Arabic "contract verbs" -- a: < ay(a). So, the original format for the dual would be direct *-ay-m vs. oblique *-ay-i-m, where *-ay is the real dual suffix, *-i is the genitive/oblique ending, and *-m is the enclitic indefinite pronoun. The vowel alternations in Hebrew are, to my knowledge, the result of prosodic processes (i.e. terminal vs. non-terminal position).
>> There is an indefinite pronominal stem *ma- in Proto-Semitic. I think >> this is the identity of the *-m ending. So it was probably an indefinite >> article the entire time. In the plural: devari: ma 'some things' > >> deva:ri:m 'things'. > >Exactly, that's pretty much what my notes were saying!
Oh, okay. :) However, it would mean that there was never a suffixed or enclitic definite article, only an indefinite one. - Rob