Re: Proto-Semitic (was Re: markjjones@HOTMAIL.COM)
|From:||Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, March 12, 2005, 19:23|
On Mar 11, 2005, at 7:35 PM, Rob Haden wrote:
> On Fri, 11 Mar 2005 17:21:05 +0200, Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...>
>> According to the theory i learned, |-m| and |-n| were both
>> markers, which in some languages lost their definite strength and
>> became indefinite markers. This is also supposed to be the origin of
>> the few Hebrew adverbs in |-am|, like _hhinam_ "for free", _reiqam_
>> "empty". The original plural marker they say was just the long vowel,
>> so Hebrew |-im| developed from |-i-m|.
> Given that we see -m in Hebrew and Akkadian, and -n in Arabic, I think
> it's reasonable to reconstruct one marker, *-m, and an early
> *-m > -n in Arabic.
Okay, this is making me actually go to the trouble of looking though my
piles of papers from last year for my notes... :P
Here we go...
(note: this is being translated from Hebrew; apoligies for any
translation artifacts that make it sound weird)
Ancient South Arabian: addition of |m| for indefinite. also |n| for
definite (« "han"?) |klbn| vs. |klbm|
(commentary: i adopted this for my Semiticonlang!)
There is a universal phenomenon, where sometimes definite articles lose
their power to definitize. Because of this there are those who claim
that what is today an indefinite article (Arabic |tanwiin| -n, Akkadian
-m) once was a definite article.
> Also, since it marks only the singular in Arabic and Akkadian, and only
> the plural in Hebrew, it follows that the marker originally had no
> specific number connotation and could be used for both singular and
> plural. Furthermore, the fact that it follows case-markings means
> that it
> was likely an enclitic demonstrative. Hebrew seems to have generalized
> the oblique plural: *-i:-m > -im.
In my notes, under PLURAL i have a comment about the Hebrew ending:
|-m| < |*-ma|, the particle "ma"?
The nasal was added late. The original form might be found in the
construct form, without the nasal.
(Hebrew) |devar _ma_| (=some thing (sic)) indefinite article!
> I wonder if the 'long vowel' ending is really no ending at all, just a
> prosodic process. If so, then we can reconstruct a stage for Proto-
> Semitic where there were no number distinctions. Then the enclitic
> demonstrative *-m acquired secondary force as either a singulative
> and Akkadian) or plural (Hebrew) marker. Another piece of evidence in
> favor of this is the fact that, in both Hebrew and Arabic, the definite
> article does not decline for case, number, or gender (cf. Classical
> ar-rajulu 'the man (nom.)' vs. ar-rija:lu: 'the men (nom)').
> - Rob
The plural of _alrajul(u)_ (i like transliterating the
sometimes-absorbed |l| as an L all the time) has a long |u| at the end?
"quit it with the damn schwa already! i hate phonetics!"
- my friend e
(back when we took intro to linguistics together)