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

From:Rob Haden <magwich78@...>
Date:Sunday, March 13, 2005, 18:19
On Sun, 13 Mar 2005 12:42:08 +0200, Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...>

>> Is there any indication that the Semitic definite article *hal(-) is >> more recent? From a syntactic point of view, it would seem to be >> *older*, since it precedes nouns. >> - Rob > >Why would that make it older?
Because right-branching languages overwhelming have modifiers following headwords. If *hal was originally a demonstrative (as seems likely), it's in the wrong place for a right-branching language like Arabic or Semitic. I conclude that *hal was an old demonstrative that, as such, preceded its headwords even when (most) everything else became right-branching. An interesting question is why we don't seem to find it in Akkadian (or do we?). - Rob