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Re: articles

From:Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...>
Date:Wednesday, February 2, 2005, 2:04
On Feb 1, 2005, at 1:48 PM, Ray Brown wrote:
> [SEMITIC DEFINITE ARTICLE] >> There were some ancient Semitic languages that seem to have had a >> suffixed /m/ or /n/ definite article.
> That I did not know. I understand Classical Arabic, as well as having a > preposited definite article. also gave its nouns the following endings > (in > the singular): > Indefinite Definite > nom. -un -u > acc. -an -a > gen. -in -n > But there -n shows indefiniteness.
Yup! It seems like Semitic languages went through stages of using a definite article, which then lost its definiteness and was replaced by a new one. So they say that the Arabic |-n| started out definite and then evolved into indefinite. They also point at a few Hebrew words that end in anomylous |m|s as the remains of an old |-m| article.
>> I remember learning one theory >> that claims that instead of viewing the Arabic definite article as an >> /al/ that sometimes assimilates to dental consonants: >> |albayt| "the house" vs. |arrajul| "the man" >> Instead, the basic function of definiteness is carried by the >> geminated >> consonant! (cf. Hebrew, where the definte article is always >> |ha|+gemination, except with gutturals, and never with an extra /l/).
> Interesting - why then would Arabic just geminate the dental consonants > and not others?
Dissimilation of the non-dentals, i think. -Stephen (Steg) "word-making is world-making." ~ avivah gottlieb zornberg