Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Construct state and/or genitive case in Semitic langs

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Thursday, May 18, 2006, 11:43

On Wed, 17 May 2006 19:18:46 -0400, Jim Henry wrote:

> According to the Wikipedia article I cited, Arabic has a > genitive case as well as a construct state. I'm not sure > about Hebrew, but surely one or more persons on this list > will know. This article > > > > is unclear on the genitive and/or construct state and I suspect > (based on its apparent inconsistency with what I've heard > elsewhere) that it may be inaccurate.
Hebrew has a construct state and no genitive case (it doesn't have a case system at all).
> [...] > > > >>Is "construct state" a "case", as it seems at the moment? Or is it > > >>like "definite" and "indefinite", whatever they are? > > [...] > > That I don't know. If for instance a noun can be marked as both nominative > and construct, or accusative and construct, but can't be > both construct and definite or both construct and indefinite, then I > would say that construct is a kind of definiteness marking > in a given language. But I don't know if that is true of Arabic > and/or Hebrew.
In Arabic, a noun in the construct state can be in any case. Hence, it is just plain wrong to call the construct state a "case" - it is indeed like a kind of definiteness marking. A noun in the construct state doesn't take the definite article but is considered definite without it. In Arabic, it is also not nunated (marked as indefinite by suffixing -n). So you have: _baytun_ 'a house' (indefinite) _al baytu_ 'the house' (definite) _baytu l-rajuli_ 'the man's house' (construct state) These are all in the nominative case. The accusatives are: _baytan_ _al bayta_ _bayta l-rajuli_ In modern colloquial Arabic, the case endings and the nunation are lost: _bayt_ _al bayt_ _bayt al-rajul_ If I made a mistake and the Arabic forms I gave are incorrect, or utterly misunderstood the way the Arabic system works, please correct me. ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf


Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>