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:
Hebrew has a construct state and no genitive case (it doesn't have a case
system at all).
> 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.
> > >>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:
In modern colloquial Arabic, the case endings and the nunation are lost:
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.
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