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North African Romance Conlang

From:Vima Kadphises <vima_kadphises@...>
Date:Sunday, June 18, 2000, 18:40
On Sat, 17 June 2000, Padraic wrote:

"and there was one tantalising hint at a north-African romance conlang a good
while ago. Haven't heard anything more about it, though."

I've searched the CONLANG archives rather throughly and have found the same
tantalising hints about this conlang, but no record of the person who proposed
it or what shape it would take (beyond speculation that it would have Berber
and perhaps Punic in it.

The reason this interests me so much is that it relates nicely to the subject of
my work, which is a Romanized Punic that survived to the 5th century C.E.,
preserved (for us) in about 79 inscriptions (mostly grave markers) and numerous
references in Augustine.

There's not a lot of information out there on Roman influences on Berber and Punic,
and I thought that I had gathered it all. I'd be very pleased to hear from
someone who has knowledge about this topic.

Here's a sample of the language (which I've been calling Tripolitanian Punic, and is
known in the literature as "Latino-Libyan"):

Flabi Saicham bn Macarcum Sonmon, tribynus.  By-myft Yriraban Machrus u$eb.

"Flavius Saicham, son of Macarcum Sonmon, Tribunus. Machrus erected this stele for (or:
"under") the leader (Ar. "mufti") Yriraban."

Notes: There are three different "s"s used in this inscription. Some of the names, in
which Berber elements are occasionally recognizable, use a Greek sigma in place
of the more common Latin s (the value of this sigma is unknown). The symbol
that I have rendered $ is an affricate /c/, a reflex of ProtoSemitic *ts'; Here
it appears in the Yifil (=Heb. hifil) form of the verb natsabh (NTsB), "to
stand," therefore, lit. "he caused to stand" (which, in Hebrew and Phoenician,
is the verb used to erect steles (Heb. matstsebheth). In the Latino-Libyan
inscriptions, this character is an S with a line drawn through the middle.

The Roman influences (e.g. use of modified Latin script, phonology, and loanwords)
are obvious. I'm dying to know who is developing this North African conlang.


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