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mSr & Arabic roots [Was: Re: New To List]

From:Stephen Mulraney <ataltanie@...>
Date:Wednesday, February 12, 2003, 15:04
On Wed, 12 Feb 2003 10:47:42 +1300
Wesley Parish <wes.parish@...> wrote:

> Mizraim, best known nowadays as the name of one of the branches of the > Middle-Eastern Jewish community - Mizrahim, the people of Mizraim.
m-z-r? A closer look at the Arabic name for it now reveals that I made an error in distinguishing the emphatics S, D, T & DH: I read D for S (Durned dots!) So The Mod. Arab. for it seems to be mSr (I can't easily find the short vowels). Presumeably "Mizraim", with a "z" is an older transliteration. Unless the root has drifted form mzr to mSr. Interesting: Do Semitic roots undergo such drift? They are never pronounced themselves, but such a change might make itself known in the words derived from it. OTOH, if ancient roots are continuously referred to when coining new words, it might impart an unusual degree of stability on the phonology. Anyway, new roots seem to be added occasionally, or at least borrowings such as "television" (in Arabic) seem to be conceived as deriving from a root like t-l-f-z-y-n or thereabouts. s. ---- The best way to remove a virus is with vi and a steady hand. Stephen Mulraney... ataltane at