Tiberian phonology (segholates)

Henry Churchyard churchyh at ccwf.cc.utexas.edu
Fri Aug 6 00:50:58 EDT 1999

> Subject: tiberian phonology, puzzle for peter
> From: Vincent DeCaen <decaen at chass.utoronto.ca>
> Date: Thu, 5 Aug 1999 14:51:51 -0400 (EDT)

> using standard transcription, and vowels I,",E,A,F,O,U,  schwa :
> MELEK:  "king",  P.ESEL  "idol"

> forms in major pause
> MELEK:  , vs.  P.FSEL

> closed syllables, unstressed
> MELEK:/MAL:K.   vs   CEDEQ/CID:Q "righteousness"
> P.FSEL/P.IS:L   vs   )FBEN/)AB:N "stone"

> take a guess which pattern is most common, which least (hint, all
> the textbooks take MELEK: as paradigmatic: wrong!).

Richard Goerwitz was puzzling over such questions several years ago,
but I don't know what conclusions he eventually arrived at (though at
one point he seemed to be in favor of abandoning phonological
derivations as such in favor of arbitrary morphological "mishqalim",
i.e. sets of noun alternation patterns into which consonantal roots
can be inserted).

The standard historical explanation is that the original *qitl nouns
have gotten entangled with the original *qatl nouns (partly because of
such things as Philippi's Law, no doubt), so that in Tiberian there
are segholates which are no longer wholly one or the other.

But I think you may be wrong about the textbooks -- it seems to me
that the ones in my experience have taken the "stone" type ('ebhen,
pausal 'aabhen, suffixed 'abhn-) as paradigmatic of original a-class
segholates, even though for pedagogical reasons they may not discuss
pausal alternations in the same place where they introduce other
segholate alternations.  Anyway, I know I was surprised when I first
came across the fact that the particular word "melekh" does not have a
special pausal form (and dashed off a quick e-mail to Richard Goerwitz
asking him about it ;-)  ).

Henry Churchyard   churchyh at ccwf.cc.utexas.edu   http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/

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