Fwd: [b-hebrew] Samekh/Sin

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Mon Nov 22 04:44:53 EST 2004

Peter Kirk wrote:
> (Quoting me)
> >Loprieno's phonetic transcription of Coptic certainly has no
> >theta, ...
> >
> Thanks for the clarification. The Coptic alphabet, according to
> http://std.dkuug.dk/JTC1/SC2/WG2/docs/n2636.pdf, certainly
> seems to have a theta (although variously names thethe, thita, 
> tutte, tida) which clearly corresponds in shape, position in the 
> alphabet and numeric value with the Greek theta. If this document 
> is in fact based on false information, there may just be time to 
> stop the letter being separately encoded in Unicode, but it looks 
> to me like it is clearly attested.

The text sample does not include this letter, among others.  I 
suppose now it's not meant to be all inclusive, but just to give a
general idea of the sound.

> >...  Loprieno suggests that the AfroAsiatic *t. and *s. merge into
> >Eg. /d/, which in turn is realized as an ejective t.  AfroAsiatic
> >emphatic velars *k. and *x. merge into /j-/ (commonly 
> >transcribed d_), for example: AA *wrk. > Eg. w3d_ */`waRij-/ 
> >'green', Sem *warq (yaroq, in hebrew).  However, this d_ is now 
> >closer to Tsade: Tanis is transcribed Tsoan.  Egyptian /d/ (heir of
> > *t. and *s.) is rendered by Semitic tet (t.) in Hebrew and 
> >Babylonian, whereas in the other direction, Tet is rendered in 
> >Egyptian by either /d/ or /t/.
> >
> Here I wonder if we are confusing what happened to Afroasiatic 
> cognates with what happened to loan words. These things can be 
> very different, when we are talking about rather distantly related 
> languages. Contrast English cognates (via Germanic) of Latin and 
> Greek words with English loan forms of those words, e.g. "five" 
> (cognate) vs. "quint-" (Latin loan) vs. "pent-" (Greek loan). The 
> phonetic correspondences for cognates are quite different from 
> those for loan words. There are even similar mismatches within 
> Germanic: "ship" (cognate) vs. "skip" and "skiff" (loans from 
> Norse).

Both are discussed.  But whereas (according to him), AA *s.
evolves to /d/, it is /d_/ which attains the close to s sound.  By
the way, I forgot to point this out, but he has a note that
apparently disassociates himself from the view that AA represents
a proto-language.  How he can speak of things like words,
phonemes and pronouns in AA being "heirs" of things in Semitic
and Egyptian without a proto-language is curious to me, but he
claims that there are various "theoretical models" which he 
discusses in a different book.  Above, he claims that the AA word
*wrk. evolves into Egyptian with the k. sound attaining an
ejective c like sound, and hence would be transliterated as tsade
if borrowed in Hebrew.  

Yitzhak Sapir

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