[b-hebrew] Hebrew grammar, (was Zech 6:8)

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Fri Dec 2 07:10:03 EST 2005

On 02/12/2005 07:50, Herman Meester wrote:

> ...
>You have a good point there. I think I will let go of the idea that
>C1-gemination is dependent of Hebrew losing its final short vowels. In
>my theory, if we assume that Hebrew and Arabic cannot both have
>independently invented the C1-gemination as article (which is not
>certain of course, we cannot exclude the possibility of one language
>influencing the other, but that chance is naturally smaller), we have
>to believe that when (proto-)Hebrew and (proto-)Arabic still had full
>short vowel endings in use, C1-gemination was already innovated in the
>language. Or wasn't it an innovation at all, rather a very old
>phenomenon in one branch of Semitic? I will further explore the link
>between Arabic and Hebrew regarding Wayyqtl and the article. We also
>have the "Lam Yaqtul" phenomenon in Arabic, which is also an
>interesting example of "preterite yiqtol"; imagine (I'm not saying I
>think it's possible yet) that even Yaqtul in Lam yaqtul is the result
>of dissimilation of La-yyaqtul ~> lam yaqtul! After all,
>(proto-)Semitic, I thought, has basically "LA" for the negation; it is
>interesting to see if Arabic Lam and Lan could have anything to do
>with dissimilation of C1(prefix)-geminates in the yaqtul verb form. In
>all cases where Lam or Lan are used (my Arabic grammar says) a yaqtul
>(usually called imperfect) verb form has to follow directly! This is
>very interesting, of course. Now we can suggest that either an "[n]"
>or an "[m]" is there inside Wayyqtl, too. But then we have to design
>very complicated patterns of assimilation for Hebrew and Arabic,
>because we can't see this [m] or [n] in any Wayyqtl in Hebrew, if I'm
>informed well. But before I continue this speculation, I'll take a
>look in a bigger Arabic grammar.

Interesting, but this goes beyond my Arabic - except that I do know that 
LA still indicates negation in Arabic, I was saying it all the time to 
Egyptian street vendors! Remember that in Hebrew (but not in Arabic) nun 
assimilates regularly causing gemination, i.e. nC -> CC, in "weak" verbs 
and in the niphal yiqtol, so the observed pattern of wayyiqtol verbs and 
of definite nouns could be explained by a definite marker which was 
originally an- or han-. This marker, if in proto-NWSemitic, might have 
become al- in Arabic (at least in some environments) by some kind of 
dissimilation, but when combined with la- might have become lam-.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list