[b-hebrew] Anahnu - Anu

David Kummerow farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Mon Nov 13 18:33:17 EST 2006

The diachronic development in Hebrew is actually even more complicated 
as there is a third, albeit rare, form: nahnu (Gen 42:11; Exod 16:7, 8; 
Num 32:32; Lam 3:42). J-M (1.120) suggest that this form is the more 
ancient, the aleph of 'anahnu due to analogy with the 1cs. Certainly 
'anu seems to be a phonologically reduced form of 'anahnu, and is the 
form used in Mishnaic Hebrew.

David Kummerow.

>   The changes from   literary Arabic to the colloquial language are
>   in many ways equal to the changes from proto-Semitic to BH.  Now, in 
> classical Arab. the term for 'we'  is NAH(.)NU, compared,
>   for instance,  to the spoken Palestinian or Egyptian EH(.)NA .
>   In the colloquial the first Nun drops out, exactly as in the case
>   of Anu in relation to Anahnu.
>      It appears that in Heb. there is rather a diachronic development. 
>  In fact,  Mandelkern lists only one occurrence of Anu in the HB,  in 
> Jer. 42:6  (actually with defective vowelling and the Qeri is: Anahnu! 
> ).  I assume that the Mishnaic literatue and what followed is full 
> with  the shorter form.
>     On the other hand there are of course many occurrences of Anokhi
>   as well of Ani in BH; as I mentioned they seem to be a fusion of
>   usages in different dialects and languages.     Uri

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