[b-hebrew] Genesis 31: 47: What Foreign Language Is That?

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Nov 24 10:58:53 EST 2007

On Nov 24, 2007 12:55 AM, Jim Stinehart wrote:

> You say that 'sahaduta' is an Aramaic word, and that -uta is a nice, good Aramaic ending.
> I am having trouble confirming that on The Complete Aramaic Lexicon site that you referenced.
> 1.? When I type in 'sahaduta', it says there is no such Aramaic word.
> 2.? When I look at the Old Aramaic texts, I do not seem to see any -uta endings.
> 3.? What does -uta mean as an ending in Aramaic?
> 4.? Could you list several Aramaic words that end with -uta?

The Lexicon site is a Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon.  This doesn't
mean its authors
pretend it can ever be complete.

Hebrew has two main states for a noun - absolute and construct.   In
Aramaic, because
the definite article is affixed to the end of the word, this gives the
feeling as if there are
three states - absolute, construct, and definite.

-uta is the definite state ending in this case ("The Mound of
Testimony").   But in
addition, the -t fell out in the absolute (non definite) state, and
remained in the
construct, just like in Hebrew (and Aramaic) the -t fell out in the
feminine absolute
but remained in the construct (and they may be related).  Because it
fell out, you
have to look up the word in the lexicon with a -w ending, not an -wt) ending.

Thus, sahaduta would have had three states: sahadu - absolute, sahadut
- construct,
and sahaduta - definite.  This -ut ending is equivalent to the same
ending in Hebrew.
It generally has the effect of making the noun into an abstract concept.  Thus,
dmw "alike, similar" - dmwt? *damwuta > damuta "likeness, statue" -
Tell Fekherye
mlk "king" mlkt(h) malkut "kingship" - Sefire I
&hd "witness" sahduta "testimony"
The first two are clear Old Aramaic inscriptions.  In the first, we
even see the -u-
vowel probably because the short u combines with the root consonant w to create
a long u: vowel, and this is then spelled out.  In the second, the -h
is the third
person possessive suffix ("his kingship").

Yitzhak Sapir

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