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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:42 pm 
Avisaru
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Wiseblood wrote:
--- (lots of stuff I was happy to read but probably don't need to quote) ---
Thanks! Thanks very much!

Wiseblood wrote:
Hi all. Sorry Tom, I got your PM some time ago, but Real Life TM interfered with me coming here sooner. There is so much written now that I'll probably need to re-read everything a few times to fully form some useful answers.
There's no need to apologize; but your comments are very welcome.

Wiseblood wrote:
... S-K-R ... سكرانُ /sakrānu/ "alcoholic", سكِر /sakira/ ... Akkadian word /šakrānu/ ...
... S-F-Ḥ ... سفح /safaḥa/ ... سفّاح /saffāḥun/ ... مسفحة /misfaḥatun/ ...


Wiseblood wrote:
TomHChappell wrote:
... intensive of tetra-consonantal?
Hmmm, usually you can't. However, Arabic does have special derivative forms for quadra-consonantal roots that can alter the valiency of the verb, and these differ somewhat from those used for tri-consontal verbs. I should also note that quadra-consontals that are really doubled bi-consonants like زلزل /zalzala/ "shake" and قهقه /qahqaha/ "laugh boisterously" are considered frequentatives/intensives by their nature.
Quite interesting. Are C1C2C1C2 the most frequent kind of tetraconsonantal roots in Semitic languages in general? Or at least the most-common other than "modern" (post-1492) loanwods?

Wiseblood wrote:
PAA is usually reconstructed as having at least a half-dozen affricates along with a similar number of labialised stops. PS itself probably had /ts/,/dz/,/ṭṣ/,/tɬ/ and /ṭɬ/; these became /s/,/z/,/ṣ/,/š/ and /ḍ/ in Arabic (altough the latter two were still laterals in the middle ages) and /s/,/z/,/ts/,/s/ and /ts/ in MH, respectively (there's some good evidence that many of these were still affricates in biblical times though). Many modern Arabic dialects have /č/ and/or /ts/ as well. Ambiguity seems to be avoided by negating sequences that resemble the affricates - ie the sequences /t+s/ and /t+š/ simply don't occur in Arabic.
Useful to know, and not what I expected.

Wiseblood wrote:
There's actually a fair bit of research out there on phonotactic restrictions in PAA and Semitic roots. PAA and PS definitely had restrictions on the kinds/sequences of phonemes that were allowed in tri-consonantals.
I thought so; any idea how I could find some of it?

Wiseblood wrote:
There are a *really* small number of IE-style compounds in Arabic, and the only one I can think of now is رأسماليّة /raʔsamāliyyatun/ "capitalism" from رأس /raʔsun/ "head" + مال /mālun/ "wealth". There is also something called an "absolute compound" that consists of two nouns in the definite accusative placed next to each other. This is mostly restricted to place names بيتَ لحمَ /bayt.a lam.a/ "Bethlehem": house.DEF.ACC.SG meat.DEF.ACC.SG and numbers in the 'teens ثلاثةَ عشرَ /θalāθ.at.a ʕašar.a/ "thirteen": three.FEM.DEF.ACC.SG ten.DEF.ACC.SG.
I thought it was "house of bread" rather than "house of meat".
BTW what are "bakery", "butchershop", "sandwich-shop or delicatessen" in Semitic languages (especially Hebrew and Arabic)?

Wiseblood wrote:
In Egyptian's case, I know for a fact that not only did it have templative morphology, but many of the forms correspond to those in Semitic. I can give examples, if you'd like.
I'd like; yes, thanks.
Wiseblood wrote:
TomHChappell wrote:
MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF QUESTIONS
Good God! I think I'll need some time to go through these. O_o
If you answer any of them at all, I'll be happy with your answer whenever it arrives. If you answer all of them, more power to you! But please don't hold back some answers because you aren't yet ready with others. I asked enough questions that I'd be quite surprised if any one person would answer them all by himself/herself, and actually expect it to be some time before they're all answered. Probably some of the answers should be "nobody knows (except for a few crackpots who are probably as wrong as they are sure)".

about Berber and Beja inter alia, Wiseblood wrote:
Again, I'll fish out some data, if anyone wants some.
I do! I do! Thanks.

Wiseblood wrote:
However, I absolutely agree that describing verbs with "weak" radicals as irregular is probably not a good idea.
(1) Which radicals are "weak"?
(2) Why would it be a bad idea to describe them as "irregular"?
(3) How do they manage to be regular? what regular inflections apply to them that might be considered problematic, and what do the results look like?

Wiseblood wrote:
Okay, that's all I have time for now, I'll try to get back to this sooner.
Thanks!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
... and, btw:
@Mecislau, @hwhating: Thanks for your posts, as well.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:21 pm 
Avisaru
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hwhatting wrote:
Sorry if this is way off, but what about qiryat as in Qiryat Shmona etc.? Is that an Aramaic loan or does it belong to a different root?


Hmm. Good point. In modern Hebrew קריה qiryah /kirya/ means "campus" (qiryat being its construct form). I didn't know this word before. The sense in Qiryat Shmona (ie, "City of Eight"), though, strikes me as either Biblical or borrowed.

TomHChappell wrote:
Quite interesting. Are C1C2C1C2 the most frequent kind of tetraconsonantal roots in Semitic languages in general? Or at least the most-common other than "modern" (post-1492) loanwods?


By far. In Hebrew at least I think the C1C2C1C2-style roots are far more common than the modern loan roots.

Though Wiseblood, do you know if many of these go back to Proto-Semitic or if the "onomatopoeic" roots of this are just a shared feature in many (all?) of the Semitic languages? I ask because I've had very little success finding cognate C1C2C1C2 roots between Hebrew and Arabic. Every now and then I come across a root existing in both, but then they seem to have very different meanings.

Wiseblood wrote:
Ambiguity seems to be avoided by negating sequences that resemble the affricates - ie the sequences /t+s/ and /t+š/ simply don't occur in Arabic.


Hmm. That's interesting, and yes, generally Hebrew seems to do the same thing. I can think of at least one common example of /tš/ in Hebrew (תשובה tšuvah "answer"), but that's not really a problem because /tš/ doesn't occur as a native affricate (only in loan words).

TomHChappell wrote:
I thought it was "house of bread" rather than "house of meat".
BTW what are "bakery", "butchershop", "sandwich-shop or delicatessen" in Semitic languages (especially Hebrew and Arabic)?


It means "house of bread" in Hebrew. The Arabic name means "house of meat"; same words, but with some semantic drift.

(It's בית לחם Beyt Lechem in Hebrew, by the way)

In Hebrew:
Bakery: מאפייה ma'afiyah /maafiyá/, derived from מאפה ma'afeh /maafé/ "pastry", from the verb root אפה 'afah /ʔafá/ "bake"

Butcher's shop: אטליז 'itliz /itlíz/. I have no idea what the etymology of this word is. It looks non-derived, suggesting either a borrowing or a primitive root. Any idea, Wiseblood? A "butcher" (as in the person) is קצב qatzav /katsáv/, derived from the homophonous root meaning "allot", apparently.

Deli: מעדנייה ma`adaniyah /maadaniyá/, from מעדן ma`adan /maadán/ "delicacy", from the verb עידן `iden /ʔidén/ "refine, moderate, pamper". I'm not sure if this is related to עדן `eden /ʔéden/ "Eden" or not.

The -iyah suffix in Hebrew has a collective sense, and basically forms places out of common nouns. Another example is ספרייה sifriyah /sifriyá/ "library" from ספר sefer /séfer/ "book".

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 5:14 am 
Sanci
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Mecislau wrote:
Generally, the language is completely intolerant of word-final consonant clusters in native words, but the 2sg fem form of the past tense is formed with the ending -t, which usually ends up forming a cluster.


Out of curiosity, what happens when you apply a suffix pronoun to the verb? I know we avoid this problem in Levantine Arabic by inserting an epenthetic vowel in between the verb and suffix(es):

ḍarab-(a)t
hit-you.MSG "you strike"

ḍarab-t(i)-nī
hit-you.MSG-me "you struck me"

Mecislau wrote:
In fact, for verbs I can list them all: PS *mV- (nominalizing), *nV- (detransitive), *tV- (reflexive), *šV- (causative), not counting personal agreement affixes.


As a fiddly little aside, all of these morphemes show up in other branches of AA as well. Probably at the time of PAA, these weren't quite bound morphemes yet as 1) they often show up suffixed to the verb in Cushitic and 2) the prefix/infix *t-/*-t- shows up in Egyptian as both an impersonal pronoun (similar to french on) as well as the subject of "passive" verbs:


*radj.n.tw n.j ḥtp.w.t (probably pronounced something like: */laṭī.ni.tuwa n.ī ḥatap.aw.at/ )
give.PERFECT.one to.me offering.PL.FEM: "one has given offerings to me" or "the offerings were given to me"

*radj.n.tw n.j ḥtpwt jn wʕb (probably */laṭī.ni.tuwa n.ī ḥatap.aw.at ʔan waʕʕāb/ )
give.PERFECT.one to.me offering.PL.FEM by priest: "the offerings were given to me by the priest"


Furthermore, at least for Semitic, we can divide nominalizing *m- into *ma- for place and time, *mi- for instrument and *mu- for relatives (forms participles). I don't know how much of this might be obfuscated by Hebrew's fiddly vowel system. ;-)

Quote:
That is, if the stem vowel is /i:/, the prefix vowel should be /a/; if the stem vowel is /a:/, the prefix vowel should be /i/. You can still see this in Hebrew:


Interesting. Arabic is quite different in this regard. The stem voweling is determined by the verb's aktionsart. "Permanant states" take 'u' in both the perfect & imperfect; كبُر /kabura/ -> يكبُر /yakburu/ "he got big -> is getting big", سمُنت /samunat/ -> تسمُن /tasmunu/ "she got fat/ is getting fat" while "temporary/mental states" take 'i' in the perfect and 'a' in the imperfect; فهِم /fahima/ -> /yafhamu/ "he understood/ understands" and transative verbs take 'a' in the perfect and either 'i' or 'u' in the imperfect كتَب /kataba/ -> يكتُب /yaktubu/ "he wrote/writes", ضرَب /ḍaraba/ -> يضرِب /yaḍribu/ "he hit/ hits". Meanwhile, the prefix vowel is determined by the verb's wazn. So, for example, all faʕala (base, Form I) verbs take 'a' in their prefix (as seen above), while faʕʕala (intensives, Form II) always take 'u' in their prefix; yukabbiru "he is enlarging"

So far as I know, this feature dates back to PS, as it shows up in both East Semitic and South Semitic as well. I've seen it argued that the perfect forms were actually a verbal noun + pronoun; compare the PS passive participle forms *paʕūlum/*paʕīlum and the PS infinitival form *paʕālum. However, I've seen people attribute Barth's Law to PS, so at least in that case, Hebrew may be more conservative (my memory on this is rather fuzzy at the moment, though).

TomHChappell wrote:
Do any tetraconsonantal roots come from compounds of two biconsonantal roots? Do any quinquiconsonantal roots come from compounds of a biconsonantal root with a triconsonantal root, in either order?


This just reminded me of another form of compound in Arabic, called النحت an-naḥtu "carving/sculpting". It's used when elements of two or more words are combined to refer to them all. Off the top of my head:

x بسمل /basmala/ means "he said 'in the name of God'" from بسم الله /bi-smi-llāhi/ "in the name of God".
x سمعل /samʕala/ means "he said 'peace upon' someone" from السلام عليكم /'as-salāmu `alaykum/ "peace upon you".
x الحوقلة /ʔal-ḥawqalatu/ refers to saying لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله /lā ḥawla wa-lā quwwata illā billāhi/ "there is no power and no might but by means of God".
x المشألة /ʔal-mašʔalatu/ describes saying ما شاء الله /mā šāʔa-llāhu/ "as God wills".

As you can tell, many of these are religious in nature and were coined in the classical period. I'm pretty certain that there are more modern/seculare ones, but for the life of me, I can't think of any right now. There's actually a bit of science to this; these new words can't violate Arabic phonotactics - ie. they can't contain both س /s/ and ز /z/ as these never appear in a native root together (there are numerous other frobidden combinations, as I recall). I also believe they have to have at least one 'liquid' letters - ر /r/, ل /l/, م /m/ & ن /n/.

TomHChappell wrote:
Lots of stuff about roots & phonotactic restrictions.


Again, medieval Arabic scholars spent a *lot* of time looking into this stuff. Unfortunately, most of what I know of this I read years ago, and all of it was written in Arabic. However, I'm pretty sure there are translations/modern studies written in english. I'll let you know if I come across any. If worse comes to worst, I suppose I could see about translating something. Again, this is interesting to me, but I unfortunately can only devote so much time to this. :-(

With respect to your questions about syllable structure and consonant clusters, I can say that Arabic only allows clusters medially. Initial clusters are broken up with epenthetic vowels + glottal stop (hamza), like the استفعل ʔistafʕala verbs mentioned above. Most modern Arabic dialects break up the final clusters that resulted from the loss of case/mood with anaptactic vowels: CA kalb-un -> *kalb-0 -> PA kalib. Basically, Arabic only allows CV, CVC, CV: or CV:C *if* (and only if) the second consonant is a geminate (CV:C:V).

Mecislau wrote:
However, the majority of any such trends are most likely just historical accident.


Again, I'll disagree here (although I might be misreading what you mean by "accident"). I really wish I were better versed in this, but I can say with some confidence that there were definite restrictions in PS and PAA on what kinds of consonants could be in a root at that same time and what positions they could take.

Mecislau wrote:
Final {h} not resulting from an earlier *w or *j is also very rare if not nonexistent.


There are actually a fair number of roots that end in /h/ in Arabic. Two that immediately spring to mind are W-J-H, as in وجه /wajhun/ "face" and perhaps more (in)famously Š-B-H, as in شبه الجزيرة العربية /šibhu-l-jazīrati-l-ʕarabiyyati/ "The Arabian Peninsula" (lit: the arabian semblance of an island).

Mecislau wrote:
While I can't cite any examples off the top of my head, neighboring consonants (ie, C1 and C2, or C2 and C3) will often acquire the same pharyngealization or voicing state as the other (if possible).


This happens quite regularly in Arabic. For example, the -t- infix of iftaʕala verbs takes on either voicing or emphasis (but not both) from on adjacent consonant: زهر /zahara/ "it shone" -> ازدهر /izdahara/ "it bloomed", ضرب /ḍaraba/ "he struck" -> اضطرب /iḍaraba/ "he got agitated". There are other such changes/assimilations, but I think you get the idea.

Quote:
Not very common. The only real infix is the -t- of the appropriately-named t-Stem (Hebrew hitpa`el, Arabic 'ifta`ala, etc), which is not universal. This is simply a case of a former prefix undergoing metathesis with the following consonant, either in all cases (as in Arabic) or in certain cases (as in Hebrew, where it only happened before /s š z ṣ/).


There actually are more, Akkadian verbs had a several 'awzan/binyanim that could combine two infixes (-ta- & -n-) + any of the prefixes described earlier (š-, n-, etc.) + a seperate infix, -ta- used to form the perfect. You could actually end up with surface forms along the lines of *iptatarras (for *yaptatanras) meaning something like "he had been constantly deciding" from the root P-R-S. The gemination present in Arabic and Hebrew "intensives" is almost certainly the result of assimmilating an earlier nasal infix (discussed earlier up-thread). There are Arabic forms that involve infixes besides, ie - ifʕawʕala, ifʕawwala, ifʕanlala, & ifʕanlā. Granted, those are pretty rare. Still, I thought it worth pointing out. ;-)

Mecislau wrote:
My apologies for any inaccuracies or mistakes I've made in the descriptions of languages I'm less familiar with. My familiarity with Semitic and Afro-Asiatic outside of Hebrew is relatively limited, and I hope I was clear in saying so.


Hey, no worries! I'm sorry I'm a pedantic douche! I really think you've been most gracious in tolerating my penchant for nit-picking. And hey, it's not like I don't make mistakes or misremember things. ;-)

Mecislau wrote:
That said, it is good to see you again, Wiseblood! You're certainly a lot more knowledgeable about Semitic and Afro-Asiatic languages than I am, and I always enjoy reading whatever information you provide.


You flatter me sir. I've just been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to do a fair bit of academic study on comparative AA. However, it *is* quite nice to be back. :-)

TomHChappell wrote:
Quite interesting. Are C1C2C1C2 the most frequent kind of tetraconsonantal roots in Semitic languages in general? Or at least the most-common other than "modern" (post-1492) loanwods?


Hmmm. I'm not exactly sure, but I'd say roots of the type ABAB are probably more common both in the classical as well as the modern period. I have to ask why you chose 1492 as the beginning of "modern" loanwords, though. I'm well aware of both Columbus and the Spanish expulsion, but I fail to see what these would have to do with loanwords.

TomHChappell wrote:
Useful to know, and not what I expected.


I forgot to mention that based on spellings like 'muātu' "to die", some people believe that Akkadian, and thus PS, retained some labialized consonants from PAA; that is the word was pronounced something like /mʷa:tu/. Many Ethiopean Semitic languages have labialised consonants as well, but I'm pretty sure that those are of secondary origin. Just some food for thought.

TomHChappell wrote:
I thought it was "house of bread" rather than "house of meat".
BTW what are "bakery", "butchershop", "sandwich-shop or delicatessen" in Semitic languages (especially Hebrew and Arabic)?


As I recall, the equivalent stem (L-Ḥ-M) often means "cattle" in South Semitic, so we might assume the original meaning was simply something like "food". Now that I think about it, the verb لحم /laḥama/ means "he fused" (it's actually used to describe soldering - لحام /liḥāmun/ - in modern contexts), so the Hebrew meaning might be the original one. The name itself is probably Aramaic in origin, in which case it would definitely have meant "house of bread".

In Arabic, a butchershop is called a ملحم /malḥamun/ "meat-place". The word مخبز /maxbazun/ from خبز /xabaza/ "bake" is used to refer to a bakery. A deli would either be a مطعم /maṭʕam/ "feeding-place" from طعِم /ṭaʕima/ "feed" or لحوميّة /luḥūmiyyatun/ "pertaining to meats", depending on the context. If you need to specify, you can refer to a sandwich shop as, wait for it - دكّان الشطائر /dukkānu-š-šaṭāʔiri/ - "shop of sandwiches". Shocking, I know. :-)

Okay, I think I'll have to cut it short there. I'll try to get back to this soon.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:41 am 
Avisaru
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Wiseblood wrote:
Hmmm. I'm not exactly sure, but I'd say roots of the type ABAB are probably more common both in the classical as well as the modern period. I have to ask why you chose 1492 as the beginning of "modern" loanwords, though. I'm well aware of both Columbus and the Spanish expulsion, but I fail to see what these would have to do with loanwords.
I only chose it as the beginning of modernity; because of habits of historiographers, not because of habits of linguists.
In the history of Europe the end of the Middle Ages is habitually set at the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. The beginning of the Renaissance, and thus of Modernity, is habitually set at the return of Columbus's "Voyage of Discovery" in 1493. The former is more often considered important in the history of Eastern Europe (and the parts of Asia and Africa closest to it), the latter is more often considered important in the history of Western (and Central?) Europe (and the parts of Africa and the Americas closest to it).
I don't know how Arabists and Islamists divide history between the Mediaeval and the Modern. I don't know if linguists have a criterion a bit different from that of historians. Do you?

[EDIT]:
For linguistic purposes, or at least for purposes of loanwords, maybe I should have chosen the beginning of either the Scientific Revolution or of the Industrial Revolution instead.
Other than migrations, colonizations, conquests, and other empire-building, the acceleration of word-lending probably has been influenced more by these two revolutions than by anything else. (Though of course new religions and new mercantile relations have also been important influences on that activity; and the Hajj probably brought many loanwords into Arabic, and probably still does.)
The Scientific Revolution is sometimes held to have begun in 1660 with the founding of the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge, and the first "no cross no crown" rule (discussions of religion and politics were not allowed in and during RS meetings). But most usually hold it to have begun in 1543 when Copernicus published "The Revolution of the Heavenly Bodies" and Vesalius published "On the Structure of the Human Body". However the active publishing and discussion of all experiments was accelerated and maintined starting in 1660 with the various national academies of science and so on; and that's maybe more important from a "word-lending" perspective.
Different historians seem to have different ideas about when the Industrial Revolution began; apparently not earlier than 1760 and not later than 1850. But steam-powered ships probably had the most effect on word-lending; steam-powered railroad locomotives would have spread those effects beyond the seacoasts; and advances in automatic textile-manufacture would have motivated increased intensity of trade.

So, choose your own time if you want; at what date does the ratio of BDBD-shaped "native" word-coinings to borrowed tetraconsonantal words change significantly (in your opinion)? A date to the nearest century would be fine; one to the nearest decade would be fantastic.
[/EDIT]

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BTW thanks Mecislau and Wiseblood and hwhatting etc. for your other replies and for the rest of your replies. Worth reading, worth saving, and worth remembering.


Last edited by TomHChappell on Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 1:07 pm 
Avisaru
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TomHChappell wrote:
But "hit-" is one example of a two-consonant prefix, right?


At present, yes, but not originally. The prefix was originally just t-, to which many languages then added an epenthetic i-, resulting in it-. Since neither Arabic nor Hebrew allowed vowels at the beginning of a word (or at least their scripts did not allow for it), they both inserted another epenthetic consonant: /ʔ/ in Arabic, /h/ in Hebrew. Apparently there's some debate as to whether the original orthographic H in Hebrew was actually pronounced or was just an orthographic device, but it's since become standard to pronounce it.


Wiseblood wrote:
Out of curiosity, what happens when you apply a suffix pronoun to the verb? I know we avoid this problem in Levantine Arabic by inserting an epenthetic vowel in between the verb and suffix(es):

ḍarab-(a)t
hit-you.MSG "you strike"

ḍarab-t(i)-nī
hit-you.MSG-me "you struck me"


There's an epenthetic vowel. In fully vocalized texts, there's still a shva written below the final T. Of course, suffixed pronouns on verbs in modern Hebrew are essentially defunct.

הצלת hiṣṣalət (modern hitzalt)
save-you.FSG "you saved"

הצלתני hiṣṣalətənī (modern... *hitzalteni?)
save-you.FSG-me "you saved me"

Wiseblood wrote:
Furthermore, at least for Semitic, we can divide nominalizing *m- into *ma- for place and time, *mi- for instrument and *mu- for relatives (forms participles). I don't know how much of this might be obfuscated by Hebrew's fiddly vowel system. ;-)


Ah, yes, Hebrew actually does preserve significant traces, surprisingly. They're ma-, mi-, and me- (former mə-) respectively.

מקום maqom /makóm/ "place"
מכתב mikhtav /miḥtáv/ "letter"
מדבר medaber /medabér/ "speaking"

However, in many other places it's obfuscated. מפתח mafteach /maftéaḥ/ "key", for example, has /a/ instead of /i/, and the participle prefixes can literally come in any vowel:

מסכים maskim /maskím/ "agreeing" (root S-K-M "agree, summarize")
מדבר medaber /madabér/ "speaking" (root D-B-R "speak")
מתאהב mit'ahev /mitahév/ "falling in love" (root '-H-B "love")
מושיב moshiv /mošív/ "seating, settling" (root Y-Sh-B "sit")
מוזמן muzman /muzmán/ "being invited, being ordered" (root Z-M-N "order, invite")

(Or, of course, no prefix: כותב kotev /kotév/ "writing")

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:52 am 
Sanci
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Mecislau wrote:
Triconsonantal Root Systems, such as those used by the Semitic languages, consist of a collection of a few hundred roots (consisting of three consonants, as the name implies). When a certain vowel pattern is placed over these roots, a wide range of meanings can be assumed


Where can I get a list of these roots and vowel patterns?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 5:12 am 
Niš
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Could anyone flesh out for me how Hebrew nouns are inflected to show possession through noun declension in formal and literary speech?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:16 pm 
Avisaru
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Cornelius wrote:
Could anyone flesh out for me how Hebrew nouns are inflected to show possession through noun declension in formal and literary speech?

What Cornelius said, and:
Did anyone ever answer jωt's question? The answer may be in the Museum; is it?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:15 pm 
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AFAIK, the word is put in the construct form, and the following endings are added:

Singular possession:

1s י- -i
2sm ך- -kha
2sf ך- -ekh
3sm ו- -o
3sf ה- -a
1p נו- -nu
2pm כם- -khem
2pf כן- -khen
3pm ם- -am
3pf ן- -an

Plural possession:

1s יי- -ai
2sm יך- -eikha
2sf ייך- -ayikh
3sm יו- -av
3sf יה- -eiha
1p ינו- -einu
2pm יכם- -eikhem
2pf יכן- -eikhen
3pm יהם- -eihem
3pf יהן- -eihen


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:24 am 
Niš
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Thanks Astraios. That helps a lot.

TomHChappell wrote:
Did anyone ever answer jωt's question?

Sorry, I should have helped jωt before I asked my question. I think most of the vowel patterns were detailed early in the thread, but for a more concise listing, try The Handy-Dandy Hebrew Verb Chart © by Shawn Madden, Ph.D. It's only for Hebrew, but it should get you started.

As for roots, try Project Root List. Opposite of above, it's only Arabic, but a great resource nonetheless. Downloadable, too.

Is that what you are looking for? Let me know if I have misunderstood what you need.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:47 pm 
Avisaru
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Cornelius wrote:
Is either of those in the Resources thread in the L&L Museum?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:00 pm 
Niš
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TomHChappell wrote:
...
Is either of those in the Resources thread in the L&L Museum?

All set.

I also wanted to say; thanks to everyone for all the great info in this thread. Somebody ought to strain it all and publish a book. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:58 pm 
Niš
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I was having trouble understanding a specific type of noun pattern formation in Hebrew, and thought I was missing something fundamental. So I did some reading, read some more, and read a little more, and still was having trouble. So, thinking it was my comprehension deficiencies (as is usually the case), I fired off a PM to Mecislau, hoping he might be able to gently tell me I was being obtuse.

Well, I was missing something fundamental, all right - a couple millennia of evolution.

Here is Mecislau's reply, in toto:

=================== Begin Original Message ======================
--------------
Message subject: Re: Novice Question About Hebrew
From: Mecislau
Sent: Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:53 pm
To: Cornelius
--------------

No problem, and it's really not a stupid question at all. Feel free to actually post this reply into the thread if you wish.

(Also, just to make it clear, I'm not a fluent speaker of Hebrew. It's just that I've studied it for a number of years, and have read a lot about comparative Semitic linguistics. I'm conversant, but not fluent).

Cornelius wrote:
My question is, how are the "maCCeC" and "CoCCah" patterns created? I understand how words are formed, i.e. 1Sg Gen and 1Sg Gen Pl, etc, but I'm having trouble understanding where the "secondary" patterns are coming from.

In other words, If one were to be creating a conlang based roughly on Hebrew, how would the patterns be produced? The regular noun and verb forms are relatively straightforward (make a pattern for 1Sg Gen (e.g. CaCaC), insert tricon root for word, rinse, repeat), but what about the "secondary" patterns?

If I understand you correctly, you're asking about the etymology of noun patterns like maCCeC and CoCCah, right?

Well, ultimately they come about just like derivational morphology in any other does. Let's take the "key" example, which is mafteach in Hebrew and miftaaH in Arabic, from the root p-t-ch (Hebrew) /f-t-H (Arabic), meaning "open". In Proto-Semitic this would have been something along the lines of *mV-ptāh.

Now, a bit of background. This is a great simplification, but it should hopefully explain a lot of this. In pre-Proto-Semitic, verb roots weren't purely triconsonantal; that is, they didn't just consist of three abstract consonants by themselves. Actually, most verbs had two stems, a perfective one in the form CaCaC, and an imperfective one of the form CCVC, where "V" is a vowel that is actually inherent to the verb; for some verbs it was /a:/, for others /i:/, for others, /u:/. So, a verb like "open" had the perfective stem *patah and the imperfective stem *ptāh, with an inherent long /a:/. Arabic still largely preserves this system of inherent imperfective vowels; Hebrew has nearly completely lost it, but you can still see it in a few places: 'ekhtov "I will write" vs 'elmad "I will learn".

If I remember correctly, this imperfective stem is actually the original, inherited form. So, as a result, affixes deriving other parts of speech from verbs would be attached to this imperfective stem. One of these affixes was the prefix mV-, which formed active participles, where V was typically /i/ if the inherent vowel of the stem is a back vowel and /u/ if it is a front vowel. Therefore, the active participle of "open" was *mi-ptāh "opening". Cross-linguistically, it is very common for active participles to also serve as agentives; Semitic was no exception, so this form came to mean both the adjective "opening" and the noun "opening one -> opener", and the logic behind "opener" -> "key" should be quite clear. This is essentially no different from the way any other language could derive nouns from verbs.

In time, however, this system began to break down. In Hebrew, mV- began to lose its use as a productive formant of participles, and the system of root-inherent vowels began to transform. In Hebrew, these vowels generally became dissociated from the roots and became associated with different binyanim (verb classes), so that /o:/ (< PS *ā) became a productive marker of binyan pa`al (normal verbs), /i:/ (< PS *ī) of binyan hif`il (causative verbs), and so on.

Now Proto-Hebrew was left with a bunch of nouns of the form *miCCūC, *miCCāC, and *muCCīC, and that second vowel no longer had any direct association with specific verb roots, but rather came to be perceived as part of a noun-forming pattern. Where Proto-Semitic had "mV- + imperfective verbal stem = participle", Hebrew now had things like "prefix ma + -e- between C2 and C3 = agentive noun". From here on out, it's mostly just analogy. Speakers notice that a lot of nouns referring to tools have the specific pattern maCCeC (< PS *muCCīC), so over time it becomes viewed as a pattern for making names of tools! The other two patterns left behind, *miCCūC and *miCCāC, go off and do their own things, again just based on how speakers reanalyze them. (If you're interested, I believe the PS *miCCūC pattern eventually came to be associated with places and times (eg, Hebrew maqom "place, location" < PS *qūm "place, set"), while *miCCāC came to be associated with resultatives (eg, Hebrew mikhtav "letter" < PS *ktāb "write"), but of course these are very general trends, not absolutes.)

That's the story behind the maCCeC tool pattern in Hebrew, at least. In Arabic, where you didn't see the total reanalysis of inherent vowels like in Hebrew, the story would naturally be a bit different, but I don't know enough about Arabic specifically to tell you much there.

The story behind software coming to be associated to with the CoCCa pattern in Hebrew is ultimately similar. I'm not entirely sure of what it descend from (my guess would be PS *CūCiC-āt, which historically would be a different sort of participle stem plus a singulative feminine nominalizing suffix, i.e., "a thing that Xes"). Lots of nouns were created using this pattern, and in recent times, that included the word tokhna "software". In this particular case, we're probably dealing with some witty person who decided to create a neologism by taking the word for "software" and substituting in a different verb root, but apparently the neologism took off, so that there are now several different software-related nouns using the CoCCa pattern.


Hope this helps!

=================== End Original Message ======================

Thanks for clearing that up, Mecislau.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:14 pm 
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I don't know if this has been asked before, but does anyone know of approximately how many possible triconsonantal roots are in Arabic (or Hebrew, or Syriac, it doesn't matter too much) as well as how many possible patterns there are?

Thank you in advance.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:48 am 
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cybrxkhan wrote:
I don't know if this has been asked before, but does anyone know of approximately how many possible triconsonantal roots are in Arabic (or Hebrew, or Syriac, it doesn't matter too much) as well as how many possible patterns there are?

Thank you in advance.


That's kind of hard to determine, but there are generally some rules which limit the number of roots available. For example, I know of no roots that have the same three radicals, i.e. */fafafa/, /bababa/, and so on. Also, I don't know of any roots with identical C1 and C2 either.
In Arabic, the sound /D_?\/ is very rare, via wikipedia, out of the 2,967 roots listed in Hans Wehr's dictionary, only 42 have it. It could be that it's simply a rare sound in PS or difficult to articulate (though based on what Sibawayh has to say about /d_?\/, in his time something like [K\_?\] or [dK\_?\)], this seems to have been a much more difficult sound), or it could be (as I have some suspicion) that some roots with /D_?\/ fell together with other sounds early on; notably Ugaritic sometimes confuses it with /R/ (viz. etymological <nD_?\r> "he guarded" is written <nRr>), and some Ancient Arabian langs with /s_?\/ ( *<s_?\lm> "statue" sometimes written <D_?\lm> in Sabaic), and in Safaitic there's one case where etymological <qjD_?\> "summer, spending the dry season" is written <?jd_?\>.

There's also some (IMO) phonotactic or physiological restrictions on what sounds can occur together. For example, it's very rare for /X/ and /X\/ or /?\/ and /R/, or /X\/ and /?\/ or /R/ and /X/ to occur together in the same root (this is not so in the distantly related Egyptian, which has such nigh-unpronounceable words like <?\X\?\> "boat with a mast;" also /X\/ and /R/ or /X/ and /?\/ can occur together, see Arabic /Xada?\/a "he cheated s.o.," though the former seems rarer ). There are some exceptions, but they seem to either be rare words or loans, like Arabic /X\a:Xa:m/ "rabbi," a pretty obvious loan from Hebrew, and the /X/ is not etymological, but a result of Hebrew plosive lenition, where the original radical is /k/, and is written as such in Hebrew. It's also rare to have identical either the uvular or pharyngeal fricatives in positions C1 and C3, unless the root is quadraliteral such as Arabic /d_?\aX\d_?\aX\a/ "it vibrated," which is likely an onomatopoeic word representing the shimmering sensation of mirages or great heat, and /?\an?\ana/, a reduplication of the preposition /?\an/ "from, about," and is a very technical verb generally used only in hadith books, meaning "he transmitted [a hadith] using /?\an/;" also /d_?\a?\d_?\a?\a/ "he destroyed." Hebrew and Aramaic have a few, but they tend to be rare, such as /j@?\al?\u/ "they drink blood" in Job 39, and Aram. /?\ala?\/ "rib" (Heb. /s_?\ela:?\/ "rib, side," and Arabic /d_?\il?\/ with the same meaning)

In Hebrew and Aramaic, there's also the tendency for final /?\/ to change into /a:/ or /?/ especially if there's another laryngeal or pharyngeal in the same root. This is also a possibility that /h/ will disappear in roots with neighboring pharyngeals, such as Hebrew /?\eda:/ "testimony," which may be related to Arabic /?\ahd/ "covenant" and /?\uhda/ "responsibility." This also happens in Aramaic.

Thus, the picture is much more complicated than the image we often of Semitic languages as "plug-n-play" with radicals in roots.

I hope that helps some.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:00 am 
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Khvaragh wrote:
That's kind of hard to determine, but there are generally some rules which limit the number of roots available. For example, I know of no roots that have the same three radicals, i.e. */fafafa/, /bababa/, and so on. Also, I don't know of any roots with identical C1 and C2 either.
Wiseblood, in page 6, wrote:
Mecislau wrote:
Also, quick comment: I was looking on the Hebrew Academy website to see if they had come up with any natively-formed word for "globalization", and I came across this completely unrelated jewel of a word: וווו uvavo "and his hook", formed with four vavs. Of course, this is the kind of word that will confuse any native speaker when they first see it...
I've got a better (or at least more esoteric) one: يييّي /yuyayyī/ "he writes a beautiful 'yā'". :D
So... root y-y-y, *yayyaya > yayya: ?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:28 am 
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Well, then why don't I coin [ayn]u[ayn]a[ayn-ayn]ii, for "he pronounces a beautiful/correct ayn" or "[dad]u[dad]a[dad-dad]ii" for "he pronounces a beautiful/correct dad"? Those two words would be very useful for Arabic teachers. :mrgreen:

And I can see "uvavo" being used quite often to translate sentences in Peter Pan.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:34 am 
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Shm Jay wrote:
Well, then why don't I coin [ayn]u[ayn]a[ayn-ayn]ii, for "he pronounces a beautiful/correct ayn" or "[dad]u[dad]a[dad-dad]ii"
يععع yuʕaʕʕiʕu, يضضض yuḍaḍḍiḍu. The first yu- is part of the verbal conjugation. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:01 pm 
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Speaking of "Babel", is it another name for Babylon? Or in Akkadian bāb ili?

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:21 pm 
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It's the Hebrew name for Babylon, yes (בָּבֶל, bel). Presumably it's a rendering of the native name? The thing in the "Tower of Babel" story is a joke etymology, punning on bālal "confused".


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:56 am 
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And now, for something completely different:

Are vowel systems in triconsonantal systems always quite limited? Arabic has three vowels and Hebrew has five, but how plausible is a triconsonantal language with eight vowels (through roundedness distinctions)?

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:25 am 
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sacemd wrote:
And now, for something completely different:

Are vowel systems in triconsonantal systems always quite limited? Arabic has three vowels and Hebrew has five, but how plausible is a triconsonantal language with eight vowels (through roundedness distinctions)?
You clearly haven't had a look at modern Arabic and older forms of Hebrew... Eight-vowel systems aren't uncommon in modern Arabic dialects (of the /iː eː e æ æː ɑ ɑː oː o uː/ sort). Well, curiously, neither Arabic or Hebrew have vowel systems with roundness distinctions, but I don't see why a triconsonantal language couldn't have such.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:12 pm 
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Serafín wrote:
sacemd wrote:
And now, for something completely different:

Are vowel systems in triconsonantal systems always quite limited? Arabic has three vowels and Hebrew has five, but how plausible is a triconsonantal language with eight vowels (through roundedness distinctions)?
You clearly haven't had a look at modern Arabic and older forms of Hebrew... Eight-vowel systems aren't uncommon in modern Arabic dialects (of the /iː eː e æ æː ɑ ɑː oː o uː/ sort). Well, curiously, neither Arabic or Hebrew have vowel systems with roundness distinctions, but I don't see why a triconsonantal language couldn't have such.


Nor do I.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:38 pm 
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What a fascinating thread! I had no idea ...

Having read through the thread twice, I think I am beginning to understand.

I would like to give a broad outline of what I (think I) have learned about Arabic and Hebrew. Please correct my mis-apprehensions. There are bound to be some.


1. Words are formed from tri-consonantal roots, e.g., B-K-R.

2. Roots are members of binyamin. Each binyamin has a set of patterns that conjugate roots into verbs, e.g., CoCaC, bokar for the root above. Not all binyamin contain the same number of roots. But a root can be a member of more than one binyamin.

Question: Can't all roots be members of all binyamin? The answer might be that they could be, but are not.


3. Stems are created by adding one or two vowels and zero or more affixes to the root. Most, if not all, of these stems seem to represent verbs. The specific vowels added conjugate the root for finiteness, number, person, gender, tense, voice, aspect, valence, reflexiveness, and mood (at least).


4. Nouns (including gerunds and participles) are created from verb stems by adding zero or more affixes. It is unclear to me whether vowel changes are also involved in creating a noun. I assume that the conjugation of the verb stem that was modified affects the sense of the noun. Affixes can be C, V, CV, CV, or CVC. The affixes and vowel changes also inflect/decline the noun for number, person, gender, state, and (in Arabic) case (at least).

The "state" of a noun is either absolute, definite, or construct. The definite state is a regular ol' definite noun.

The construct state is used to form possessives, although there are some words that use an affix to indicate the possessive.

Question: Is it the possessor noun or the possessed noun that gets put into the construct state or marked for the possessive?

If the construct state were used only to indicate possession, then it could just be called a genitive case marking, could it not? Is the construct state used for anything other than possession?

That would leave indefinite nouns for the absolute state, but I don't know if that is correct.

Question: What is the absolute state of a noun used for?


5. Adjectives and adverbs are created from verb stems and/or nouns by adding zero or more affixes and zero or more vowel changes. I think adjectives and adverbs are inflected for person, number, and gender (at least).

6. Articles, conjunctions, prepositions, and pronouns are affixes. Articles and prepositions seem to be prefixes; pronouns seem to be suffixes. It is unclear where conjunctions go.

7. Articles and pronouns appear to be inflected/declined. I can't tell about conjunctions and prepositions.


Again, this was a fun topic to read. Thanks to all that contributed.

DLJ393


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:23 pm 
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DLJ393 wrote:
Question: Is it the possessor noun or the possessed noun that gets put into the construct state or marked for the possessive?

If the construct state were used only to indicate possession, then it could just be called a genitive case marking, could it not? Is the construct state used for anything other than possession?

The possessed noun is the one marked with the construct state. A genitive case would be an affix on the possessor. If the marking is on the possessed noun it isn't considered a genitive case. A morphological category isn't considered a "case" when it is on the head.

bɛn hammɛlɛk "the king's son"

has bɛn "son" in the construct state and hammɛlɛk "the king" in the absolute state.

The absolute state is used for non-possessed nouns, and for indefinite possessed nouns where the possessor is definite.


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