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Shlama,

I think the Semitic change occurred because Hebrew had to adapt to the changes of Jewish society.

In the words of famous linguist Saadia Gaon:

"It is reported," he says, "that one of the worthies among the Ishmaelites, realizing to his sorrow that the people do not use the Arabic language correctly, wrote a short treatise for them. From which they might learn proper usages. Similarly, I have noticed that many of the Israelites even the common rules for the correct usage of our (Hebrew) language, much less the more difficult rules, so that when they speak in prose most of it is faulty, and when they write poetry only a few of the ancient rules are observed, and majority of them are neglected. This has induced me to compose a work in two parts containing most of the (Hebrew) words.The rules of the Hebrew grammer adverted to in the fragments of this work possessed by us - only a little more than the introduction has been preserved - like wise reveal the influence of the school of Arabic grammarians" Henry Malter, Saadia Gaon: His Life And Works, 1921, The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, pp. 39-40.
Also....

"Jews who studied Arabic language and literature, as well as other academic disciplines, learned the new linguistic science and desired to exploit it in their exegesis of the Bible and the analysis of Hebrew grammar. Only those who knew Arabic grammar developed the proper understanding of the Hebrew verb as the stem built upon three consonants. Hebrew verb stems in which the letters alef, vav and yod appear for example, do not display these weak consonants in all forms. These weak consonants do appear in the various forms of Arabic verb, However. Jewish scholars with linguistic sophistication realized that the weak consonants were part of the Hebrew verb even where they are not evident. Jewish exegetes, such as those in France, who did not read Arabic, failed to comprehend the triconsonantal basis of the Hebrew verb-stem and as a result, confused certain stems and misinterpreted them. C'est la vie. Characteristic of the Spanish Jewish scholars was their superior interest and training in linguistic analysis, a benefit of having grown up in an Arabic milieu.

His (Rabbi Saadiah) Arabic translation of the Bible, however continues in use as the official version of Jews from Arab lands. It is also a mine of original insight into the meaning of difficult Hebrew words and phrases in the Bible, of which the modern scholars have barely taken advantage.

(Ibn Janah's) two-volume analysis of biblical vocabulary, grammar, and style remains the most brilliant and valuable contribution of all time to the study of biblical language. The two volumes The Book of Roots and The Book of Embroidery (his figure for grammar) exist only in the original Arabic and a medieval Hebrew translation." Barry W Holtz (Ed.), Back to the Sources: Reading The Classic Jewish Texts: The First Complete Modern Guide To The Great Books of Jewish Tradition: What They Are And How To Read Them, 1992, Simon and Schuster, p. 221-223.

So apparently, the classical Arabic retained what Hebrew did not when we're speaking about the original idiom behind the roots.
I've done my research <!-- s:biggrin: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/biggrin.gif" alt=":biggrin:" title="Big Grin" /><!-- s:biggrin: -->

"Since the beginning of the nineteenth century there has been a constant recourse to Arabic for the explanation of rare words and forms in Hebrew; for Arabic though more than a thousand years junior as a literary language, is the senior philosophically by countless centuries. Perplexing phenomenon in Hebrew can often be explained as solitary and archaic survivals of the form which are frequent and common in the cognate Arabic. Words and idioms whose precise sense had been lost in Jewish tradition, receive a ready and convincing explanation from the same source. Indeed no serious student of the Old Testament can afford to dispense with a first-hand knowledge in Arabic. The pages of any critical commentary on the Old Testament will illustrate the debt of the Biblical exegesis owes to Arabic."Alfred Guillaume, The Legacy Of Islam, 1931, Oxford, p. ix.
shlomo oh bar_khela,

It seems odd that someone would try to use Arabic to explain classical hebrew word, because Aramaic and Hebrew share alot of vocabulary. Also in reference to Arabic we know that it used the Aramaic vowels for its language.

Examples:

basar <= "Flesh" in Hebrew
b??sra <= "Flesh" in Aramaic
basra <= "Flesh" in a more Archaic Aramaic Pronunication
lahm <= "Flesh" in Arabic
lahma <= "Bread" in Aramaic
laham <= "Bread" in Hebrew

shma' <= "Hear" in Aramaic
shama' <= "Hear" in Hebrew
sma' <= "Hear" in Arabic

The first vowel in Arabic is called "Fatha", and in Aramaic is called "Ftaha". We know that the Aramaic vowels are the source for Arabic.

Also as a side note, in Christianity we say that during the the Last Supper Our Lord Jesus-Christ transformed the Bread into His Flesh.

poosh bashlomo,
keefa-moroon

bar_khela Wrote:I've done my research :biggrin:

"Since the beginning of the nineteenth century there has been a constant recourse to Arabic for the explanation of rare words and forms in Hebrew; for Arabic though more than a thousand years junior as a literary language, is the senior philosophically by countless centuries. Perplexing phenomenon in Hebrew can often be explained as solitary and archaic survivals of the form which are frequent and common in the cognate Arabic. Words and idioms whose precise sense had been lost in Jewish tradition, receive a ready and convincing explanation from the same source. Indeed no serious student of the Old Testament can afford to dispense with a first-hand knowledge in Arabic. The pages of any critical commentary on the Old Testament will illustrate the debt of the Biblical exegesis owes to Arabic."Alfred Guillaume, The Legacy Of Islam, 1931, Oxford, p. ix.
Shlama Akhi bar-Khela,

Keep in mind, that of the three major Semitic tongues (Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic) - only Hebrew ceased to be a spoken language for nearly 2,500 years. Of course, lots of information and understanding would have been lost during all those centuries.

Finally, think about the relationship of Aramaic to Hebrew and Arabic in this way:

Imagine you had two sons who went off into different parts of the world and founded two different, but related, communities. After a few centuries of isolation from each other, each one will start to speak their own ever-so-changing form of the language that YOU conversed with your sons in. These two forms will resemble each other to some extent, but will always have a greater relationship to the "parent" tongue that you spoke than they ever would have to each other. In other words, each branch has more in common with the trunk than with the other branch.

This is exactly what happened with Aramaic, and its siblings Hebrew and Arabic.

Abraham~Ibrahim was a Chaldean - and the Chaldeans were made up of 5 Aramean tribes who settled in southern Iraq. So therefore, the "Father of Faith" to all these people was, indeed, an "Iraqi."

Since Abraham was a Chaldean~Aramean, it naturally follows that he spoke what all other Chaldean~Arameans at the time spoke. So this is the parent language of both the "Isaacites" and the "Ishmaelites."

But again, remember, that of these three languages that are all related in one way or another.....only Hebrew died out as an everyday language spoken as the primary language of people in their homes, etc.

Both Aramaic and Arabic continue to be spoken to this very day. So, of course, in order to understand Hebrew better....we should make reference to it's sibling - Arabic.....but ESPECIALLY the parent of the both of them - ARAMAIC. <!-- s:biggrin: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/biggrin.gif" alt=":biggrin:" title="Big Grin" /><!-- s:biggrin: -->
Shlama Akhay Paul and Shimoun,

Shlama Akhay,

It is true. Akkadian is the oldest Semitic language known. So based on Akkadian's phonological,morphological, and syntax structure, we can determine which of the three is the most "proto-semitic" by comparing them to their common ancestor. So with all of this said, I have five questions about the phonological structure of Aramaic.

(1) Does Aramaic have a six vowel system composed of three long vowels and three short vowel counterparts (a, i, u, _, _, _)?

(2) Does it have pharyngeal fricative consonants?

(3) Does it have utilization of the glottal stop as a phoneme?

(4) Does it have inclusion of the semivowels (w) and (y) as consonants?

(5) What about the existence of three classes of consonants: voiced, voiceless, and "emphatic" consonants?

(6) Does it have the "classical triangular {vocalic] system," _, _, and _, and the three types of consonants: voiced, voiceless, and emphatic?
oh man, sorry Keefa. I called you Shimoun. I was thinking about Simon Peter.
Shlama Akhi bar-Khela,

bar_khela Wrote:(1) Does Aramaic have a six vowel system composed of three long vowels and three short vowel counterparts (a, i, u, _, _, _)?

Absolutely. Here is a picture of them:

[Image: syriac_vowels.gif]

bar_khela Wrote:(2) Does it have pharyngeal fricative consonants?

Absolutely. For instance, the letter Heh used in the word "─žal" ("give").

bar_khela Wrote:(3) Does it have utilization of the glottal stop as a phoneme?

Not only as a phoneme....but in Aramaic, the glottal stop is actually a dedicated consonant. The first letter of the Alphabet, Alaph, is actually vocalised as a glottal stop (especially when it starts a word, such as "Abba" for "Father"....it is really pronounced "'bba".) (see lesson 45 on http://www.assyrianlanguage.com)

Also, the Schwa is pronounced as a brief stop of speech in both Aramaic and Hebrew.

bar_khela Wrote:(4) Does it have inclusion of the semivowels (w) and (y) as consonants?

Yes. In Aramaic, in fact, the consonants Waw and Yudh serve a dual function (consonants as well as semivowels.) The consonant Yudh, written with the Khwasa diacretic, serves as the vowel "ee" (see lesson 33 on http://www.assyrianlanguage.com) The consonant Waw, written with both the Rwasa and Rwakha diacretics, serves as either the vowel "u" or the vowel "o". (see lessons 31 and 32 on http://www.assyrianlanguage.com)

bar_khela Wrote:(5) What about the existence of three classes of consonants: voiced, voiceless, and "emphatic" consonants?

Yes, yes and yes. Voiced consonants are just the regular consonants. Voiceless consonants are marked by the MbaTlana diacretic (see lesson 41 on http://www.assyrianlanguage.com).

Consonants are presented as Emphatic when a verb is conjugated in the PAEL form, in which case the second radical is doubled ("emphasized"). This is identical to the D-Stem of Akkadian (see http://www.gatewaystobabylon.com/introdu...t_0058.htm).

bar_khela Wrote:(6) Does it have the "classical triangular {vocalic] system," _, _, and _, and the three types of consonants: voiced, voiceless, and emphatic?

The second part is answered above. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

The answer to the first part is, absolutely. The classical triangular [a, i, u] (short vowels) and [aa, ii, uu] (long vowels) are also joined by two more long vowels /ee/ and /oo/ to make the number of vowels eight in total. (EXACTLY the same number and distribution as in Akkadian, but not in Hebrew or in Arabic - see http://www.gatewaystobabylon.com/introdu...t_0112.htm)

Finally, Aramaic has features of Akkadian that are not present in either Hebrew nor in Arabic. For instance, all these Semitic languages have the "Construct" noun state, but only Akkadian and Aramaic have the "Absolute" noun state. This has been lost in both Hebrew and Arabic. (see http://www.gatewaystobabylon.com/introdu...t_0022.htm)

Akhi, it is impossible that a language that was born from Aramaic could possibly be more "proto-Semitic"....more "ancient" than the language that it sprang from. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> (think about it)
Shlama Akhi,

Whoa! Paul, man, you've outdone yourself.

Alright, so thus far, Akkadian and Aramaic are neck to neck. Let's explore Aramaic morphologically, shall we?

(1) Are the majority of the roots incorporated in three consonants rather than two consonants?

(2) Is infixation used more frequently than suffixes and prefixes to accomplish category changes and create related words?

(3) Do you have a declension system marked by at least three cases, i.e. nominative, accusative, and genitive?

(4) Is the singular, dual, and plural used with nouns, verbs, and adjectives?

(5) Do you have two grammatical genders, masculine and feminine, distinguished in nouns and adjectives?

(6) Can you reverse polarity in gender agreement exhibited with the numbers from three to ten?

If you can answer affirmatively 'yes' to all six questions, then I've been lied to.
Shlama Akhi bar-Khela,

bar-Khela Wrote:(1) Are the majority of the roots incorporated in three consonants rather than two consonants?

Of course. That's all Semitic languages (do any search on the Lexicon and you'll notice the root is almost always made up of 3 consonants.)

bar-Khela Wrote:(2) Is infixation used more frequently than suffixes and prefixes to accomplish category changes and create related words?


Sure, Infixation occurs in Aramaic. For instance, Ktaba ("book") becomes Ktabuna ("little book") by the infixation of -un- after the first Consonant-Vowel-Consonant sequence.

bar-Khela Wrote:(3) Do you have a declension system marked by at least three cases, i.e. nominative, accusative, and genitive?

Almost all languages do. Even Greek has these features (in addition to the Dative.) The difference is in how these are expressed.

In Aramaic, the Genitive (a marker of possession - "of") is marked by the Daleth Proclitic (this is missing in Hebrew.) The Accusative (direct object of a transitive verb) is marked by the Lamedh Proclitic (in Hebrew, this is pointed to by the "Et" direct object marker.) The Nominative is simply a noun which appears as the subject, it preceeds a Lamedh Proclitic that is attached to the relevant object.

bar-Khela Wrote:(4) Is the singular, dual, and plural used with nouns, verbs, and adjectives?

Yes, yes and yes. ("Nahra" (single river), "Nahrain" (two rivers), "Nahre" (rivers)). In Aramaic, the "-in" suffix signals duality.

bar-Khela Wrote:(5) Do you have two grammatical genders, masculine and feminine, distinguished in nouns and adjectives?

Yes. Nouns are, like in all Semitic languages, either male or female (no neuter.) Gender is also distinguished in Adjectives ("ana" = Masc., "Anitha" = Fem.), examples:

[font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0p0k 0nbw=[/font] Tuwana Keepa = "Blessed Peter"

[font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]Myrm Fynbw=[/font] Tuwanitha Maryam = "Blessed Mary"

bar-Khela Wrote:(6) Can you reverse polarity in gender agreement exhibited with the numbers from three to ten?

I don't understand? <!-- s:dontgetit: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/dontgetit.gif" alt=":dontgetit:" title="Dont Get It" /><!-- s:dontgetit: --> Please clarify.
The numbers by themselves are without gender, correct? If so, can they obtain gender based upon the nouns that they are phrased with?
Man, you guys are really in depth with this! Very interesting from an outsider point of view!
bar_khela Wrote:The numbers by themselves are without gender, correct? If so, can they obtain gender based upon the nouns that they are phrased with?

Oh, absolutely. In common with other Semitic languages, Aramaic uses a feminine-appearing number with masculine nouns and a masculine-appearing number with feminine nouns.

This phenomenon, known as chiastic concord, applies not only to the numbers from three through ten....but also applies to the units "-three" through "-nine" in all compound numbers. "One" and "Two" are irregular adjectives, and the tens from twenty onwards are invariable.

With masculine nouns:

1 -> khad
2 -> tren
3 -> tlatha
4 -> arba
5 -> khamsha
6 -> eshta
7 -> shaba
8 -> tmanya
9 -> tesh'a
10 -> esra

With feminine nouns:

1 -> khda
2 -> tarten
3 -> tlat
4 -> arba'a
5 - > khamesh
6 -> shet
7 -> sba
8 -> tmane
9 -> tsha
10 -> esar
Shlama Akhi Paul,

You've done very well. Both Aramaic and classical Arabic seem to have preserved a vast majority of proto-Semitic features (each preserving those features in its unique way) and most philologists seem to deny this in their academic journals
shlomo oh bar_khela,

but any proto-semitic (if such thing as a "proto-semitic" source exists) features it picked up came from Aramaic, since classical Arabic didn't exists in the proto-semitic area.

The word proto-semitic suggests that you belive there was a language prior to the semitic language. I believe the Semitic language is the oldest known form of a language on Earth.

poosh bahslomo,
keefa-moroon

bar_khela Wrote:Shlama Akhi Paul,

You've done very well. Both Aramaic and classical Arabic seem to have preserved a vast majority of proto-Semitic features (each preserving those features in its unique way) and most philologists seem to deny this in their academic journals
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