Arabic Indefinites, Interrogatives, and Negators: A by David Wilmsen

By David Wilmsen

This e-book lines the origins and improvement of the Arabic grammatical marker s/si, that is present in interrogatives, negators, and indefinite determiners over a huge dialect zone that stretches from the southern Levant to North Africa and contains dialects of Yemen and Oman. David Wilmsen attracts on facts from previous vernacular Arabic texts and from numerous Arabic dialects, and indicates that, opposite to a lot of the literature at the diachrony of this morpheme, s/si does now not derive from Arabic say 'thing'. as an alternative, he argues that it dates again to a pre-Arabic level of West Semitic and doubtless has its origins in a Semitic demonstrative pronoun. in this idea, Arabic say may possibly in reality derive from s/si, and never vice versa.

The ebook demonstrates the importance of the Arabic dialects in knowing the heritage of Arabic and the Semitic languages, and claims that sleek Arabic dialects couldn't have constructed from Classical Arabic. it will likely be of curiosity to old linguists of all persuasions from graduate point upwards, rather all these engaged on Arabic and different Semitic languages.

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Extra info for Arabic Indefinites, Interrogatives, and Negators: A Linguistic History of Western Dialects

Example text

Another way of viewing this is that historical linguistics attempts to describe how modern languages came to be as they are by attempting to look backwards to earlier states of the language, eventually (if entirely successful) providing a glimpse of what the proto-language ancestor (or ancestors) must have been like. Owens (2005) postulates a pre-diaspora Arabic, by which he means the Arabic of the Arabian Peninsula spoken around the time of the large outflow of Muslim Arabic speakers from the Peninsula into an expansive geographical range from the borders of China in the east to the Iberian Peninsula in the west.

715). Implicit in this is that not all the manners in which the modern spoken vernaculars of Arabic diverge from FA, often sharing their features widely amongst themselves, are shared post-diasporic innovations; some of them can instead indicate pre-existing diversity in the pre-diasporic Arabian Peninsula. Not all do, however, and Owens effectively demonstrates that the innovative 1st person n- is postdiasporic. Providing an indication of relative age would be features not found in FA but shared between Arabic dialects and other Semitic languages.

E. FA or its parent] and the dialects by the assumption of a straight development from the former to the latter . . is, at a closer look, not very likely and even less so when comparative Semitic evidence is taken into consideration . . There is no reason to assume that the modern Arabic dialects are developments from a more or less unitary base, more or less identical with the Arabiyya . . As far back as historical evidence goes it appears that . . there has never been any linguistic unity in Arabia.

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