Torsten to Peter:
> In which respect it behaves like Germanic, strangely.
And this is what I'm trying get it, to no avail. The _non-absolute_
use of ablaut will always be the norm for self-evident reasons.
Jens' insistence that Proto-Semitic "had no vowels" because it has
no evidence of the lexical use of vowels is a perfect example of
the wrongheaded "absence is proof" mentality. We can see that we
need a _living_ language, not a theoretical construct, to test out
whether or not vowels can be purely morphologically derived without
any trace whatsoever of lexical monkeywrenches. We know already it's
exceedingly rare. Germanic and Hebrew, and I'm betting every language
currently inhabiting this planet, represents the non-absolute norm
that contradicts the assumptions that Jens feels are necessary.
> BTW, I have a general question about loans in Semitic: if the loan is
> vowel-initial in the donor language, does the loaning Semitic
> language add a suitable (ie. matching the vowel) laryngeal in front
> of the vowel?
You're making something out of thin air. If a vowel is initial in a
donor language, a preceding glottal stop would suffice in Proto-Semitic
unless the recipients misheard initial aspiration, in which case a
corresponding aspirate sound would be added. In fact, we often pronounce
a glottal stop before a word with initial vowel and aren't even aware of
it. Yet, in Semitic, it's a real phoneme.
Actually, I can think of a possible loanword like this in Semitic. That
would be *?aTtar-.