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Re: "The Biradical Origin of Semitic Roots"

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  • Douglas Petrovich
    Peter, Thanks for your insightful input. You said/asked, “Bob King s main fields are Yiddish and historical linguistics; but there must have been Semitists
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 9, 2013
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      Peter,

      Thanks for your insightful input. You said/asked,

      “Bob King's main fields are Yiddish and historical linguistics; but there must have been Semitists at Austin before Huehnergard and Hackett moved there? Who else is on the committee?”

      The committee consisted of the following: Robert T. Harms, Richard P. Meier, Esther L. Raizen, and Peter F. Abboud.

      “I think the "first language spoken by the Semitic peoples" in (1) must refer to something that might still be called Afroasiatic, with the hallmark of "Semitic" being the emergence of triradicality in (2).”

      Is there a well presented description of Afroasiatic in published form? As for your suggested hallmark, this seems to imply an Afroasiatic origin of “Semitic”, and thus seems to imply the potentiality of Hecker’s title. I am not trying to call you self-contradictory, but rather to understand how you would see the difference in this implication and your statement that the question is entirely moot.

      If tri-radical “Semitic” did derive from this Afroasiatic, are we to understand that one day the “Semites” simply broke free and said, “Let’s add another radical to our words, and just get along with it.”?

      Yours,

      Douglas Petrovich
      Toronto

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Peter T. Daniels
      Douglas, Besides the two versions of Diakonoff s classic, The Semito-Hamitic Languages (1965) and The Afroasiatic Languages (1987), there are several
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 9, 2013
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        Douglas,

        Besides the two versions of Diakonoff's classic, The Semito-Hamitic Languages (1965) and The Afroasiatic Languages (1987), there are several sketch-length treatments here and there (I think the most recent is in Weininger et al.'s Handbook of Semitic Languages from de Gruyter, 2011) -- and two recent surveys: in the "Cambridge Green" series, edited by Frajzyngier and a colleague (2011) [I can never remember exactly how to spell that name] and in Harrassowitz's Porta Linguarum Orientalium, *Semitic and Afroasiatic: Challenges and Opportunities, edited by Lutz Edzard [yes, the son of the Assyriologist] (2012), which is a collection of descriptions of the AA languages intended for Semitists.

        Harms is a Chomskyan linguistic theorist, I don't recognize the next two names, and Abboud is a modern Arabist.

        Language families form when speech communities break up. The most likely homeland of AA is what is now the eastern Sahara, which at a suitable time was lush and fertile; as the population grew, a part of it seems to have made its way northeastward and found suitable territory in the Arabian Peninsula and then Mesopotamia. (It's even been suggested that they crossed at the Bab el-Mandab at the south of the Red Sea rather than over the top through the Sinai.) If that bunch of AA-speakers started turning independent words into suffixes (via the well-attested and well-described processes called "grammaticalization"), so that new vocabulary-words formed, rather than phrases with two components, then we would have lots of words with similar front ends and different tails, and a smaller number of tails that could wag lots of different words.

        Linguistically, no need for "biconsonantal roots" -- just CVC words earlier on -- or "triconsonantal roots" -- just either bisyllabic words (CVCVC) or words with a cluster and a vowel (CVCC? CCVC?); and a variety of apophonic patterns for deriving forms and for inflecting them.
        --
        Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
        Jersey City


        >________________________________
        > From: Douglas Petrovich <dp@...>
        >To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
        >Sent: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 2:14 PM
        >Subject: [ANE-2] Re: "The Biradical Origin of Semitic Roots"
        >
        >
        >

        >Peter,
        >
        >Thanks for your insightful input. You said/asked,
        >
        >“Bob King's main fields are Yiddish and historical linguistics; but there must have been Semitists at Austin before Huehnergard and Hackett moved there? Who else is on the committee?”
        >
        >The committee consisted of the following: Robert T. Harms, Richard P. Meier, Esther L. Raizen, and Peter F. Abboud.
        >
        >“I think the "first language spoken by the Semitic peoples" in (1) must refer to something that might still be called Afroasiatic, with the hallmark of "Semitic" being the emergence of triradicality in (2).”
        >
        >Is there a well presented description of Afroasiatic in published form? As for your suggested hallmark, this seems to imply an Afroasiatic origin of “Semitic”, and thus seems to imply the potentiality of Hecker’s title. I am not trying to call you self-contradictory, but rather to understand how you would see the difference in this implication and your statement that the question is entirely moot.
        >
        >If tri-radical “Semitic” did derive from this Afroasiatic, are we to understand that one day the “Semites” simply broke free and said, “Let’s add another radical to our words, and just get along with it.”?
        >
        >Yours,
        >
        >Douglas Petrovich
        >Toronto
        >
        >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Brian Colless
        I had a Hebrew teacher who played with this idea. He pointed me to KRT and KTB, This set of examples is one I have assembled, and it seems to extend beyond
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 9, 2013
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          I had a Hebrew teacher who played with this idea. He pointed me to KRT and KTB,

          This set of examples is one I have assembled, and it seems to extend beyond Afrasian:

          KT/QT. = 'cut'
          KTB 'inscribe'; KRT 'cut'
          QT.B 'cut down'; QT.N 'small'; QT.L 'kill"

          Brian Colless
          Massey University, NZ

          On 10/07/2013, at 4:57 AM, Stewart Felker wrote:

          > I've come across a dissertation by a Bernice Varjick Hecker called "The
          > Biradical Origin of Semitic Roots" (University of Texas at Austin, 2007) -
          > supervised by Robert D. King (whose main area of expertise seems to be
          > languages of the medieval period).
          >
          > It argues: "1) that all the words in the first language spoken by the
          > Semitic peoples consisted of biradicals; 2) that the majority of the
          > postulated biradicals entered the Semitic languages after being expanded by
          > the addition of a third radical, with the resulting triradical having a
          > semantic relation to the original biradical."
          >
          > This seems extremely controversial - I want to say 'indefensible'
          > (especially the first part); but I'm honestly not skilled enough in Semitic
          > linguistics to really pinpoint exactly why. I also don't understand how
          > there's not a contradiction between 2) and 1), in the way that he writes
          > it.
          >
          > Other dubious things include the bibliography only having about 50 works.
          >
          > Anyone familiar with this, or have any thoughts?
          >
          > Stewart Felker,
          > University of Memphis
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >



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        • Antonio Lombatti
          Found in Jerusalem: http://matthewkalman.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/ground-zero.html Antonio Lombatti ... Professore di Storia della Chiesa Università Popolare
          Message 4 of 8 , Jul 10, 2013
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            Found in Jerusalem:

            http://matthewkalman.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/ground-zero.html

            Antonio Lombatti
            ---------------------------------------------
            Professore di Storia della Chiesa
            Università Popolare
            Parma - Italia
            http://www.antoniolombatti.it

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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