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Re: [TIED] Re: AfroAsiatic

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  • Dennis Poulter
    ... From: John Croft To: Sent: Friday, 09 June, 2000 9:38 AM Subject: [TIED] Re: AfroAsiatic ... I think the
    Message 1 of 18 , Jun 11, 2000
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: John Croft <jdcroft@...>
      To: <cybalist@egroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, 09 June, 2000 9:38 AM
      Subject: [TIED] Re: AfroAsiatic


      > --- In cybalist@egroups.com, "Glen Gordon" <glengordon01@h...> wrote:
      > >
      > > John:
      > > >Egyptian was a cognate with Semitic, the two languages split about
      > > >5,800 BCE,
      > >
      > > You're dillusional. References, please. I don't see the EB saying
      > anything
      > > close to this. In fact, it considers Egyptian very different from
      > Semitic.
      > > Maybe you should take note.
      >
      > Agreed, but how different is different? Certainly by historic times,
      > Semitic moved in one direction and Semitic had moved strongly in
      > another. Of all the Afro-Asiatic languages, Egyptian is the one that
      > is, I believe, closest to Semitic in linguistic structure and
      > morphology.
      >
      > Dennis, am I right here?
      >
      > John
      >

      I think the opposite is probably the case here. More than 5000 years of
      close and intimate contact between Egyptian and Semitic speakers, from
      Naqada to the final extinction of Coptic as a spoken language (14thC CE?),
      must have led to a degree of convergence rather than divergence.
      Most linguists give dates ranging from 12000 to 8000BCE for the split of
      AfroAsiatic languages, and I have seen nothing to suggest that there is any
      subgrouping (other than perhaps Cushitic-Omotic) within this group.
      As you say, how different is different?
      Morphologically, it is very difficult to judge, as Egyptian writing gives no
      clues to internal vowel modification, which is the primary means of word
      derivation/creation within Semitic. All I can say is that Coptic seems to
      show no evidence of Semitic style derivational processes.
      Egyptian, again perhaps due to the writing system, and Coptic show no
      evidence of case endings, which are a feature of Semitic.
      In verb morphology, this really depends on the reconstructed proto-system,
      and how one analyses Semitic forms such as "yaprus" or "yaktubu", i.e. is
      this a reduced verbal auxiliary "ya" plus a nominal form "prus", "ktubu"?
      This
      kind of structure is evidenced in Egyptian and the other AfroAsiatic
      families, e.g. Chadic (Hausa) and Cushitic.

      But, judge for yourself. Below are ten common items of vocabulary. The only
      criterion I have used is that these words appear to have cognates across
      most of the IE languages, so one would expect a degree of similarity between
      Egyptian and Semitic :

      1.two snwy (Copt. Sesnawa) Tny (Ar. ?ithnaani, Ak.
      Sena)
      2.three xmtw (Copt. Som@nti) TlT (Ar. TalaaTa, Ak.
      SalaS)
      3.four yfdw (Copt. ftow) rb3 (Ar.
      ?arba3a, Ak. erbe)
      4.five dyw (Copt. tiw) xms (Ar. xamsa,
      Ak. HamiS)
      5.father ?t (Copt. eio:t) ?b(w) (Ar.
      ?ab(u))
      6.sun Sw (Copt. Sa) Sms (Ar. Sams)
      7.head d_3d_3 (Copt. go:g) r?s (Ar. ra?s)
      8.heart ?b/h9ty (Copt. het/he:t) lbb/qlb (Ar.qalb, Ak.
      libbu)
      9.eye ?rt (Copt. eier/eiat) 3yn (Ar.3ayn)
      10.tooth ?bx (Copt. obhe) snn (Ar.sinn, Ak.
      Sinnu)

      (Transcription : T, S = fricatives /th/, /sh/, x=guttural fricative /kh/,
      d_ = Eg. /djed/, ?='aleph (glottal stop), 3 = voiced laryngeal /ayin/, H =
      unvoiced laryngeal, 9 = Eg. 'double aleph', q = velar emphatic /k/).

      So, all in all, I think that the split between all the AfroAsiatic
      languages, including Egyptian and Semitic, is very deep, of the same time
      scale perhaps as Glen's proto-Steppe, if not Eurasiatic.


      Cheers
      Dennis
    • John Croft
      To my point ... times, ... that ... Dennis wrote ... years of ... from ... (14thC CE?), ... split of ... there is any ... gives no ... word ... seems to ... no
      Message 2 of 18 , Jun 12, 2000
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        To my point
        > > Agreed, but how different is different? Certainly by historic
        times,
        > > Semitic moved in one direction and Semitic had moved strongly in
        > > another. Of all the Afro-Asiatic languages, Egyptian is the one
        that
        > > is, I believe, closest to Semitic in linguistic structure and
        > > morphology.
        > >
        > > Dennis, am I right here?

        Dennis wrote

        > I think the opposite is probably the case here. More than 5000
        years
        of
        > close and intimate contact between Egyptian and Semitic speakers,
        from
        > Naqada to the final extinction of Coptic as a spoken language
        (14thC
        CE?),
        > must have led to a degree of convergence rather than divergence.
        > Most linguists give dates ranging from 12000 to 8000BCE for the
        split of
        > AfroAsiatic languages, and I have seen nothing to suggest that
        there
        is any
        > subgrouping (other than perhaps Cushitic-Omotic) within this group.
        > As you say, how different is different?
        > Morphologically, it is very difficult to judge, as Egyptian writing
        gives no
        > clues to internal vowel modification, which is the primary means of
        word
        > derivation/creation within Semitic. All I can say is that Coptic
        seems to
        > show no evidence of Semitic style derivational processes.
        > Egyptian, again perhaps due to the writing system, and Coptic show
        no
        > evidence of case endings, which are a feature of Semitic.
        > In verb morphology, this really depends on the reconstructed
        proto-system,
        > and how one analyses Semitic forms such as "yaprus" or "yaktubu",
        i.e. is
        > this a reduced verbal auxiliary "ya" plus a nominal form "prus",
        "ktubu"?
        > This
        > kind of structure is evidenced in Egyptian and the other AfroAsiatic
        > families, e.g. Chadic (Hausa) and Cushitic.
        >
        > But, judge for yourself. Below are ten common items of vocabulary.
        The only
        > criterion I have used is that these words appear to have cognates
        across
        > most of the IE languages, so one would expect a degree of
        similarity
        between
        > Egyptian and Semitic :
        >
        > 1.two snwy (Copt. Sesnawa) Tny (Ar.
        ?ithnaani, Ak.
        > Sena)
        > 2.three xmtw (Copt. Som@nti) TlT (Ar.
        TalaaTa, Ak.
        > SalaS)
        > 3.four yfdw (Copt. ftow) rb3 (Ar.
        > ?arba3a, Ak. erbe)
        > 4.five dyw (Copt. tiw) xms
        (Ar.
        xamsa,
        > Ak. HamiS)
        > 5.father ?t (Copt. eio:t) ?b(w)
        (Ar.
        > ?ab(u))
        > 6.sun Sw (Copt. Sa) Sms (Ar.
        Sams)
        > 7.head d_3d_3 (Copt. go:g) r?s (Ar. ra?s)
        > 8.heart ?b/h9ty (Copt. het/he:t) lbb/qlb
        (Ar.qalb, Ak.
        > libbu)
        > 9.eye ?rt (Copt. eier/eiat) 3yn
        (Ar.3ayn)
        > 10.tooth ?bx (Copt. obhe) snn
        (Ar.sinn,
        Ak.
        > Sinnu)
        >
        > (Transcription : T, S = fricatives /th/, /sh/, x=guttural
        fricative
        /kh/,
        > d_ = Eg. /djed/, ?='aleph (glottal stop), 3 = voiced laryngeal
        /ayin/, H =
        > unvoiced laryngeal, 9 = Eg. 'double aleph', q = velar emphatic /k/).
        >
        > So, all in all, I think that the split between all the AfroAsiatic
        > languages, including Egyptian and Semitic, is very deep, of the
        same
        time
        > scale perhaps as Glen's proto-Steppe, if not Eurasiatic.

        Hmm... This IS interesting.

        A break up of that order is right on the boundary between
        Ibero-Maurusian and Capsian cultures. This is very early indeed. It
        makes me wonder about a number of factors.
        Firstly - a recent history of AfricaI shows the extend of
        Afro-Asiatic as determined by the latest research in the period
        from 8,000 - 4,000 BCE (Neolithic) and from 4,000 BCE to i,200 BCE
        (Bronze Age). It suggests a presence of pre-Semitic Afro-Asiatic in
        Palestine and down the Red Sea coast by the end of the first period
        which could fit either of our scenarios. By the end of the second it
        shows Semitic influence established throughout Mesopotamia and back
        into Ethiopia. This makes me wonder if we cannot find a way of
        bringing Afro-Asiatic out of Africa earlier than I originally
        suggested.

        Presumably Kebaran is still too early, but there is a small cultural
        hiatus between the Natufian (10,000 - 8,500BCE) in which harvesting
        of
        wild emmer wheat in semi-natural circumstances allowed the growth of
        sedentarism, and the 8,500 - 6,000 appearance of Pre-Pottery
        Neolithic
        A and B (That I have labelled as Yarmukan after the type site on the
        Yarmuk stream in Palestine.) PPNA was associated with the
        cultivation
        of bread wheat, (a hybrid between emmer and einkorn varieties. Wild
        einkorn is only found in the area from Southern and Eastern Turkey,
        Northern Syria across to the Zagros mountains in NE Iran (all areas
        in
        which rain fed agriculture could develop). During this hiatus it has
        been suggested that increasing aridity caused a temporary regression
        to a nomadic hunter-gatherer way of life in Southern Palestine.
        Whilst there is no evidence of any African derived technology at this
        cultural hiatus, there is also no reason why an Afro-Asiatic influx
        may not have occurred then.

        The arrival of PPNA shortly thereafter with clear evidence of a
        Eastern Turkey-Northern Mesopotamian origin may have been the
        association of a Caucasian language superstrata people over the basis
        of the northern Natufian and may have incorporated the hunter
        gatherer
        nomads of southern Palestine. In this three way linguistic tussle,
        perhaps we can argue the following

        1. Caucasian contributed many of the words for agricultural terms
        2. Afro-Asiatic eventually won out as becoming the dominant language.
        3. Proto-Semitic was the ultimate language that was created.

        This would give proto-Semitic (Glen's Semitish) a chance to develop
        under the Yarmukan culture. Its Afro-Asiatic status would have been
        reinforced by another out-of-Africa wave which is clearly shown as I
        suggested from 5,800 BCE to 5,300 BCE with the increasing dessication
        of the African Sahara of this period and the appearance of African
        lithic technologies underneath the rise of Nomadic pastoralism. If
        this is the case, the Afro-Asiatic language of the arrivals was
        abandonned for the Semitic which had been developing under Yarmukan.
        This nomadic pastoralism would have then been spread widely down into
        Yemen and across Arabia, as I suggested in my earlier post, and
        eventually across the Red Sea into Ethiopia and Somalia, as confirmed
        by archaeology.

        What we now have is the following (see new Excell sheet
        (Cultures.xls)in the files for a possible reconstruction).

        Glen, I'd be interested in your ideas on this one too.

        Regards

        John
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