Re: [tied] Re: Numerals query again + Ge'ez forms

From: Harald Hammarstrom
Message: 27704
Date: 2003-11-27

> On Thu, 20 Nov 2003 13:24:19 +0100 (MET), Harald Hammarstrom
> <haha2581@...> wrote:
> >I'll check when I get home. But speaking of which, I had the pleasure once
> >to study Old South Arabic for Prof. Jan Retsö. Neither nunation nor cases
> >are attested there (which is not the same as saying the case vowels didn't
> >exist because they wouldn't have been in the writing anyway). The forms
> >(sabaic) for seven is entirely undramatic with sb3t and sb3 respectively.
> Lipin'ski claims that in Epigraphic South Arabian, the indefinite is marked
> by -m, the definite by -n (a sparingly used definite article -a:n(?)
> according to Yusuf on sci.lang).

I had to go look for my old papers and you are dead right. It's my memory
that was wrong. I quote unpublished Jan Retsö "Introduction to Sabaean",
2000. p. 4:
"The nominal declension
Most Sabaean nouns (substantives, adjectives and numerals) are declined
according to states. The two basic ones are the construct and the
absolute. The construct has no visible marking. The absolute is formed by
adding the suffix <m>:
<yd> - <ydm>
<hgr> - <hgrm>

There is no semantic difference between the two states. They serve as
markers of syntactic relations between nouns. The absolute state can be
seen as the lexical form of a noun (its quotation form) and is the normal
form of a noun (substantive or adjective) which is not restricted by
genitival attributes in a sentence. For the use of the construct state,
see below, lesson 5 and 6.

Sabaean distinguishes definiteness by adding a suffix <n> to the noun
which thus functions as a definite article. The article replaces the
absolute suffix. Most nouns thus have two independent forms:

<hgrm> 'a town' - <hgrn> 'the town'

The absolute-suffix is, however, not an indefinite article which is seen
from its frequent use in proper names which are always definite: <mlkm>

There's no certain indication that Sabaean had a case-inflection like the
Arabiyya or Akkadian. It has been assumed that the vocalisation of the
singular definite state was -a:n but it seems more likely that there was
an alteration between short and long vowels: -a:n/-an perhaps governed by
accent. In Arabic there are cases of isolated lexemes ending in a vowel
+ -n like bilGHa:n-un 'story-teller, gossiper', 3ljan-un 'robust, rough',
firsin-un 'camel's foot', burTun-un 'claw'. The absolute was -am thus:
baytam. With this should be compared the Arabic words like KHiDrim-un
'courageous', Duj3um-un 'strong', all probably loanwords from a dialect or
language (Himyaritic) close to Sabaean(1). Also forms like 'ibnum, 'ibnim,
'ibnam 'son' are documented in the Arabiyya(2)."

Btw regarding the prev. discussion I just came to think that the feminine
*-at- in nouns usually turns up as -t in Ge'ez. But it's not the same with
the numerals.