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

From: Miguel Carrasquer
Message: 27708
Date: 2003-11-27

On Thu, 27 Nov 2003 14:05:42 +0100 (MET), Harald Hammarstrom
<haha2581@...> wrote:

>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 I quote unpublished Jan Retsö "Introduction to Sabaean",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)."

Thanks. If I can summarize, the Sabaean noun had three "states":

contruct absolute definite
-0 -m -n
/-a/? /-am/ -/an/ or /-a:n/

Now I would be very interested in knowing what the plural and dual
equivalents were.

We've been discussing this on sci.lang, where I got side-tracked from
*sab`atu(m) into a discussion about Semitic nunation and mimation in
general. I can give a short resumé of my own views here (although it's a
bit off-topic [a lot, really]):

The way I see it, proto-Semitic had a construct state:

sg. masc. fem.
nom -0 -at-0
acc -0 -at-0
gen -i -at-i
nom -u: -a:t-0/-a:n-0
obl -i: -a:t-i
nom -a: -at-a:
obl -a-i: -at-a-i:

There was a definite state, constructed by adding a old pronominal article
*V, pl./du. *Vn):

sg. masc. fem.
nom -u -at-u
acc -a -at-a
gen -i -at-i
nom -u:-n -a:t-u
obl -i:-n -a:t-i
nom -a:-n -at-a:-n
obl -a-i:-n -at-a-i:-n

Note that the, which already contains the plural marker -a:t- (~
-a:n-) does not add the plural form of the "article".

Finally, there was an "indefinite" state, with *-n (perhaps *-m?) added to
all forms, whether singular, plural and dual:

sg. masc. fem.
nom -u-n -at-u-n
acc -a-n -at-a-n
gen -i-n -at-i-n
nom -u:-n -a:t-u-n
obl -i:-n -a:t-i-n
nom -a:-n -at-a:-n
obl -a-i:-n -at-a-i:-n

Akkadian has a construct and an absolute state, where the absolute state
continues the old "indefinite". The final sequence *-u(:)n becomes
*-u(:)m, and the *-m is analogically extended to the oblique case(s).
After a long vowel, *-m (but not *-n) is dropped. This results in

sg. masc. fem.
nom -u-m -at-u-m
acc -a-m -at-a-m
gen -i-m -at-i-m
nom -u: -a:t-u-m
obl -i: -a:t-i-m
nom -a:-n -at-a:-n
obl -i:-n -at-i:-n

Canaanite (Ugaritic, Phoenician, Hebrew...) also has a construct and an
absolute state, but here the absolute continues the old definite state.
The *-m from *-um/*-u:m has here been extended to the dual as well:

Ugaritic Hebrew
nom -u -at-u
acc -a -at-a -0 -a:(h) < *-ata
gen -i -at-i
nom -u:-m(a) -a:t-u
obl -i:-m(a) -a:t-i -i:m -o:t
nom -a:-m -at-a:-m
obl -i:-m -at-i:-m -ayim -a:tayim

Aramaic is essentially the same, but has generalized nunation:

sg. -0 -a:(h) < *-ata
pl. -i:-n -a:n
du. -a-yi-n -&t-a-yi-n

Note the in -a:n for expected -a:t (Hebrew -o:t).

Arabic maintains all three states:

construct definite indefinite
nom -u -at-u -u -at-u -u-n -at-u-n
acc -a -at-a -a -at-a -a-n -at-a-n
gen -i -at-i -i -at-i -i-n -at-i-n
nom -u: -a:t-u -u:-n(a) -a:t-u -u:-n(a) -a:t-u-n
obl -i: -a:t-i -i:-n(a) -a:t-i -i:-n(a) -a:t-i-n
nom -a: -at-a: -a:-n(i) -at-a:-n(i) -a:-n(i) -at-a:-n(i)
obl -a-y -at-a-y -a-y-n(i) -at-a-y-n(i) -a-y-n(i) -at-a-y-n(i)

As in NW Semitic, the singular of the construct state has been equated with
the singular of the definite stae.

So, I would like to know how Sabaean fits into this.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal