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Lameen Souag 6 Aug 18
[Long reply to , cc ] Try unpacking the “areal influence” scenario. You're imagining Aramaic speakers taking *šāq-ān and turning it into *sāqān by way of imitating Arabic speakers (putting aside the problem of ā>ī). How would that work?
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Lameen Souag 6 Aug 18
Replying to @Safaitic
It could be a general "areal" sound shift: old š > s. But mšaḥwar and many other words show that that never happened in Lebanese. As notes, the few words of clear Aramaic origin where š > s – like Yasūʕ – were borrowed into Arabic before Arabic had a phoneme š.
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Lameen Souag 6 Aug 18
Replying to @lameensouag
So what about a word-specific shift: š > s only in words with recognizable Arabic cognates? How to tell the difference between that and just copying the Arabic word? Answer: look for recognizable Arabic-Aramaic cognates where just changing š>s _won't_ give you the Arabic form.
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Lameen Souag 6 Aug 18
Replying to @lameensouag
For instance, Aram. šmayyā “sky” (abs. šmīn) = Ar. samā'; does Lebanese have smīn, or even smayya?
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Lameen Souag 6 Aug 18
Replying to @lameensouag
Or Aram. rēš(ā) "head" = Ar. raʔs; does Lebanese have rēs?
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Lameen Souag 6 Aug 18
Replying to @lameensouag
Check a few of these, and you quickly reach a strong generalization: if “changing” š>s doesn't yield the form expected on the hypothesis of direct copying from Arabic, it doesn't happen.
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Lameen Souag 6 Aug 18
Replying to @lameensouag
So either speakers were awfully concerned about hiding their tracks, or what they were doing was... speaking Arabic to their kids, not Aramaic. Wouldn't be the last time you found Lebanese parents speaking to their kids in a foreign lg. would it?
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Nassim Nicholas Taleb 6 Aug 18
Replying to @lameensouag
You seem to assume that pple switched from Semitic dialect to Ar. as if they were speaking Serbo-Croatian 1) People were not nec. speaking Aramaic, but local variation 2) s/sh might be local PRE-Arabic 2) Explain why then they didn't embrace the ذ ث and retained the Aramaic.
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Lameen Souag 6 Aug 18
Replying to @nntaleb
1) Of course they were speaking a "local variation". 2) If so, you'd see it in placenames. 3) What they retained (if anything) was the inability to pronounce ث ذ in any words, inc. ones that never existed in Aramaic. When a Cajun says "I tink", "tink" is not retained from French!
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Lameen Souag 6 Aug 18
Replying to @nntaleb
I mean, if you want to, you can postulate a completely unattested Semitic dialect in the hills of pre-Islamic Lebanon which coincidentally happened to share as many changes with Arabic as you need to account for any given word. But there is a simpler hypothesis...
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Ahmad Al-Jallad
But this is a very interesting suggestion! Since the 2nd c. BCE, the area north of the Galilee, from Mt. Lebanon to the Anti-Lebanon was inhabited by the Itureans (). While their origins are disputed, some members of this group wrote Safaitic inscriptions.
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Ahmad Al-Jallad 7 Aug 18
Replying to @lameensouag @nntaleb
C 784: l mġyr bn ʿmm bn ʾḏnt ḏ- ʾl yẓr w ʾs²rq ḏrw -- by Mughayyer son of 'Ammam son of Udhaynat of the people of Yiẓur (= Ἰτουραῖοι) and he migrated towards Dharaw.
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Ahmad Al-Jallad 7 Aug 18
Replying to @lameensouag @nntaleb
The previous text is from Rif Dimashq; this text comes from the Damascus Museum. l ʾ{n}{ʿ}m bn s¹g----lh w ts²wq ʾl- yẓr f h lt s¹l[----]m w qbll -- the author explains that he longs for Iturea and asks for security and a reunion of loved ones from the goddess Allat.
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