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Ahmad Al-Jallad 7 Aug 18
Replying to @nntaleb @lameensouag
I don't suspect the Itureans are migrants from the Arabian Peninsula; they probably spoke a form of Old Arabic on the same continuum as Nabataean, etc. The Q is how long were these dialects part of the ling. milieu of this part of the Levant.
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Nassim Nicholas Taleb 7 Aug 18
Replying to @Safaitic @lameensouag
If Itureans have no Peninsular DNA, helps strengthen the idea that Arabic is a South Levantine thing. Anyway will give you Frei7a's placenames (out of print) when we meet.
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orbi 7 Aug 18
Does the capacity of an area to sustain a population play a role in the discussion? I can imagine that the population size of the Arabian inner desert was just not large enough to outgrow the population of the more fertile Levantine area?
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Lameen Souag 7 Aug 18
Rather like in the case of England vs. India that I discussed, where the population disparity is so huge that even a century of British rule left barely any genetic impact, despite massively affecting language use...
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orbi 7 Aug 18
Exactly, but that would only work supposing that Arabian culture out of the desert had such a great impact, it dislodged the well established coastal languages. I find that hard to believe since so little trace of this.
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Nassim Nicholas Taleb 7 Aug 18
History offers contradictory pieces re Arabization. Arabs didn't initially care abt Lebanese coast. My village in North Leb had the Byzantines come battle the Maronites after the "Arab invasion", in 694. Later the area spent 200 y under Crusaders & 500 years under Ottomans.
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orbi 7 Aug 18
Where would the Levantine Arabs have lived 6-7th C? Maybe not in your village but not far away? Does a map exist of supposed Levantine Arab presence (shown by Arab names and inscriptions) before "Arab invasions" of the 630's?
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Ahmad Al-Jallad 7 Aug 18
I know of no large-scale evidence that far north. Arabic names, linguistic fragments, and inscriptions cluster in southern Syria and throughout the former Nabataean realm. The Zebed Inscr. (512 ce) from near Aleppo is trilingual Syriac-Greek-Arabic, but seems to be an outlier.
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orbi 7 Aug 18
So your comment on the Iturians shouldn't be viewed as an indication of a possible Arab presence (they wrote in Safaitic,no?)?
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Ahmad Al-Jallad 7 Aug 18
Yes, but that isn't as far north as village. And I wouldn't call it an "Arab" presence. It suggests possibility of spkrs of Old Arabic dialect(s) -- no evidence of an Arab ethnic identity covering all who speak languages w grammatical features we today call Arabic.
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Lameen Souag
For the Levant, coastal/northern (Aramaic) dialects likely got replaced by inland Levantine (Arabic) dialects from relatively close by, not by far-off Arabian ones - much as Aramaic (inland) had previously replaced Canaanite (coastal). Easier to copy Damascus than Mecca!
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