Classical Syriac Phonology 9781463236847

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Classical Syriac Phonology

Perspectives on Linguistics and Ancient Languages 7 Editorial Board James K. Aitken Aaron Michael Butts Daniel King Michael P. Theophilos Wido van Peursen

Perspectives on Linguistics and Ancient Languages (PLAL) contains peer-reviewed essays, monographs, and reference works. It focuses on the theory and practice of ancient-language research and lexicography that is informed by modern linguistics.

Classical Syriac Phonology

Ebbe E. Knudsen

9

34 2015

Gorgias Press LLC, 954 River Road, Piscataway, NJ, 08854, USA www.gorgiaspress.com Copyright © 2015 by Gorgias Press LLC

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise without the prior written permission of Gorgias Press LLC. 2015

‫ܝ‬

9

ISBN 978-1-4632-0525-6

ISSN 2165-2600

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A Cataloging-in-Publication Record is available from the Library of Congress. Printed in the United States of America

TABLE OF CONTENTS Table of contents Foreword Abbreviations – Literature Abbreviations – General Abbreviations – Biblical Books 1 Preliminaries a The problem of reconstructing Syriac phonology b The phases of the Syriac language c The sources for reconstructing Syriac phonology d Syriac consonants and Semitic comparative evidence e The Jewish Aramaic evidence f Summary of chapter 1 
 2 Features of Early Syriac a The language of the early inscriptions b Vowel reduction in unstressed open syllables c Qußßãyã and rukkãxã d Phonological aspects of spirantization e The dating of spirantization f Irregular use of qußßãyã in verbal forms g Reflexes of vowel reduction: The prosthetic ãlaf h Summary of chapter 2 
 3 Consonants a Inventory of consonants b Consonant incompatibility c Emphasis d East Syriac p and f e Greek consonants f The evidence for ≠ 3

3 7 9 13 15 17
 19 21 26
 32 33 35 37
 40
 41
 45 47
 52 55 57
 61
 62
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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

g Consonant length h Interchange of ‚ and the semivowels w and y i Summary of chapter 3 
 4 Assimilation and dissimilation of consonants a Voice assimilation. The rules of medieval grammarians b Voice assimilation. Examples c Emphasis assimilation and loss of emphasis d Other types of assimilation e Dissimilation of interdental fricatives f Summary of chapter 4 
 5 Vowels a Inventory of vowels b The early vowel notation by Jacob of Edessa c A historical evaluation of the early vowel notation d The eastern vowels in early biblical orthography e The vocalization of British Museum Add. 12138 f The importance of Add. 12138 for phonology g The e vowels in the eastern orthography of lexical texts h The rounding of ä to ã i Early Syriac § j List of nouns and adjectives with § k Greek and Latin o l Summary of chapter 5 
 6 The auxiliary vowel a The statement by Bar Hebraeus: West Syriac b The statement by Bar Hebraeus: East Syriac c The early East Syriac biblical evidence d The late East Syriac biblical evidence e Shift of auxiliary vowels to full vowels f Secondary vowels in numbers 11-19 g Summary of chapter 6 
 7 Vowels and vowel quantity a Syriac and Jewish Aramaic b The Tiberian Hebrew evidence c The statement by Bar Hebraeus d Summary of chapter 7 4

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 86 87 89 91
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 134 135 137 138
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 142 148 150 153
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TABLE OF CONTENTS


 8 Stress a Reflexes of word stress b Reflexes of stress in word formation c Summary of chapter 8

171
 172 173

9 Appendix: The modern pronunciation of the West Syriac literary language a The classical tradition and Modern Literary Syriac 175
 b Consonants 176
 c Vowels and vowel length 178 10 Appendix: A sketch of Turoyo phonology a The Turoyo language b The Turoyo phonological system: Consonants c The Turoyo phonological system: Vowels d The Turoyo phonological system: Stress and prominence e The new Turoyo standard orthography

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Bibliography

Do not delete the following information about this document. Version 1.0 Document Template: MyGorgiasSubmission.dot. Document Page Count: 202

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6

FOREWORD

Work on this book began as research on the phonological background of Modern Literary Syriac. This research was planned to form part of an introductory chapter in a monograph on lexical innovations in Modern Literary Syriac that I am preparing with my colleague Professor Elie Wardini of the University of Stockholm. As my manuscript grew, it became clear that it exceeded the size of an introductory chapter. However, since there is no modern monograph on Classical Syriac phonology, I decided to continue work on the manuscript. A characteristic feature of this book is the repeated reference to and comparison with both eastern and western varieties of Jewish Aramaic. As a sister language Jewish Aramaic is closely related to Syriac, it is well documented, and most varieties of the language are roughly contemporary with Classical Syriac. Another feature of this book is the use of modern Turoyo to shed light on phonological phenomena in Classical Syriac. For our purposes Turoyo is particularly important, because it is the most conservative modern descendant of ancient East Aramaic, and because Classical Syriac as a literary language has survived, among other places, in Turoyo speaking territory. I would hardly have been able to draw on Turoyo material, if it were not for two Syriac friends, Faulus Korkunc (Norway) and Jan Beth Sawo‘e (Sweden). In the early eighties of last century, while I was teaching Semitics at the University of Oslo, Faulus came to me as a student, but after a while he became my teacher of Turoyo and later a patient informant with an open mind on the many questions a linguist may ask. Over the years, after the Symposium Syriacum in Uppsala (Sweden) in 1996, Jan has sent me a number of issues of his journal Nsibin and other publications, books and pamphlets, with texts in Written Turoyo. I have greatly profited from what I learned from these 7

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

friends and I am very grateful to them for lending me their language. The beautiful Seråo font used in this book was designed years ago by Professor Elie Wardini, then a student at the University of Oslo and working for our Turabdin project with a research grant from the university. Since then, he has used the font in his thesis Neologisms in Modern Literary Syriac (Oslo 1995) and in several later publications. I take this occasion to thank Dr. George Kiraz of Gorgias Press for accepting my manuscript for publication at the same time as he was preparing his own Phonology as part of a comprehensive Syriac grammar (for a reference, see Bibliography s.v. Kiraz, G.). Værløse (Denmark) in July 2015. Ebbe Egede Knudsen.

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ABBREVIATIONS – LITERATURE AKM

Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes. Leipzig/Wiesbaden BarA I: G. Hoffmann ed., Syrisch-arabische Glossen I. Kiel 1886. Reprinted as Syriac Studies Library 10, Piscataway, NJ 2010. II: R. Gottheil ed., The Syriac-Arabic Glosses of Isho Bar Ali II. Rome 1910. Reprinted as Syriac Studies Library 31, Piscataway, NJ 2010. BarB R. Duval ed., Lexicon syriacum auctore Hassano Bar Bahlule. 3 vol.s Paris 1888-1901, reprinted as 2 vol.s Amsterdam 1970. BdS A. Moberg ed., Buch der Strahlen. Die größere Grammatik des Bar Hebräus. 2 vol.s. Leipzig 1907. 1913. Translation. Reprinted as Syriac Studies Library 27, Piscataway, NJ 2010. BO J. Simonius Assemanus ed., Bibliotheca Orientalis Clementino-Vaticana. 4 vol.s Romae 1719-1728. BSOAS Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. London D H. J. W. Drijvers ed., Old-Syriac (Edessean) Inscriptions, Semitic Study Series NS 3. Leiden 1972. Cf. DH. DH H. J. W. Drijvers and J. F. Healey. The Old Syriac Inscriptions of Edessa and Osrhoene. Texts, Translations and Commentary, HdO I/42. Leiden 1999. Cf. D. Diat. I. Ortiz de Urbina ed., Diatessaron Tatiani, Biblia Polyglotta Matritensia VI. Madrid 1967. EdM A. Smith Lewis ed., The Old Syriac Gospels or Evangelion da-Mepharreshê. London 1910. The text of the Sinai Palimpsest (S) with the variants of the Curetonian (C) text. Cf. F. Crawford Burkitt ed., Evangelion daMepharreshe. 2 vol.s Cambridge 1904. Based on the 9

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

Curetonian version with the variants of the Sinai Palimpsest. HdO Handbuch der Orientalistik. Leiden ILS C. A. Ciancaglini, Iranian Loanwords in Syriac, Beiträge zur Iranistik 28. Wiesbaden 2008. JA Journal asiatique. Paris JAOS Journal of the American Oriental Society. JBS Xori Caziz Jan Be©-∑awoce, Ëno mërli, Xori Caziz Be©-Xawaja madcarle (Kfarze). Södertälje (Sweden) 2001. Interview with Khory ‘Aziz. JCS Journal of Cuneiform Studies. New Haven JEG Jacob of Edessa’s grammar entitled ¥lmm c§wT, in W. Wright, Catalogue of the Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum III 1168-1173. London 1872, text also in an edition of 50 copies printed for private circulation dated 1871. Handwritten transcript by A. Merx in his Historia artis grammaticae apud Syros, AKM 9/2 (1889). The text below is quoted from Merx’s edition with a reference to Wright’s printed text (W1) and the separate edition (W2). JNES Journal of Near Eastern Studies. Chicago JSS Journal of Semitic Studies. Manchester L J. Loopstra, An East Syrian Manuscript of the Syriac ‘Masora’ Dated to 899 CE. A Facsimile Reproduction of British Library, Add. MS 12138. Volume I. Piscataway 2014. See also W below. LdS A. Moberg ed., Le livre des splendeurs. La grande grammaire de Grégoire Bar Hebraeus, Skrifter utgivna av Kungl. Humanistiska Vetenskapssamfundet i Lund. Lund etc. 1922. Reprinted as Syriac Studies Library 28, Piscataway, NJ 2010. LexS C. Brockelmann, Lexicon Syriacum. 2nd ed. Halle 1928, reprinted Hildesheim 1966. LP B. Walton ed., Biblia Sacra Polyglotta. London 1657 (London Polyglot). M Biblia sacra veteris et novi testamenti juxta versionem simplicem vulgo Peschitta dictam. Old and New Testament in Syriac. 3 vol.s Mosul 1886-1891. Inaccessible to me. Quotations are from the re-edition Mosul 1951 (East Syriac). A number of passages were collated from a pdfcopy of the first edition. 10

ABBREVIATIONS

N

Th. Nöldeke, Kurzgefasste Syrische Grammatik. 2nd ed. Leipzig 1898, reprinted Darmstadt 1966. Quoted by sections (§). OrLovAn Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta. Leuven OTS The Old Testament in Syriac According to the Peshitta Version. Leiden 1972ff. PG P. E. Pusey and G. H. Gwilliam ed.s, Tetraeuangelium sanctum juxta simplicem Syrorum versionem. The Gospels in West Syriac. Critical edition. Oxford 1901. Reprinted Piscataway, NJ 200. PLO Porta Linguarum Orientalium. Wiesbaden RB Revue biblique. Paris Ritter H. Ritter, Turoyo. Die Volkssprache der syrischen Christen des Tur ‘Abdin. B: Wörterbuch. Beirut 1979. Sab. A. Berliner ed., Targum Onkelos. Berlin 1884. Text according to the Sabbioneta edition of 1557. Slq A. Nuro, Suloko Book 1. Hengelo (Holland) 1989. Also with title in Arabic and Syriac. Elementary school book. ST J. Kashisho (Qa@i@o), Safro Tobo 1-3 [Good Morning]. Norsborg and Södertälje (Sweden) 1979-1983. Elementary school book published by the Assyrian Federation of Sweden. SyrL M. Sokoloff, A Syriac Lexicon. A Translation … and Update of C. Brockelman’s Lexicon Syriacum. Winona Lake, Ind. & Piscataway, NJ 2009. Thes. R. Payne Smith, S.T.P., ed., Thesaurus Syriacus. Collegerunt Stephanus M. Quatremere, Georgius Henricus Bernstein etc., auxit, digessit, exposuit. 2 vol.s Oxonii 1879-1901. Thes. Spl. J. Payne Margoliouth, Supplement to the Thesaurus Syriacus of R. Payne Smith, S.T.P. Oxford 1927. Aiedq Abtk … Old Testament in East Syriac with a U Neo- Syriac translation. Urmia 1852. Syriac text reprinted by the Trinitarian Bible Society. London 1954. W British Museum manuscript Add. 12138 (dated 899). A facsimile edition of the text of Genesis was published in T. Weiss, Zur ostsyrischen Laut- und Akzentlehre. Stuttgart 1933. See also L above. WZKM Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes. Wien 11

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

ZDMG Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft. Wiesbaden

12

ABBREVIATIONS – GENERAL abs. adj. adv. Af. Akk. Arab. Ass. BAram. BH Class. comp. conj. CPA crit. app. cstr. det. ES Ethpa. Ethpe. f. FK imp. impf. inf. intr. Kurd. m. n. NT OT Pa. Pe.

status absolutus, absolute state adjective adverb Af „el Akkadian Arabic Assyrian Biblical Aramaic Biblical Hebrew Classical Syriac compound conjunction Christian Palestinian Aramaic critical apparatus status constructus, construct state status determinatus, determined state East Syriac Ethpa„al Ethpe„el feminine Faulus Korkunc, my main informant for Turoyo imperative imperfect infinitive intransitive Kurdish masculine noun, substantive New Testament Old Testament Pa„el Pe„al 13

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

pf. pl. pron. ptc. ptc. p. RT sg. suff. Syr. TargA tr. Tu. Turk. var. WS WT

perfect plural status pronominalis, pronominal state participle participle passive Rural (spoken) Turoyo (as distinct from WT), often from FK. singular suffix Syriac Targumic Aramaic transitive Turoyo Turkish variant West Syriac Written Turoyo (as distinct from RT, cf. 10e). The abbreviation WT indicates forms that I have found either in dictionaries/word lists or in written texts.

14

ABBREVIATIONS – BIBLICAL BOOKS Chron. Col. Cor. Dan. Deut. Eccles. Eph. Ep. Jer. Ex. Ezek. Gal. Gen. Hab. Hebr. Is. Jer. Lam. Lev. Macc. Matt. Neh. Num. Philip. Prov. Ps. Rev. Rom. Sam. Sir. Thes. Tim. Tob.

Chronicles Colossians Corinthians Daniel Deuteronomy Ecclesiastes Ephesians Epistle of Jeremiah Exodus Ezekiel Galatians Genesis Habakkuk Hebrews Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations Leviticus Maccabees Matthew Nehemiah Numbers Philippians Proverbs Psalms Revelation Romans Samuel Ecclesiasticus, Book of Ben Sira Thessalonians Timothy Tobit 15

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

Zech. Zeph.

Zechariah Zephaniah

16

1 PRELIMINARIES a The problem of reconstructing Syriac phonology The reconstruction of the phonology of ancient Semitic languages roughly follows the same lines, whether the language is Classical Syriac or Biblical Hebrew, or even Akkadian. The primary evidence available to the modern linguist is the written texts and comparative Semitics.1 In addition, there are other types of evidence either supporting or supplementing the results arrived at on the basis of this evidence. For Classical Syriac, the discussions of phonological data by medieval grammarians are important primary evidence as well. So is the circumstance that the Syrian Orthodox Church and other church communities using a Syriac liturgy have preserved traditional pronunciations of Syriac that we may consider the latest stages in a long line of development leading back to the ancient language. Languages change and when living in symbiosis with other languages they influence these languages or are influenced by them. After the Islamic conquest in the seventh century began a long period of symbiosis with Arabic resulting at the end of the millennium in a gradual shift of language from Aramaic to Arabic, even though groups of closely related Aramaic dialects have survived particularly in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq. For most of its existence as a separate language, Syriac has been characterized by a bilingual relationship between a written and Compare the statement in E. Reiner, Linguistic Analysis of Akkadian (Janua Linguarum. Series Practica 21. Hague 1966) p. 18, who considered this evidence “the two factors which permitted the decipherment of Akkadian.” 1

17

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

a spoken language. At the outset the spoken language was a similar and closely related Aramaic idiom. Later spoken Arabic replaced spoken Aramaic, and Arabic is likely to have deeply influenced the pronunciation of literary Syriac. Today the modern traditional pronunciations of Syriac are little more than spelling pronunciations preserving the general phonetic values of consonants and vowels, and we should use this evidence with care due to the phonetic similarity with Arabic and the possibility of borrowing phonetic features. Another piece of primary evidence is the discussions of phonological data by the medieval grammarians. These discussions often deal with combinatory phonological changes not expressed in standard orthography. The activities of the medieval grammarians fell between the seventh and the thirteenth centuries. The two greatest names of native Syriac grammar make up the chronological frame, the earlier being Jacob of Edessa and the later Gregorius Bar Hebraeus. Below, I shall discuss aspects of their work and, more briefly, some remarks on the pronunciation of Syriac by some mostly late eastern grammarians.2 In principle, the primary evidence for reconstructing Syriac phonology forms part of a control procedure the earliest element of which is Proto-Semitic as reconstructed from the existing Semitic languages, and a later medial element is the Syriac language as it appears from written texts. The most recent element is the modern traditional pronunciation of the language and a comparison with the closely related modern Aramaic languages, in particular the phonologically conservative Turoyo. An important piece of secondary evidence comes from contemporary Jewish Aramaic. Phonologically Jewish Aramaic is similar to Syriac, and I shall return to this evidence quite often below.

Unfortunately, the collections on native Syriac grammar in Danish research libraries are limited, and the survey below had to be largely restricted to a few sources treating the works of the grammarians mentioned above. 2

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1. PRELIMINARIES

b The phases of the Syriac language In the linguistic history of Classical Syriac, the main division distinguishes an earlier phase of the literary language to be termed Early Classical and a later phase to be termed Late Classical. A characteristic feature of the Late Classical phase is the split into two varieties or dialects, West Syriac and East Syriac, paralleling the split resulting from the Christological conflicts of the fifth century. For all practical purposes, the criteria for classifying the two dialects are phonological. West Syriac lost the lengthening (doubling) of consonants. East Syriac, on the other hand, preserved this feature, though it came to introduce secondary lengthening of consonants in specific environments. However, the most decisive features separating the written forms of the two dialects are shifts in the vowel system, as in the West Syriac shift of ä to ö. Further, in West Syriac ¶ merged with ï and ö with ü, whereas in East Syriac ¶, if it existed in East Syriac, merged with ë. The eastern dialect preserved the old distinction of ö and ü. Jacob of Edessa is said to have invented vowel letters for Syriac, though only to be used for pedagogical purposes. I shall discuss these vowel letters below (5b), but here it suffices to state that his vowel orthography shows seventh century western Syriac to have still preserved old ¶ and ö. The so-called Greek vowel letters well known from later West Syriac orthography do not include symbols for Early Classical ¶ and ö. The earliest dated manuscripts using Greek vowel letters go back to the tenth century. According to J. F. Coakley,3 most of these manuscripts share a provenience from the region of Melitene, reconquered by the Byzantines in 934. Coakley concludes that these vowel letters were first used in and around Melitene in the tenth century for recording the oral tradition of biblical texts. At this time, it is likely that “we are near, if not at, the moment of invention of these vowel-signs themselves” JSS 66 (2011) 307-325. J. B. Segal, The Diacritical Point and the Accents in Syriac (London Oriental Series 2. Oxford) p. 46f. with note 8 considered an earlier date to the 8th and the 9th centuries as possible. According to J.-P. Martin, JA 19 (1872) 310 western vocalization probably dates back to the 11th century. 3

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(p. 325). Years ago, J. B. Segal4 stated that with the turn of the seventh century the eastern vowel symbol zqåpå was regularly used. Among the forms he quoted, one shows the specific eastern diphthong in the phrase Mœq Pswœyw ‘and Joseph rose.’ The manuscript, BM Add. 14448, is dated A.D. 699/700.5 We may assume, therefore, that the split between West and East Syriac had taken place at the turn of the seventh century. Before the classical periods Syriac appears in inscriptions and there is a smooth transition from Official Aramaic to Syriac. The earliest Syriac feature of these texts, the n-prefix of the imperfect, sets the date for the first appearance of Syriac to the third century (2a). It seems practical, therefore, to define this earliest phase of Syriac, to be termed Old Syriac, as the language of the inscriptions of the third and fourth centuries. A characteristic feature of Old Syriac is the occurrence of specific Syriac forms in the Official Aramaic environment. The transition to the next phase, Early Classical, is gradual and involves a change of culture and text style (genre). In the classical phases Syriac is a Christian language with a predominantly Christian literature. The oldest manuscript is dated A.D. 411/126 and the standardization of the language at this phase is likely to have begun in the fourth century before the first preserved manuscripts.7 Early Classical texts of the fifth to the seventh centuries are unvocalized. With the turn of the seventh century the increased use of vocalization in the East inaugurates the new Late Classical phase of Syriac. A characteristic feature of this phase is the distinction of two varieties or dialects of the language. The Late Classical phase continued as long as the language was supported by a form of Aramaic as the dominant spoken lanSegal p. 29. W. Wright, Catalogue of the Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum I 41b (London 1870). 6 Mentioned by E. Jenni, Theologische Zeitschrift 21 (1965) 379, cf. Wright, Catalogue II 631 note. 7 W. van Peursen, Language Variation, Language Development, and the Textual History of the Peshitta, in H. Gzella and M. L. Folmer ed.s, Aramaic in Its Historical and Linguistic Setting 239 (Wiesbaden 2008). 4 5

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1. PRELIMINARIES

guage of the region. According to A. Baumstark,8 the dominance of Arabic as a spoken language steadily grew during the tenth century. In the West, among the Jacobites, literary Arabic began to replace Syriac at the end of the ninth century (p. 279), in the East, among the Nestorians, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries (p. 285). Thus, the transition from Late Classical to Post-Classical Syriac occurred later in the East than in the West. After the language shift from Aramaic to Arabic, Syriac continued to be cultivated as a language of literature and the Post-Classical period produced an increasing number of manuscripts.9 This cultivation of the language was an absolute condition for the revival of literary Syriac in the twentieth century.10 c The sources for reconstructing Syriac phonology Primary sources for reconstructing Syriac phonology are written texts and the discussions of phonological data by medieval grammarians (cf. above a). Among the former, biblical texts play a dominant role because they are transmitted in a traditional form supplied with vocalization, pointing and a system of accentuation based on a native phonological analysis. The discussions of the medieval grammarians are important because they often treat phonological features concealed by standard orthography. In this context, it may be practical also to consider relevant evidence from the Aramaic incantation text in cuneiform. 1. Biblical texts. In Syriac Studies we are far from the ideal of having access to critical editions of the entire biblical text. The edition of the Leiden Peshitta11 is based on a seventh century manuscript Baumstark, Geschichte der syrischen Literatur 237. See H. Murre-Van den Berg, Classical Syriac, Neo-Aramaic, and Arabic in the Church of the East and the Chaldean Church between 1500 and 1800, in H. Gzella and M. L. Folmer ed.s, Aramaic in Its Historical and Linguistic Setting 335-351, particularly p. 335f. (Wiesbaden 2008). 10 For the revival of literary Syriac, see S. P. Brock, JSS 34 (1989) 363375. 11 The Old Testament in Syriac According to the Peshitta Version (Leiden 1972ff., abbreviation OTS). 8 9

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(7a1) and the editors do not treat vocalization, pointing and accentuation of later manuscripts. On the other hand, the critical edition of the Gospels in West Syriac by P. E. Pusey and G. H. Gwilliam12 treats vocalization, pointing and accentuation. For our purposes, these features are more important than an ancient and reliable text form. What we need as evidence is fully vocalized and pointed individual words and phrases, and this evidence we will have to supply from non-critical editions and other vocalized texts. Evidence from the Old Testament will be quoted from the East Syriac Urmia edition of 185213 and the Mosul Peshitta,14 evidence from the New Testament from the Mosul Peshitta and the West Syriac British and Foreign Society’s edition of the New Testament.15 The manuscripts on which these standard editions are based are unknown, but a large majority of the evidence to be taken from them is documented in two sources and would seem to represent the consensus of the Syriac tradition. Another important biblical text is an East Syriac so-called Masoretic text (Add. 12138, dated 899 A.D.). The content of this manuscript is a largely vocalized selection of readings from the Bible. The manuscript was written in Haran in the month of Nisan in the year 1210 of the Seleucid Era (fol. 310b). While preparing the manuscript for the present book, the facsimile edition of the manuscript available to me covers the text of the Book of Genesis

Tetraeuangelium sanctum juxta simplicem Syrorum versionem (Oxford 1901). The Gospels in West Syriac (abbreviation PG). 13 Aiedq Abtk (Urmia 1852). Old Testament in East Syriac with a Neo-Syriac translation. Classical Syriac text reprinted by the Trinitarian Bible Society (London 1954, abbreviation U). 14 Biblia sacra juxta versionem simplicem quæ dicitur Pschitta (Mosul 18961891), reprinted Beyrouth 1951. Old and New Testament (abbreviation M). 15 The New Testament in Syriac. My copy published London 1955. According to the preface p. iii, the gospel text was reprinted from a revised version of Pusey and Gwilliam ed.s, Tetraeuangelium Sanctum, for which see above. 12

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1. PRELIMINARIES

and the first verses of Exodus.16 After the completion of the manuscript, a facsimile reproduction of the entire Masoretic text was published.17 Below references to passages in the manuscript will be given in a double notation (Weiss and Loopstra, abbreviated W and L). 2. Medieval grammarians. A prominent figure among medieval grammarians is Gregorius Bar Hebraeus from Melitene, a polyhistor and a prolific writer (1226-1286). He wrote several treatises on Syriac grammar, among them Ax^mc© Abtk or the ‘Book of Splendours.’ The standard critical edition of this grammar is due to A. Moberg who also published a German translation.18 In the survey of Syriac consonants below (3a), I shall use Bar Hebraeus’ division into zones of articulation as a point of departure. The classical treatment of medieval Syriac grammar, including the work of Bar Hebraeus, was published more than a century ago by A. Merx.19 I shall refer to his contribution on several occasions below. 3. The Aramaic cuneiform incantation. Among the collections of the Louvre museum is a unique cuneiform tablet from Uruk inscribed with an incantation in Aramaic. The Late Babylonian writing of the tablet has been dated to the middle second century B.C.20 At this

16 The text appeared as an appendix to T. Weiss, Zur ostsyrischen Lautund Akzentlehre etc. (Bonner orientalistische Studien 5. Stuttgart 1933). It includes the folios 1b-24a and the end of the manuscript folios 310b-312a. 17 J. Loopstra, An East Syrian Manuscript of the Syriac ‘Masora’ Dated to 899 CE. A Facsimile Reproduction of British Library, Add. MS 12138. Volume I. Piscataway, NJ 2014. 18 A. Moberg, Le livre des splendeurs. La grande grammaire de Grégoire Barhebraeus (Lund 1922, abbreviation LdS). A German translation in his Buch der Strahlen. Die grössere Grammatik des Barhebräus (Leipzig 1907-1913, abbreviation BdS). 19 A. Merx, Historia artis grammaticae apud Syros (AKM 9/2, Leipzig 1889). 20 The most recent editions of the Uruk incantation are M. J. Geller, The Aramaic Incantation in Cuneiform Script, Jaarbericht ... Ex Oriente Lux

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

stage of Akkadian the old final case vowels of nouns and adjectives and mood vowels of verbs had disappeared. However, traditional orthography maintained the spelling of these vowels, though the feeling for their former functions were often lost. In this period, words ending in a consonant were often spelled with syllabograms of the type CV, indicating that the virtual final vowels suggested by these syllabograms were silent. Actual final vowels were spelled plene as CV-V or CV-V‚. Contrast, for example, the forms li-iß-ßáan (obv. 5), li-iß-ßá-ni (obv. 8) ‘a tongue’ and li-iß-ßá-ni-i‚ (obv. 3) ‘my tongue.’ Note also that Late Babylonian has so-called lenition of intervocalic m > w, in the Uruk text in the common ú-ma-a‚ (obv. 10.11.12 etc.) for wa- ‘and’ and in za-ka-a-a-ma-a-a[-tú] ‘I was blameless’ (obv. 10) corresponding to Syr. †ywÉ ° Yoªæz. In the transliterations below, I shall use an unmarked h for conventional √ with a hook diacritic. The Uruk incantation is unique in that the cuneiform writing allows us insight into the vowel system of Aramaic centuries before the appearance of the first vocalization systems of later Aramaic orthography. The language of the text exhibits a number of phonological features that were lost or changed in Syriac. These features will be listed below. (a) Consonants. The language has preserved ø (one source of Syr. s S), spelled ß, as in na-ßá-a-a-tú ‘I took’ (obv. 1, rev. 1.6) and ßáam-lat (cstr.) ‘garment’ (obv. 20.24, rev. 4.5), distinct from ß as in li-iß-ßá-ni-i‚ ‘my tongue’ (obv. 3) and s in si-ip-pa-a di-a ba-ba-a‚ ‘the doorpost’ (2). Late Babylonian marks consonant length, though it is optional. In our text, it is marked even in connection with ˛ and r as in ra-ah-hi-q[í] ‘remove’ (15, imp.), ah-hi-te-e ‘I put it down’ (3, Af.) and mi-ir-ra-a‚ ‘gall’ (6.8, abs., Syr. aO‡rEm). At this early period, the language probably still distinguished ancient ˛ and x (√), and „ and £ (¸), all spelled with h syllabograms (HA, HI etc.). There may even be evidence for a reflex of Proto-Semitic ˚ (∂), though this is uncertain. At the beginning of obverse line 2 we read 35-36 (2001) 127-146 and the same author’s Philology versus Linguistics and Aramaic Phonology, BSOAS 69 (2006) 79-89.

24

1. PRELIMINARIES

possibly as an afterthought – a gloss or variant – ah-hu ‘a wooden beam’ followed by a word divider and directly after ig-ga-ri ‘a roof’ at the end of the preceding line. A close later cognate is BAram. and TargA a[;a; ‘wood, wooden beam’ (Dan. 5,4, Ezra 5,8). The stem vowel å < ä would seem to be due to compensatory lengthening, a common feature in connection with the loss of length after pharyngeal consonants in Jewish Aramaic. (b) Dissimilation of emphatics. There is evidence in the Uruk text that etymological q shifts to k if there is another emphatic in the same word, as in ka-æa-ta-a‚, ka-æa-ta-a ‘what is broken’ (obv. 17 and rev. 16). Presumably, another case of dissimilation occurs in ki-åa-ri ‘a magical knot’ (obv. 1, rev. 1, abs.) corresponding to Syr. aorfeq, though in Late Babylonian the syllabogram KI has the values ki as well as qí. (c) Spirantization. There is no evidence in the text for spirantization of the consonants b, g, d, k, p, t. The only conclusive evidence for spirantiztion could be alternation of k and h in specific environments, but compare the following evidence for lack of spirantization in a relevant postvocalic position: a-na-a‚ za-ki-it ‘I was free from guilt’ (obv. 10), ú-ma-a‚ ka-niß-a-a-[‚i-i] ‘and those assembled in it’ (12). (d) Vowels and diphthongs. The short vowels a, u, i are preserved in closed syllables, even the last mentioned in a final closed syllable before r, as in a-si-ir ‘binding’ (obv. 5.8, ptc.). In both cases, the subject is a table magically binding a tongue. In open syllables that we assume were unstressed, these etymologically short vowels were reduced to zero in Syriac. In the Uruk text, however, short a is preserved whereas short u and i have merged, spelled i, here to be interpreted as a shewa vowel @. Examples: ha-za-ú-ni-i‚ ‘they saw me’ (obv. 7), ma-le-e ‘filled’ (4.7), ra-ab-ra-bé-e ‘elders’ (11, vs. young people) etc. (short a), and ti-hu-ú-tú ‘under’ (3.25) for t@˛öt < *tu˛ät (Syr. ‡ΩuxT before pronominal suffixes), ri-hu-åi ‘run’ (16, rev. 15, imp.) etc. (etymologically short u), and ni-ße-e ‘women’ (obv. 12, rev. 11), ma-zi-ga-a‚ mi-ir-ra-a‚ ‘mixing gall’ (obv. 6.9, ptc.) etc. (etymologically short i). Like Biblical and Targumic Aramaic (Dan. 5,10 etc.), but unlike Syriac, the Uruk text has preserved short u in qu-da-am ‘before’ (obv. 11.14 etc.). Etymologically long ä is preserved spelled a, and not yet rounded as in Syriac and later Jewish Aramaic, compare a-na-a‚ ‘I’ 25

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

(obv. 10.26), li-iß-ßá-ni-i‚ ‘my tongue’ (3) and ia-a-ti-ib-a-a-‚i-i ‘those sitting in it’ (13, rev. 12, i.e. in city gate, ptc.). The Uruk text has preserved ancient diphthongs, even where Syriac has monophthongs. Compare na-ßá-a-a-tú ‘I took’ (obv. 1, rev. 1.6), mi-in ba-a-a-tú ‘from (a wall)’ (rev. 2, Syr. †yeb ‘Em) and za-ka-a-a-ma-a-a[-tú] ‘I was blameless’ (obv. 10) corresponding to Syr. †ywÉ ° Yoªæz. d Syriac consonants and Semitic comparative evidence Primary evidence for Syriac phonology (as noted above a) is that of the written texts and comparative Semitics. A number of Syriac consonants show a one-to-one etymological correspondence with consonants reconstructed for Proto-Semitic. We may assume that these consonants share the same overall phonetic features as their cognates in other Semitic languages. Thus it seems reasonable to reconstruct Syr. m as a labial nasal. Other consonants show a oneto-two or more correspondence with Proto-Semitic, thus evidencing a series of mergers at a pre-Syriac stage of the language. In Old Aramaic, it seems that these mergers had not yet taken place. However, the evidence for (5-6) below is inconclusive in this respect. In the following list of correspondences Old Aramaic letters are conventionally rendered with Hebrew letters. (1) ç for Proto-Semitic ß, ø, † (†) corresponding to Syr. J S T (2) z for Proto-Semitic z, π (π) corresponding to Syr. z © (3) x for Proto-Semitic æ, ‡ (‡) corresponding to Syr. c ∫ (4) q for Proto-Semitic q, ˚ (∂) corresponding to Syr. Q Å (5) j for Proto-Semitic ˛, x (√) corresponding to Syr. X (6) [ for Proto-Semitic „, £ (¸) corresponding to Syr. Å The circumstance that the letters (1-4) render phonological entities kept apart in later Aramaic shows that the letters were polyvalent, each of them rendering more than one phonological entity.21 Note that in Pre-Syriac the pairs † and t, π and d, ˛ and x, and „ and £ must have merged before the introduction of conditioned spirantiFor details, see R. Degen, Altaramäische Grammatik der Inschriften des 10.-8. Jh. v. Chr. (AKM 38/3. Wiesbaden 1969) pp. 30-37, particularly p. 31. 21

26

1. PRELIMINARIES

zation (the so-called qußßãyã vs. rukkãxã relationship, for which see below 2c). The approximate phonetic values of the Syriac consonants listed in (1-6) are confirmed by the parallel development in contemporary Jewish Aramaic and by modern Aramaic, particularly the phonologically conservative Turoyo. They are also confirmed by the western as well as the eastern traditional pronunciation. The same sources support the interpretation of the specific non-Arabic reflexes ß vs. Arabic s, plosive g vs. Arabic affricative j [dZ] or the fricative variant ç, and p vs. Arabic f. However, the comparative evidence considered so far is inconclusive as to whether q was emphatic as in Old Aramaic22 and Middle Aramaic (above c 3b) or uvular as in Arabic and Turoyo. The same evidence is inconclusive as to whether other emphatic consonants were pharyngealized as in Arabic and Turoyo or glottalized as in modern Ethiopian Semitic languages. 1. Fricative lateral ø (1) (> Syr. s S). In early Semitic languages there are one-to-one correspondences with Proto-Semitic ø in Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic (in both spelled c with a left point diacritic) and in classical Ethiopic, in all these cases traditionally read as [s]. There is also a one-to-one correspondence in Epigraphic South Arabian, but the phonetic value of the letter in question is not known. Among the modern living Semitic languages, Arabic has a correspondence groove spirant ß and modern South Arabian a lateral fricative [¬], the latter generally believed to have been the value of Proto-Semitic ø.23 Early Aramaic reflexes of ø appear in Akkadian (New Assyrian and Late Babylonian) transcrip-

22 The

emphatic character of Old Aramaic q is proved by the dissimilation of q > k before a following emphatic in the same word, for which see Degen p. 42, W. R. Garr, Dialect Geography of Syria-Palestine 1000-586 B.C.E. (Philadelphia 1985) 44f. and Folmer, Aramaic Language (OrLovAn 68. Leuven 1995) 94-101. Singular cases of this usage survived into Official Aramaic. The dissimilation is also documented in Mandaic, see T. Nöldeke, Mandäische Grammatik (Halle 1875) p. 39f. 23 See in general R. C. Steiner, The Case for Fricative Laterals in ProtoSemitic (American Oriental Series 59. New Haven 1977).

27

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

tions, for example, of the divine name ße-e-ri, dil-te-e√/√e-er-ri etc.24 for Aramaic øaher (abs.), compare later Syr. ao§hÆs ‘moon.’ There is also conclusive evidence for ø in the Aramaic cuneiform incantation from Uruk, dated to the second century B.C. (c 3a) and this evidence is supported by a contemporary Aramaic text in Demotic script.25 The fact that this text renders about 10% of the cases of etymological ø as Demotic ß rather than s would seem to show that the language had still preserved ancient ø26 Thus the terminus post quem for the Aramaic shift ø > s is the second century B.C. 2. Interdental fricatives π and † (1, 2) (> Syr. d © and t T). Like ç of other Old Aramaic texts, the letters ç and s of the Tell Fekheriye inscription are polyvalent, the former rendering ß and ø the latter s and †.27 There are one-to-one correspondences with Classical and Literary Arabic π and †, among earlier Semitic languages also with Ugaritic and Epigraphic South Arabian, though in the last mentioned cases the phonetic values are not known. In Aramaic after the Old Aramaic period the use of polyvalent letters continues. The earliest alternant spellings, d and t respectively, go back to the sixth and seventh centuries, but from the fifth century B.C. alternant spellings become more frequent.28 3. Interdental emphatic fricative ‡ (3) (> Syr. å ∫ ). There are one-to-one correspondences with Modern South Arabian and Classical Arabic ¢ (spelled Z), among earlier Semitic languages also with Ugaritic As quoted, for example, by F. M. Fales, Orientalia 47 (1978) 95 and R. Zadok, On West Semites in Babylonia etc. 42 (Jerusalem 1977), cf. also E. Lipinski, Semitic Languages 16.4 (OrLovAn 80, Leuven 1997). 25 For this text, see C. F. Nims and R. C. Steiner, JAOS 103 (1983) 261-274 (a), JNES 43 (1984) 89-114 (b) and RB 92 (1985) 60-81 (c). 26 Nims and Steiner pp. 193 (b) and 68 (c). 27 For this inscription, see for example A. Abou Assaf, Mitteilungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft 113 (1981) 3-22, S. A. Kaufman, Maarav 3 (1982) 137-175 and T. Muraoka, Abr-Nahrain 22 (1983-1984) 79-117. The inscription has been dated to the 8th century B.C (Kaufman pp. 139-142). 28 Cf. Folmer pp. 50f., 55 and conclusion p. 62f. (d), pp. 71f. and conclusion p. 74 (t); Garr, Dialect Geography 24 and 26 (d), and 28f. (t). 24

28

1. PRELIMINARIES

and Epigraphic South Arabian, though in the last mentioned cases the phonetic values are not known. The earliest alternant spelling as f goes back to the sixth century B.C., but from the fifth century alternant spellings become more frequent.29 4. Lateral emphatic fricative *˚ (4) (> Syr. „ Å). There are several oneto-one correspondences in southern Semitic languages: a voiced lateral emphatic fricative in Classical Arabic (transcribed ∂, spelled Æ) and in Modern South Arabian,30 a correspondence in Classical Ethiopic traditionally pronounced æ, and one in Epigraphic South Arabian the phonetic value of which is not known. Classical Arabic ∂ later merged with ˙ (cf. the preceding subsection) resulting in the regional variants voiced emphatic dental plosive ∂ and voiced emphatic interdental fricative ˙. The use of the bivalent value of q continued beyond Old Aramaic. The earliest alternant spellings as [ go back to the late sixth century B.C., but from the fifth century alternant spellings become frequent.31 The value of the Old Aramaic entity can only be guessed; the orthography suggests that it was emphatic and velar or uvular. 5. Uvular fricatives x and £ (5-6) (> Syr. ˛ X and „ Å). For x there are several one-to-one correspondences: in the modern languages Arabic and modern South Arabian and in the ancient languages Akkadian, Ugaritic and Epigraphic South Arabian. In some of the latter, an approximate phonetic value can be assumed from transcriptions from other languages. In Classical Ethiopic x and ˛ merged in the post-classical period, in the Amharic based traditional pronunciation rendered as [h]. For £ there are one-to-one correspondences in the modern languages Arabic and modern South Arabian and in the ancient languages Ugaritic and Epigraphic South Arabian. In the latter group the phonetic value is not known. In a series of articles, the Czech scholar R. Ruçi“ka denied the existence of £ (¸) in ProtoCf. S. Segert, Altaramäische Grammatik 93 (Leipzig 1975). See in general Steiner, The Case for Fricative Laterals in Proto-Semitic and the literature quoted there, cf. also C. Rabin, Ancient West-Arabian 33 (London 1951). 31 Cf. Folmer pp. 64-67 and conclusion p. 69f., and Garr p. 23f. 29 30

29

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

Semitic,32 but his theory has found few supporters and has never been generally accepted.33 There is evidence from proper names in part of the Septuagint tradition that contemporary Hebrew had preserved a distinction of both ˛ and x and „ and £. G. Kahn34 quotes among others the following examples: Anan ˆn:j; (Ezra 2,46) vs. Acimelec Ël,m,yjia} (1 Sam. 30,7). Baal l[æBæ (Judges 2,13) vs. Gaza hZ:[æ (Gen. 10,19). Based on comprehensive lists of transcriptions from the Septuagint J. Blau concluded that the four entities were separate phonemes at least as late as the time of the translation of the Pentateuch,35 i.e. in the second or third century B.C. Extending his research to later Greek translations, Steiner concluded that in Palestine the two pairs merged as ˛ and „ by the first century A.D., in the solemn recitation of the sacred language somewhat later.36 We have no reasons to believe that in this late period phonological development in Hebrew should be independent of that in Aramaic. A parallel development in Aramaic is confirmed by the Aramaic text in Demotic script, for which see above (subsection 1 with note). The text distinguishes Aramaic ˛ spelled ˛ and x spelled √ as well as Aramaic „ spelled „ and £ spelled √.37 32 See the survey in S. Moscati e.a., Introduction to the Comparative Grammar of the Semitic Languages 38f. (Wiesbaden 1964). The earliest article goes back to 1912 (WZKM 26 96-106), the most recent to 1954 (Archiv Orientální 22 176-237). 33 See most recently G. A. Rendsburg e. a., JAOS 128 (2008) 538-541. 34 G. Kahn, A Short Introduction to the Tiberian Masoretic Bible etc. 56f. (Piscataway, NJ 2013). 35 J. Blau, On Polyphony in Biblical Hebrew, Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities 6 105-184 (1977-1982, Jerusalem 1983). 36 R. C. Steiner, On the Dating of Hebrew Sound Changes (*¬ > ˘ and *¯ > „) and Greek Translations (2 Esdras and Judith), Journal of Biblical Literature 124 (2005) 229-267, particularly pp. 247 and 251. 37 See Nims and Steiner, JAOS 103 (1983) 263, JNES 43 (1984) 92f. and RB 92 (1985) 67.

30

1. PRELIMINARIES

6. The phonemic status of ‚. There are one-to-one correspondences in all the classical Semitic languages except Akkadian, at least for environments in which original ‚ has not disappeared. The accepted value of the entity as a glottal plosive is dependent on Classical and Literary Arabic. In the modern dialects in word initial position before a vowel ‚ has become an intermittently present phone without phonemic status.38 In this position it simply indicates a word beginning with a vowel. The same phonemic solution holds for modern Turoyo.39 In modern Amharic ancient ‚ and „ have disappeared and in word initial position the corresponding letters serve as graphical symbols for initial vowels pronounced with ‘attaque douce.’40 The phonemic solution mentioned above for modern spoken Arabic and Turoyo can be applied to early phases of Aramaic as well. In word initial position the letter alef ( a etc.) indicates that the word begins with a vowel. Whether this vowel was preceded by a glottal plosive ‚ or an intermittently present phone of the same type is irrelevant, the entity had no phonological value. It is commonly agreed that the letter a had consonantal value in Old Aramaic.41 There is, however, no agreement on dating the earliest cases of dropping of a to the seventh or eighth century.42 From the fifth century optional dropping of a is common, particularly after vowels at the end of medial closed syllables, and variation of a and h in the spelling of status determinatus forms is rather frequent. The pronouns wh and yh are always spelled without a.43 It seems a fair guess that dropping of ‚ after vowels at the end of medial and final closed syllables was characteristic of the transition from Old Aramaic to Official Aramaic.

38 See, for example, W. Fischer and O. Jastrow, Handbuch der arabischen Dialekte 52f. (Wiesbaden 1980). 39 Cf. O. Jastrow, Laut- und Formenlehre 21 (Bamberg 1967). 40 M. Cohen, Traité de langue amharique 36 (Paris 1936). 41 Degen p. 25 note 4 with references. 42 See, for example, Folmer p. 121f. 43 Cf. Folmer pp. 104-108f. and 115f.

31

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e The Jewish Aramaic evidence Jewish Aramaic as roughly contemporary with Classical Syriac is known from various sources. Like Syriac texts, these sources and other rabbinic texts are largely unvocalized, but Biblical Aramaic and Biblical Hebrew are transmitted in the so-called Tiberian system of punctuation reflecting a very stable Palestinian traditional pronunciation of the last centuries of the first millennium.44 Moreover Babylonian Targums vocalized according to the Babylonian system of punctuation are important for our purposes, though transmitted in a later Yemenite tradition in manuscripts dating back to the first centuries of the second millennium. Unlike Biblical Aramaic which reflects an earlier phase of Aramaic, other varieties of Jewish Aramaic fall into an eastern and a western group. The Babylonian Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan are believed by some specialists to be of Palestinian origin, but their final morphological form and their vocalization are Babylonian. Phonologically Jewish Aramaic is similar to Syriac. The inventory of consonants are written with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, each of them corresponding to one of the 22 letters of the Syriac alphabet. Etymologically the two sets of consonants have a one-to-one relationship to each other. In the Tiberian system the letter ç has a double value, one noted with a right hand superscript diacritic v for etymological ß, the other with a left hand diacritic c for etymological ø. However, the orthographical distinction of the letters c and s is only historical, both being read as [s]. In the Yemenite orthography of the Targums, the merger of ø and s is spelled s for [s]. The same merger is spelled S in Syriac. Another feature common to Jewish Aramaic and Syriac is the so-called double pronunciation of the letters b, g, d, k, p, t, one as plosives the other as fricatives, known in Syriac grammar as the qußßãyã vs. rukkãxã relationship (2c). The Babylonian punctuation of the Yemenite Targums does not mark this feature, but the modern Yemenite traditional pronunciation has it.

For this pronunciation, see most recently G. Kahn, A Short Introduction to the Tiberian Masoretic Bible 85-107. 44

32

1. PRELIMINARIES

One principal aim of Jewish Masoretic activity was to regulate and preserve a correct transmission of the sacred text – in its written form as well as in its oral form. At the time of the Masoretes Hebrew had been essentially a dead language for centuries. Aramaic had gradually replaced Hebrew as the natural spoken language of the Palestinian Jews, and towards the middle first millennium the last remnants of spoken Hebrew in Galilee had given way to Aramaic. In its last phase spoken Hebrew must have been deeply influenced by Aramaic, and its phonetic system is likely to have been Aramaic. Although there were phonological differences in the distribution of individual entities, the phonetic inventory of elements was the same. The traditional pronunciation of Jewish Aramaic and Hebrew underlying the Masoretic systems of punctuation was Aramaic and so similar to Syriac that we may use it as secondary evidence in our reconstruction of Syriac phonology. f Summary of chapter 1 Syriac linguistic forms begin to appear in inscriptions of the third and fourth centuries A.D. At this stage, termed Old Syriac, there is a smooth transition from conventional Official Aramaic orthography to Syriac. Particular Syriac forms as distinct from Official Aramaic ones begin to appear in the Official Aramaic environment. In the next stage of the language, Early Classical Syriac, Syriac is a distinct language independent of Official Aramaic. It has become a Christian language with a predominantly Christian literature. Early Classical texts of the fifth to the seventh centuries are unvocalized. The Late Classical phase of Syriac from the eighth century onwards is characterized by the rise of vocalization systems in the orthography and the distinction of two varieties or dialects, East Syriac and West Syriac. The post-classical phase of the language is defined as the phase no longer supported by a form of Aramaic as the dominant spoken language of the region. Post-Classical Syriac began later in the East than in the West, in the East in the eleventh or the twelfth century and in the West at the end of the ninth century. The Post-Classical phase continues to the present day. Primary sources for reconstructing Syriac phonology are the written texts and the discussions of phonological data by medieval grammarians. Among the former, biblical texts are important because they are vocalized and have a system of punctuation including accentuation based on a native phonological analysis. Wherever 33

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

possible data from critical editions will be preferred, though often data will have to be quoted from non-critical standard editions of biblical texts. These sources and the more important native grammatical sources are listed above (1c 1 and 2). The Aramaic incantation in cuneiform deserves particular attention. The circumstance that it is written in Akkadian cuneiform allows us insight into the vowel system of Aramaic centuries before the appearance of the first vocalization systems of later Aramaic orthography. The evidence of this text for reconstructing Syriac phonology is discussed above (1c 3). The changes in the Aramaic inventory of consonants between Old Aramaic and Late Aramaic,45 the phase of Aramaic to which Syriac belongs, seem to have taken place essentially in two stages, an earlier stage at the transition from Old Aramaic to Official Aramaic (about the seventh or the sixth century B.C.) (1), and a later stage at the transition from Middle Aramaic to Late Aramaic (in or about the first century A.D.) (2). (1) π > d, † > t, © > å, and *˚ by way of a backed emphatic spelled q > „. Also shift of glottal plosive ‚ to zero in specific environments. (2) ø > s, x > ˛, £ > „. For details, see above (1b).

I shall use the classification of Aramaic suggested by J. A. Fitzmyer, The Phases of the Aramaic Language, in his A Wandering Aramean: Collected Aramaic Essays 60-62 (Missoula MT 1979), see already his The Genesis Apocryphon of Qumran Cave I 22 note 60 (Rome 1971). 45

34

2 FEATURES OF EARLY SYRIAC a The language of the early inscriptions As we move backwards in time, before its classical phases, Syriac undergoes a number of changes. The relatively few early inscriptions preserved show some earlier linguistic forms.46 With these inscriptions the language gradually disappears in the mist of the past. Syriac writing and spelling conventions have roots going back to Official Aramaic (also known as Imperial Aramaic, a term coined on German Reichsaramäisch). Official Aramaic was an official administrative language in the Persian Empire. It was already used by the Babylonians and even earlier by the Assyrians as one of the two administrative languages, New-Assyrian and Aramaic. In the Hellenistic period Greek replaced Aramaic as the language of government, but the use of Aramaic continued for literary purposes in

For a survey of this early phase of Syriac, termed Old Syriac, see K. Beyer, Der reichsaramäische Einschlag in der ältesten syrischen Literatur, ZDMG 116 (1966) 242-254 and W. van Peursen, Language Variation, Language Development, and the Textual History of the Peshitta, in H. Gzella and M. L. Folmer ed.s, Aramaic in Its Historical and Linguistic Setting 257-285 (Wiesbaden 2008). For a list of the early inscriptions including a grammatical survey, see E. Jenni, Die altsyrischen Inschriften, Theologische Zeitschrift 21 (1965) 371-385. The texts of the inscriptions can be found most conveniently in H. J. W. Drijvers, Old-Syriac (Edessean) Inscriptions (Semitic Study Series NS 3. Leiden 1972). Abbreviation D. See also the more recent edition by H. J. W. Drijvers and J. F. Healey in HdO I/42 (Leiden 1999). Abbreviation DH. 46

35

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

the form we term Standard Literary Aramaic.47 Official Aramaic also came to serve as basis for regional varieties of Aramaic like Syriac. Thus there is a smooth transition from Official Aramaic to Syriac. In principle therefore, Syriac features in early inscriptions can only be disclosed, if they represent innovations in the Official Aramaic environment. The early inscriptions reveal a number of early Syriac features, some of which are important for our purposes. The imperfect prefix of the 3. m. appears as y- as in 't'y ‘he will come’ D 1 (DH As 55) and 'zxy ‘he will see’ ib. The earliest cases of the n- prefix date to about the turn of the second century.48 Etymological ø appears as ß as in tmj ‘I set up (stele)’ D 23 (DH As 36) and Nyrj; _‘twenty’ D 54 (DH As 9). Cases showing a merger of ø and s begin to appear in the late fifth century (Beyer ib.). Etymologically short u is written defectively as in 'rm; ‘life’ D 2 (HD Bs 2) and Q_r;t ‘(if) she runs away’ D text P (HD P1). Plene writing of w as in later Syriac can be documented from the fourth century onwards (Beyer p. 243f.). The earliest Syriac manuscript dated 411 A.D. has plene writing (Jenni p. 379) and the n-prefix occurs in the early biblical manuscripts including the oldest B.M. Add. 14425 dated 464 A.D.49 Unstressed final -ï and -ü as in Yb' ‘my father’ D 23 and wrb; ‘they made’ D 43 (HD Cs 1), D 53 (HD As 8) continued to be marked in Syriac orthography as historical spellings. According to Beyer (p. 245 with references) omission of Y and w occurs from the fifth century50 and Syriac metrics from Afrem (fourth century) and onwards show that these final vowels had by then disappeared from the spoken language. Thus the language of the early inscriptions shows characteristic features of Syriac to have developed or to have already existed towards the middle first mil47 See J. Greenfield, Standard Literary Aramaic, Congrès international de linguistique sémitique et chamito-sémitique (Janua Linguarum Series Practica 159/1974) 1 280-289 and the same author’s The Dialects of Early Aramaic, JNES 37 (1978 ) 93-99. 48 Beyer p. 243, Jenni p. 381. 49 Cf. Peursen p. 241. 50 Omission sometimes occurs even in contemporary biblical texts, see P. Wernberg-Møller, JSS 13 (1968) 145 and Peursen p. 243.

36

2. FEATURES OF EARLY SYRIAC

lennium. The important feature of the new n- prefix sets a terminus ante quem to the third century. For our purposes therefore, it seems practical to define the earliest phase of Syriac, termed Old Syriac, as the language spoken and written in the Pre-Islamic period in the third and the fourth centuries. b Vowel reduction in unstressed open syllables A general Aramaic rule requires reduction of etymologically short vowels in unstressed open syllables. The change appears to have taken place in three stages. In the early stage a was preserved, whereas i and u merged, apparently to a shewa vowel @. This early stage is documented in the Aramaic cuneiform incantation from Uruk dated to the middle second century B.C. (1c 3d). Short a is still preserved in the transcriptions of the so-called Sayings of Jesus in the New Testament dated to about the turn of the first century A.D.: taliqa ‘girl’ Mark 5,41 (Syriac aO†ilƒ ), the personal name Tabiqa Acts 9,36.40 explained as dorkavı in Syria denoting a gazelle (cf. Syriac Aoyvƃ ) and the text error Boanhrgeı, compare the better though later variant Banhregeı Mark 3,17 explained as uiJoi; bronth@ı ‘sons of thunder’ (Syr. AOmåæ§ ), the final Greek ı being apparently a transcription of Hebrew/Aramaic s instead of µ. In the middle stage earlier @ shifted to zero and subsequently a to @, if there were an intermediate shewa stage at all. The middle stage possibly represents a particular Syriac development. The first appearance of spirantization of specific consonants, a characteristic feature of later Aramaic and Hebrew, belongs to this period. Syriac minimal pairs like AO›rÆg ‘leper’ < *garibä and AOvrÆg ‘leprosy’ < *garabä and others (see below d) show that spirantization is later than the change @ > zero, but earlier than the change a > zero. The middle stage is later than the first century A.D., since spirantization of k and g presupposes the mergers of earlier ˛ and x and „ and £ to ˛ and „, respectively (1d 5). It is earlier than the middle third century, since Origen’s transcriptions of Hebrew presuppose spirantization (see below e). In the late stage a was reduced to zero, possibly through an intermediate stage as a shewa vowel @. Basing himself on the spell-

37

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

ing of proper names in contemporary Greek and Latin inscriptions, Beyer51 concluded that the reduction of unstressed short vowels in open syllables to zero dates to the first half of the third century A.D. The contemporary Aramaic evidence for the reduction to zero is slight. Beyer (p. 651) quoted St. Jerome’s († 420) slias for Greek ajpovstolo" Gal. 1,1. The best evidence comes from Origen’s († 254) transcriptions of Hebrew in his Hexapla. In spite of their being transmitted in a manuscript tradition, these transcriptions are fairly consistent. Brønno52 offered extensive statistics for the vocalism of these texts as compared with Tiberian Hebrew. For our purposes the crucial issue is the reduction of etymologically short vowels in initial open syllables. To judge the data we shall distinguish specific and neutral environments. There are three types of specific environment: initial w (in all cases *wa- ‘and’), initial y, and initial open syllables followed by a laryngeal consonant. Initial w is virtually always spelled ou (52 times) without a following vowel. Initial syllables with initial y is spelled i in 16 cases, as in idabber (Brønno p. 322, impf.), but contrast ouiüüedabber (p. 272). Before foreign ß (rendered s) it is spelled once ia (p. 320), once ie (p. 237) and once iüüe (p. 272). Contemporary Greek orthography had no symbols for laryngeals. In this position in Jewish proper names of the Septuagint, laryngeals were either not marked or rendered as e, as in Bhrsabee Joshua 15,28 etc. and Bewr Num. 22,5 etc. Origen’s texts follow this usage in bhsaq ‘in the advice of’ (Brønno p. 217, cstr.) and neousa ‘bronze’ (p. 272) and others. More often the texts use a mirror pattern, i.e. a vowel mirroring the vowel after the laryngeal, as in baam ‘among people’ (p. 216, same pattern 10 times), ceebl ‘like mourning’ (p. 217, cstr., same pattern twice), beeir ‘in a city’ (p. 217), and bhhki ‘in my bosom’ (p. 254, same pattern twice). The mirror pattern is known from medieval Hebrew grammar in which the shewa vowel K. Beyer, Der Ausfall der drucklosen kurzen Vokale in offener Silbe und die Trennung silbenanlautender Doppelkonsonanz, ZDMG Suppl. III,1 (1977) 649-653. 52 E. Brønno, Studien über hebräische Morphologie und Vokalismus (AKM 28, Leipzig 1943) 247ff. 51

38

2. FEATURES OF EARLY SYRIAC

before the laryngeal is described as short and as having the quality of the vowel after the laryngeal.53 The use of the pattern has survived in the Yemenite tradition.54 Other environments are neutral. Among the remaining data documented in Origen’s texts, it is important to focus on examples with initial consonant clusters impermissible in Greek. Examples with permissible clusters are few and statistically insignificant, but note the contrast sma ‘hear’ (Brønno 322, imp.) and semw ‘his name’ (p. 271). Examples with impermissible clusters inserting a vowel after the initial consonant, as in lacol ‘for all’ (p. 218) and lebousi ‘my cloth’ (p. 272), are inconclusive since they represent expected spellings of impermissible initial consonant clusters. Spellings of initial consonant clusters impermissible in Greek – spelled without inserted vowel – are important evidence since they are likely to represent reasonable approximations of actual pronunciation. Among the ten cases of such clusters (p. 322f.), compare for example: bcwr ‘first-born,’ qbounwq ‘understanding’ and msoudwq ‘fortifications.’ The data presented above support Beyer’s conclusion that by the first half of the third century etymologically short vowels in unstressed open syllables had been reduced to zero, although vocalic reflexes were preserved in specific environments. If reduction of vowels like spirantization (below e) started in the West, as in Palestine, it may have reached the Syriac speaking area somewhat later, but before the fifth century when expected initial consonant clusters are spelled with prosthetic ãlaf in some environments (below g). Origen’s texts reflect the situation in Palestine about the middle third century. At this time, a linguistic change in Hebrew independent of Aramaic is out of the question, and it is reasonable to assume a similar situation in Aramaic, including Syriac.

See for example Kahn, A Short Introduction to the Tiberian Masoretic Bible etc. 98. 54 Cf. S. Morag, The Hebrew Language Tradition of the Yemenite Jews (The Academy of the Hebrew Language. Studies 4. Jerusalem 1963) p. 156 sections (3)-(7) (in Hebrew). 53

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

c Qußßãyã and rukkãxã In native and conventional Syriac grammar, the terms qußßãyã and rukkãxã denote a double pronunciation of the letters tpkdgb as either plosives or fricatives. The thirteenth century grammarian Bar Hebraeus is quite specific on the double pronunciation. He states55 that B and P render the bilabial plosives [b] and [p] and the labiodental fricatives [v] and [f], © and T render the postdental (alveolar) plosives [d] and [t] and the interdental fricatives [π] and [†], and G and Kk render the velar plosives [g] and [k] and the postvelar (uvular) fricatives [£] and [x]. The modern traditional pronunciation confirms the double pronunciation, except that B is always plosive and P regularly appears as fricative [f], both likely to be due to influence from Arabic (9b). The Hebrew tradition shares the double pronunciation of the corresponding six letters of the Hebrew alphabet, apparently as an early loan from Aramaic. The ancient Tiberian traditional pronunciation is in agreement with the classical Syriac tradition,56 and it is confirmed by the traditional pronunciations of Hebrew57, particularly the pronunciation among the Yemenites of Southern Arabia. In one variety of Yemenite traditional pronunciation of Hebrew and Aramaic, beyt r@fuya b— has the value of labio-dental fricative [v]. According to Morag58 “The Jews of Æan„a, and in particular the learned (µymkj ydymlt) among them, insist on a distincion of B and BdS II 7f. (translation), Syriac text in his LdS p. 194 top of page. See Kahn pp. 86-93. 57 For a survey, see for example G. M. Schramm, The Graphemes of Tiberian Hebrew 15-20 (University of California Publications Near Eastern Studies 2. Berkeley and Los Angeles 1964). 58 Morag p. 53, cf. the same author in Encyclopaedia Judaica 13 (1971) 1131 and his short statement in Babylonian Aramaic: The Yemenite Tradition. Historical Aspects and Transmission. Phonology, the Verbal System (Jerusalem 1988) p. 77 (in Hebrew). There are no separate phonological traditions for Hebrew and Aramaic. For Babylonian Talmudic Aramaic, however, there are slight differences in the rendering of certain vowels in specific environments, see the same author in Phonetica 7 (1962) 217-239, in particular p. 221. 55 56

40

2. FEATURES OF EARLY SYRIAC

b—. All readers from Æan„a distinguished between a bilabial plosive (b) and a labio-dental fricative (v) in all cases.” The Yemenite parallel is important historically, since labio-dental [v] is foreign to Yemenite Arabic. d Phonological aspects of spirantization The phonemic distinction of qußßãyã and rukkãxã appears from the often quoted minimal pair AO›rÆg ‘leper’ (< *garib-) vs. AovrÆg ‘leprosy’ (< *garab-). Contrast also AO›§wux ‘desert, wilderness’ (2 Sam. 2,29, Matt. 3,1) vs. AOv§wux ‘stork’ or ‘heron’ (Lev. 11,18, Dt. 14,16) and near minimal pairs like Aoªræj ‘remains, rest’ (Is. 10,21f., Luke 10,10) vs. Ao√ræk ‘city’ (Num. 21,28, John 11,54). The former < *ßarik- is derived from a verb of intransitive form as is Aoªmæ™ ‘asleep, sleeping’ (Matt. 9,24, Mark 5,39, Luke 8,52, abs. f.) < *damik-. Compare also AOvhæ© ‘gold’ (< *πahab-) (Gen. 2,11, Rev. 3,18) still preserved in linear development in Turoyo dahwo. The minimal pairs A›rg vs. Avrg and A›§wx vs. Av§wx were already mentioned by Bar Hebraeus (LdS 210,33-211,2).59 Corriente mentioned another minimal pair aOµjeq ‘bow’ (Gen. 21,16) vs. aO†jeq ‘straw’ (Ex. 5,12).60 After the reduction of short unstressed vowels to zero in open syllables (above b), spirantization became distinctive and so phonemic in Syriac, though it had a low functional load before the dialect split into East and West Syriac and the loss of consonant length in West Syriac. At some time, it appears, analogy came to play an important role in the distribution of spirantization, overruling historical factors. To mention only a few examples, the medial cluster in ‡e∂vEå ‘I made’ has a sequence fricative-plosive as in the majority of similar consonant clusters and AoªlÆm ‘king’ selects a plural AeªlÆm on the same analogy. Contrast the historically earlier forms in Biblical Aramaic „evπe† and the pair malkã (det. sg.) and malxayyã (det. pl.), the latter form from a plural stem *malak-. However, the tendency to diminish the number of contrasting forms by analogy was counterbalanced by the morphological split See also the list including a number of minimal pairs in Kiraz, Grammar I § 116 H. 60 F. C. Corriente, Jewish Quarterly Review 60 (1969-1970) 148. 59

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

of derivative {t} ‘feminine’ into {t, †}. Though there is a guiding rule of thumb regulating derivation, there is a large residue of forms in which the rule does not apply.61 The Tiberian textual tradition of Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic regulates word initial spirantization of the letters/consonants b g d k p t by two sets of accents, one set termed distinctivi the other conjunctivi. The distinctive (or disjunctive) accents mark the end of verses and of specific partitions within verses. They divide verses into sections very much like the periods and commas of a modern text. The conjunctive accents, on the other hand, join the words of a section so as to form a coherent phrase or sentence. Within words spirantization is fully operative, whereas it is permitted across word boundaries only after conjunctive accents. After distinctive accents spirantization is not permitted across word boundaries. In Classical Syriac diacritical points have a function similar to that of Tiberian accents. Some points, termed accents, are used to indicate pause at the end of verses or to divide verses into sections corresponding to sentences, clauses or phrases. Segal62 even refers to the accent AonoycEå (_ @) as being “in the terminology of Hebrew accents, a disjunctive accent.” A modern Biblical print like the British and Foreign Bible Society edition of the New Testament (West Syriac, see above 1c 1) uses accents to divide verses into sections. The accent AoqΩsop (.) most often, but by no means always, indicates pause at the end of verses. Other accents have a function similar to that of distinctive accents in Hebrew, though usage is not as consistent as in the Hebrew Bible. Compare the following passages: (1) Matt. 1,1 ..._ – ßyiw晣 her› .–AoxyIjm ÅwUjey£ hE‡wußyììlyi™ AOvO†ª (2) Mark 8,29

:Aoyæx aOhOlaà࣠her›_ Aoxyijm wu• µønÆa

61 Noun

stems ending in a consonant often, though not always, select {t} after etymologically long vowels and vowels resulting from compensatory lengthening, whereas the same type of stems tend to select {†} after etymologically short vowels. See the list in N 23E. 62 J. B. Segal, Diacritical Point p. 69.

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In (1) the first relative particle © is fricative, because it occurs after a vowel across a word boundary not marked by a distinctive accent. Later in the same verse and in (2), B in hrb is plosive in the position after a vowel across a word boundary marked by a distinctive accent. Note that final h of the pronominal suffix has consonantal value in Classical Syriac and the following relative particle is plosive (1, 2). With the introduction of Greek loan words and proper names, spirantization became fully distinctive even in word initial position. At least in the period reflected by the western tradition of fully pointed and vocalized New Testament texts, the selection of spirantization vs. non-spirantization does not necessarily follow etymological lines. Some lexical items select an initial fricative, while others select an initial plosive. Thus we find initial /x/ in AOsyIƒrÆ√ (< cavrth") ‘paper’ 2 John 12 and Aonoyfsir√ (< Cristianov") ‘Christian’ 1 Peter 4,16 (both after consonant) and initial /k/ in Ao√ræyIliª (< cilivarco") ‘chiliarch’ (military rank) Acts 22,28, 23,10, 24,22 (all after vowel), 21,31.32.37 etc. (all after one-letter particle). However in early Masora manuscripts, forms with qußßãyã and rukkãxã alternate (Mark 6,21 PG crit. app.). Other sets of fricatives and plosives are treated in a similar way. Thus in proper names, we find initial /£/ in SwoyìAƸ < Gavi>o" Rom. 16,23 (after consonant and distinctive accent) and initial /π/ in AÆmi™ (< Dhma@") 2 Tim. 4,10 (at beginning of verse) and SwoyirfyImi™ (< Dhmhvtrio") 3 John 12 (after consonant). In other items, we find the conventional plosivefricative variation in the very common adverb ryEg < gavr and in AiqI†æyi© ‘covenant, testament’ (< diaqhvkh) Acts 7,8 etc. (after consonant), Luke 22,20 etc. (after vowel), 1,72 etc. (after one letter particle). In borrowings from Greek, however, the treatment of other sets of fricatives and plosives differs. While there is evidence for initial /f/ and /†/, b shows only the traditional plosive-fricative variation. For /f/ and /†/, I can show evidence only from proper names like Swò˙iylyIπ < Fivlippo" Matt. 14,363 etc. and AiqyinwOlÆsE‡ < Here and in Mark 6,17, Luke 3,1 and John 1,48, Mas. 2 dated to the ninth or the tenth century doubles the second pe (PG crit. app.) pointing to a West Syriac form with /≠≠/. 63

43

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY Qessalonivkh Acts 20,4 etc. (all after consonant). For initial b, contrast AIƒwElwub ‘councillor’ (< bouleuthv") Luke 23,50 (after consonant) and Mark 15,43 (after vowel). However, for the latter passage early Masora manuscripts alternate between qußßãyã and rukkãxã forms (see PG crit. app.). Bar Hebraeus is quite specific as to the treatment of the letters tkdgb in Greek borrowings. He states that “in Greek nouns, these five tkdgb, since they are fricative (‘kkRm) by nature even without the one-letter particles (Lwdb), are rendered as fricatives (‘kk|tm) by those knowing the rule”.64 The standard pronunciation of the élite, so it appears from his statement, maintained the fricative pronunciation of these letters as known from contemporary Greek. Though details in the treatment of four out of five letters differ from the description by Bar Hebraeus, the most innovative feature is the treatment of B in Greek as well as in native Syriac words. Neither the modern traditional pronunciation of West Syriac nor the pronunciation of Modern Literary Syriac distinguishes qußßãyã and rukkãxã varieties of B. Modern readers render both as [b]. My guess is that this usage goes back to the post-classical period when Syriac /b/ and /v/ merged under Arabic influence. In East Syriac, the rule of spirantization does not apply across a word boundary. The late biblical prints, The Mosul edition (M) and the Urmia edition (U), do not mark qußßãyã and rukkãxã at the beginning of words. This usage follows an old tradition, since the East Syriac Masora manuscript British Museum Add. 12138 (dated 899) already has the feature (on this manuscript, see 1c 1). However, the same East Syriac manuscript mentions an initial /f/ in the Hebrew personal name cr6p (Gen. 38,29),65 apparently reflecting Greek Fareı (3d end of section). The circumstance that the series /b g d k p t/ is phonemically distinct from the series /v £ π x f †/ does not mean that there is no overlapping between the two series of phonemes. The historical 64

BdS II 40 (translation), Syriac text in his LdS p. 209 bottom of

page. T. Weiss, Zur ostsyrischen Laut- und Akzentlehre auf Grund der ostsyrischen Massorah-Handschrift des British Museum (Bonner orientalistische Studien 5. Stuttgart 1933) p. 20 (§ 37). 65

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2. FEATURES OF EARLY SYRIAC

development of post-vocalic variants has left an imprint on the phonological system and there is overlapping of fricative variants (allophones) in specific environments. Overlapping occurs in the medial members of word initial and word final consonant clusters according to the formula #CCfric … CfricC#. Initially and finally Classical Syriac only permits clusters of two short consonants. If the medial member of a cluster is one of the consonants under discussion (Cfric), it is fricative. Some forms of the paradigm of the strong verb perhaps best illustrate the case. In the forms µvƆª (pf. 2. m. sg.) and †E›†eª (pf. 1. sg.), the initial and final clusters overlap phonologically and can be interpreted as either /kt/ and /bt/ or /k†/ and /vt/. On the other hand, the medial cluster can only be interpreted as /†b/, since the lexicon can provide near minimal pairs like A¨@è˙Æa 襸Æm ‘frankness’ 1 Tim. 3,13 and ò¥˛Æm ‘sickle’ Mark 4,29 etc. (pl. in Micah 4,3) for this position. e The dating of spirantization If short and after a vowel, each of the plosive consonants b g d k p t shifted to the corresponding fricative v £ π x f † at an early stage of the language. In native as well as conventional Syriac grammar this is termed a qußßãyã vs. rukkãxã relationship (above c). The shift is well documented in Syriac as well as in Hebrew and Jewish Aramaic (both eastern and western varieties), and it has left clear reflexes in modern spoken Aramaic. The date and origin of spirantization has been a much-debated issue in the literature, and it is commonly accepted that in Hebrew it is due to influence from Aramaic.66 The arguments for an early date of spirantization are far from convincing. According to Kaufman (p. 117), the distribution of 66 For the older literature, see the survey in E. E. Knudsen, Alter Orient und Altes Testament 1 150f. (1969). For more recent literature, see for example E. Y. Kutscher, Aramaic, in Th. A. Sebeok ed. Current Trends in Linguistics 6 374 (Hague 1971), S. A. Kaufman, The Akkadian Influences on Aramaic 116-119 (Assyriological Studies 19, Chicago 1974) and A. Faber, On the Origin and Development of Hebrew Spirantization, Mediterranian Language Review 2 (1986) 117-138 (inaccessible to me).

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

spirantization in later Aramaic dialects shows that it was a feature of Official Aramaic. Years ago, Garbini concluded on the same evidence that it must have existed in the last centuries of the PreChristian Era.67 However, spirantization may have spread by diffusion as long as Aramaic was the dominant spoken language of the region, i.e. well into the early Islamic period.68 According to Bar Hebraeus, the holy Jacob of Edessa already mentioned spirantization.69 So a preliminary terminus ante quem for its first appearance in Aramaic is the late seventh century A.D. Manuscript evidence narrows down this date to the turn of the sixth century. Segal mentioned points for qußßãyã and rukkãxã in a British Museum manuscript dated 615 and Kiraz states the first recorded occurrence as appearing in another manuscript dated 599.70 The evidence of the Aramaic cuneiform incantation from Uruk (1c 3c) dated to the middle second century B.C. is negative. So is the evidence of the Aramaic text in Demotic script dated to the late second century B.C.71 The combined evidence of these texts sets a terminus post quem for the shift in Aramaic to the late second century B.C. By the middle second century B.C. spirantization had not yet reached the Aramaic of Southern Babylonia and by the late second century the Aramaic of Egypt. The introduction of spirantization in Syriac and in Aramaic in general is connected with the shift of etymologically short vowels to zero in unstressed open syllables. From the outset spirantization was conditioned by a preceding vowel. In terms of relative chroGarbini, Il semitico di nord-ovest (Napoli 1960) p. 26. According to A. Baumstark, Geschichte der syrischen Literatur (Bonn 1922) 237, the dominance of Arabic as a spoken language steadily grew during the 10th century. In the West, among the Jacobites, literary Arabic began to replace Syriac at the end of the 9th century (p. 279), in the East, among the Nestorians, in the 11th and 12th centuries (p. 285). 69 BdS II 6, LdS 193,15f., already mentioned by J.-P. Martin, JA 13 (1869) 457 and A. Merx, Historia artis grammaticae apud Syros (AKM 9/2. Leipzig 1889) 55. 70 J. B. Segal, JSS 34 (1989) 485 and G. A. Kiraz, Grammar I § 212. 71 See C. F. Nims and R. C. Steiner, JAOS 103 (1983) 263. 67 G. 68

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nology, therefore, it is earlier than the reduction to zero of short vowels in unstressed initial open syllables – as in the perfect *katab- > k†av VƆª and the imperatives *kutub > k†ov VΩU†ª (Rev. 1,11 etc.) and *ßima„ > ßma„ ÅÆmj (Deut. 6,3 etc.). It is also earlier than the reduction to zero of etymologically short a in unstressed medial open syllables – as in AovrÆg ‘leprosy’ (< *garabä). However, it is later than the specific Syriac reduction of etymologically short i in unstressed medial syllables – as in AO›rÆg ‘leper’ (< *garibä) and in participles like *kätibïn > kã†bin ‘yI›†oª72 (see also above d beginning of section), unless lack of spirantization in the latter case is due to analogy and therefore irrelevant to the present discussion. Origen’s Greek transcriptions of Hebrew in his Hexapla (b above) date from the middle third century and presuppose spirantization, as is evident from the loss of medial vowels in forms like lamalch ‘for the kings’ and dabrh ‘words’ (both cstr. pl.)73 from the plural stems *malak- and *dabar-. It appears that etymologically short medial a causing spirantization of the following consonant was lost before the middle third century. If spirantization first appeared in the West, in Palestine, it may have reached the Syriac speaking area somewhat later, though presumably well before the fifth century when expected initial consonant clusters are spelled with prosthetic ãlaf in some environments (see below g BC). f Irregular use of qußßãyã in verbal forms Some verbs with first radical b, g, d, k, t, in West Syriac also p, show unexpected plosive alternants after word initial • and ë and before a medial vowel, i.e. in the environment #•/ë_V. The rule is 72 Nöldeke (N 23 D) already noted the different treatment of short a and i. For a slightly different formulation of the rule above, see Kaufman p. 147f. Cf. also the same author’s The History of Aramaic Vowel Reduction, in M. Sokoloff ed., Arameans, Aramaic and the Aramaic Literary Tradition 47-55 (Ramat-Gan 1983) and his On Vowel Reduction in Aramaic, JAOS 104 (1984) 87-95. For a different treatment of the two short vowels, see also W. Diem, Studia R. Macuch 73-78 (Wiesbaden 1989). 73 Quoted in E. Brønno, Studien pp. 126 and 151.

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

morphological, since it only applies to certain verbs in the perfect and imperative (Af „el) and otherwise in imperfect forms (1. sg.). Thus we will find forms like Øy8k6a ‘he measured,’ Iu8d5a ‘I will crush,’ and Jenàªèa (ES I4n6k5a) ‘I will gather.’ In his grammar Nöldeke mentioned the feature (N 23 I) and quoted some examples. Costaz (Grammaire p. 17) went a step further and suggested secondary consonant length in akkïl and eddüß. Eastern biblical orthography is stable. The later biblical prints (M and U) regularly render the prefix of the first person singular in open syllables as 5a, a circumstance that seems to exclude an interpretation of the following consonant as being lengthened. On the other hand, secondary consonant length after the two vowels spelled ä and é is a well-known eastern feature (3g). Bar Hebraeus mentions the feature and quotes a number of examples, including some cases not attested in biblical pointed and vocalized texts. To us his text is interesting, particularly because it states which consonant in the examples has a plosive and which consonant has a fricative articulation. It is evident from the text that the rule stated above only applied to a minority of verbs and that Bar Hebraeus considered the feature an irregular use of qußßãyã.

In the list below, an asterisk (*) marks verbs showing a regular use of qußßãyã and rukkãxã. Due to lack of printing space in the later biblical prints (M and U), eastern spelling conventions suppress pointing of the letters tkdGb in combination with the vowel points p†ã˛ã (4e towards end of section). Therefore, Pa„el forms like I4n6k5a ‘I will gather’ Is. 56,8, Jer. 23,3, Ezek. 29,13 etc. are inconclusive as evidence in this discussion. However, some pointed forms can be supplied from the W/L text (for which see 1c). Qdb Pa. to show, to explain: Qè∂ÆvEa (PG!), ES Q84d6b5a John 16,25 (Q84d68b5a L 264R5!).

*Twb Af. to make pass the night: 7t5t8y7b6a Job 31,32 (U omits diacritical point) (7tÁty7b6a L 169V33, cf. LdS 224,30). Krb Pa. to bless:

˚4r68b5a Gen. 12,3 W 6a17, L p. 11, ¬o√rà›Ea Hebr. 6,14

(K73kr68b5a L 300V30).

*zwg Pa. to bereave: ze6g4a Hosea 9,12 L 188R29 (inconclusive), but *Af. zy¸ a LdS 224,29.

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2. FEATURES OF EARLY SYRIAC

*Xwg Af. to make flow: `xy7g6a Job 38,8 (L 171R13, cf. LdS 224,31).

ælg Pa. to unveil: 7æÁl68g7a Jer. 13,26 L 203R26. * Lw© Af. to raise, to arouse: Ly™ a LdS 224,29, (224).

ØyD6a

BarA I 13

Nw© Pe. to judge: Nu8d5a Is. 49,25, Ezek. 7,3.8 (both suff.).27 etc. (21 times, including 16 times in Ezekiel, all unpointed in U), Nwu£èa , ES Nu8d5a John 12,47; Luke 19,22, Acts 7,7 (both with suff.). cw© Pe. to rejoice: pointed in U).

cu8d5a Ps. 9,14, 31,7, Is. 65,19, Hab. 3,18 (all un-

*Qw© Af. to look at: QyD6a 1 Sam. 17,42, Ps. 14,2, 33,13 etc. (15 times), all unpointed in U except 2 Sam. 6,16 (pf. 3. f. sg.). BarA I 13 (222). Jw© Pe. to tread upon, to trample: Iu8d5a 2 Sam. 22,43, Ps. 18,42, Is. 14,25 (Ehoyiu8d5a L 175R29), all unpointed in U except Judges 8,7 (IuD5a), but Iu8d5a M, L 86R23. Am© Pa. to compare, to liken: HyEm࣠Ea Matt. 11.16, Luke 13,18 (PG

crit. app.), cf. 20 (all with suff.) (all ES 8he5m6d5a), 7,31 (PG unpointed) (ES 8a4m6d5a). Lyk Af. to mete (derived from O¥yæk ‘measure’):

Øy8k6a Job 20,22 (L 168R22, LdS 225,5), Is. 27,8 (Øy67k6a L 178R7!), 40,12 (L 181R6f., twice) (all pf.), Ely8k6a Jer. 6,11 (L 201R12, imp. f. sg.) (all MU), Øe8ka (pf.) LdS 225,1, Øy8k6a BarA I 27 (666) as distinct from Øy7k6a ‘eaten’ (‘with rukkãxã of k’) ib. (671). *Mwk I Pe. to hide: Mu7k5a BarB 154 bottom of page, different from Mwk II Pe. to be black (cf. AOmoªwUa ‘black’): Mu8k5a (impf.) BarB 155,1. Nwk Af. to establish, to create: ˆy8k6a Job 22,16 (MU, L 168V10, LdS 225,5), ‘yªa LdS 225,1, ˆy8ka BarA I 27 (670), ˆy8k6a BarB 156,16, ˆe8ka 888 bottom of page. Pwk Af. to bend (hand): adya made a signal with his hand.’

Åy8k6a BarB 156,17, Arabic gloss ‘he

Jnk Pa. to gather: Jenàªèa Matt. 23,37 (PG crit. app.), Is. 56,8, Jer. 23,3 (I4n68kaÁ L 205V7), Ezek. 29,13 (all I4n6k5a) etc.

8

rpk Pa. to wipe: rp68kÁa BarA I 28 (689) ‘with qußßãyã of k.’

49

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY dgp Pa. to restrain: ßè˛à˙èa LdS 223,15.

a8na æy8pa BarB 262,24f. Acp Pa. to set free: ¬yecà˙Ea Acts 26,17 (ES Ke5c6p5a), a4c6p5a Ezek. 13,21.23, 34,10 (U A5c6p5a) etc. dqp Pa. to order, to prescribe: Nwu√ßeqà˙Ea 1 Cor. 11,34 (ES NU7kD4q6p5a). BwT Pe. to return, to come back: 7Bu8t5a Jer. 12,15 (L 203R5), 31,18 (7Bu8tÁa L 207V22) (both U unpointed), Vw˜a A_na ‘with qußßãyã of t and rukkãxã of b’ LdS 220,13, 7Bu8tÁa BarA I 64 (1809). *Af. to answer: 7By7t6a Mark 12,28 M, L 245V26 (error in PG crit. Gwp Af. to qench thirst: El

app. Mas. 1), cf. Luke 23,9 (PG T unpointed), same passage quoted as hby‡a LdS 224,32, o7by7t6a Joshua 22,32, 1 Sam. 17,30, 1 Kings 12,16 etc., in U pointed t in 2 Chron. 10,16, 34,16, Neh. 2,20 and unpointed t in Ezra 5,11 (all pf.); 7By7t6a Lam. 3,21, Job 35,4, 39,34 (U 40,4) etc. (MU) (all impf.); Ene67by7t6a Gen. 37,14 W 17b,24, L p. 34 (U unpointed), cf. Job 33,5 (t M), 20,2, Jer. 31,18 (L 207V22), in U pointed t in Job 13,22, unpointed t in 33,32 (all imp.), Eny6by7taÁ BarA I 66 (1898) (!) (Arabic gloss imp.).

8

8

There is considerable uncertainty in the pointing of the U text and one wonders whether some of its editors were unaware of the rule. The earliest cases of the feature discussed in this section occur in Masoretic texts, in W/L and in Mas. 2 of PG crit. app., both dating to the early Late Classical period. 899 A.D., the date of W/L, is the terminus ante quem for the rise of the feature. As to its origin and early development there are two possibilities: either a shift from a fricative to a plosive articulation or the plosives reflect an earlier stage in the development of spirantization. Since the first option would be without parallel in this particular environment, the latter would seem preferable. It is important here to state that the irregular use of qußßãyã is limited to specific verbs, i.e. it is a morphological feature, and that it is shared by West Syriac as well as by East Syriac. The development of spirantization went further in West Syriac than in East Syriac. In the East spirantization did not affect initial consonants, not even in combinations where later texts will use a conjunctive accent (cf. d above). However, both varieties of Syriac share the irregular use of plosives discussed in this section. This circumstance suggests that at an earlier period of the language

50

2. FEATURES OF EARLY SYRIAC

fricatives occurred neither word initially nor as first radical of verbal forms. This assumed state of Syriac has a parallel in Turoyo. In the modern language traces of the old spirantization of the consonants b, g, d, k, p, t only appear in particular environments. Plosives and fricatives are distinct phonemes, though in a majority of cases ancient p has shifted to f under Arabic influence. In native words fricatives do not occur word initially and as first radical of verbs. Plosives as first radical of verbs remain plosive even in post-vocalic position in the Ethpe‘el (1) as well as in the Pa‘el and Af‘el (2) formations. In borrowings from Arabic the first radical of verbs, whether plosive or fricative, appears unchanged (3). (1) WT kmëgrë@ ‘he is drawn,’ cf. Pe‘al grë@le ‘he drew.’ (2) RT mda„aÄÄi (Pa.), mad„aÄÄi (Af.) ‘I sent, returned,’ cf. da„ïr (Pe.) ‘he returned, came back’ (all root d„r). (3) RT mabramle (Af.) ‘he turned (tr.), he dialed (telephone),’ cf. barïm (Pe.) ‘he turned (intr.)’; WT ma™karle (Af.) ‘he mentioned,’ cf. ™kërle (Pe.) also ‘he remembered.’ The example from Ethpe‘el (1) is not directly relevant for our purposes, since plosive g goes back to gg < †g, but it is important for illustrating the functioning of the modern grammatical system. The rule also applies to nominal derivatives like mdaglono ‘liar’ and the foreign Arabic loan ma•qab ‘drill, drilling machine.’ The evidence as outlined above suggests that spirantization originated in the West, in Palestine, and gradually reached Syriac territory in three stages. In the first stage, it operated within words, and fricatives occurred neither word initially nor as first radical of verbal forms. This stage is later than the first century (above e end of section) and it is shared by both West and East Syriac. In East Syriac, however, spirantization only partially affected p (3d). In the second stage spirantization still operated within words, but came to affect the first radical of verbs if word medial. The second stage is shared by both West and East Syriac. In the third and last stage spirantization also affected initial consonants in combinations where later texts will use a conjunctive accent. This feature which West Syriac shares with Biblical Aramaic and Tiberian Hebrew never reached East Syriac.

51

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

g Reflexes of vowel reduction: The prosthetic ãlaf In Palestinian Aramaic, short vowels in initial open syllables had shifted to zero by the middle third century. The date of the shift in Syriac is not precisely known, but it seems to be later than the first century and earlier than the fifth century (cf. above f and e end of section) and there are reflexes of the shift in early Syriac orthography. In a large number of instances and in specific environments, words with expected consonant clusters often add a prosthetic ãlaf to indicate an initial auxiliary vowel. In these environments words with and without prosthetic ãlaf appear to vary freely, though documentation varies for individual words. There are three types of evidence: (A) Greek loan words reflecting Greek initial s- and (B) words of native or Greek origin with initial r-. (C) There are also a few cases of Greek and native words with an initial velar or uvular consonant. The treatment of the group of Greek loan words (A) has parallels in contemporary Jewish Aramaic, whereas there are no such parallels in the Jewish texts for type (B). For all three types, Nöldeke already mentioned the existence of an auxiliary vowel in the Syriac forms (N 51, cf. Kiraz, Grammar I § 90). A. There are no reasons to believe that the Greek loan words spelled with a prosthetic ãlaf are earlier, or for that matter later than the forms without. Thus, for example, Aƒwyƒrfsa ‘soldier’ < stratiwvthı is documented with and without initial ãlaf in early biblical manuscripts of the fifth to the seventh century. By a lucky chance, a Syriac deed of sale dated 243 A.D. yields the earliest piece of relevant evidence: aTwgƒrfsa ‘office of general’ (D text P, DH text P1,5) < strathgiva and Agƒrfs ‘general’ (vs. 3) < strathgovı. In these cases, the evidence of the deed is supported by rabbinic sources in which the term for general appears both with and without prosthetic alef. Syriac spellings with prosthetic ãlaf represent the regular and expected forms of Greek words with initial consonant clusters borrowed before the reduction to zero of short vowels in initial open syllables. The irregular forms without initial ãlaf conflict with the rules of Syriac phonology and may reflect the correct Greek pronunciation of the Syriac élite. It is probably due to coincidence that there is no evidence for this type of variation in items like aowfsEa ‘portico’ < stoav and o¥fsEa ‘stole, robe’ < stolhv. 52

2. FEATURES OF EARLY SYRIAC

The list below presents evidence from biblical manuscripts of the fifth to the seventh century. In almost all cases, the Thesaurus Syriacus cites additional examples of spellings from later texts. aTwdf^sa ‘stadia (pl., measure)’ < stavdion (sg.) Matt. 14,24 PG,

EdM ms. C, Luke 24,13 PG, EdM, John 6,19 PG, EdM, 11,18 PG, EdM (all pl.) vs. aTwdf^s Matt. 14,24 PG mss. 1, 2, 17, Luke 24,13 PG mss. 1, 14, 26, 40, John 6,19 PG mss. 1, 40, 11,18 PG ms. 40 (all pl.).

AƒwyƒRfsa ‘soldiers’ < stratiwvthı (sg.) Matt. 8,9 PG, EdM ms. C, 27,27 PG, EdM ms. S, Mark 15,16 PG, EdM ms. S etc. (all pl.) vs. AƒwyƒRfs Matt. 8,9 PG mss. 2, 18, 21, 40, EdM ms. S, 27,27 PG mss. 18, 21, 23, Mark 15,16 PG mss. 5, 11, 17, 19, 40 etc. (all pl.). Agwpsa ‘sponge’ < spovggoı Matt. 27,48 PG, Mark 15,36 PG, EdM, John 19,29 PG vs. Agwps Matt. 27,48 EdM ms. S.

The same type of variation occurs with Ayƒrfsa ‘military unit’
ö as later in East Syriac. Final unstressed ï as in Yb' ‘my father’ and ü as in wrb; ‘they made’ disappeared before the fourth century. For details, see above (2a).

Against Thes. 3837f. this is the standard form, see Thes. Spl. 316b and Gen. 37,25 (W 18a4, L p. 35), 43,11 (W 21a9, L p. 41) etc., BA II 382. 75

55

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

The reduction to zero of etymologically short vowels in initial and medial unstressed open syllables is intimately connected with the rise of spirantization of the plosive consonants b g d k p t. If short and in post-vocalic position, they changed to the fricatives v £ π x f †. Reduction of medial i as in AO›rÆg ‘leper’ < *garibä is earlier than the rise of spirantization, since the vowel did not trigger spirantization of the following consonant. On the other hand, reduction of medial a as in AovrÆg ‘leprosy’ < *garabä is later, since in this case the vowel did trigger spirantization of the following consonant. Spirantization is phonologically non-predictable, at least in some environments, and accordingly phonemic. For details, see above (2bcd). Spirantization seems to have originated in the West, in Palestine, and to have gradually reached the Syriac speaking area. In the traditional pronunciation of Hebrew and in Palestinian Aramaic, short vowels in initial open syllables had shifted to zero by the middle third century. The date of the shift in Syriac and of the first appearance of spirantization is not precisely known, but it must be later than the first century and earlier than the fifth century. Spirantization of k and g presupposes mergers of earlier ˛ and x and „ and £ to ˛ and „, respectively, and the reduction of short vowels in initial open syllables must have taken place well before the fifth century, when expected initial consonant clusters are spelled with prosthetic ãlaf in some environments (2g). For details, see above (2be both end of sections). Based on the distribution of spirantization within Syriac and irregular use of spirantization in the treatment of the first radical of particular verbs it was concluded that spirantization reached Syriac territory in three stages. In the first stage it operated within words, but did not affect initial consonants or first radicals of verbs. In the second stage it came to affect first radicals of verbs, if word medial. In the third stage, spirantization also affected initial consonants in combinations where later texts will use a conjunctive accent. The last mentioned feature which West Syriac shares with Biblical Aramaic and Tiberian Hebrew never reached East Syriac. For details, see above (2f).

56

3 CONSONANTS a Inventory of consonants The Ax^mc© Abtk or ‘Book of Splendours’ by the thirteenth century grammarian Gregorios Bar Hebraeus is the most comprehensive and systematic native treatment of Syriac phonology and grammar. Below the statements in his treatise will serve as basis for the present analysis of Syriac consonants. In the list most consonants with a one-to-one correspondence with Proto-Semitic (1d) will pass unnoticed. Comments will appear in the ensuing notes. Bar Hebraeus classifies Syriac consonants according to their degree of closure. He avoids discussions of voice and emphasis, apparently because Syriac shared these features with Arabic. Like Arab grammarians, however, he offers a detailed classification in terms of zones of articulation.76 Inventory of consonants: b

voiced

bilabial

p

voiceless

bilabial

aspirated

plosive



voiceless

bilabial

unaspirated

plosive (1)

m

voiced

bilabial

nasal

w

voiced

bilabial

semivowel

v

voiced

labiodental

fricative (2)

f

voiceless

labiodental

fricative (2)

π

voiced

interdental

fricative (2)

76

plosive

BdS II 7f., LdS 193f.

57

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY †

voiceless

interdental

fricative (2)

d

voiced

alveolar

plosive (3)

t

voiceless

alveolar aspirated

plosive (4)



voiceless

alveolar unaspirated

plosive (1)

å

voiceless

alveolar emphatic

plosive (5)

n

voiced

alveolar

nasal

r

voiced

alveolar

apical flap (6)

z

voiced

alveolar

sibilant (7)

s

voiceless

alveolar non-emphatic sibilant (7, 8)

æ

voiceless

alveolar emphatic

sibilant (7)

ß

voiceless

palatal

sibilant

l

voiced

palatal

lateral (9)

y

voiced

palatal

semivowel

g

voiced

velar

plosive

k

voiceless

velar

aspirated

plosive

ª

voiceless

velar

unaspirated

plosive (1)

q

voiceless

uvular

plosive (10)

£

voiced

uvular

fricative (2, 11)

x

voiceless

uvular

fricative (2, 11)



voiced

pharyngeal

fricative (12, 14)

˛

voiceless

pharyngeal

fricative (13,14)



voiceless

glottal

plosive (14, 15)

h

voiceless

glottal

fricative (14)

(1) Marginal consonants ≠ (atynwy AÄp) spelled P for Greek p, † spelled ∫ for Greek t, and ª spelled Q for Greek k (below e). The introduction of Greek consonants made aspiration a distinctive feature with labials, alveolars (post-dentals) and velars. Note that in these cases there is a one-to-more relationship between characters and phonemes. 58

3. CONSONANTS

(2) Fricative v £ π x f † resulting from spirantization of b g d k p t in native words. The fricatives also occur in loans from Greek. For details, see (2c). (3) d resulting from a merger of Old Aramaic d π (1d 2). (4) t resulting from a merger of Old Aramaic t † (1d 2). (5) å resulting from a merger of Old Aramaic å © (1d 3). (6) The place of articulation of r is “from the tip of the tongue and the middle of the gums (lit. roots) of the two front teeth a slight [touch].” I take Lylq ‘slight’ in an adverbial sense as referring to the slight touch of the tongue characteristic of a flap like Turoyo r rather than Moberg’s “an … einer kleinen Partie” (between the front teeth) BdS II 7. (7) Bar Hebraeus classifies the sibilants z, s, æ as interdentals but “with an emission of whistling air.” However, the narrowest passage of air with these sibilants is at the alveoli. (8) s resulting from a merger of Old Aramaic s ø (1d 1). (9) Bar Hebraeus mentions a particular West Syriac feature, a ‘flat lãmaπ ’ (atxylƒ) in the name of God (BdS II 6, LdS 193,3f.): ah¢ /•∏oho/.77 Note that in current terminology of modern Northeastern Neo-Aramaic, flat phones correspond to emphatic phones, used of consonants as well as vowels. In modern Turoyo, the first two syllables of /a∏oho/ ‘God’ are emphatic, whereas the last syllable is non-emphatic. For emphatic ∏, see below c. (10) The place of articulation of q is “from the root of the tongue and the soft palate above it,” further back than that of g and k. Bar Hebraeus does not mention the uvula. (11) The place of articulation of £ and x is “from the extreme part (Ayrb a§Ta) of the throat,” further back than that of q. Bar Hebraeus does not mention the uvula. (12) „ resulting from a merger of Old Aramaic „ £ (1d 5) and the reflex of Proto-Semitic *˚ (1d 4). (13) ˛ resulting from a merger of Old Aramaic ˛ x (1d 5).

77

According to A. A. Ambros, Zur Entstehung der Emphase in

Alläh, WZKM 73 (1981) 23-32 emphasis in Arabic A∏∏äh is borrowed

from West Syriac.

59

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

(14) Bar Hebraeus classifies „, ˛,‚, h, as articulated “from the inner part (Aywg a§Ta) of the throat”. He does not distinguish pharyngeals and glottals. (15) ‚ as a glottal plosive has a one-to-one relationship with the corresponding entities in most classical Semitic languages. In the modern Semitic languages in word initial position before a vowel, it is an intermittently present phone without phonemic status (1d 6). The inventory of consonants includes a number of marginal entities: The Greek consonants π, †, ª with a limited frequency and the native glottal ‚ with a limited distribution. Phonemic /‚/ does not occur word initially and finally. In East Syriac it marks a medial syllable boundary, either after consonant or vowel, as in the verbal forms Ø6ai4n and Ø5a3i. In initial syllables it occurs after a consonant, as in the perfect Ø6ai. Initial vowels may have been preceded by a glottal catch [¢]. If they were, it was completely automatic and predictable, and words like a3wr6a ‘earth, land’ should be interpreted phonologically as /ar„ã/. Whenever a one-letter particle precedes a word with initial vowel, standard East Syriac orthography requires a spelling with a as in a3wr6al. In the later biblical prints, however, occasional spellings like a3wra6l (Matt. 10,15 M) suggest that the rule was not always followed (cf. additional evidence below h).78 In recitation /‚/ may have been an intermittently present phoneme, at least in the post-classical period. East Syriac preserved the older forms, while /‚/ in West Syriac has an even more limited distribution. It marks a medial syllable boundary between vowels, otherwise the a of standard orthography is silent, as in LèAoj for /ßo‚el/ vs. LAæjen, LAÆj etc. According to Bar Hebraeus, he passes to ãlaf (i.e. to zero) in Greek words as in Sys§h ‘heresy’ (< aiv{resiı) and Sw©hnws ‘synod’ (< suvnodoı) (BdS II 29, LdS 204,26f.). He states that this is a particular West Syriac feature. Centuries before Bar Hebraeus, the seventh century grammarian Jacob of Edessa is said to have disapproved of spelling the latter word and other Greek terms with he

In this case, the exceptional spelling may be due to the fact that the Gospel text in the first edition of M is in West Syriac script. 78

60

3. CONSONANTS

because of ancient tradition.79 In other words, the letter he is silent in Greek words. The date of the shift h > zero before the seventh century fits in with the Greek evidence. Greek h seems to have been lost about the second century and not later than the fourth century A.D.80 b Consonant incompatibility Incompatibility of specific consonants of the root is well-known and well described in Semitic linguistic literature.81 Consonants sharing the same zone of articulation do not occur next to each other as first and second radical consonants. For the first and third and the second and third consonant of the root the incompatibility rule is not strictly observed, particularly if n is first radical. However, roots with identical second and third radical are permitted and occur frequently. The consonants defining the individual zones of articulation seem to be the seven consonants that appear in grammatical prefixes and suffixes, i.e. m, t, n, ß, y, k, h (in some languages a variant ‚). Thus Syriac does not permit roots having, say, m and p or t and d as first and second radical. On the other hand, it does permit a root nhr as in ao§hwun ‘light’ or a root npl as in Læpn ‘to fall.’ The secondary root ntl ‘to give’ in the imperfect LEµen and the infinitive LƵEm reflects assimilation of an earlier root ntn and the preposition l- ‘to.’ The principle of incompatibility was known already to medieval grammar and Bar Hebraeus mentions it briefly. He uses the term atmx| aT¨wTa ‘friendly letters’ for those consonants that may occur together and aTA¨ns aT¨wTa ‘enemy letters’ for those that are not G. Phillips ed., A Letter by Mar Jacob Bishop of Edessa on Syriac Ortho– graphy (London 1869) 5, Syriac text p. w. 80 Cf. W. S. Allen, Vox Graeca 50f. (Cambridge 1974). 81 The classical treatment based on Arabic evidence is J. H. Greenberg, The Patterning of Root Morphemes in Semitic, Word 6 (1950) 162181, see also K. Koskinen, Kompatibilität in den dreikonsonantigen hebräischen Wurzeln, ZDMG 114 (1964) 16-58 and A. Zaborski, Exceptionless Incompatibility Rules and Verbal Root Structure in Semitic, Semitic and Cushitic Studies (Polotsky volume, Wiesbaden 1994) 1-18. 79

61

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

permitted to occur together. He states: “The friendly letters are those that may occur together, from which nouns and verbs are formed (Nydmltm). The enemy letters are those that are not permitted to occur together, like be† and pe with qußßãyã, and gãmal and kãf with qußßãyã together with qo±f, and he and „e and ˛e† together, and zay and semka† and æãπe and ßin together and together with a preceding taw” (BdS II 11, LdS 196,9-12). c Emphasis Bar Hebraeus does not mention emphasis, presumably because it was as in Arabic. His classification of q as post-velar (above a [10]) supports this view. In thirteenth century Syriac, å and æ were pharyngealized, as in Arabic, and q was uvular and non-emphatic, as in Arabic. At an earlier period all of them were emphatic, as in Old Aramaic (cf. 1d). There is no direct evidence to date the shift from the old to the new system of emphasis; there is only an indirect hint. Unlike in Arabic, æ was affricative in all northern Semitic languages of the Pre-Islamic period. In Akkadian there is evidence for an affricative value of æ as late as the New-Assyrian period.82 In contemporary Elamite, the New-Assyrian syllabograms æa and æi came to render a consonant corresponding to later Persian “ in Iranian names.83 The Aramaic text in Demotic Script dating from the late second century B.C. has a digraph t + s for Aramaic æ.84 In the Hebrew tradition of the Ashkenazi community and in Modern Hebrew, æ is affricative [ts] and in Yiddish orthography the letter æade (x) renders the See, for example, J. Aro, Pronunciation of the ‘Emphatic’ Consonants in Semitic Languages, Studia Orientalia 47 (1977) 5-18, A. Faber, Akkadian Evidence for Proto-Semitic Affricates, JCS 37 (1985) 101-107 and N. J. C. Kouwenberg, Evidence for Post-Glottalized Consonants in Assyrian, JCS 55 (2003) 75-86. In general, see also R. C. Steiner, Affricated Æade in the Semitic Languages (New York 1982). 83 H. Paper, The Phonology and Morphology of Royal Achaemenid Elamite 29f. (Ann Arbor 1955). Paper stated that /“/ as written with the æadesigns represents an affricative corresponding to Old Persian c and j. 84 C. F. Nims and R. C. Steiner, JAOS 103 (1983) 263. 82

62

3. CONSONANTS

German affricate z [ts]. In Middle Persian (including Parthian and Sogdian), the Aramaic letter æãπe came to render Persian “ and other affricates.85 Further, in his discussion of the Syriac vowel system, Voigt referred to a Nestorian Syriac inscription from Central Asia dated 1275 A.D. in which the same letter renders Turkish “.86

Taken separately these pieces of evidence may not be convincing, but together they constitute massive evidence that Aramaic and Syriac æ was affricative in the Pre-Islamic period. The probable cause of the shift of emphasis is influence from Arabic on spoken Syriac, and we may with some confidence date the shift to the early Islamic period, perhaps as late as the tenth century, in the East perhaps as late as the eleventh or the twelfth century, when Arabic influence was rapidly growing (cf. 2e note 68). Arabic emphatics are pharyngealized. Together with contraction of the pharyngeal musculature, the retraction and lowering of the tongue create a larger resonance chamber resulting in a particular colouring of the affected phones. High (i.e. non-low) front vowels are lowered and centralized, back vowels are lowered. Low fronted a is backed. However, Arabic and Turoyo ∏ is a velarized ‘thick’ l. Ethiopic emphatics lack the colouring of vowels. These so-called ejectives are voiceless and glottalized. The oral closure of the consonants concerned is released a fraction of a second before the glottal closure.87 Pharyngealized emphatics as in Arabic and Modern Aramaic are also known from Berber languages of North Africa. On the other hand, ejective emphatics as in Ethiopian Semitic languages are also known from Modern South Arabian and from Cushitic languages of Ethiopia. The phonetic nature of emphasis in early Syriac is unknown. We only know that the emphatics å and q were unaspirated, since the symbols for these consonants came to render Greek t and k in See P. O. Skjærvø in P. T. Daniels & W. Bright ed.s, The World’s Writing Systems 516-519 (New York and Oxford 1996) and earlier W. B. Henning in HdO I 4/1 60 (Leiden-Köln 1958), cf. Kiraz, Grammar I §§ 623 (Sogdian) and 626 (Persian). 86 R. Voigt, Oriens Christianus 81 (1997) 64f. with note 38. 87 See E. Ullendorff, Semitic Languages of Ethiopia 153 (London 1955). 85

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loans and proper names. Some languages are known to have phonetic features structurally paralleling Semitic emphatics. Classical Greek, for example, had a distinctive feature aspiration vs. nonaspiration with voiceless plosives (f,q,c vs. p,t,k). If the Semitic languages in their past history had only two types of emphasis, pharyngealization and glottalization, emphasis in Syriac and other northern Semitic languages of the Pre-Islamic period is more likely to have been of the glottalized Ethiopic type. d East Syriac p and f Unlike other pairs of consonants in the tpkdgb group, East Syriac p and f do not share the usual one-to-one correspondence between eastern and western forms. Or as Bar Hebraeus puts it: “With us pe simply has the power of its associates [i.e. the other members of the tpkdgb group] in relation to rukkãxã. However, this is not the case with the Easterners.”88 The eastern grammarians Elias Bar ∑inaya, Metropolitan of Nisibis (11th century), and Joseph Bar Malkon, bishop of Nisibis (12th century), give a detailed description of the environment:89 (1) In initial and final position pe is never fricative (atkkrm). (2) In the position after the particles Lwdb, it is never fricative except in a few cases like a3tlysP6b ‘with a hewn stone’ Ex. 20,25.90 (3) If pe is third radical, it is never fricative before pronominal suffixes. (4) No pe followed by a vowel is fricative, but pe without vowel is fricative. Quoting Elias Bar ∑inaya, Merx adds that no pe is fricative unless (¥a) it is not followed by a vowel and no pe is followed by a vowel

BdS II 39, LdS 209,16-19. Here quoted from the edition by A. Merx, Historia artis grammaticae apud Syros p. 118f. (AKM 9/2. Leipzig 1889). Cf. already Martin, JA 13 (1869) 479-482. The latter author quoted a very similar description by the thirteenth century grammarian Jacob of Tagrit in JA 19 (1872) 366f. note 1. 90 Cf. also 1 Kings 6,36 (marked with a sublinear point in L 111R29), 7,9.11.12 and Ezek. 40,42. Unmarked in Ex. 20,25 L 31V3 and 1 Kings 7,9 L 111V3. 88 89

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unless it is plosive (atyjqm). The additional statement is more detailed and more correct; pe without vowel is not always fricative. The rules should be read and applied in descending order. Thus (1) should be applied before (4), since word final pe is plosive even though it is not followed by a vowel. Rule (4) only applies to word medial position. A most important conclusion to be drawn from the description above is that the rules are morphological rather than phonological. The rules operate within the minimal word unaffected by prefixed particles (2) or added pronominal suffixes (3). The later eastern pointed biblical prints largely confirm the rules set up by the medieval grammarians. In the stated environments except (4) pe is always unpointed (Å). Even most cases of pe followed by a consonant are unpointed. Only in initial syllables of words, the letter pe may be pointed, either with a sublinear waw (`P) or with a bold sublinear point (7Å only in U). The textual evidence suggests that it is often, though not always, pointed before specific consonants, whereas it is unpointed before other consonants. It is pointed in imperfect forms like `x6tP4n Ex. 21,33, Dt. 6 7p5n L 71R2), Is. 22,22 etc., whereas it 28,12 (U pe unmarked, but `x68t is unpointed in imperfect forms like DUqp4n Is. 24,21, Jer. 13,21, 14,10 (U dãla† unpointed) etc. It is pointed in nouns like a3tP4z (U ed. 1852 Tp4z ) ‘pitch’ Ex. 2,3 (unpointed L 24V23) and a73tP6a (U TP6a) ‘opportunity’ Prov. 9,9 (unpointed L 145R25) and in the common a3iP6n ‘soul’ Gen. 1,20.21, 2,19 etc., and it is unpointed in the infinitive r6ip4ml Dan. 5,16 (unpointed L 229R bottom of page) and the common a3np6k ‘famine’ Gen. 41,30 (twice).31.36 (twice) etc. and a73tp4s ‘lip’ Ex. 25,25, 28,32, Joshua 12,2 etc. It is pointed in a3sPuj ‘model, example’ John 13,15, 1 Peter 2,21, 3,21 etc. and unpointed in a3rpui ‘beauty’ Gen. 47,6.11, 49,13 etc. In East Syriac spirantization of pe, or in linguistic terms alternation of p and f, is a feature of particular roots and stems. It only occurs in specific morphological and phonological environments and a large number of roots and stems do not have the feature. The ancient Masoretic text W/L (British Museum manuscript Add. 12138, dated 899) confirms the usage of the later biblical prints as outlined above. This circumstance shows that later usage rests on an ancient tradition and that the environment (4) as stated by medieval grammar is too general. In the W/L text, pe may be pointed with a sublinear point (`7p) as sometimes in the later U text.

3

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The letter `P is not used. There is evidence for pointing of pe before ß, t, †, å, g, k (a), and for lack of pointing before consonants like l, n, r, s, q (b). Contrast the following examples from the Genesis section of the W/L text: (a) ai7p6n W 1b19, (1,20), 1b20 (1,21) both L p. 2, W 2b3 L p. 4 (2,19); `w68G7p5n W 15a bottom of page, L p. 29 (32,17). (b) a3np6k W 19b22 (41,30 2o), 19b23 (41,31), both L p.38, 20a2 L p. 39 (41,36 2o) etc.; `x6rp4t W 1b19 L p. 2 (1,20) As in the later texts pe is unpointed in a3rpui 23b3 L p. 46 (49,13), W 22b4 L p. 44 (47,11 pron.).91 Among ‘ugly changes’ (aRykj Apl¨wx) in East Syriac, Bar Hebraeus mentions a shift f > w in Ajpn ‘soul’ and v > w in Aba ‘father’ and even loss of the new w after the vowel u in ¥vwg§a ‘stone mason’ and ¥vwx ‘compensation’ (BdS II 30, LdS 205,3-9).92 Bar Hebraeus also quotes the biblical proper name Yltpn as an example of the shift f > w. The early W/L text already noted loss of pe in another biblical name t7p6e (W 5a22 L p. 9, Gen. 10,2)93 apparently indicating the same shift. As we have seen above, the entity f is marginal in East Syriac and has a very limited distribution. This being so, it is quite conceivable that f merged with v in some forms and had already changed to w before the time of Bar Hebraeus94. The same shift is also suggested by comparing modern Northeastern Neo-Aramaic noßa ‘soul’ and gora ‘man’ and, incidentally, Turoyo rawßo ‘shovel’ (cf. WS AOjπæ§, ES A3iP6r)95 and gawro ‘man’

Further examples with sublinear pointing of pe are quoted from this manuscript by J. B. Segal, JSS 34 (1989) 487. 92 This pronouncing habit is also condemned by Jacob of Tagrit, see the quotation in Martin (1872) p. 341 note 2. 93 See Weiss, Akzentlehre p. 16 (§ 24), though with a different explanation. 94 Costaz, Grammaire § 116 mentioned that the East Syriac tradition has preserved the f > w feature (cf. N 27). 95 Is. 30,24, Matt. 3,12, Luke 3,17. Jacob of Tagrit actually mentions this example, see Martin (1872) p. 367. 91

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(cf. aorvÆg ). Turoyo naf@o ‘soul, person’ seems to be borrowed from the church language. The native word is ru˛o. Both varieties of Syriac had an unaspirated so-called Greek ≠ (below ef) and an initial f (2d towards end of section). The later biblical prints do not mark these entities, but the old W/L text has examples from Genesis and other biblical Books. For ≠, compare amU2z3r*p W 2b13 L p. 4 (Gen. 3,7) ‘girdles’ (pointed pe) < Greek perivzwma and for initial f, the proper name cr6p W 18b18 L p. 36 (38,29), W 22a12 L p. 43 (46,12) both with a superscript line diacritic referring to a marginal note saying Å ai8qt al ‘do not pronounce hard pe’ (i.e. p). In the New Testament section of the same text, the Latin personal name Pilatus is rendered with hard pe in SΩfœlyı˙ Matt. 27,24, Mark 15,10 (PG crit. app. Mas. 1, L 241R20 and 246V19). Occasionally the lexicon of Bar Bahlul has pointed pe in some words, as in `sopoqsepa ‘bishop’ BarB 260,14.

!

8

8

e Greek consonants It comes as no surprise that a language of an advanced culture like Syriac had foreign phonemes. The phenomenon is well known from modern languages. Educated Standard German has a French nasalized vowel in Chance and spoken Arabic has a foreign p mostly met with in European loan words. In the classical period, Syriac was deeply influenced by Byzantine language and culture, and the educated language had three foreign consonants, unaspirated π, †, ª representing Greek p, t, k in loan words. With the exception of π (below f) Syriac orthography had no particular symbols for these sounds, but rendered them as ∫ and Q. Even for π, the East Syriac text evidence is slight (above d end of section), and we have to rely largely on the statements of the medieval grammarians. Bar Hebraeus, a representative of educated speakers of the West Syriac literary language, describes the articulation as follows: “In Greek nouns as written in our Syriac alphabet, the hard pe is the hard be† of Greek [i.e. p], qo±f the hardened gãmal [i.e. k], and åe† is the hard dãla† [i.e. t]. The hard taw does not exist in Greek.”96 96 BdS

II 41, LdS 210,13-15.

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Like Syriac, most Germanic languages have aspirated p, t, k, and even today the average speakers of these languages will often identify Modern Greek unaspirated p, t, k with their native b, d, g.97 The ancient grammarian can only express sarcasm towards those East Syrians who did not distinguish these consonants in their speech and pronounced them as ordinary Syriac consonants. He states: “When the amazing Easterners proceed (Nyèsnm) by this disgrace in another alphabet with which they are acquainted, they will be put to shame.”98 f The evidence for ≠ Like Classical Ethiopic and Christian Palestinian Aramaic, Classical Syriac had an emphatic ≠ rendering Greek p in loan words.99 With the shift of emphasis from a glottalized Ethiopic type to a pharyngealized Arabic type of articulation (above c), the assumed emphatic ≠ lost its emphatic articulation and became an unaspirated bilabial plosive like its Greek counterpart. At least in the Late Classical period ≠ formed a Greek triad with † and ª (cf. e). In later biblical prints of West Syriac tradition, the new phoneme ≠ is marked by a superscript dot diacritic, as is native plosive p. In the eastern tradition pe is unmarked. Examples from the early W/L text of Genesis (dated 899) were mentioned above (d end of section). Further, since the hard Greek ≠ (spelled p) is mentioned even by eastern grammarians, it must have existed in East Syriac as well. The notations used by the grammarians,100 ˚ for ≠ and ≠ for native p, are not followed in biblical prints.

8`

the analogical case reported by R. Voigt, Orientalia Christiana Analecta 256 528f. (Symposium Syriacum VII, Roma 1998) that noneducated speakers of modern Amharic substitute b for Greek p in loan words. 98 BdS II 40, LdS 210,4f. 99 See R. Voigt, Das emphatische p des Syrischen, Orientalia Christiana Analecta 256 527-537 (Symposium Syriacum VII, Roma 1998). 100 See Merx, Historia artis grammaticae p. 119, Moberg, BdS II 100, LdS 240 top of page, and the punctuation of the different varieties of pe in 97Compare

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The emphatic character of ≠ is shown by the assimilation t > å in the prefix of the verb SyI˙ƒ˜Ea ‘he was persuaded’ and its nominal derivatives. This interpretation is supported by the fact that phonetic variants like SypıTtm John 3,36, cf. Luke 1,17 (both PG crit. app.) occur in a manuscript dated to the twelfth century and in other Post-Classical texts (1b below), at a time when ≠ was no longer an emphatic consonant. As was concluded above (c), the shift from the old to the new system of emphasis occurred in the early Islamic period, in the West perhaps as late as the tenth century. Otherwise there is little evidence in support of emphasis, and Voigt (p. 531) may be right in assuming an assimilation s > æ in AO˙ΩcrÆ˙ ‘face’ and a few other words. In early Christian Palestinian Aramaic, the so-called pe inversum or pe inversivum denotes Greek p in loan words. In later texts it renders both Greek and native p as distinct from f.101 It appears that late scribes did not distinguish the two types of pe in writing. The situation was similar in Syriac. It is to be expected that the number of lexical items with ≠ decreased over time depending on the stability of the literary tradition as well as on the linguistic competence of individual scribes. We cannot conclude, therefore, that a loan word has ≠, simply because its Greek source has p. For our purposes, documentation of ≠ will have to focus on fully pointed biblical texts, and since the eastern tradition lacks a qußßãyã pointing of pe this means the western standard edition of the New Testament. The tradition of West Syriac pointed and vocalized texts is hardly earlier than the last century of the first millennium (cf. 1b). Thus the textual evidence would seem to reflect the situation about the turn of the millennium. In order to establish an underlying ≠ phoneme, lexical items will have to meet the following requirements: a) The stem in question is a borrowing from Greek in which ≠ reflects Greek p and b) the spelling of pe appears as qußßãyã in relevant environPhillips, Letter Syriac text pp. 6f. lines 20ff., 16 lines 15ff. and 17 line 2. Cf. also N 15. 101 See F. Schulthess, Grammatik des christlich-palästinischen Aramäisch p. 5 (Tübingen 1924) and C. Müller-Kessler, Grammatik des christlich-palästinischen Aramäisch pp. 27f. and 50f. (Hildesheim 1991).

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ments, i.e. short after a vowel or an initial one-letter particle, but not word initially after a distinctive accent (cf. 2d); or the item in question shows an assimilation t > å of the verbal infix. If a lexical item only meets requirement (a), the reflex of Greek p cannot be shown to be /≠/. Compare the following examples: (1a) pei@sai102 > Af. pf. Syì˙Æa ‘he convinced’ Acts 19,26; 12,20, Matt. 27,20 (both pl.), ptc. Syì˙m Acts 7,26, 18,4.13, Matt. 28,14 (pl.) etc., etc. Early CPA pe inversum.103 Ethpe. pf. Syì˙ƒ˜Ea Acts 18,20, 21,14, 25,21 etc., ptc. SyI˙ƒµEm John 3,36, Rom. 10,19.21, Luke 1,17 (pl.) etc., etc. Early CPA pe inversum.104 Similar forms occur in the Old Testament as in Judges 11,17, 1 Sam. 12,22 (both pf.) and Gen. 34,15.23 (both impf.), all OTS 7a1 unvocalized. (1b) SypıTtm John 3,36, cf. pl. Luke 1,17 (both PG crit. app.) in a manuscript dated to the twelfth century. ˆesypttm BarB 1556,7.8, an2sypttm 9105 vs. standard forms `sepjtm 6.10 (pl.), 1188,16, etc. Compare also nominal derivatives like AOsoy˙ ‘conviction’ Titus 1,16 (abs.), 3,3, Hebr. 11,1 (all after vowel); Colos. 2,2.4, 1 Thes. 1,5 (all after one-letter particle), and aO‡wunOsÌ˙ƒµEm ‘obedience’ Rom. 11,30 (pron.).32, Eph. 2,2, 5,6, Colos. 3,6 and a few others. (2) parrhsiva > AæyIsØherÀ˙ ‘frankness’ 1 John 5,14, Philemon 8 (both after vowel), Eph. 6,20, 1 Thes. 2,2 (both after one-letter particle). Early CPA pe inversum.106 (3) provswpon > Aò˙wucrà˙ (ES a3pUcr6p) ‘face; appearance’ Luke 2,31, Mark 12,14 (pl.), Matt. 27,30 (pron.) etc. (all after one-letter particle). In other cases, however, Syriac tradition is not stable, compare the variation in pointing of pe in spovggo" > Aò˛wUπsEa ‘sponge’ John 19,29 (PG crit. app.) and tuvpo" > AOs˙wUƒ ‘model, example’ John 102 Aorist

infinitive from peivqw. See Müller-Kessler p. 224. 104 See Müller-Kessler p. 224f. 105 Additional variant spellings from late texts cited Thes. 3116. 106 See Müller-Kessler p. 105. 103

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13,15 vs. AOsπwUƒ 1 Peter 2,21, 3,21, 1 Cor. 10,6 etc. (all ES a3sPuj). Early CPA has pe (i.e. [f]).107 Bar Hebraeus expressly mentions the hard Greek pe in the personal name Swrfp commenting that there is no orthographic distinction between the hard (Ayjqm) and the weak (Akkrm) variety of pe. Only tradition can decide.108 Unfortunately this proper name is not attested with relevant spellings in the New Testament, but compare Pau@lo" > SwOlwà˙ Acts 13,9.45, 18,14.18 etc. (all after vowel) and 14,9.12.14.19 etc. (all after one-letter particle). g Consonant length Consonant length, or as it is often termed, doubling of consonants is not shown in Syriac orthography, though in most cases it is evident from the morphological context and vocalization. At least in the Late Classical period, West Syriac had lost consonant length whereas East Syriac preserved the old inherited length feature. In describing this feature Bar Hebraeus makes a clear distinction between western and eastern forms. He asks rhetorically and states: “What is the vowelless kãf which the Easterner (AybΩc) hides in the similar vocalized letter in the noun Akp ‘cheek’? And from where does he have it that he pronounces the single nun in the name An_x like the doubled nun in the name Annàp in the Book of Samuel (1 1,2)? And the single mim of Amå ‘people’ like the doubled mim of Am^må (pl.)?”109 It appears from his statement that West Syriac had lost consonant length in AoªÆp /pako/ whereas East Syriac had preserved etymological length in the corresponding /pakkã/. It also appears that Bar Hebraeus pronounced short medial consonants in Aònæx and AOmÆå and that his east Syriac compatriots lengthened these consonants. Long consonants in East Syriac are largely predictable in terms of a following vowel and a preceding ‘short’ vowel, either 6* or 4*. Thus the example a3m6w will be interpreted as /„ammã/, and it will be apparent that a verbal form like D4q6pn is a Pa„el form with See Müller-Kessler p. 33. BdS II 41, LdS 210,10-12. 109 BdS II 15, LdS 197,33-198,4. 107 108

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lengthened second radical. East Syriac not only preserved the old inherited length feature, but it extended its use and introduced length in the stated environment apparently whenever the consonant in question permitted lengthening. Thus the medial consonants in a5x6m ‘he gives life’ and r6m4a ‘he said’ were lengthened. A small residue of forms, however, does not have the length feature, among others a73b6a /•vã/‘father’ and a3h3l6a /•lãhã/ ‘God.’ It appears that medial „ and r were not lengthened, and Bar Hebraeus quotes examples like a3ryr6i ‘true,’ a3ryr6q ‘cold,’ `yr6i ‘he began,’ and `yw6r ‘he pleased.’ For the text evidence, see the discussion of vowel quantity below (7c). In the last mentioned examples, Syriac orthography treats medial „ and r as though they were lengthened. With a term borrowed from Hebrew grammar, we may say that they are virtually lengthened. In the Tiberian tradition of Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic, r and the laryngeals ‚, h, ˛, „ are never lengthened (they are never pointed with dageß). While the loss of the length feature results in compensatory lengthening of a vowel before r, the laryngeal consonants show virtual lengthening in varying degrees. Compensatory length is more frequent with ‚ and h, while virtual length is more frequent with ˛ and „. In Syriac orthography, the loss of length results in virtual lengthening of all these consonants except ˛. The statement by Bar Hebraeus shows that in East Syriac length in a5x6m was real, not virtual, and there is no evidence to suggest that it should be a recent innovation. Virtual length is an orthographic feature signaling a recent phonological change. Loss of length after specific consonants spread over the Fertile Crescent when the Aramaic speaking area was still relatively coherent and before the final domination of spoken Arabic from the tenth century onwards (see 2e note 68, cf. also 5e Rule 3c end of section). It is documented in the Tiberian tradition of Hebrew and Aramaic from the end of the ninth century and in East Syriac it had not yet affected ˛ by the thirteenth century, the time of Bar Hebraeus. It is not unreasonable to surmise, therefore, that the East Syriac loss of consonant length after the consonants stated above occurred in the early Late Classical period. West Syriac apparently extended the shift to apply to other consonants as well.

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h Interchange of ‚ and the semivowels w and y As noted above (a [15] towards end of section), /‚/ is a marginal phoneme with a limited distribution. In both varieties of Syriac, it marks a syllable boundary between adjacent vowels, and it is particularly in this environment that ‚ and the semivowels may interchange. While the interchange is not shown in orthography, the medieval grammarians state a large number of cases from actual pronunciation. However, these changes are hardly restricted to Late-Classical East Syriac, since similar changes already occur in the Genesis part of the oldest Peshitta manuscript (B.M. 14425, dated 464 A.D.).110 In East Syriac, ‚ is stable word medially after consonants and between vowels. However, it is assimilated to a preceding y (1), and it changes to w intervocalically after a preceding vowel u (2). After a word initial consonant it may disappear (3). In the eastern W/L text (dated 899) the Syriac term for assimilation and loss of ‚ is everywhere the same: a Bong ‘conceal ãlaf ’ (imp.). (1) Na6e76bn ‘he will console us’ W 3b16 L p. 6 (Gen. 5,29) for /nvayyan/111 (2) Ø5eaum6e ‘Jemuel’ W 22a9 L. p. 43 (Gen. 46,10); Lyawmj ‘Samuel’ etc.112 (3)

rUab

‘in Ur’ W 6a13 L p. 11 (Gen. 11,28).113

The unique example in (3) is supported by variants in the later standard orthography (above a [15] towards end of section). The grammarians mention a few cases of y changing to ‚ intervocalically after the vowel ã (4) and word medially after consonant (5). (4) tyrxa ‘at last’ (Matt. 4,2); a73tm5e3q ‘pillar’ W 9a5 L. p. 17 (Gen. 19,26) etc., a5e3q8d@o_p3q ‘Cappadocians’ W 5b9 L. p. 10 (Gen. 10,14)114 See P. Wernberg-Møller, JSS 13 (1968) 143f. Akzentlehre p. 13 (§ 14). 112 Weiss p. 13 (§ 14); BdS II 34, LdS 207,13f. 113 Weiss p. 13 (§ 14). 114 BdS II 29, LdS 204,30-32; Weiss p. 10f. (§ 2). 110

111 Weiss

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

(5) ‘yk^bT ¥ ‘do not weep’ (Luke 23,28) for /tevkyãn/.115 The change y > ‚/ã_V in (4) already occurs in the Genesis part of B.M. 14425,116 in (4a) it finds support in later East Syriac orthography which inserts a small a over e to indicate this reading (Job 18,2, Matt. 4,2, 26,60 etc. all M). In (5) Bar Hebraeus may have had in mind a short glide [i] between /k/ and /y/ in the last syllables as in [kiç˘n]. In a position between the two vowels y disappeared and Bar Hebraeus heard the hiatus as ãlaf. Compare the parallel case in modern Turoyo where medial /y/ after specific consonants is preceded by a short vocalic glide [i] and y subsequently disappears, as in syoÿo ‘wall, fence’ and gma˛ªyo ‘she tells’. In West Syriac orthography ãlaf is stable between vowels, though it is uncertain whether it indicated anything but a smooth transition from vowel to vowel in this position. However, in some environments, after /o/ and /i/, Bar Hebraeus heard the transition as a glide y (6). Between the vowels /a/ and /u/ he heard the glide as w (7). (6) §aa ‘air’ for /oyar/ (Greek ajhvr), aAywb ‘consolation’ for /buyoyo/, also in biblical names like LyAkym for /mixoyel/ and LyAyqzx for /˛azqiyel/117 (7) Yhwazx ‘they saw him’ for /˛záwuy/118 spelled YØhwUaæzx Matt. 2,10.11, 8,34 etc. i Summary of chapter 3 The inventory of Syriac consonants can be summarized in terms of two large groups: a basic group of primary consonants shared with other ancient Semitic languages and an additional group of secon-

BdS II 29, LdS 204,30f. See Wernberg-Møller p. 143f. The change was already mentioned N 40 E. 117 Merx, Historia artis grammaticae p. 259 (2), BdS II 29, LdS 204,24f. 118 Merx p. 259 (2), BdS II 29, LdS 204,27. The change already occurs in B.M. 14425, see Wernberg-Møller p. 144 with reference to N 40 F. For the notation of stress, see below 8b. 115 116

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3. CONSONANTS

dary consonants shared with some, but not all other ancient Semitic languages. The basic group of consonants appears as structured triads and pairs and as isolated consonants. There are three triads of voiced, voiceless and emphatic consonants, an alveolar triad of plosives d, t, å, an alveolar triad of sibilants z, s, æ, and a velar triad of plosives g, k, q. There is a labial pair of plosives b, p, a pair of nasals m, n, and a pair of semivowels w, y. A characteristic feature of Semitic languages is two pairs of laryngeal consonants, a glottal pair ‚, h and a pharyngeal pair „, ˛. Isolated consonants are r, l, ß. The change of emphasis from an ejective glottal articulation to a pharyngealized articulation (3c) resulted in dissolution of the velar triad and change of velar glottalized to uvular plosive q, both being unaspirated. The group of secondary consonants includes the fricatives v, £, π, x, f, †, historically originating from spirantization of the basic consonants b, g, d, k, p, t (2c), the fricatives also occurring in borrowings from Greek (2d), whereas the series of unaspirated plosives π, †, ª are directly borrowed from Greek (3e). There is also an isolated emphatic or ‘thick’ ∏ only in West Syriac pronunciations of the name of God aOhOlÆa, i. e. phonemic /•∏oho/ (3a [9]). Like other Semitic languages Syriac has a system of consonant incompatibility regulating the formation of nominal and verbal roots. Consonants sharing the same zone of articulation do not occur next to each other as first and second radical and rarely as first and third and second and third radicals of the root, unless n is the first radical consonant. However, roots with identical second and third radical are permitted and occur frequently (for details, see 3b). The old inherited feature of consonant length was lost in West Syriac, whereas East Syriac preserved the feature, though it came to introduce secondary length in specific environments. Thus AoªÆp ‘cheek’ is phonemic /pako/ in West Syriac, whereas it is /pakkã/ in East Syriac. Secondary length occurs regularly after particular vowels, but exceptions to the general rule have been preserved in a number of lexical items, among others a73b6a /•vã/‘father’ and a3h3l6a /•lãhã/ ‘God’ (for details, see 3g). Interchange of ‚ and the semivowels w and y is not shown in standard orthography, but occurs in specific environments, particularly between vowels (for details, see 3h). 75

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

76

4 ASSIMILATION AND DISSIMILATION OF CONSONANTS

a Voice assimilation. The rules of medieval grammarians Assimilation and dissimilation are either morphological (morphophonological) features or phonological features independent of morphology. The former type, as in ræ√£˜Ea ‘he remembered’ (with {e†} preformative), is marked in orthography and adequately described in the grammars. The latter, phonological type is unmarked in orthography, though extensively described by the medieval grammarians. The present chapter is a summary of their rules of phonological assimilation and dissimilation. Medieval Syriac grammar has a general rule of assimilation attributed to Jacob of Edessa.119 Three classes of consonants are affected by the rule. These are: aty^bå ‘thick, heavy’ (Merx aspiratae), i.e. B G © z Å at¨yåcm ‘middle’ (Merx mediae), i.e. P Kk T S J X aTDqn ‘clean, pure’ (Merx tenues), i.e. Q ∫ c h

Merx states that aspiratae before mediae change to mediae and before tenues to tenues. The rule applies both ways indicating a system of regressive assimilation. The text, edited by Merx (p. Gm), is in metrical form and runs as follows: There are letters that are opposite in writing / and never permit contact one after the other: / ‘Thick’ and ‘middle’ and ‘clean.’ / (They are) opposite and you should know their strength in writing. / The ‘thick’ are B G © z Å / and the 119 See

Merx, Historia artis grammaticae p. 53.

77

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY ‘middle’ are P Kk T S J X / the ‘clean’ are these Q ∫ c h / consider this and distinguish their opposition with knowledge. / The ‘thick’ (change) to ‘middle’ and ‘clean’ / (they are) opposite and so also the ‘clean’ / and the ‘middle’ further (change) to ‘thick’ and ‘clean’ / (they are) opposite and never permit contact. /

A key term running through the text is ‘yl¨bwqääs ‘opposite.’ The classes of consonants in question are opposite and their members are not permitted to occur in close contact with members of other classes. The fragments of grammar attributed to Jacob of Edessa have a very detailed description of the rules of assimilation operating between the three classes of consonants mentioned above.120 The description makes it abundantly clear that a Syriac consonant permits neither a preceding nor a following consonant belonging to another class. The author, or the ancient editor, illustrates his case by examples and states: In Antgwy§ ‘sensual’ and Antqwyå ‘sad,’ because T being middle is not permitted after G which is thick, or after Q which is clean, you have changed both of them to their middle equivalent Kk. In AnTzwg § ‘irascible’ then, since it is derived from the noun azgw§ ‘anger’ it is only natural that it has z. Because voice (lit. thickness) is not permitted (i.e. in the position before T) you have changed it to S which is also a middle consonant.

Like the underlying Greek terminology, Syriac terminology is impressionistic. Voiced oral consonants were heard as thick or heavy, while voiceless emphatics were heard as clean or pure, apparently because they were unaspirated. Voiceless oral non-emphatic consonants were felt as being in between, apparently because they were aspirated. Note that ‘thick’ Å was felt to have a stronger more vigorous articulation than ‘middle’ X and ‘clean’ h.

See JEG p. 78, W1 1169b-1170a, W2 G . Martin, JA 19 (1872) 332-345 already summarized the evidence for voice assimilation and other forms of assimilation. 120

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4. ASSIMILATION AND DISSIMILATION

The phonological interpretation of this evidence depends on our conception of the term phoneme. If we understand the term in its classical sense as representing a bundle of distinctive features independent of morphology and operating both ways, from allophones to phoneme and from phoneme to allophones, assimilation as treated in this section has a phonemic value. Thus the examples stated in the quotation above will have to be interpreted as /rayyux†ãnã/, /„ayyuk†ãnã/ and /raggus†ãnã/. If, however, we understand the term phoneme in the sense first introduced by generative linguistics as dependent on morphology and syntax, assimilation has no phonemic value and can be regulated by a set of phonological rules applied to morphological forms. For a classical language of the past for which the evidence is written texts, the latter conception of the phoneme is preferable. Thus the examples as stated above will have to be reinterpreted as /rayyu£†ãnã/, /„ayyuq†ãnã/ and /ragguz†ãnã/ retaining the medial clusters /£†/, /q†/ and /z†/ well known from orthography. This solution fulfills an important requirement in linguistics; the description should be adequate and as simple as possible. b Voice assimilation. Examples The statements by the medieval grammarians illustrate the general rule, although they do not show evidence for all combinations of relevant consonants. Below in the presentation of the evidence, we shall focus on East Syriac since, in spite of what is said by Bar Hebraeus, we are told little about voice assimilation in West Syriac. Voiceless mediae change to voiced aspiratae before voiced aspiratae (1) as voiced aspiratae change to voiceless mediae before voiceless mediae (2). There is also a particular case of voice assimilation, in that a voiceless media J changes to Arabic G , i.e. voiced ç before voiced aspiratae (3). (1a) † > π/_b, g, £: Nwrbtn, Nwlgtn (both impf.), Amgtp ‘word’ (East Syriac);

79

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY s > z/_b, g, d: A›séå ‘grass,’ Aɲsén, §w∂sn (both impf.) (East

Syriac)121

8

(1b) f > v/_g: `w6G7p5n (impf., East Syriac); x > £/_b: h_5tr86b7k6ao (pf., East Syriac)122 (2a) b > p/_†, ß: at›x ‘brushwood, husks,’ tj›lTa (pf.) (East Syriac); g > k/_†: atg§ ‘desire’ (East Syriac and West Syriac)123 £ > x/_†: Antgwy§ ‘sensual’ (Jacob of Edessa, quotation above) (2b) g > k/_f: atpypg John 19,3 (initial position)124 (2c) d > t/_†: a‡∂j ‘position’ (East Syriac); π > t/_t: aTdycm ‘net’; z > s/_x, q: Ayrkz ‘Zechariah’, Apyqz ‘cross’ (both initial position, East Syriac); z > s/_†, x, k: aTzb ‘prey,’ Akzyn ‘spear’, Akzn (impf.) (East Syriac and West Syriac)125 (2d) „ > ˛/_q: YrqåTT ‘(plant) will be uprooted’ (Matt. 15,13 M r6qØw7t4t) (East Syriac)126 (3) ß > ç/_b, g, d: Anbjwx ‘thought’, Nwrgjn, Nwdjn (both impf., East Syriac).127

121 Merx, Historia artis grammaticae p. 261 (m), BdS II 34, LdS 207,1012, Weiss, Akzentlehre p. 11f.; Merx p. 121 (2), 260 (e), BdS II 33 and 28f., LdS 206,28-30, 204,18f., Weiss p. 12. The change in the last mentioned verbal form is said to be common to East Syriac and West Syriac. 122 Weiss p. 11, text W 15a29 L p. 29 (Gen. 32,17); Weiss p. 11, text W 8a10 L. p. 15 (Gen. 17,20). 123 Merx p. 259 (3a), BdS II 33, LdS 206,22-24; BdS II 29, LdS 204,19f. Later it is stated, though without indication of dialect, that the change g > k is reversible, see BdS II 30, LdS 205,10f. 124 BdS II 30, LdS 205,14f. without indication of dialect. A similar example is quoted by Weiss p. 12 (East Syriac p). 125 Merx p. 259 (3b), BdS II 33, LdS 206,24f.; BdS II 12, LdS 196,31f. without indication of dialect; Merx p. 121 (1); BdS II 28, LdS 204,16f. 126 Merx p. 259 (3), BdS II 29, LdS 204,29f. 127 Merx pp. 122f. (10), 261 (l), BdS II 34, LdS 207,9f., Weiss p. 11.

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As we have seen (3d), East Syriac p holds a particular position in the phonological system. The usual one-to-one correspondence between East Syriac and West Syriac does not apply and East Syriac p corresponds to West Syriac f in a large number of cases. In the following examples of voice assimilation taken from the grammarians, East Syriac has plosive p (4-5). (4) p > b/_π: aß˙wq ‘porcupine’ (Tu. qubπo)128 (5) £ > x/_p: aœtép¸ æ© ‘of a vine’.129 One would surmise that in (5) the East Syriac rule also applies without a prefixed relative particle or preposition, i.e. g > k/_p, cf. above (2b). For East Syriac there is also evidence for voicing of æ (6) and q (7) before voiced aspiratae and devoicing of d (8) and z (9) before a following voiceless q. Note that cases (6-7) involve voicing and loss of emphasis, respectively loss of uvular articulation, whereas cases (8a and 9a) involve devoicing and gain of emphasis before uvular q. All examples are East Syriac. For emphasis assimilation and dissimilation, see below (c). (6) æ > z/_b, d: Abcn (impf.), a©cx ‘reaping’ (ptc.)130

(7) q > g/_b, d: §Ω›qéa (impf.), N œ∂qüp ‘command’; q > g/_b, d, z: Arbqwå ‘mouse’ (Tu.„@bugro [$¿u»bugro], also „ebugro), Andqy ‘conflagration,’ azq¨wn ‘points’131 (8a) d > å/_q: AÉyœq©Ω^pœq ‘Cappadocians’ (pl.), Ayq©wpq the same (sg.) or ‘Cappadocia’132 (8b) d > t/_q: Aœyœq©üpœq ‘Cappadocian’133 (9a) z > æ/_q: atqzå ‘ring’ (sg.), at^qzå same (pl.)134

Merx p. 259 (3a), BdS II 33, LdS 206,30f. p. 122 (9), Weiss p. 12. 130 Merx p. 260 (f), BdS II 33, LdS 206,32f. 131 Merx p. 121 (4); 260 (g), BdS II 34, LdS 206,33-207,2. 132 Merx p. 122 (5) Elias Bar ∑inaya (11th century), BdS II 34, LdS 207,6f. (Bar Hebraeus, unvocalized). 133 Merx p. 122 (5) note 1 Joseph Bar Malkon (12th century). 128

129 Merx

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

(9b) z > s/_q: atqzéå ‘ring’ (Tu. „isaq†o)135 In (8a) Bar Hebraeus mentions the eastern tradition but rejects it claiming that dãla† in this word is fricative, not plosive. In (9ab) the singular form is problematic. The context suggests that devoicing occurs in the first member of a consonant cluster, i.e. without an intervening vowel. This is supported by a statement by Bar Hebraeus that atq!zå (as shown by the spelling) has no auxiliary vowel (BdS II 19, LdS 200,6) and thus represents ES „ezq†ã > „eæq†ã (9a) or „esq†ã (9b). Otherwise, I know this form only from WS aOtqzE–å (Luke 15,22 PG crit. app.). However, the form known to the East Syriac biblical tradition is a73tq6z4w (Gen. 38,18 pron., 41,42 etc., Luke 15,22), attested as early as 899 (W 18b2 L p. 36, Gen. 38,18). The etymology and vocalization of the form show that the vowel of the second syllable is an old auxiliary vowel that has changed status to a full vowel (compare also WS aO†qezEå). Diachronically speaking, the open first syllable is virtually closed and has a short vowel. Note that the feature of voice assimilation is reflected in a few forms preserved in Turoyo (4, 7, 9b) and that in this respect Turoyo sides with East Syriac. In „isaq†o (9b) devoicing of z must have taken place before the introduction of an auxiliary vowel and the Turoyo form reflects an old *„izq†ä. Likewise in „@bugro and „ebugro (7) voicing must have taken place before metathesis of q and b and before the introduction of an auxiliary vowel. A reference to a possible Turoyo-like feature also appears in Weiss (p. 17) who noted two unusual cases of loss of † marked as t Bong ‘conceal taw’ (imp.): 7El*gt5ao ‘and he uncovered himself’ (Gen. 9,21 Ethpe. pf.) and r6c86b7t5n ‘it will be too hard’ (11,6 Ethpa. impf.). The loss of † is unusual as we would expect a change † > π of the infix before a voiced plosive (1a). The marginal note in the text appears twice independently of each other, and there seems to be no apparent reason to consider it an error. If the note is meant to state a loss of † in these cases, the scribe must have intended Merx p. 261 (n) quoted as from Bar Hebraeus, BdS II 34, LdS 207,13 (Bar Hebraeus text). 135 Merx p. 121 (1). 134

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spoken East Syriac forms like *egli and *nebbaææar. These forms are strongly reminiscent of later Turoyo forms. In the modern language the perfect and the imperfect were lost, among verbal forms only the participles and the imperative survived; in the derived forms of the verb even the imperative was derived from a participle. In the Ethpe‘el and Ethpa‘al forms the infixed † was assimilated to the first radical of the verb, or in medieval terminology it was concealed, and reconstructed *mi˛˛@zë, for example, yields the modern form m@˛ze ‘be seen’ (Ethpe.) as reconstructed *minnakkaf yields minak@f ‘be ashamed, shy’ (Ethpa.). In both examples an old participle appears with a subjunctive function. Assimilation of the stem preformative to the first radical of the verb is a common feature of Late Aramaic (cf. 1f note). It is well documented in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic,136 in Babylonian Talmudic Aramaic137 and Mandaic.138 The earliest attested example is ejffaqav Mark 7,34 for eppa†a˛ ‘be opened’ (Ethpe‘el imp.). The statements by the grammarians are often very detailed and reveal a literary language that has preserved many features of a natural spoken language. However one grammarian, Bar Hebraeus, stands out by his detailed descriptions of phonological features and by his conception of Syriac as being more than the standard literary language. He draws his examples from a wide range of material, from the formal reading of the literary language, from biblical as well as from non-biblical texts, and even from regional variants of the spoken language. c Emphasis assimilation and loss of emphasis The general rule of assimilation referred to at the beginning of section (a) also applies to cases involving an emphatic consonant or uvular q, though once more the statements by the medieval G. Dalman, Grammatik des jüdisch-palästinischen Aramäisch p. 252f. (Leipzig 1905). 137 J. N. Epstein, Grammar of Babylonian Aramaic p. 50 (Jerusalem 1960, in Hebrew) and M. L. Margolis, Lehrbuch der aramäischen Sprache des Babylonischen Talmuds pp. 41 and 45 (München 1910). 138 Nöldeke, Mandäische Grammatik p. 213f. 136

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grammarians do not show evidence for all combinations of relevant consonants. In connection with voice assimilation discussed in the preceding section, we noted cases of voicing and loss of emphasis, respectively loss of uvular articulation before voiced consonants (6-7), and other cases of devoicing and gain of emphasis before uvular q (8a and 9a). Otherwise non-emphatic mediae change to emphatic tenues before emphatic tenues. There is evidence for t (1) and s (2). (1) t > å/_#å: Aylƒ tna ‘thou (being) a child’ (across a word boundary)139 (2) s > æ/_å: Nwydfsa ‘stadium’ (Greek stavdion) (only in Greek words).140 The change in (2) is limited to East Syriac, since educated pronunciations of West Syriac had a particular set of consonants π, †, ª for the Greek unaspirated plosives (see 3e). It is clear from the context that Bar Hebraeus is focusing on eastern usage which he condemns as being disgraceful and shameful. The rule only applies to Greek words in East Syriac. A similar rule for native Syriac words is not mentioned, though it is likely to have existed. Emphatic tenues and uvular q change to non-emphatic mediae before non-emphatic mediae. Changes (4-9) below are East Syriac unless otherwise stated. (3) å > t/_#t: a§wT Flp ‘the ox slipped away’ (across a word boundary)141 (4) å > t/_ß: aœtyıjƒ (ptc. p.), NΩjfén (impf.), both from the same root; å > t/_†, ß: atƒwl ‘curse’, Ajfn (impf.)142

139

Merx p. 258 (1), BdS II 12, LdS 196,29. Context suggests West

Syriac. 140 141

Merx p. 260 (i), BdS II 34, LdS 207,4-6 East Syriac. Merx p. 258 (1), BdS II 12, LdS 196,29f. Context suggests West

Syriac.

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4. ASSIMILATION AND DISSIMILATION

(5) æ > s/_t: Tcq (pf. 2. m. sg.) Matt. 20,13143 (6) q > k/_s, t: Asqwå ‘sting’ (of a scorpion Rev. 9,10), atqpm ‘departure’; q > k/_†: atqå ‘grief’, atqzå ‘ring’144 (cf. Tu. dialect variant „isak†o).145 (7) æ > s/_#d: ‘y© cq (pf. 3. m. sg.) Matt. 20,2.146 As we have seen (3d and above 4b) East Syriac p corresponds to West Syriac f in a number of cases, including the following examples of loss of emphasis or change of uvular q > k (8). (8) q > k/_p: Aœsœpq ‘contraction’, Sépq‡éa (pf.) both derived from the same root.147 In (7) the change æ > s before voiced d is against the general rule of voice assimilation (above a). In the Bar Hebraeus text, the only example occurs directly before that of (5) above and one would surmise the resulting s to be an error for expected z already in an earlier Vorlage of the text. Bar Hebraeus quotes a few West Syriac examples of distant assimilation of ãlaf, i.e. zero to pharyngeal „ in aAOmƃ ‘unclean’ and aoAonwuq ‘dark-blue’.148 In the former example even the East Syriac form has a defective last radical (zero), though the vocalization of inflected forms like AÆmƒ (abs. m.) Lev. 5,2, 11,25.28 etc. reflects a former consonantal ‚. The latter example is a Greek loan (kuavneoı), also attested as AOåonwuq. The third example quoted by Bar Hebraeus Merx p. 121 (3), BdS II 33, LdS 206,26-28; Merx p. 259 (3d), BdS II 33, LdS 206,26-28. 143 Merx p. 259 (3), BdS II 29f., LdS 204,32-205,1. 144 Merx p. 260 (h), BdS II 34, LdS 207,2-4 East Syriac; BdS II 29, LdS 204,20-22 East and West Syriac. 145 In an email, my informant confirms my variant notation of this word as „isak†o and states that he and his wife pronounce the word with ‘Aramaic’ k, i.e. /k/. 146 Merx p. 259 (3), BdS II 29, LdS 204,32-205,1. 147 Merx p. 122 (7). 148 Merx p. 259 (2), BdS II 29, LdS 204,28. 142

85

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY aOaræq ‘gourd, pumpkin’ appears to be influenced by, or even borrowed from Arabic qar„ with the same meaning.

d Other types of assimilation The consonant n is assimilated across a word boundary to a following oral consonant, except y, n, p and the Greek consonants π, †, ª (cf. above 3e). Among other examples Bar Hebraeus quotes the following: A¨OnOå §ÆtsEb N–m ‘from the sheep’ (Ps. 78,70), Aoxwu§ ‘–m ‘from the wind’ (91,6), and Yh¨wænbæw NΩ§hÆa ‘Aaron and his sons’ (Ex. 40,31).149 According to Bar Hebraeus, the Easterners exchange hard pe with hard be† and åe† with hard dãla† in the neighbourhood of a specific set of backed consonants, the unaspirated å, q, and the pharyngeal aspirate ˛.150 I interpret the evidence as loss of aspiration in p > ≠ (1) and a combined loss of emphasis and aspiration in å > t > † (2), in this specific environment. (1) p > ≠/_å, ˛: ‘yfpxtm (Ethpe./Ethpa. ptc.), txpƒ (Pe./Pa. pf.) (2) å > t > †/_p: Nwpfxn, Nwpfqn (both impf.). It appears from the preceding section (c) that an emphatic å loses its emphasis and changes to a non-emphatic t before voiceless mediae. In the environment stated above, however, Bar Hebraeus heard p and å as hard be† and hard dãla†. It is precisely these terms that he uses for describing the unaspirated ≠ and † of Greek loan words (3e). I cannot show biblical evidence for the participle in (1); for the perfect Bar Hebraeus may have had Is. 48,13 in mind. Moreover, Bar Hebraeus mentions – without indication of dialect – assimilation of pharyngeal „ (3) and glottal h (4) to a preceding or following pharyngeal ˛, in all cases across a word boundary. Assimilation is progressive as well as regressive and thus the change in (3) is distinct from the voice assimilation discussed above (ab).

149 Merx 150

p. 258 (4), BdS II 13f., LdS 197,7-18, all unvocalized. Cf. Merx p. 122 (6), 259 (3ac), BdS II 33, LdS 206,25f. and 30f.

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4. ASSIMILATION AND DISSIMILATION

(3) „ > ˛/˛#_: Abså Xwj ‘grass sprouted’ „ > ˛/_#˛: armx Åb_s ‘he takes his fill of wine’151 (4) h > ˛/˛#_: a§©h Xywz ‘procession of glory’ h > ˛/_#˛: hrmx hcpn ‘his drunk (lit. wine) left him’ (1 Sam. 25,37)152 Another example of (4) mentioned by Bar Hebraeus is Anwæh Xœbwj ‘glorification of the mind.’ A form Aoxo›wuj is badly documented in Syriac (cf. Thes. 4026 bottom of page), but supported by the morphological pattern of the parallel example Aoxoywuz in (4). The pattern commonly functions as a pseudo-infinitive to the Pa‘el conjugation. Cases of distant assimilation mentioned by Bar Hebraeus are the West Syriac change of „ to ‚ (zero) in An©hwå ‘memory’ and Anhå ‘convenient’ and their underlying verbs.153 In fully pointed and vocalized texts the change is marked orthographically as in Aono™hwØuå and AonhOØå and it is well described in the grammars (N 37). e Dissimilation of interdental fricatives East Syriac as well as West Syriac grammarians state that a cluster of two interdental fricatives dissimilates into a cluster of a plosive and a fricative, if preceded by a so-called Lwdb particle, i.e. one of the word initial prepositions and conjunctions ba-, da-, wa-, la-.154 Though with exceptions in the eastern U text (a fricative being indicated below by an asterisk, an unmarked letter by a double asterisk), the later biblical prints maintain the old tradition and eastern texts mark a following tkdGb, western texts a following tpkdgb as plosive. Below examples of eastern evidence will be given in (1), western in (2). (1 ©) a3bluD8d6o ‘and from a plane tree’ Gen. 30,37 (W 14a,18 L p. 27), a73ty8do73t8d6o ‘and of praise’ Ps. 42,4, a3wr6t8d6o ‘and of the door’ 1 Kings 7,50 (all U**);

Merx p. 258 (3), BdS II 13, LdS 197,4-6. Merx p. 258 (2), BdS II 12f., LdS 197,1-4. 153 Merx p. 259 (2), BdS II 29, LdS 204,22-24. 154 Merx p. 116 (1 and 2), BdS II 40, 62, LdS 209,25-30, 218,28-32. 151 152

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

ˆ3e2m3D8d6o ‘and those that are similar’ Mark 7,13, a73t23rmD4t8d6o ‘and of wonders’ Rom. 15,19, but a5q5t3eD6do ‘and of the covenant’ Acts 3,25, since the eastern form of this word has an initial consonant cluster. (1 T) a@--3e6d_t6d ‘of breasts’ Gen. 49,25 (U*) (W 23b,20 L p. 46), `x6b6d_t6o ‘and you shall sacrifice’ Ex. 20,24 (U**), cf 8,28 (pl.), cuD_t6o ‘and let it exult’ Is. 35,1.2, 61,10, Prov. 23,25, NucuD_t6d ‘that you exult’ Jer. 50,11; NunuD_t6o ‘and you shall judge’ Matt. 19,28, Luke 22,30, further a@--3e6d_t6lo ‘and to the breasts’ Luke 11,27, 23,29, Nubu7t8t6o ‘and you would repent’ Acts 3,26, Ø4_g6d_t6d ‘that you should lie’ Acts 5,3, Nulg6dt6o ‘and you shall (not) lie’ James 3,14.

8 8

In both references to the W/L text above there is a marginal note saying d Qsa ‘note dãla† ’ (imp.). (2 ©) AiqI†æyi™£æw ‘and of the covenant’ Acts 3,25, aO‡or^m™E‡£æw ‘and of wonders’ Rom. 15,19, but ‘oy^mo™™æw ‘and those that are similar’ Mark 7,13 (cf. PG crit. app., the expected form in the eastern M) and NwuwhE‡™æw ‘and you should be’ 1 Thes. 4,3. (2 T) Nwunwu©˜æw ‘and you will judge’ Matt. 19,28, Luke 22,30 (both © unmarked PG crit. app.), A¨òy橵Ælw ‘and to the breasts’ Luke 11,27, 23,29 (both © unmarked PG crit. app.), NwuvwU‡˜æw ‘and you would repent’ Acts 3,26, Lè˛ æ™˜à£ ‘that you should lie’ Acts 5,3, Nwul˛æ™ ˜æw ‘and you shall (not) lie’ James 3,14. At this point of the discussion a note on philological detail is in order. Except in word initial position, eastern biblical vocalized orthography adds diacritical points to the five letters tkdGb, a point over the line marking a plosive pronunciation and a point under the line marking a fricative one. However for lack of printing space, it regularly omits a point as well over the line as under the line in combination with the vowel points p†ã˛ã (as in 6t) and a point over the line in combination with the vowel points zqãpã (as in 3t). It also omits a point under the line in combination with the vowel points zlãmã pßiqã (as in 4t) and zlãmã qaßyã (as in 5t).

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Weiss already noted two attestations of the dissimilation in the old W/L text of Genesis155 (both quoted above [1]), and thus the terminus ante quem for the usage is 899 A.D., the date of the W/L text. A similar date can be assumed for western usage. As sources for their edition of Matt. 19,28 and Luke 11,27 (both [2 T] above), PG (crit. app.) quote two Masora texts, the earlier of which (Mas. 2) is stated as dating from the ninth or the tenth century (p. xiii) and thus roughly contemporary with the eastern W/L text. f Summary of chapter 4 Syriac has a system of voice and emphasis assimilation not shown in orthography, but mentioned by the grammarians. A set of voiced consonants including pharyngeal „ change to voiceless consonants before a set of voiceless consonants including pharyngeal ˛ and to emphatic consonants before a set of emphatic consonants, the last mentioned set including glottal h. The rule applies both ways indicating a system of regressive assimilation. Apparently due to the change of emphasis from glottalization to pharyngealization (3c) and the change of q to an uvular the rule is not followed strictly for this consonant. Thus in East Syriac, for example, the first consonant of a3pyqz ‘cross’ was devoiced to [s], whereas the same consonant was devoiced and changed to [æ] in a73t23qz4w ‘rings.’ Before a voiced consonant the 7t of a3m73g7t4p ‘word’ was voiced to [π], and before a voiceless consonant the G of aO†˛e§ ‘desire’ was devoiced to [k]. Across a word boundary word final h was changed to [˛] in h5rm6x hÉcp6n ‘his drunk (lit. wine) left him’ (1 Sam. 25,37). For details, see the examples in 4bcd. In both varieties of Classical Syriac a cluster of two interdental fricatives dissimilates into a cluster of a plosive and a fricative, if preceded by a one-letter particle. For details, see above (4e).

155

Weiss, Akzentlehre p. 13 (§ 10 Gen. 30,37, § 13 Gen. 49,25).

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90

5 VOWELS a Inventory of vowels Even if the vowel inventories of East and West Syriac are different, the phonological correspondences between the two dialects are so regular that a diaphonic156 inventory of vowels will be close to identical with a reconstructed inventory of vowels for the period of the language immediately preceding the introduction of vowel notation, i.e. for Early Classical Syriac (for the term, see 1b). The eight Syriac vowels are evenly distributed between front and back vowels. As an automatic feature front vowels are unrounded while back vowels are rounded. Thus Early Classical Syriac would seem to have had the following vowels:157 front back high higher mid lower mid low

i § e a

u o± o ã

The diaphonic definition of /§/ is clear, as it is based on the regular correspondence ES e vs. WS i (a3ie5r vs. AojIy§ ‘head’ etc.). However, since there is direct evidence for this vowel neither in East 156 In linguistics, the term diaphone is used to denote a phonological entity (sound or phoneme) and its variants as heard from different speakers of the same language. 157 For a discussion of Syriac vowels based on the evidence of Bar Hebraeus, see R. Voigt, Oriens Christianus 81 (1997) 36-72. His analysis differs from mine on some points, particularly in the interpretation of the e vowels.

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Syriac nor in other Aramaic languages, it may have existed as an independent vowel phoneme only in the western dialect (below i). The same applies to the less frequent lower mid (or open) o which only occurs in Greek and Latin words and proper names in West Syriac. The diaphonic definition of /o/, i.e. ES o vs. WS o (ES NUyl6Gn6o5a vs. WS NwoyìlE˛næwEa ‘gospel’), is clear but the vowel may have existed as an independent phoneme only in the west (see below k). Low back ã is the outcome of backing and rounding of early Aramaic ä (below h). The elimination of § and o and the subsequent reduction of the double set of mid vowels resulted in an East Syriac inventory of six vowels, as follows: high mid low

i e a

u o ã

Later, in the postclassical period, low rounded ã was identified with emphatic allophones of Arabic ä (below h) and reinterpreted as phonemic /a/. Since vowel length was an automatic feature in Late Classical Syriac (7d) the two low vowels merged, and the merger resulted in a common five term inventory of vowels /a e i o u/ identical with that of dialectal Arabic. In West Syriac old § and i merged as i, as did old o± and u as u. Further, old ã shifted to o and merged with the infrequent o vowel of borrowings from Greek and Latin. These changes reduced the double set of mid vowels to a single set and created a five term inventory of vowels identical with that of post-classical East Syriac, but with a somewhat different etymological distribution of vowels. b The early vowel notation by Jacob of Edessa The seventh century grammarian Jacob of Edessa is said to have created a vowel notation for Syriac. We are told by Bar Hebraeus (thirteenth century), who himself refers to the story as an anecdote, that a certain priest (Ajyjq) asked Jacob to create vowel letters for Syriac. Apparently Jacob was critical and answered that many before them had wished to introduce vowel letters, but “the circum-

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5. VOWELS

stance that this would lead to the loss of books in the old orthography had prevented their use.”158 It may be more than a coincidence that the same phrase A^btk ...© Andba aw–hn ¥© Y_h appears in the same context in a grammatical text ascribed by its editor W. Wright to Jacob of Edessa.159 Perhaps Bar Hebraeus had the same or a similar text before him when writing his short statement on early vowel notation. If this was indeed the case, it lends some credibility to the earlier grammatical text as referring to the famous Jacob of Edessa. A few words of caution are in order. The content of the manuscripts available to us is not identical with that of the original manuscript written by Jacob of Edessa or his secretary scribe. It is rather the result of the work of several later generations of copyists and editors, and it is inevitable that errors have crept into the text. Further, some vocalized forms quoted as examples in the text are not confirmed by our lexica. Therefore, the statements in the text should be sifted critically. Nevertheless, the data given in the manuscripts are important as evidence of an early native analysis of Syriac vowels. Examples of the vowel notation appear in two London manuscripts, BM Add. 17,217 foll. 37 and 38 and BM Add. 14,665 fol. 28. According to Wright (Catalogue III 1168 and 1172), the three vellum leaves once formed part of the same manuscript. They are written in a neat regular hand of the ninth or tenth century. The manuscripts are palimpsests, and there are several lacunae in the text. Wright offered a printed version of the manuscripts, of which a handwritten transcript was given by Merx (Historia artis etc.), including an Oxford manuscript Bodl. 159. In the lists below, the JEG text is quoted from Merx’s edition followed by references to Wright’s texts. The new vowel notation is likely to have been intended for pedagogical purposes rather than as an orthographical reform. The author (or editor) expressly states that even Edesseans (Ayh|wa) who speak the language correctly may lack proficiency in reading corII 6, LdS 193,7-13, see also the summaries in Segal, Diacritical Point p. 41f. and Kiraz, Grammar I §§ 162-166. 159 JEG 74 (W2 p. a a). 158 BdS

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

rectly native as well as foreign words.160 Further, the examples quoted in the text are from nouns and adjectives, many either derived from less frequent patterns or having an irregular inflection. Unlike the examples quoted by other grammarians, there are no verbs and particles. In the list below the new vowel sign appears at the beginning of the printed column, and separated by spaces the etymological correspondence in Syriac and examples and references in the rest of the paragraph. There are eight vowel symbols with the following values: (1) # for short a. (2) + for long ä or ã (cf. below h). (3) $ for a short vowel of the e type. (4) = for a long vowel of the e type. (5) % for long ï. (6) / for long ü. (7) ‰ for a vowel of the u or o type. (8) & for a vowel of the u or o type often of foreign origin.161 There is no separate symbol for reconstructed long ¶ as distinct from ë, i.e. the É . reconstructed vowel behind the correspondence WS i* / ES * This vowel appears as (4). (1a) # a +k#rp pl. =k#rp ‘idol’s shrine’ (p. 80/W1 1171a, W2 © b) a3k6rp (Ezek. 20,29) < Akk. parakku ‘dais for cult statue; cella.’ +TT#dx ‘new’ (f. sg.) (ibid.) ao˜æßx. +yp#j ‘clear’ (p. 81/W1 1171b, W2 h a) AoyπÆj. See also 2, 5ab, 6a. (1b) #

a +T+w#lc ‘prayers’ (p. 83/W1 1172b, W2 w a) WS aO‡owÆl¨c ES a37t3o3l2c (Rev. 5,8). +t‰rb pl. +T+w#§+b ‘sawdust’ (ibid.) pl. aOTowæRb N 77 ‘Sägespähne,’ in BarA I 92 and BarB I 427 stated as homonym of ao‡Ωrb ‘juniper.’ Cf. 7a. Omit first + in the plural form?

(1c) # ä +T+yn#rx ‘other’ (f. pl.) for Classical aO†oynoRx¡, though with an irregular vowel pattern. It is explicitly said that Urhoyo speakers form the plural of this word with # (p. 82/W1 1172a, W2 h b). Environment: Non-final closed syllables. There are no cases in the text of final closed syllables. The symbol # is clearly an adaptation of the Greek letter A. 77 (W2 p. B b). For the Greek origin of these vowel letters, see Merx, Historia artis grammaticae p. 51. 160 JEG 161

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5. VOWELS

(2) + ä +n$gm pl. =n$gm ‘round shield’ (p. 81/W1 1171b, W2 © b) AonE¸m, but ES a3n6Gm (1 Kings 10,17, 2 Chr. 9,16 both M) and often finally. +yb#g f. +t%bg pl. +T+yb#g ‘chosen, elect’ (ibid., but W2 h a) AoyvÆg . +å+rk pl. =å+rk ‘leg, shank’ (p. 80/W1 1171a, W2 © b) Aoåork. Added in margin Akbs ‘headband.’ See also 3, 4bc, 5-7, 8b-f. For the first item in (2), I know no western forms from modern biblical vocalized prints, but cf. AnEgm LdS 23,20, LdS 33,14 and the plural form èAneg^m (ibid.). However, the London Polyglot edited by Brian Walton (London 1657) has a few western forms: ‘iy¨nEgm and Aœnégm 1 Kings 10,17, and ‘yìné^gm and AonEgm 2 Chron. 9,16. Environment: Open syllables. Very frequent finally expressing the status determinatus of nouns and adjectives. Apparently also in non-final closed syllables before feminine T, since it is stated in the text that the rule also (Pa) applies to nouns without the marker of feminine gender (p. 80/W1 1171b, W2 © b). The symbol + is an earlier form of the Syriac letter a. e +t$bg , +nb‰g ‘cheese’ (p. 81/W1 1171b, W2 © b) (3a) $ a3t4bg (Job 10,10), pl. a25n7bug (2 Sam. 16,2). The latter form with final + (!) is expressly stated as being a plural (tyAnAygs). +t$bl pl. =nb$l ‘tile, brick’ (ibid.) aOµønevl. +n+jg#§t$m ‘perceptible’ (p. 79/W1 1170a, W2 G b) AonOj¸æ§†Em derived from an Ethpe‘el verb. +n+lb#xt$m ‘perishable’ (p. 79/W1 1170b, W2 G b) AonOl›æx†Em derived from an Ethpa‘al verb. See also 2, 5b, 6b, 7b. e +mg$lp pl. =mg$lp ‘phlegm’ (ibid. p. 83/W1 (3b) $ 1173a, W2 w a) Amgèlp (LdS 24,4, 34,11, unpointed BarB 1565) < Greek flevgma.

Environment: Non-final closed syllables. Syriac short e < Common Aramaic i. Note that there is no graphic distinction rukkãxã vs. qußßãyã in AonOj¸æ§†Em (< Ethpe.) and AonÒl›æx†Em (< Ethpa.). It comes as no surprise that Syriac speakers identified Greek e with their own native e (3b), but note that pe in the same example seems to be Syriac initial /f/ (cf. 2d). The author of the text explains the first forms in (3a) in terms of what is known in modern linguistics as internal reconstruction and states that these forms come from

95

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY +tn$bg and +tn$bl (cf. aOµønEvl). The symbol $ seems to be an adaptation of the Greek letter E e (∞).

(4a) =

ë

frequent in plural forms, see 1a, 2, 3, 4c, 6, 7b, 8c-f.

(4b) = ¶ +t=rx ‘other’ (f. sg.) (p. 82(!)/W1 1172a, W2 h b), entry under paragraph heading aTrxa, cf. WS ao‡irx¡, ES a37t5rx!a (Luke 5,7) with medial vowel reflecting ¶. (4c) = ï +n+Tr=jx#n pl. =n+Tr=jx#n ‘hunter, warrior’ (p. 77/W1 1169b, W2 G a) for later Syriac a3n73†ryix6n (Gen. 10,9 twice). Note environment before /r/. Environment: Frequent as a plural marker in final open syllables, otherwise in non-final open and closed syllables. There is no distinction of long ¶ and ë, but evidence of a lowering of long ï before /r/ expressed by this vowel letter (4c). A similar lowering of short u in the same environment and in the same type of non-final closed syllables appears below (8b). The feature of lowering is parallel to the lowering of short e to a before /r/ in later Syriac vowel orthography, restricted to final closed stem syllables (aO†xærop ‘bird’ etc.). The symbol = is clearly an adaptation of the Greek letter H h. (5a) % ï +yk#©, f. +t%k© pl. +T+yk#© ‘clear’ (p. 81/W1 1171b, W2 h a) aO†yi√©. +t%rq pl. +T+y§#q ‘called; read’ (ibid.) aO†yirq. +p%©§, f. +tp%©§ ‘banished, persecuted’ (p. 83/W1 1173a, W2 w a) AoπIy™§ (all ptc. p.). See also 2. (5b) % ï +t%rb, pl. +T+yr$b or +T+y§#b ‘creature’ (p. 81/W1 1172a, W2 h a) aO†yirb. (5c) %

ï

+r%åb ‘cattle’ (p. 81/W1 1171b, W2 h a) aoryiåb.

Environment: Non-final open and closed syllables. All examples are passive participles or forms derived from passive participles except the uncertain +jp%jp pl. =jp%jp (p. 84/W1 1173b, W2 w b). This is hardly an error for +jpj%p etc., since it is quoted as Ajpyıjp by Bar Hebraeus (LdS 230,26). I am inclined to connect it with Classical AOjpjEp ‘a type of bug’ (N 122, BarB 1644, BarA II 293). The symbol % is clearly an adaptation of the Greek letter I i. (6a) / ü +n+tl/x#© pl. =n+tl/x#© ‘timid, fearful’ (p.77/W1 1169b, W2 G a) AonO†lüuxæ© (Matt. 8,26, Mark 4,40 both abs. pl.). 96

5. VOWELS +n+ts/y#x pl. =n+ts/y#x ‘pitiful’ (ibid.) AonO†swuyæx (BarB 743). =n+ts/g#§ ‘irascible’ (ibid.) for AnTzwg§ (p. 78/W1 1170a, W2 G ab twice) a3n73tzug6r (Prov. 29,22 M, 3t U) (for z > s 4b example

2c).

8

(6b) / ü +t/bc pl. +T+wb$c ‘matter, thing’ (p. 82/W1 1172b, W2 h b) aO‡wuvc. +r/bå pl. =r/bå ‘crop, victuals’ (p. 83/W1 1172b, W2 h b) ao§wuvå. Environment: Non-final open and closed syllables. Fricative taw in the nominal pattern in (6a) is regular (N 129). The symbol / seems to be an adaptation of the Greek digraph OY ou. (7a) ‰ ö± +t‰rb ‘sawdust’ (above 1b). +t‰lc ‘prayer’ (p. 83/W1 1172b, W2 w a), ES

21,13).

a37tUlc

(Matt.

(7b) ‰

u =np@‰g pl. of +tp$g (!) error for +t$pg < +tn$pg ‘vine’ (p. 81/W1 1171b, W2 © b-h a) Aen^πwUg pl. of aOµEπg.

See also 3a.

+Tr‰åz ‘small, young’ (f.) (p. 84/W1 1173b, W2 w (7c) ‰ ö± b), ES a3trUwz (Gen. 29,16).

Environment: Non-final open and closed syllables. Note that the medial vowel of (7a) is distinct from that of (6b). The West Syriac shift of ö± > ü has not yet taken place. In (7b) the unassimilated form is intended as a reconstruction based on what we now term internal reconstruction, cf. above (3). The first medial short vowel of (7b) appears to contrast the medial long vowels of (6a) in the same syllabic environment. The case of (7c) is problematic. On the one hand the text is quite specific and states that the vowel is permissible (M_xl) with feminine forms like the one quoted above, but it does not occur in corresponding masculine forms like a§wåz and a§wkb. On the other hand the notation with ‰ in (7c) is the same as in (7a), both for etymological ö±. Either there is an error in the text or the vowel symbol may render shades of the same vowel in different environments. The only other quoted example +Tr‰kb seems to be an otherwise unattested feminine form of unvocalized a|wkb ‘camel foals’ (BarB 367, 393). It is hardly a coincidence that this vowel occurs in closed syllables before /r/. It has been suggested that the symbol ‰ represents the Greek letter w. 97

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

(8a) &

ü Ayqwrå ‘flight’ (p. 84/W1 1173b, W2 w b) Classical Aoyqwurå , Ayxwl© ‘confusion’ (ibid.) etc., all stated to have the vowel &.

(8b) & u +qr&sm ‘comb’ (ibid.), Classical Aoq§wUsm or Aoq§wUsÆm (N 126B). Note environment before /r/. +g&ps pl. =g&ps ‘sponge’ (p. 82/W1 1172a, W2 (8c) & o h b), ES a3gups4a, WS AO˛üUπsEa (Mk. 15,36) < Greek spovggo". +qs&lg pl. =qs&lg ‘a type of bread or cake’ (p. 84/W1 1173b, W2 w b) Classical Aoqsülg (BarA I 112, BarB 493, LdS 35,1) and Rabbinic Hebrew aqswlg < a Greek adjective kollivkion, derived from kovllix ‘loaf of coarse bread’ with metathesis of vowel.162

(8d) & u +g&rs pl. =g&rs ‘porch, gallery’ (p. 82/W1 1172a, W2 h b), ES a37gUrs (2 Chron. 8,12) < Greek su@rigx ‘covered gallery’ with metathesis of vowel. Compare also Rabbinic Hebrew grws ‘lattice.’ (8e) & w +mr&åp pl. =mr&åp, and Am§wåp (p. 84/W1 1173b, w b), if for +mr&lp etc. ‘fullness’ < Greek plhvrwma with metathesis of vowel (Nöldeke in SyrL 1203b, LexS 1. ed. 281b, 2. ed. 576b; BarB 1575 unpointed), uncertain. (8f) & [o/u] +g&rƒ pl. =g&rƒ ‘citron’ (p. 82/W1 1172a, W2 h b) Classical AgΩrƒ (N 87), pl. in ES a5gu2rj6a (Lev. 23,40), a5*gu8rj4a (Neh. 8,15 M; U pointing error a5*gU8rj4a). Examples of the morphological pattern in (8a) are not uncommon and occasional status pronominalis forms show that the stem vowel is etymologically long ü, compare NUhyxuld Ezek. 7,11 (‘confusion’), NUhymulj Wisdom of Solomon 11,16 M (‘wrong’) and NU7kyqurw Matt. 24,20, Mark 13,18 (‘flight’). In these cases the stem vowel in question occurs in an open syllable. Note that the ancient author or editor states the environment of the forms in (8a) as singular masculine items of two syllables all ending in ÄYand Ä+. It is uncertain whether the syllabic or the consoThe Greek etymology appears to go back to S. Krauss, Griechische und lateinische Lehnwörter im Talmud, Midrasch und Targum II 175 (Berlin 1899). 162

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5. VOWELS

nantal environment is decisive, but the forms appear to occur in complementary distribution with the forms with / in (6a). The short vowel before /r/ in (8b) occurs in complementaty distribution with the short vowel in (7b). In the first example in (8c), the form without initial ãlaf is closer to the Greek original. There are several cases of the shorter form in early Gospel texts (see 2g A above). In non-Peshitta texts, the shorter form Agwps occurs in the Sinai Palimpsest of the so-called Gospel of the Separated (EdM) presumably dating to the fourth/fifth century and the Harklean manuscript Vat. Syr. 268 dating to the eighth/ninth century.163 Compare also Rabbinic Hebrew gwps without initial alef. The author or editor considered the item in (8d) to be of Greek origin and that of (8f) to be of Hebrew origin. Compare Rabbinic Hebrew gwrta, i.e. ∞†ro£ and Babylonian Targumic Aramaic ˆygI/rt]aæ (Tiberian ˆyGWrtaæ Sab.) Lev. 23,40 (pl.) and the forms without initial alef in Palestinian Jewish Aramaic ˆ ygwrt (vocalized version ˆ yGIWrT] t@ruggin).164 The word is ultimately of Persian origin, cf. modern Persian turunj, utrunj ‘orange’ (ILS 105) and Arabic utrujj, utrunj ‘citron.’ The passage in the Tiberian Sabbioneta edition is a transcription of a Babylonian text and the Targum Onkelos version of the London Polyglot of 1657 (ed. Brian Walton) has the expected vowel in the first syllable of ˆygI/rt]a, . Environment: Non-final open and closed syllables. The symbol & seems to be an adaptation of the Greek letter O o. c A historical evaluation of the early vowel notation In a number of points, the vowel notation said to be introduced by Jacob of Edessa differs from the vowel orthography of later West as well as East Syriac. There is no distinction of ë and ¶ as reflected in later West Syriac orthography. Both are spelled = (above section See G. A. Kiraz, Comparative Edition of the Syriac Gospels to Matt. 27,48, Mark 15,36 and John 19,29 (Leiden 1996). 164 See M. Sokoloff, Dictionary of Palestinian Jewish Aramaic 591a (Ramat-Gan 1992). The vocalized version of the Fragmentary Targum passage can be found, for example, in the second Biblia rabbinica of Venice at the end of vol. I (p. 474b bottom of page). 163

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

b examples 4ab). The West Syriac shifts ¶ > ï (4b) and ö± > ü (7ac) have not yet taken place. The Syriac language treated in the text is termed Ayh§wa ‘Edessene’ (JEG 75, W2 B a; p. 76, W2 B b) vs. the more general term Ay§hn ‘Mesopotamian’ (JEG 77, W2 B b; p. 79, W1 1170b, W2 © a; p. 80, W1 1171a, W2 © b etc.). By later standards Edessene is West Syriac. The East Syriac rounding of etymologically short a before w is absent (1b) and our text follows later West Syriac usage. By the turn of the seventh century, the time of Jacob of Edessa, rounding was an integral part of the eastern vowel system (cf. below h). Another important feature of our text is the notation of a particular vowel of the o type occurring in Greek and other foreign words (8c-f). We have already seen that Classical Syriac had introduced other foreign phonemes in particular lexical items, fricative /£ π x f †/ in initial position (2d) and emphatic /≠/ (3f), all from Greek. Foreign phonological features are common in many languages, particularly with educated speakers. It is well-known from Western languages and from modern forms of Arabic, Aramaic and Hebrew. Introduction of West Semitic laryngeal consonants in particular lexical items has been postulated even for Old Babylonian Akkadian.165 The orthography lacks a few features of later vocalized and pointed orthography. There is no plene writing of vowels and no marking of plosive vs. fricative consonants. Another piece of evidence important for a historical evaluation of the vowel system is the lack of notation for etymological shewa mobile. The fact that there is no orthographical notation for a shewa vowel in forms like +t‰lc ‘prayer’ (7a) < *æ@lö†ä and +n+lb#xt$m ‘perishable’ (3a) < *mi†˛abb@länä (comp. later aO‡wunOl›æx†Em 1 Cor. 15,50) is in line with later orthographic evidence and with the evidence of Greek and Latin transcriptions of the first half of the third century (2e). By the seventh century, the period likely to be reflected by our text, a mobile shewa had long since disappeared from Edessene and other Syriac speech.

Cf. E. E. Knudsen in a review of M. P. Streck, Das amurritische Onomastikon der altbabylonischen Zeit I, in Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 92 (2002) 146f. 165

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5. VOWELS

The symbols of the early vowel notation originate from Greek vowel letters except + which renders a reflex of Common Aramaic ä. Apparently this reflex was felt to be different from # a and unlike any Greek vowel. It is tempting to suggest that the rounding of ä well known from later West Syriac and the tradition of Hebrew and Jewish Aramaic was under way already in Early Classical Syriac. The early vowel notation distinguishes vowel quality rather than vowel quantity. Even the pair $ e and = ë/¶ seem to render different shades of vowel. At least, it appears from the description of later West Syriac vowels by Bar Hebraeus that short e was lower (more open) than long ë (7c). The same relationship applies to the contemporary Greek vowels spelled e and h.166 The distribution of the vowels (6) /, (7) ‰ and (8) & in medial closed syllables requires some comment. (6a) and (8a) render phonemic ü, the vowel in (8a) being restricted to a specific environment before /y/ as in Ayqwrå ‘flight.’ The influence of a following palatal /y/ – possibly yielding centralization or fronting – may have caused this vowel to end up in the particular reservoir for unusual vowel shades (8), most of them of Greek or Persian origin. (7b) and (8b) render phonemic u, the vowel in (8b) being restricted to the environment before /r/ as in +qr&sm ‘comb.’ The rendering of the vowels ö± and u by the same symbol (7bc) as distinct from ü (6a) suggests that long ü was higher (more closed) than the corresponding short vowel. In Early Classical Syriac (1b) of the seventh century, the data suggests that both short and long vowels were permissible in nonfinal closed syllables. Thus /ü/ in +n+tl/x#© etc. (6a) seems to contrast /u/ in =np‰g (7b) in the same syllabic environment. In open syllables, however, there was no such contrast and in final as well as in non-final syllables vowels were long. There was a particular foreign vowel of the o type (8cdf), possibly the source of later West Syriac /o/ occurring in borrowings from Greek (see below k). There is no evidence for vowels in final closed syllables, and there is no evidence for shewa vowels in initial and medial open syllables (cf. 7d).

166 Cf.

Allen, Vox Graeca pp. 60 and 66f.

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

d The eastern vowels in early biblical orthography East Syriac orthography marks vowels by points written over and under letters on the line. This vowel notation developed from an earlier system of diacritical points used to distinguish words of identical spelling.167 The basic idea behind the use of the diacritical points was summed up by Segal as follows: In brief, then, the point above the line marks a full pronunciation or a comparatively dominant form, the point below the line some ‘weakening’ or modification or a less dominant form (Segal, Diacritical Point p. 11).

The use of the diacritical points survived even after the introduction of a fully developed vocalization system and is well known from later biblical manuscripts and prints. In an early intermediate phase, the point above the line may stand for a vowel of the a type, whereas the point below the line may stand for a vowel of the i type (i or e) (cf. Kiraz, Grammar I § 33). In manuscripts of the ninth to the eleventh century vowel notation is stable except for vowels of the e type. For these vowels the use of the symbols é* É* Á* and @] is far from consistent, and there seems to be a good deal of free variation. Segal’s short statement is based on the usage of the manuscripts British Museum Add. 14492 (dated 862) and Add. 12138 (dated 899).168 Below I shall discuss the vocalization of the latter manuscript in detail. In this context, it is in order to anticipate the conclusions to be arrived at in section (e) below. The spelling of vowels of the a type (a and ã) and the use of the symbols yı Ω and ü conform to the well-known rules of modern Bible editions. The new symbol @] (resembling a Hebrew shewa) is relatively rare and seems to be a variant of É*. The rules for the selection of e vowels often depend on the orthographical environment, in part also on the morpholoFor the development of the system of diacritical points in general, see Segal, Diacritical Point chapters II-V. 168 Segal pp. 30-32. Weiss, Akzentlehre based his work on Add. 12138, the only known complete East Syriac Masorah manuscript (for which see above 1c 1). 167

102

5. VOWELS

gical environment. However, these rules are not absolute. Few of them are without exceptions, and there seems to be a good deal of free variation in specific environments. We have no reasons to believe that these vowel symbols represented phonologically different vowels. The analysis of Add. 12138 confirms the commonly accepted view that Syriac vowels of this period were vowels of quality, not vowels of quantity. e The vocalization of British Museum Add. 12138 The content of the manuscript Add. 12138 is a largely vocalized selection of readings from the Bible.169 As other eastern manuscripts it lacks markings for qußßãyã and rukkãxã in the beginning of a word. Silent letters are unmarked. In fol. 1b a later hand has added the Greek vowel letters of West Syriac orthography. The addition of Greek vowel letters in the first folio of the manuscript follows the rules of later West Syriac orthography except for one feature. After an initial one letter particle, the initial vowel of words having ãlaf as their first letter is written over that first letter in ræmeao W 1b10, L p. 2 (Gen. 1,3) and ar7tæal W 1b14 (Gen. 1,9). The position of the vowel letter in these cases is probably influenced by eastern spelling conventions. An exception awraæb W 1b23 (Gen. 1,22) conforms to later West Syriac spelling practice. As compared with the vowel orthography of modern Bible editions, there are no deviations from the norm except for the three vowel symbols mentioned at the end of section (d) above. Typical eastern features include the stem vowels of nouns like a3x5r W 5a2, L p. 9 (Gen. 8,21) and amo3e W 2b14, L p. 4 (Gen. 3,8) and of verbal forms like ØU7ka5t W 2b16.21 (Gen. 3,14.17). The vowel symbol @] is not used in later Bible editions, and even in this manuscript it is not very frequent. Together with é* and É* it constitutes an orthographical set of vowel notation with a particular pattern of overlapping variants. All of them can occur in some environments, whereas in other environments only one or two of them can occur. The choice between the members of the

169

For this East Syriac Masorah manuscript, see above (1c 1).

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

set depends on the phonological, in part also on the morphological environment. In many environments, morphology overrides phonology and the scribe’s choice of a spelling depends on the particular basic form of the word in question. I shall term this basic form a kernel form. The morphological class of nouns – including nouns, adjectives and numerals but excluding proper names – has two kernel forms, one long form, the status determinatus form, and one short form, the status absolutus and the status constructus forms. The class of verbs has two verbal kernel forms, the perfect (3. m. sg.) and the stem base of the imperfect (3. m. sg.) and the imperative (2. m. sg.), and one nominal kernel form, the active participle (m. sg.). See, for example, the forms mentioned below Rule 3a. RULE 1. In final open syllables, É* regularly marks the plural of nouns and adjectives as in a5paÉ27ko W 2a20, L p. 3 (Gen. 2,12), a5n3i2 5l W 5b27, L p. 10 (heading of Gen. 11) and a58m3r W 4b9, L p. 8 (Gen. 7,20). An exception is a4h2mi W 24a26, L p. 47 (Ex. 1,1).170 In verbs it marks the weak final in most cases as in a5zx5nd W 2b2, L p. 4 (Gen. 2,19) and a5qi6mo W 2a12, L p. 3 (Gen. 2,6), also with object suffix Ehoe58xm4t W 2b17, L p. 4 (Gen. 3,15) and En5xm7no W 15a21, L p. 29 (Gen. 32,11), both reflecting a kernel form a5xm4n. However, there are many exceptions a4zx7tÉ7to W 5a14, L p. 9 (Gen. 9,14), a4x5to W 9a23, L p. 17 (Gen. 20,7), a48i6nm W 5b24, L p. 10 (Gen. 10,30 proper name/ptc.) etc. Later Biblical conventional orthography requires the same spelling in the plural of nouns and adjectives. The early modern Urmia edition of 1852 (U) and the Mosul edition of 1886-1891 (M) have a5pa52ko (Gen. 2,12), a52n3i4l (Gen. 11,7) and a5m32r (Gen. 7,19.20). In verbs, the U edition continues the standard trend of the ancient text in A5zx4nd and similar forms. However, in participles spelling practice varies and we find forms like a5do3m ‘confesses’ Neh. 1,6, Prov. 28,13 and a4do3m ‘gives thanks’ Ps. 6,5, ‘(I) confess’ Dan. 9,20, and A4qi6m ‘waters (mountains)’ Ps. 104,13. In verbs, the M edition The same vocalization occurs several times elsewhere in the manuscript, see W. Wright, Catalogue of the Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum I 102f. (London 1870). The Exodus passage appears p. 103a. 170

104

5. VOWELS

continues the minority practice of the ancient text and spells a4zx4nd and a4qi6mo. In final open syllables @] occurs in the plural noun a8k]2s3no W 4a27, L p. 7 (Gen. 7,11), M a85k2s3no (U A5k2s6no), the verb ar]]i7no W 5a20, L p. 9 (Gen. 9,27), M a4ri4no, U A5ri4no, and the proper name ao]]n2ynl W 5b4, L p. 10, a2o]nyn W 5b5 (Gen. 10,11f.) corresponding to U A55onyn and M a4onyn. Note the markings for plural in Add. 12138 showing that the word final was felt as the plural ending. RULE 2a. In final closed syllables, the spelling of nouns in the absolute and construct states varies between M4lc6b W 2a2, L p. 3 (Gen. 1,27), 7Bn4g W 11a24, L p. 21 (Gen. 25,11), Bn4g W 19b4, L p. 38 (Gen. 41,3), d4bw W 5a19, L p. 9 (Gen. 9,25), M4i W 6a13, L p. 11 and M5io W 6a14 (both Gen. 11,29) (all cstr.), I5m6xo W 3b13, L p. 6 (Gen. 5,21), NU7km5d W 5a8, L p. 9 (Gen. 9,5). In the same environment é* regularly occurs in the spelling of perfect, imperfect and imperative forms. Thus we find B4rq6o W 15b23, L p. 30 (Gen. 33,6), W 21b11, L p. 42 (Gen. 44,18), d4q6po W 6b5, L p. 12 (Gen. 12,20), W 21a26, L p. 41 (Gen. 44,1), D4lo3a W 5a27, L p. 9 (Gen. 10,8), W 5b6.9, L p. 10 (Gen. 10,13.15) etc. (all perfect), d84bw5n W 2a1, L p. 3 (Gen. 1,26), ˚4r86b5a W 6a17, L p. 11 (Gen. 12,3) (both imperfect), B4r6q W 12b6, L p. 24 (Gen. 27,25), d84bw W 4a8.11, L p. 7 (Gen. 6,14.16 1o), W 14b9, L p. 28 (Gen. 31,16), also with object suffix 8h5eD84bw W 4a13, L p. 7 (Gen. 6,16) vs. 8h5eD85bw W 4a9, L p. 8 (Gen. 6,14) (all imperative). Note that the text tends to avoid sequences of the same e vowel symbol. Exceptions are d5xo3a W 2b4, L p. 4 (Gen. 2,21), D5lo3ao W 3b9.10, L p. 6 (Gen. 5,9.15) (both perfect) and Ø5w6a W 4a16, L p. 7 (Gen. 6,19) (imperative). In the absolute state of participles, Pe‘al forms have @, whereas the derived conjugations have é* in final closed syllables. Contrast I85x3rd W 4b10, L p. 8 (Gen. 7,21), M5a3qd W 4b13 (Gen. 7,23) (both Pe‘al) and K4l6hm W 2b14, L p. 4 (Gen. 3,8), Ø4-7kø8a7t5md W 4a17, L p. 7 (Gen. 6,21). Exception Ø85b6xm W 4a7 (Gen. 6,13). In final closed syllables, particles (adverbs, subjunctions and prepositions) have É* as in ˆ*85kr6t3b W 3b25, L p. 6 (Gen. 6,4), Ø5wl W 4a12, L p. 7 (Gen. 6,16), N 5a W 4b23, L p. 8 (Gen. 8,8), NUhn5m W 6a4, L p. 11 (Gen. 11,6), but é* in ˆ4kr6t3b W 19b23, L p.38 (Gen. 41,31) and Ø4wl W 19a25, L p. 37 (Gen. 40,17).

5

8

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

If written plene, final closed syllables either have É* or é*. In the proper name ˆ5eDw W 2a17, L p. 3 (Gen. 2,10) the spelling varies freely with ˆ4eDw6b W 2a16 (Gen. 2,8). Otherwise we find the adverb re5g W 3a13, L p. 5 (Gen. 4,9) and verbal forms like ˆe5np7tt W 2b19, L p. 4 (Gen. 3,16), ˆe5x6m W 6a26, L p. 11 (Gen. 12,12) and the imperatives 8he5wU8io W 4a10, L p. 7 (Gen. 6,14) and 8h5eD48bw W 4a13 (Gen. 6,16), 8h5eD85bw W 4a9 (Gen. 6,14) and 8he57k5e6s W 4a12 (Gen. 6,16). We also find 8he5p3lx W 2b4, L p. 4, (Gen. 2,21) and ˆe5t2r6to W 3b12, L p. 6 (Gen. 5,20). Unexpected spellings with é* turn up in ˆe48t2r6tl W 15a20, L p. 29 (Gen. 32,10), ˆe4na5 W 14a20, L p. 27 (Gen. 30,38), ˆe4n27h W 15b24, L p. 30 (Gen. 33,6) and several cases of the pronominal suffix ˆe4h- W 9a9, L p. 17 (Gen. 19,29), W 14a16.17.19, L p. 27 (Gen. 30,35 twice and 37) etc. The conventional orthography of the U and M editions requires é* in the spelling of nouns in the absolute and construct states and of verbs in the perfect, imperfect and imperative forms. Compare, for example, the nominal forms M4lc6b, M4i and I4m6xo and the verbal forms D4lo3a, D48bw4n and D4bw. However, participles of the Pe„al conjugation have É*, while those of derived conjugations have é* as in I5x3rd, K4l6hm6d and Ø48b6xm. Particles have é* as in ˆ4kr6t3b. If written plene in final closed syllables, the printed texts invariably have forms like re5g, ˆe5x6m and ˆe5n4a. In final closed syllables @] appears for expected é* in the absolute state form Åg]] W 4b4, L p. 8 (Gen. 7,14) and in the perfect Qs]]6ao W 4b29 (Gen. 8,20). It appears for expected É* in the compound E68d6ila]] W 8a3, L p. 15 (Gen. 17,1), as also in the participles I8x]3rd W 4b28, L p.8 (Gen. 8,19) and tr]]3e W 7a21, L p. 13 (Gen. 15,2), and in the suffix forms 2hn]]3w W 18a28, L p. 35 (Gen. 38,13), hm]]d W 20b8, L p. 40 (Gen. 42,22) and ht]]ys7k6t W 23a29, L p. 45 (Gen. 49,11).

2

RULE 2b. In final closed syllables, a few usages of Add. 12138 are stable and agree with those of the U and M editions. Pronominal suffixes for the 2. f. sg. and the 3. m. sg., if written defectively, have É* as in Ek5lw6b W 2b19, L p. 4), Ek5b W 2b20 (both Gen. 3,16), h5mi W 2b3 (Gen. 2,19), h58tk4r76bo W 12b14, L p. 24 (Gen. 27,33), h58ml5x W 19a9, L p. 37 (Gen. 40,5) etc. Biliteral nouns and prepositions have the same vowel before a pronominal suffix for the 1. sg. in Er5b W 9b23, L p. 18 (Gen. 22,7), W 12a29, L p. 23 (Gen.

106

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27,18), W 12b6, L p. 24 (Gen. 27,24) etc. and 36 (Gen. 39,9).

En5m

W 18b28, L p.

RULE 3a. In non-final open syllables orthographical usage is stable and agrees with that of the U and M editions. If written plene in this type of syllables, nouns and verbs have É* as in the examples a3xe5r W 5a1.2, L p. 9 (Gen. 8,21), a3pa5k W 13a9, L p. 25 (Gen. 28,18), cf. W 2a20, L p. 3 (Gen. 2,12, pl.) and ØU7ka5t W 2b16.21, L p. 4 (Gen. 3,14.17), cf. W 2b9 (Gen. 3,2, 1. pl.), W 12a21, L p. 23 (Gen. 27,10 3. m. sg.). The same vowel appears, if the word in question is derived from a kernel form of the same structure, as in Nul7ka5t W 2b8, L p. 4 (Gen. 3,1, 2. m. pl.), ˆy8dla5t W 2b19 (Gen. 3,16, 2. f. sg.) or is a noun derived from an infinitive like a3lka5m W 4a17, L p. 7 (Gen. 6,21). RULE 3b. In verbs with first radical a (verba primae ‚), Pe„al forms without prefixes invariably have É* in their first syllable, compare the perfects 8tl768k5ao W 2b20, L p. 4 (Gen. 3,17), r6m5ao W 9b22, L p. 18 (Gen. 22,7 3o) and the imperative Er6m5a W 6a26, L p. 11 (Gen. 12,13). This usage is unlike that of the later U and M editions which have r6m4ao, Er6m4a and similar forms. The rule also applies to the first syllable of the pronoun a3n5a W 24a18, L p. 47 (Gen. 50,21), cf. W 9b20.22, L p. 18 (Gen. 22,5.7) etc., a usage different from that of the later U and M editions which have a3n4a. Note that @] appears in this word in ana]] W 8a2, L p. 15 (Gen. 17,1), W 9a22, L p. 17 (Gen. 20,6). Etymologically the syllables discussed in this section are open, but there is evidence that in East Syriac the following consonant was secondarily lengthened in most cases, thus changing the syllable in question from being open to being closed. According to Bar Hebraeus, this secondary lengthening occurred after the vowels ä* (Axtp) and é* (Aky§a acb§). He mentions that the East Syriacs pronounced the m of rma “as two” (‘yT§T Kya), i.e. lengthened or doubled.171 Note that his statement presupposes a vocalization as in modern Bible editions. If the secondary lengthening was a feature of East Syriac already in the late ninth century, the time of the BdS II 74 and 78 (translation), Syriac text in LdS 227 top of page and 228f. 171

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manuscript Add. 12138, the syllables discussed here were closed in most cases and Rule 3b should be compared with Rule 4 below. RULE 3c. In what at first sight appears as non-final open syllables, imperfect Pe„al forms of verbs with identical second and third radical (verba mediae geminatae) have É* or é* in their first syllable in a48x5no W 24a17, L p. 47 (Gen. 50,20), a4x5to W 9a23, L p. 17 (Gen. 20,7), and ØUw57to W 4a14, L p. 7 (Gen. 6,18), as against ax]4to W 6a27, L p. 11 (Gen. 12,13) and a4x57to W 9a1 only preserved in part L p. 17 (Gen. 19,20). Note that the text tends to avoid sequences of the same e vowel symbol. Verbs with a strong first radical consonant – in our case a non-laryngeal – transfer the doubling of the second/third radical to the first radical in forms with preformatives, as in the imperfect zU8b4n ‘he will plunder’ < *yabuzz-. Verbs with laryngeals in this position vocalize the preceding syllable as if it were closed and the following laryngeal appears as if it were lengthened. So the later orthographical tradition underlying the U and M editions has A5x4no (U), a4x4no (M) and ØUw4to (U/M). In Add. 12138 the expected vowels appear in ˆe5x6m W 6a26, L p. 11 (Gen. 12,12), Ø5w6a W 4a16, L p. 7 (Gen. 6,19) and Ø4w6ao W 12a21, L p. 23 (Gen. 27,10). This feature of vocalization is shared with contemporary Tiberian and Babylonian traditions of Jewish Aramaic. In the modern description of Jewish Aramaic and Biblical Hebrew the feature is termed virtual doubling. Whether doubling or lengthening of laryngeals was virtual or real in Early Syriac is unknown. The Jewish traditional pronunciation of Hebrew and Aramaic underlying the Tiberian system of punctuation lost the feature of length with laryngeals and r, but preserved it with other consonants. This suggests that the feature of length was lost in connection with laryngeals and r independently of other consonants. If so, Early Syriac may have lost the feature not later than the latter half of the first millennium A.D. (but for ES ˛, cf. 3g). The Aramaic cuneiform incantation from Uruk (1c 3), palaeographically dated to the middle second century B.C., still preserves the feature of length in connection with laryngeals and r. Compare the following passages: ag-gan-nu ma-zi-ga-a‚ mi-ir-ra-a‚ ‘a bowl mixed with gall’

5f., 9, ra-a√-√i-qí ú-ma-a qí-ru-ub ‘a far and near relative’ 15.

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At this point, a few philological comments are in order. Note that all nouns and adjectives in the passage are in the absolute (or indetermined) state and that final vocalic endings written defectively are mute according to Late Babylonian orthographic practice. Against the editor, I prefer to interpret mirrä as an absolute state noun corresponding to Syriac aO‡rEm ‘bitterness, gall.’ Consonant length in connection with r appears in Hebrew proper names in manuscript A of the Septuagint dated to the fifth century: Gomorra Gen. 13,10 etc., Sarra Gen. 17,15 etc. The circumstance that in the few relevant instances preserved in Origen’s († 254) Hexapla the Greek letter r is not doubled172 does not prove that length after r was lost. Thus consonant length in connection with r seems to have been lost in Hebrew and in the contemporary Aramaic of Palestine later than the fifth century A.D. RULE 4. Non-final closed syllables predominantly have the vowel

É* while the vowel é* only appears in a relatively small number of

exceptions. In these forms, morphology is irrelevant and examples include a large number of verbal forms, several nouns and adjectives and a few pronouns. Thus we find verbal forms like 4trm85ao W 2b15, L p. 4 (Gen. 3,13, 3. f. sg.), ox6t6p7t5ao W 2b12 (Gen. 3,7), W 4b1, L p. 8 (Gen. 7,11, omits o), ˚Uph5t W 2b23, L p. 4 (Gen. 3,19), a4rq7t5n W 15b13, L p. 30 (Gen. 32,28), a5rq7t5t W 2b6, L p. 4 (Gen. 2,23) and a73kp6ht5md W 3a6, L p. 5 (Gen. 3,22). Compare exceptions like `x6rp4t W 1b19, L p. 2 (Gen. 1,20), ˆe5np7t4t W 2b19, L p. 4 (Gen. 3,16) and ˆ3x8tp7t24m W 2b11 (Gen. 3,5). We find nouns and adjectives like ars5b W 2b4 (Gen. 2,21), h85ml5x W 19a9, L p. 37 (Gen. 40,5), a3m5a W 2b25, L p. 4 (Gen. 3,20), am5a W 15a21, L p. 29 (Gen. 32,11) and an3en5t W 2a21, L p. 3 (Gen. 2,13). There is free variation in a3el5lb W 14b27, L p. 28 (Gen. 31,40), W 19b11, L p. 38 (Gen. 41,11) and a3el4ll W 1b16, L p. 2 (Gen. 1,14), W 5a5, L p. 9 (Gen. 8,22), a3el4lb W 7a8, L p. 13 (Gen. 14,15). Pronouns are NUn5a W 14b19, L p. 28 (Gen. 31,34), W 15a13 twice, L p. 29 (Gen. 31,55, 32,2), W 19a12, L p. 37 (Gen. 40,8) etc. and ˆe4n5a W 14a20, L p. 27 (Gen. 30,38). To the best of my knowledge

2

172

See the examples in Brønno, Studien 78 and 108.

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5

only the initial sequence -a occurs, in closed as well as in open syllables. I have noted no examples of -a in this position. In this environment, the modern U and M editions agree in permitting only the latter vowel and provide forms like t6rm4a, ˚Uph4t, a3rs4b and NUn4a. In non-final closed syllables @] appears in the pronoun NUna]] W 22b16, L p. 44 (Gen. 47,21). The manuscript Add. 12138 preserves a number of cases in which diacritical points serve as notation for specific types of vowels, 8* for a vowel of the a type, 7*for a vowel of the e type. Compare the following examples a8xr6eb W 4a26, L p. 7 (Gen. 7,11) and a4oh7t W 20a7, L p. 39 (Gen. 41,40), a3ml7x W 19b19.24, L p. 38 (Gen. 41,25.32), a3tUb7ql W 4a23, L p. 7, W 4b4, L p. 8 (Gen. 7,9.15), ˆe4n27h W 15b24, L p. 30 (Gen. 33,6). The U and M editions have the expected forms in a3xr6eb, a3ml4x, A5oh44t (U) and a4oh44t (M). However, U has 37Tu7b5ql and ˆe55n7h (sic), whereas M has †U7b5ql and ˆe5n4h. The spelling of e vowels is not uniform throughout the manuscript. It is possible that some cases of variation may be due to different hands. It should be noted, moreover, that most diacritical points are distinct from vowel signs by being larger and bolder. The points discussed in the preceding paragraph are smaller in size like the usual notation for vowels.

4

4

7

f The importance of Add. 12138 for phonology A characteristic feature of the manuscript is the frequent occurrence of variations of spelling. Whether variation is free is a question of statistics and whether the forms under discussion follow a particular pattern. In Rule 2a of section (e) above, the spelling of participles agrees with later convention and I noted Ø58b6xm W 4a7, L p. 7 (Gen. 6,13) as an exception. However, since there are several parallels among other morphological forms and this usage contrasts with the general pattern of Rule 2a, it would seem reasonable to consider the exception a case of free variation. In a number of uses permitting free variation, the majority patterns agree with the spelling practice of the U and M editions (Rules 2a and in part 1), whereas in other uses the minority patterns do so (Rules 3c, 4 and in part 1). In both cases the source of later conventional orthography is evident already in the ninth century. On the other hand, the frequent and free variation of É* and é* 110

5. VOWELS

shows that to the ancient scribe the two symbols represented the same vowel. There is thus no evidence for two distinct e vowels at this stage. As compared with the vocalization of Add. 12138, the orthography of the early modern U and M editions shows innovative features. The notation for the two e vowels is stable and allows little room for variation. Rules for the spelling of final syllables are largely morphologically conditioned (see Rules 1 through 2b above) whereas the rules for non-final syllables are largely phonologically conditioned (see Rules 3a through 4 above). Non-final open syllables have É* and non-final closed syllables have é* including cases of virtual lengthening (Rule 3c) and forms derived from kernel forms,173 but excluding the forms discussed in Rule 3b. Thus we will find forms like a3i5r ‘head; chief’ and a3n3i4l ‘tongue; language’, and forms like Nul7ka5t ‘you will eat’ reflecting a kernel form lU7ka5n. The interpretation of the e vowels as in modern Bible editions (M and U) at least goes back to the thirteenth century, since it is presupposed by forms cited by Bar Hebraeus (cf. above e Rule 3b). Besides forms with virtual lengthening like a5x4t (U), a4x4t (M) ‘you will live’ and ØUw4t ‘you shall go on board (ark)’ (Rule 3c), we meet forms with initial vowels like a3n4a (U/M) ‘I’ (Rule 3b) and a3h3l6a ‘God’ Gen. 1,1.2.3 etc. (also W/L) (cf. 3g). It appears that these ‘short’ vowels were in fact short and there is evidence to suggest that Late Classical Syriac – like its sister language Jewish Aramaic – had a distinctive feature short quantity of vowel in nonfinal open syllables (7d towards end of section). With these qualifications, the two e vowels are in complementary distribution and so represent one phonological entity. It is commonly agreed that the former vowel was long and the latter short. This supposition is confirmed by the modern traditional pronunciation of East Syriac which has [re:ßæ:] and [lıßßæ:næ:]. The particle a3l4a ‘except’ is pronounced like its Arabic cognate illä. The consensus is that Syriac vowels were vowels of quality, not vowels

Kernel forms are specific basic nominal and verbal forms as defined in the beginning of section (e) above. 173

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of quantity. Vowel length was predictable and non-phonemic in Late East Syriac.174 g The e vowels in the eastern orthography of lexical texts In a majority of cases the lexical texts available to me, the dictionaries of Bar Bahlul and Bar Ali, follow the standard of vocalization set by biblical orthography. There is, however, a fairly large minority of deviations from the standard. These deviations show that though the standard is dominant, it is not absolute. There is sufficient room for variation to show that the three symbols for e vowels, É*, é* and Á* (and in Bar Ali also @] [for this vowel symbol, cf. de above]), did not reflect a corresponding distinction of these vowels in the underlying spoken form of the language. As concluded at the end of the preceding section (f), there was only one e vowel and vowel length was predictable and non-phonemic in Late East Syriac. The evidence from the dictionaries presented below will be taken from the word list in section (j) below supplemented by a random selection of examples from the two dictionaries. After a few general observations, the analysis will follow that in the preceding section and present the material in terms of four corresponding rules. In standard biblical orthography, rules for the spelling of the e vowels largely follow phonological criteria: É* appears in open syllables, é* in closed syllables and before virtually lengthened consonants,175 i.e. in virtually closed syllables. However, the former symbol appears in closed syllables in Pe„al participles like 7B5t3k and if spelled plene as in the particle re5g. Finally, standard orthography requires É* except that the Mosul edition (M) has é* in verba tertiae infirmae like the imperfect a4n7b4n. The rules apply to the particular basic form of words that I have termed kernel forms (above e). Thus, the plural form Nul7ka5n has the same prefix vowel as the singular kernel form ØU7ka5n without breaking the rules. Cf. the remarks on the transcription of Syriac and of Syriac phonology by R. Voigt, Orientalia Suecana 43-44 (1994-1995) 187. 175 For the term, see 3g towards end of section. 174

112

5. VOWELS

The statement above that the standard orthography dominates, only holds for some types of syllables and for some vowel symbols. It does not hold for final open syllables and the symbol É* has been largely replaced by Á* in non-final open syllables. Seen in an orthographic perspective, the symbols Á* and @] are variants of É*. RULE 1. In final open syllables the vowel symbol Á* is statistically dominant, in plural forms of nouns and adjectives and in verbal forms (1a). Two different vowel symbols may occur together in variant spellings of the same verbal form (1b). Variation also occurs in a few biblical proper names (1c). The majority of plural forms of nouns and adjectives have unpointed finals. (1a) aÁ2r3g4a rb ‘demons’ BarB 422, 436 (twice), aÁ2mzÁg ‘cut off branches’ 480; aÁt3a (ptc.), aÁt5a (impf.) 315 vs. a24r7b4a ‘wings (of birds)’ 19, a4m2s4b rb ‘censers’ 423. (1b) al] 7GÁa BarA I 11 (160, Pe. impf.); a5l6gÁa ibid. (161), aÁl6g4a BarB 28 (both Pa. impf.); a4lG6b 356, aÁl7G6b BarA I 80 (2241) (both Pe. ptc. p.); a4l*G6m 208 (5367), aÁlG6m BarB 1003 (twice, all Af. ptc.); a4kz4a 100, a78kzÁa BarA I 20 (454) (both impf.). (1c) aÁi6nm ‘Manasse’ BarB 386, 415 top of column, ‘Bethphage’ 391.

a4g3p teb

RULE 2. In final closed syllables the vowel symbol é* is common in perfect and imperfect forms (2a). Etymologically long vowels spelled plene, in nouns and proper names, often have É* or Á* (2b). In participles and in the pronominal suffix for the third person (sg. m.), the rule of standard orthography does not apply and different vowel symbols vary freely (2c). In a few isolated forms, vocalization differs from the biblical standard (2d) and ˆeÁmo6m ‘they let swear’ BarB 1033 (prefix!) suggests a West Syriac form. (2a) Ø4hb BarB 361 (once sg., twice pl.), but olÁhb BarA I 81 (2264) (all pf.); M4l6i4a BarB 349 heading (impf.). Contrast B4ry BarA I 172 (4508), BÁry BarB 851 (both pf.) and t4wb6n 418,15, t5wb6n BarA I 91 (2557) (both impf.). (2b) Me5b ‘judgement seat’ BarB 384, Øe5a teÁb 388 (other construct forms are listed as te5b ibid.), ˆe5m3en4b 403, ˆeÁm3enb BarA I 88 (2493) both ‘Benjamin’ vs. Øe4b3b ‘Babylon’ BarB 354.

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(2c) ØÁz3a BarB 100, Ø5z3a BarA I 20 (456), zÁa3b 79 (2215), z4a3b BarB 349 (all Pe.); Ø4k4at4mo Ø*4k3ad Øk ‘all that one eats and that is eaten’ 411,20, ana QÁlbtÁm ‘I come unexpectedly’ 1181, glossed †tOb Mhytà (both Ethpe.); as3kd h4r6b 429 and variant !d hÁr6b 425 ‘outside of cup’ (suffix). (2d) MÁi ‘name’ BarB 1156,14f. (three times), 1983, 1984 (all cstr.), ‘then’ 905 (three times), and in the geographical name MÁliÁrUa ‘Jerusalem’ BarA I 19 (413).

ˆÁk

RULE 3. In non-final open syllables, perfect forms of verbs I/‚ frequently have the expected é* (3a) and imperfect forms É* (3b). In first singular imperfect forms of the Pa„el conjugation, spellings of the initial vowel É* of standard biblical orthography show variation of different vowel symbols (3c). The same variation frequently occurs in the spelling of nouns and adjectives (3d). (3a)

Ø6k4a

BarB 157, a3t4a 315 vs. a4tÁa BarA I 59 (1688).

(3b) But r6m5a BarB 193, aÁl5a 165 vs. aÁalÁa BarA I 29 (713). (3c) aÁ8k6bÁa BarB 16, a5l6gÁa BarA I 11 (161) vs. BarB 349/350 heading.

M4l6i4a, aÁr6i4a

(twice)

(3d) ame5b ‘judgment seat’ BarB 384, a3myb]] BarA I 85 (2365); apa5k ‘stone’ BarB 861 (four times sg., twice pl.), a2paÁk BarA I 175 (four times); a3na5k ‘honest’ BarB 860, a3naÁk BarA I 175 (4565). RULE 4. In non-final closed syllables, participles of the Ethpe‘el and Ethpa‘al conjugations frequently have the expected vowel é* in their first syllable (4a). Otherwise there seems to be free variation in the use of different vowel symbols, in first singular imperfect forms of verbs (4b) as well as in nouns (4c). (4a) Ø6i6bt4m BarB 376, (2556). (4b) aÁwb4a BarB 18, BarA I 20 (454).

Ø4k4at4m

a5wb5a

411,20 vs.

BarA I 8 (80);

LkatÁm a4kz4a

BarA I 90

BarB 100,

a78kzÁa

(4c) am5ks5a BarB 230 note 18, ameÁksÁa BarA I 39 (1008) ‘form, shape’; awz4b BarB 377,4, awzÁb 378, BarA I 83 (2330) ‘cleft, rent’; a3el5l BarB 973, ael5l 134 (twice), 415,15 etc., aelÁl BarA I 89 (2503) ‘night’ and an5ks4m BarB 1116 vs. a3nÁ8ksÁm BarA I 241 (6214) ‘poor.’ 114

5. VOWELS

h The rounding of ä to ã There is some evidence that Aramaic ä was rounded to ã, in both East Syriac and West Syriac, as early as the seventh or the beginning of the eighth century. In East Syriac the vowel symbol œ* is in regular use from the turn of the seventh century.176 Among other examples Segal quoted Mœq Pswœyw ‘and Joseph rose’ (p. 29). As in the later standard orthography, the same vowel symbol zqãpã renders Aramaic long ä and short a of the diphthong aw. This is contrary to contemporary (above b example 1b) and later West Syriac usage and suggests that short a of the diphthong aw was rounded due to the labial environment and had acquired a quality close to that of the long vowel. In West Syriac, the vowel orthography introduced by Jacob of Edessa renders the reflex of Aramaic long ä as +, the only vowel symbol not taken over from Greek (cf. above c). Apparently, the vowel spelled + was unlike any Greek vowel and unlike Greek a. The latter vowel is believed to have been similar to the first and second vowels of modern Italian amare,177 i.e. a low unrounded vowel between front [a] and back [A]. The evidence suggests that the Early Classical reflex of Aramaic ä like its Jewish Aramaic cognate was a low or lower mid rounded back vowel similar to IPA [Å] or [ç]. I shall render this vowel as ã. The evidence for a terminus post quem for the rounding of ä is less clear. There is conclusive evidence from the New Testament that rounding had not yet occurred by the turn of the first century, but the later evidence is – to the best of my knowledge – fragmentary. Compare, for example, abba ‘father, my father’ Mark 14,36, Rom. 8,15, Gal. 4,6 and taliqa ‘girl’ Mark 5,41. We have already seen Beyer’s quotation of St. Jerome’s († 420) slias (2b) for Aramaic ßlï˛ä. The other evidence is Syriac. In the first half of the fourth century Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, mentions a well known king of Edessa as Abgaroı Oucama (AomoªwUa) in his Ecclesiastical His-

176

Segal, Diacritical Point p. 29f. Vox Graeca p. 60.

177 Allen,

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tory178 and in the middle fifth century Greek sources refer to Ibaı (Aovyih), bishop of Edessa.179 Arabic forms of Syriac proper names are less useful than Greek forms, because the Arabic ä phoneme has and had a much wider range of variants (allophones) than the corresponding Greek phoneme. Besides, geographical names like Ar-ruhä‚ (Yœh§Ωa) and ˘arrän (NorOx) are likely to have entered Arabic in the Pre-Islamic period. Summing up we may say that rounding of ä to ã occurred in the late Pre-Islamic period, probably between the fifth and the seventh century. i Early Syriac § The reconstruction of Early Syriac § is based on the correspondence WS i vs. ES e as in the pair WS AojIy§ : ES a3ie5r ‘head.’ The correspondence occurs regularly in particular verbal forms and a number of lexical items. A similar alternation does not occur in other Aramaic languages, and it is uncertain whether § was a shared feature of Early Syriac or it only existed in Early West Syriac. It is unique that individual Syriac vowels have been the object of attention on the part of scholars. There are actually two articles discussing the status of § and e.180 Birkeland’s paper is programmatic, and his aim was to show that Syriac linguistic history can be profitably described within the framework of European structural linguistics of his time. According to Birkeland, the opposition ¶ vs. ë – in his notation ë vs. – – had a low functional load (cf. p. 19), The Greek text can be found, for example, in K. Lake ed., Eusebius. The Ecclesiastical History I p. 88 (Loeb Classical Library edition, 196573) or in G. Bardy ed., Eusèbe de Césarée. Histoire ecclésiastique I p. 42 (Paris 1952-60). 179 See, for example, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique (ed.s A. Vacant & E. Mangenot) III col. 1256. Paris 1911. 180 H. Birkeland, The Syriac Phonematic Vowel Systems, Festskrift Olaf Broch 13-39 (Oslo 1947) and J. Blau, The Origins of Open and Closed e in Proto-Syriac, BSOAS 32 (1969) 1-9, cf. R. Voigt, Oriens Christianus 81 (1997) 53f. 178

116

5. VOWELS

and he doubted that they were ever different phonemes in ProtoSyriac (p. 25). Both items were long and contrasted short e. Blau’s paper draws on a much wider selection of material. Like Birkeland he assumed that two types of ë existed in ProtoSyriac, though presumably not as different phonemes. However unlike Birkeland, he assumed that the two vowels survived in later East Syriac, marked in the orthography by the same symbol since they were variants of the same phoneme (p. 7). In addition to relevant and conclusive forms, Blau adduced a number of forms with less regular correspondences some of which to be explained on the analogy of already existing forms. At best such forms constitute secondary evidence and can only support the evidence of fully conclusive forms. I am not convinced by some of his examples, and some of them cannot stand a critical test. Thus *pella‚tä > pelle†o ‘parable (p.2) refers to WS ao‡è¥ep : ES a73tøal4p (Tob. 3,4, Mark 13,28 etc. all M),181 aTø¥p quoted along with aTøAns ‘hatred’ and aTøAnq ‘anger’ of the same morphological pattern (LdS 199,15). The East Syriac form and the notation by Bar Hebraeus show that the second e is an auxiliary vowel. Note that the spellings ataÁlÁp BarB 1562 and ata5l4p BarA II 262 conform to the usage of these dictionaries which regularly render the auxiliary vowel as a full vowel. The auxiliary vowel reflects a Pre-Syriac shewa and the form is irrelevant to the present discussion. Further, the example *ga‚wütä > gewu†o glossed ‘pride’ (ibid.) – possibly for ao‡üuAEg or aO‡üuyAÆg (pl. ao‡¨òwAEg ) – does not exist.182 It may be useful to sum up the discussions in the subsections (1-9) below. Early Syriac, or at least Early West Syriac, distinguished a higher (closed) ¶ from a lower (open) ë. Both were inherently long and distinct from short e, which in this early period can be assigned as an allophone of the phoneme /i/. The phonological environments of § and e in foreign loans are the same as those in native Syriac words, except that § also occurs in word final position in Greek words, as in WS AiqI†æyi© , ES a5q5t3ed ‘covenant.’ While /§/ Marked by a sublinear diacritic (Anyghm) in Matt. 24,32 in the East Syriac Mas.1 dated A.D. 899 (PG crit. app., L 240R4). 182 Cf. Thes. 630f. and SyrL 197b. 181

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

is more common in non-final syllables, /e/ is more common in final syllables. It appears that the rise of the new set of long vowels began as a conditioned shift in imperfect forms of verbs I/‚. If the stem vowel was a, they selected a prefix vowel ¶ as in *n¶mar, otherwise they selected a prefix vowel ë as in *nëkol (below 1). At the time the stem vowels in the corresponding plural forms were reduced to zero the alternation was no longer conditioned by the vowel of the following syllable, and the vowels § and e contrasted as different phonemes. The terminus ante quem for the reduction in Palestine is the first half of the third century A.D., in the Syriac speaking area somewhat later, though presumably well before the fifth century (2e end of section). Thus a phonemic distinction of /§/ and /e/ can be dated to the earliest historical period of Syriac, here termed Old Syriac (1b). 1. The evidence of verbal forms. The correspondence WS i vs. ES e reflects an earlier reconstructed ¶. In verbs, it regularly occurs in imperfect forms of verbs I/‚ as in WS rÆmAin, ES r6ma5n < *n¶mar, contrasting forms like WS Lwu√Aen, ES ØU7ka5n < *nëkol. The former type is a late reflex of the so-called Barth’s Law183 requiring a prefix vowel i in forms of the imperfect with stem vowel a, whereas forms with other stem vowels require a prefix vowel a. Another reflex of ancient ¶ occurs in imperfect forms of verbs I/y like WS ‡æ§Ain, ES 7t6ra5n ‘he will inherit.’ For verbs I/‚ Brockelmann explained the loss of the first radical by a general rule i‚ > ¶ (Grammatik p. 91) also applying to nominal formations (cf. below 2), whereas he explained the same vowel in verbs I/y by analogy with e of the strong verb (p. 93), apparently because there is no evidence in Syriac for an expected rule iy > ï (before consonant) well known from Hebrew. I prefer Nöldeke’s solution of analogy with verbs I/‚ (N 175A). The loss of the first radical in imperfect forms of verbs I/‚ and I/y resulted in lengthening of the prefix vowel to ¶, if the stem vowel was a. The rule applies to I/y verbs only if they form For Barth’s Law, see the general discussion and the references in E. E. Knudsen, Bibliotheca Orientalis 43 (1986) 725f. with note 9. For a more recent contribution, see E. Bar-Asher, JAOS 128 (2008) 233-255. 183

118

5. VOWELS

an imperative from a triradical base like the verb mentioned above which has an imperative ‡æriy (BdS I 263, LdS 125,3). The rule only applies to imperfect forms of the verb, not to nominal forms and infinitives like rÆmAIm and Læ√AEm. The choice of infinitive pattern depends on the underlying imperfect and shows that in the period immediately reflected by these infinitives the distinction ¶ vs. ë was phonologically non-predictable and accordingly phonemic. The West Syriac reflex of ¶ appears regularly in biblical manuscripts and prints. Exceptions do occur, but they are rare.184 Barth’s Law suggests that doubly weak verbs (verba I/‚ and III/Ø) like WS ae‡Ain, ES a4ta5n (M) go back to a Pre-Syriac *yi‚tay-, the stem vowel of which is confirmed by East Syriac plural forms like NU7ta5n < *yi‚tayün and similar forms from contemporary Jewish Aramaic. Imperfect forms of other and less frequent doubly weak verbs like WS AEmAin, ES a4ma5n (M) (Hebr. 6,13), plural NUma5n (Jer. 12,16), follow the same pattern. Based on imperfect forms like these, Birkeland doubted that ¶ and ë were different phonemes in Proto-Syriac (p. 25). Sometime before the introduction of vowel notation in West Syriac, analogy with these imperfect forms must have created distinctive infinitive patterns like WS rÆmAIm vs. Læ√AEm, though the analogy did not affect all infinitives of doubly weak verbs like ao‡AEm (Matt. 11,14, 22,3 etc.), but cf. AOmAIm and the old variant AOmAEm Matt. 26,74 (PG crit. app. Mas. 2 and 3). In verbs with a final weak radical, this type of infinitive is a relatively late innovation, since elsewhere in Aramaic it only occurs as a variant type in contemporary Jewish Aramaic and in Mandaic.185 Thus in Babylonian Targumic Aramaic, the cognate type of infinitive only occurs in absolute infinitive constructions (Dalman p. 339f.) as in yteyye at…yme me†ã ye†e ‘he will certainly come’ (Jer. 36,29) in contrast to the earlier type yteymel] l@me†e ‘in order to come’ (Gen. 31,18).

Cf. N 46, 174B note 1 and PG crit. app. to Matt. 26,74. A further example below (9). 185 See Dalman, Grammatik des jüdisch-palästinischen Aramäisch pp. 339f. and 349, Epstein, Grammar of Babylonian Aramaic p. 97 and Nöldeke, Mandäische Grammatik p. 260. Cf. also Margolis, Lehrbuch der aramäischen Sprache des Babylonischen Talmuds p. 54. 184

119

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

As in contemporary Jewish Aramaic, the formation of Syriac verbs with a final weak radical reflects a merger of two morphological classes, an i-class and an a-class. A reflex of the more frequent i-class appears in singular imperatives like 7Emy ‘swear’ (Gen. 21,23, 25,33 etc. all MU) < *y@mï, while the corresponding plural reflects a former a-class form in o3my (Joshua 2,12) < *y@maw. In this doubly weak verb, however, the singular imperative has a variant form YÆmiy (N 176D) and apparently an early one. It is known from the London Polyglot and Bar Hebraeus mentions the form (BdS I 302, LdS 147,2) explicitly stating it as having p†ã˛ã of mim. However, the former variant Emy is early as well, since it is attested in the old Genesis Masora published by Weiss (21,23 W 9b,12, L p. 18). Occurrence of forms with stem vowel -a- is not limited to West Syriac. It also occurs in ES Eti4a ‘drink’ Gen. 24,18.46 etc. (W 10b,8.27, L p. 20). Only the a-class verb meaning ‘to come’ has preserved a full reflex of the old a-class form of the imperative in aOT (Matt. 5,24 etc. m. sg.), YOT (John 4,16 f. sg.) and wÆT (Matt. 2,8 etc. pl.).

7

86

2. Compensatory length in nouns. As in the verbal forms discussed above, the shift *i‚ > ¶ before consonant appears in a number of non-derived nouns and correspondences between West and East Syriac are so regular that diaphonic transcriptions186 can be used without problems. Examples of the shift are nouns like b§rã ‘well’, k§vã ‘pain’ and possibly r§ßã ‘head,’ unless the last mentioned example goes back to *ra‚ßä and is evidence of a shift *a‚ > ¶. The shift is unlikely to be influenced by the following ß as assumed by some authorities,187 since the rule referred to requires a closed syllable ending in ß plus a following consonant (N 45 end of section). Another piece of evidence for the latter shift is k§fã ‘stone’, compare Akkadian käpu ‘cliff,’ but also ‘river bank’ as in Babylonian Talmudic Aramaic and Mandaic. The shift does not appear in AonOå

For the terms diaphone and diaphonic, see above 5a. A list of selected examples from nouns with references will be given in section (j) below. 187 See Blau p. 2f. with references. 186

120

5. VOWELS

‘sheep’ to be compared with BH ˆaxo æon (historical spelling a) and Arab. ∂a‚n with the same meaning. Compensatory length also occurs in a few other cases. In p§rã ‘fruit’ vowel length compensates for the loss of a consonant in *piry- and in ˛§ru†ã ‘freedom’ it is due to loss of consonant length after r in *˛irr-. The opposition § vs. e in ˛§ru†ã vs. ao§AEg (ES a3ra5g) gerã ‘arrow’ (Eph. 6,16 pl.), a§AEg LdS 32,22, a§AÁg 23,12 < *girr- shows that both shifts occurred independently after loss of length after r. Syriac gerã is common Aramaic and cognate with Babylonian Targumic Aramaic ar:yGI girã ‘arrow.’ However, spelling and vocalization of this word in the Yemenite texts are irregular and require comment. The singular forms are often spelled defectively (i.e. without yod); in 1 Sam. 20,37 and 2 Kings 13,17 plene and defective spellings even occur in the same verse. The plural forms are often spelled with double reß as in aY:rær“GI 13,15 (twice).18, Jer. 50,14 etc. Even a single instance of a singular form ar:r“GI 1 Sam. 20,21 occurs. It seems that to a large extent singular and plural forms have been harmonized. The plural forms with double reß represent the older forms and can be compared with Syriac plural forms like AEmØmÆå ‘nations’ in which a former medial vowel was dropped (< *„amam-). Historically, the singular form ar:yGI is secondary. It is the expected, though rare singular variant rGE (abs.) 2 Kings 19,32 (Sperber’s ms. m) that should be compared with Syriac gerã.

3. Reduplicated nouns. In this type of nouns the first component undergoes change, and the correspondence between West and East Syriac may be irregular. In the patterns represented by Aonqiq (ES a3nq4q) ‘plough’ and aOµlæjij (ES a3tløi4i) ‘chain’, the East Syriac forms are the more conservative and better preserve the ancient vowel pattern: *qinqinä > q¶qno/qeqnã and *ßilßiltä > ߶ßalto/ ßeßßeltã. In standard biblical orthography, the vowel in the second syllable of the latter example is interpreted as an auxiliary vowel (6), but compare, for example, the spelling a8tlÁiÁi ‘chain’ (with a variant of the vowel sign É*) BarA I 84 (2356). The West Syriac forms share the assimilation of consonants, but introduce compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel and add dissimilation of the vowel of the second syllable in the feminine form: *qinqinä > q¶qno and *ßilßiltä > ߶ßalto. In these patterns, only West Syriac forms directly reflect ancient ¶. In the very common AoylIl (ES 121

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

a3el4l) ‘night’ < *laylayä, the correspondence between eastern and western forms is regular. 4. Monophthongization of -ay-. Shift of ay > ë is a well known feature of contemporary Jewish Aramaic. In Syriac monophthongization is restricted to specific positions within words, mostly in final closed syllables and in medial closed syllables before consonant. Closed ¶ is the more common, as in b§„tã ‘egg’ and metaphorically ‘crown of the head,’ ˛§l ‘strength’ (abs.) and „§n ‘eye’ (abs./cstr.). The last mentioned examples contrast forms with ë like the very common be† ‘house’ (cstr.) and tren ‘two’ (f. tarten), and the preposition t˛e† ‘under.’ In a medial closed syllable before the feminine ending there is a dubious case of a diphthong in a37tce6d ‘ibex’ (a‡cyæ© N 98), mentioned along with a37tøle6a ‘hind’ in Prov. 5,19 (U has 73Tly6a). Bar Hebraeus mentions aµlya and a˜cy© as a pair LdS 213,5, expressly said to be with hard [t] and stated as exceptions (in LdS 10,17 unpointed). The etymologically correct spellings a83tc4e6d and a83tl4e6a appear in Prov. 5,19 of the old East Syriac Masora text (L 144V8f.), cf. also atl4e6a BarB 130,21. In East Syriac these spellings do not render diphthongs, but medial long -yy- (cf. BH ayyãlã ‘hind’ and Arab. ayyil ‘stag’) and the forms are irrelevant to the present discussion. In the evidence discussed in this paragraph, there seems to be no apparent reason for the choice of vowel except that § does not occur in word final position. 5. Other cases in Aramaic words. The vowel § also occurs in a number of native formations not accounted for above (2-4). Some of these are high frequency items like §n ‘yes’ and ˛r§nã ‘another’ (WS OAnirx¡, ES a3n5rx!a, cf. Tu. ˛reno), others are derived by a particular morphological pattern like km§nã ‘ambush’ and nf§ßã (ES a3ia5pn with p, see 3d) ‘breathing.’ The near minimal pairs r§˛ã ‘smell’ vs. a§AÁj ßerã ‘bracelet’ (LdS 11,28, 230,16) and ao§AEg ‘arrow’ (above 2) illustrate the phonemic distinction § vs. e. 6. Akkadian loans. Aramaic borrowings from other languages are common, of which those from Akkadian form the oldest stratum. Syriac ¶ reflects a long ë or ï in open non-final syllables as in mesk§nã ‘poor’ < mußkënu with the same meaning in later stages of Akkadian, earlier a term denoting a member of a dependent class of persons, z§fã ‘fraud’ < zïpu ‘cast coin’ and ߧπã ‘demon’ < ßëdu, in Akkadian often denoting a good demon. It is to be ex-

122

5. VOWELS

pected, though it cannot be proved, that most loans were taken from New-Babylonian, the latest phase of spoken Akkadian, rather than from New-Assyrian. There is, however, evidence that some loans were Babylonian while others were Assyrian. Thus a37toa5x (Deut. 32,14, Judges 5,25 etc.), aOTwAex (LP), a37toaÁx (BarB 366, 707, BarA I 131) ‘cream, butter’ < √ïmetu ‘butter’188 is Babylonian as shown by lenition of m > w, while mesk§nã < mußkënu is Assyrian as shown by the Assyrian shift ß > s. In the former example, the Akkadian term is cognate with Hebrew ha;m]j, ‘cream, butter’ < *˛im‚at-. Applying established phonological rules one expects √ïmetu < *xim‚at-, a form in complete agreement with the Syriac a37toa5x < *˛ëw@tä. In this example e contrasts with § above, as also in a73tyra5x ‘ditch’ Ex. 14,2.9 etc. (LP aOtyì§Aex) (< Akkadian √irïtu). 7. Greek loans. Greek is the most common source of foreign loans in the classical period, and ¶ occurs in loans in both open and closed syllables. In most cases it renders Greek h as in b§m ‘judgment seat’ (bh@ma), d§nãrã ‘denarius’ (dhnavrion) and h§£mo±nã ‘governor’ (hJgemwvn). Unlike in native Syriac words, it occurs in final position in WS AiqI†æyi©, ES a5q5t3ed ‘covenant’ (diaqhvkh), iq§ ‘in vain, without reason’ (eijkh@) and in proper names like WS Aiqyinwuπ (with initial f- 2d and 3e), ES a5qyno5p ‘Phoenicia’ (Acts 11,19, 15,3, 21,2, foinivkh). Syriac ¶ renders Greek ai in q§rsã ‘time’ (kairovı), ei in es≠§r ‘cohort’ (spei@ra) and i in q§vo±†ã ‘ark’ (kibwtovı). It contrasts with ë in ræseq (ES r6s5q) ‘caesar’ (Mark 12,14.16.17 twice) < Kai@sar < Latin Caesar. In most cases, the corresponding Greek short vowel e appears as Syriac short e as in AOsnEg (ES a3sn4g) ‘kind, sort’ (9,29, gevnoı) and WS Nwuy¸El, ES NUe7g4l ‘legion’ (5,9.15, legewvn, Latin legio). 8. Iranian loans. Iranian loanwords in biblical texts are not later than the early Christian period. Syriac ¶ renders Middle Persian ë in nonFor this reading rather than √imëtu as given by the standard dictionaries, see D. O. Edzard, Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 72 (1982) 83f. Documentation in the dictionaries suggests that the word also denoted a kind of refined cream or butter. Edzard preferred a translation as ‘Butterschmalz.’ 188

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

final open syllables, as in s§mã ‘silver’ (Middle Persian sëm) and safs§rã ‘sword’ (Mannichean Parthian safsër). A particular case is g§zavrã ‘treasurer,’ apparently from Old Persian *ganzabara- (ILS 142f.). The oldest Aramaic forms of this word are Mandaic ganzibria (i.e. ayrbyznag) and Biblical Aramaic aY:ræb]ZæGI gizzavrayyã Ezra 7,21 (both pl.). Syriac long ¶ is due to compensatory lengthening of i after reduction of consonant length in -zz- (cf. above 2). The Babylonian Targumic Aramaic form ar:B…z“GI is borrowed from Hebrew and irrelevant to the present discussion. 9. Hebrew loans. Loans from Biblical Hebrew constitute a relatively late stratum of loans in Early Classical Syriac. They date from the Christian period and before the appearance of the earliest biblical manuscripts in the fifth century. The vowel ¶ occurs in closed syllables of monosyllabic words and otherwise in non-final open and closed syllables reflecting Hebrew long ë. Examples like §l ‘God,’ „§πã ‘feast’, t§vel ‘the world’ and „§ttã (WS aO˜ø∂Iå, ES a3t8d5w) ‘church’, the last mentioned from Hebrew „eπã ‘community’, match the environments of ¶ in native Syriac words. The vowel contrasts ë in proper names like WS §ozOåyIlEa, ES r6z3wyl5a Matt. 1,15 (twice), but the two vowels vary in WS AoyìlEa Matt. 11,14 and Aoyìlìa 27,47, Mark 15,35, but apparently the traditional West Syriac form has ï as in AyÉlÉa (LdS 231,9, 243,15). For final syllables, contrast Myi√j (ES Me5ki) Acts 7,16 and MEljì§wUa (ES M4li4rUa) Matt. 2,3. Bar Hebraeus states that the vowel in LyÉa is distinct from that of the final component of LyÁArsa, LyÁArbg and LyÁAkym (BdS II 83, LdS 231). The apparent and unique exception WS LyAiyænƆæn John 1,45 (cf. PG crit. app.) is shown by its vocalism to be a borrowing from Greek. The rendering as ë in the final syllables of polysyllabic names is the norm as in Lyevwu§ Rev. 7,5 and Lyexo§ Matt. 2,18 and conforms to the orthographical rules of native Syriac words. j List of nouns and adjectives with § None of the standard dictionaries, except Brockelmann’s Lexicon Syriacum, indicate lexical items with §. Payne Smith’s Thesaurus uses West Syriac orthography, while Sokoloff’s Syriac Lexicon uses East Syriac orthography. Note that Brockelmann marks cases of § by a diaphonic notation É*. The evidence listed below will be taken from vocalized biblical texts, both the Old Testament and the New Testament (cf. 1c 1), and supplemented by vocalized forms in Bar 124

5. VOWELS

Hebraeus’ grammar (LdS) and in the dictionaries by Bar Bahlul and Bar Ali. Only if the West Syriac documentation is insufficient, evidence from other vocalized texts will be quoted. The list offers a selection of lexical items, and no word statistics are given except that the abbreviation ‘etc.’ after a reference means that there are five or more attestations in the particular text group. Derivatives and proper names are not listed. For practical purposes of presenting the evidence, double pointing of western and eastern forms is used for § as in Aojiɧ ‘head.’ AonIÉrx¡ ‘another’ Gen. 4,25, 30,24 etc.; Mark. 4,5.7 etc.; LdS 231,9.15 (twice) etc. (above i 5). LyIÉa ‘God’ Gen. 46,3, Num. 16,22 etc.; Matt. 27,46 (twice), Mark

15,34 (twice); LdS 4,12.30, 231,17, 236,31; Øya BarB 127 explained as Hebrew for ‘God,’ ØeÁa BarA I 25 < BH lae (i 9).

‘yIÉa ‘yes, truly’ Gen. 30,34, 1 Kings 1,27, Ps. 58,1, Lam. 2,20; Matt. 5,37 (twice) etc.; Nyıa LdS 154,2; ˆ7ea BarB 136 (i 5). AiÉqyIa ‘in vain, without reason’ Job 15,31, Jer. 46,11; Matt. 5,22, Gal. 3,4 (twice), Philip. 2,16; LdS 177,31 (AÉqyıa), 178,2, 203,32; a2qya BarA I 26 (627) < Greek eijkh@ ‘without purpose’ (i 7). AiqnænÆa (ES a5qn6n3a) ‘necessity (a), distress (b)’ Matt. 18,7, Hebr. 9,23 (WS), Jude 1,3 (all a), 1 Cor. 7,26 (b); LdS 178,2, 203,32; a5qn6n6a BarB 211, but aÁqn3n3a BarA I 36 (913) < Greek ajnavgkh (i 7). AE¸iƒæRfsEa (ES a5G5j23rjs4a) ‘commanders, generals’ (OT), ‘public officers, magistrates’ (NT) 1 Macc. 8,10 (pl.) (M); Acts 16,20.22 etc. (all pl.); a7GyjrjsÁa BarA I 38 (988) < Greek strathgovı ‘commander, general; chief magistrate (of Roman colony)’ (i 7). AomiɪsEa ‘decent manner, order’ Rom. 13,13, 1 Cor. 7,35 etc.; LdS 25,6, 56,30, 231,14.15; am5ks5a BarB 230 note 18, amekÁ sÁa BarA I 39 (1008) < Greek sch@ma ‘form, shape, fashion’ (i 7). ryiÉ˙sEa ‘cohort’ Matt. 27,27, Mark 15,16 etc., aæryì˙s (ES a3re5ps) Acts 10,1; arÉ˙sa LdS 215,31, cf. 25,6 (vowel pattern); arypsa BarB 887 bottom of page, with Greek ≠189 < Greek spei@ra. A near homonym 189

Merx, Historia artis grammaticae p. 122 (8).

125

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

meaning ‘ball’ occurs Is. 3,19 (pl., finery of hair) and 22,18 (Vulgate pilam) and 29,3 (Vulgate spheram), both for BH rWD ‘ball’ in an uncertain context,190 a2ryps4a BarB 235f. (both meanings), a2rÁpsÁa BarA I 40 (1040) (of hair), cf. LP aoryìpsEa < Greek sfai@ra ‘ball’. The Greek etymology of the latter item suggests that pe renders phonemic /f/ (i 7).

8t) Ex. 21,32, 2 Sam. 24,24, 1 Chron. 21,25 (all abs. pl.), Neh. 10,32; Matt. 17,27; LdS 15,19, 215,31 (a§Éµsa), cf. 25,7 (same pattern as AmÉksa q.v., stated to be Ayrk acbxb); BarB 245 note 5, are8tsÁa BarA I 41 (1069) < Greek stathvr (i 7) or Pahlavi stër (MacKenzie, Pahlavi Dictionary 77) (cf. above i 8). ao§IɵsEa ‘stater (coin)’ (M

LyIÉb ‘Bel’ Is. 46,1, Jer. 50,2, 51,44, Dan. 14,3 (M); LdS 231,17; BarB 383f., ØeÁ b BarA I 85 (2363), cf. LP Lyìb, but Lyeb BO i 327b, Greek bhl, BH lBe < Akk. bël (i 6). MyIÉb ‘judgement seat’ Matt. 27,19, John 19,13 etc.; LdS 230,30 (twice), 231,17; Me5b, ame5b BarB 384, a3myb]] BarA I 85 (2365) < Greek bh@ma ‘raised place, tribune’ (i 7). aOµåyIb (ES

a37tw4b) ‘egg’ (a), ‘crown of head’ (b) Ps. 7,16 (h5tw4b MU), 68,21 (a37t3w2-5b) (both b); atåÉb LdS 30,13f. (ab), cf. 212,17 (aµåÉb), 231,10; atwe5b BarB 417 (b), 384 (pl., ab), a4twÁb BarA I 90f. (2556) (ab) stated to be with soft [†], cf. also LP hEtåyıìb and aœtOå¨yìıb (i 4). aorIÉb ‘well’ Gen. 14,10 (twice) etc.; Luke 14,5, John 4,11 etc.; LdS 231,10; BarB 421, a2rÁb BarA I 91 (2572) (i 2). AonÆhIÉg ‘hell’ Matt. 5,22.29 etc.; LdS 24,26 stated as Ayrk acbxb; BarB 457, an6hÁg BarA I 97 (2748) < BH proper name µNúhi yGE ‘Valley of Hinnom’ (i 9).

a3r7b6z-5g ‘treasurer’ 2 Kings 10,22, 1 Chron. 29,8, Ezra 1,8, 7,21 (pl.); arbzÉg LdS 25,11, 231,11; arb6z5g BarB 478, ar7b6z-Ág BarA I 100 Reading and interpretation of both Hebrew passages are uncertain as shown by the divergent versions in the Peshitta, the Septuagint, the Vulgate and the Targum. 190

126

5. VOWELS

(2829), cf. also LP aorbæzyIg except Ezra 1,8 (aorbæzyÉg ), apparently < Old Persian *ganzabara- (i 8). AovaiÉ© ‘wolf’ Gen. 49,27, Is. 11,6 etc.; Matt. 7,15, 10,16 etc. all pl.;

LdS 23,13, 212,17, 231,5; BarB 525 (i 2).

AiqI†æyi© (ES a5q5t3ed) ‘covenant’ Joshua 3,3.6 (twice) etc.; Matt. 26,28, Acts 7,8 etc.; LdS 42,4 (AÉqÉtàyi© ), 231,16; BarB 573 note 4, a3qe4t3yd BarA I 111 (3115) < Greek diaqhvkh (i 7). aoronyiÉ£ ‘denarius’ Matt. 22,19 (twice) etc. < Greek dhnavrion, Latin

denarius (i 7).

AonΩum¸I h É ‘governor’ Matt. 27,2.11 (twice) etc.; a3numg5h BarB 606, anUm7ghÁ BarA I 116 (3262) < Greek hJgemwvn, cf. a73tunUm7g5h ‘gov-

ernment, reign’ Luke 2,2, 3,1 (both M) (i 7).

a5l2--a5o ‘curtain, awning’ Esther 1,6 (pl.); ¥aÉw LdS 15,21, 16,22, 32,24, 231,11, cf. 23,13 (same pattern as AbaÉ© q.v.); aÁl2--a5o BarB 664, a3laÁo BarA I 121 (3366), cf. LP é¥a¨éw and O¥aew BO iii ii 910, 911, but ¥aiw iii i 532b < Latin velum ‘curtain’ (post-classical Greek bh@lon) (i 7).

a3pa%z

‘fraud’ in a3pa%zd a3xur ‘a false spirit’ Wisdom of Solomon 15,16 (M); ApaÉz LdS 212,17, 231,6; a3pa%z BarB 672, a3paÁz BarA I 122 (3407) both glossed Kfa rwz ‘lie, falsehood,’ cf. LP Aopaìz and Aopaiz BO i 127a (vs. truth), 129b (2o seal), 298a top of page (heart) < Akk. zïpu ‘mold, cast coin’ (Kaufman, Influences p. 113) (i 6).

a25m5jazÉ ) ‘inquiry, question’ Acts 18,15, 23,29, 25,19, 26,3 (all pl.); AÆmÉ@ƒaÉz (pl. AÆfà^mÉ@ƒaÉz ) LdS 29,15; a6myja5z BarB 671 and note 5 a5m5jaz; a52mjaÁz BarA I 122 (3400) < Greek zhvthma (pl. zhthvmata) (i 7). A^em@iƒ iz (ES

AOπAIÉx ‘violence (of rage or attack)’ Prov. 3,25, 27,4 etc.; Rev. 18,21; LdS 212,17, 231,6; BarB 707, a3paÁx BarA I 131 (3595), cf. AopAix BO iii i 403b,19. Kaufman p. xviii considered Akk. √ïp libbi ‘panic’ (from √epû ‘to break’) a possible source (i 5, 6). aO‡wu§AiÉx ‘freedom (state of person or of debt), manumission’ Lev. 19,20, 25,10 etc.; 1 Cor. 10,29, 2 Cor. 3,17 etc.; a7turaÁx BarB 708, atora5x 772, 1924,7, a4turaÁx BarA I 131 (3600), cf. aT§AÉx ‘free’ (f. sg.) LdS 213,21, a form common in NT (i 2). LyiÉx (abs./cstr.) ‘strength’ Dan. 3,4, 4,14 etc.; Acts 4,7, Rom. 1,4,

Col. 1,11, 2 Thes. 2,9; LdS 69,5 (i 4). 127

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

‘gridiron’ Lev. 2,5, 6,21, 7,9 etc.; AngyÉ@ƒ LdS 231,7; BarB 788, an7GÁj BarA I 156 (4163) < Greek thvganon (i 7).

a3n7G4j

a3nG45j

AovAiÉk ‘pain’ Eccles. 1,18, Lam. 1,12 etc.; John 5,4, Matt. 4,23 etc.;

LdS 212,17, 231,5, cf. 23,13 (vowel pattern); BarB 857 (i 2).

OAnAiÉk ‘upright, honest’ Ps. 15,5 (abs. sg.), Gen. 42,11.19 etc. (all pl.);

John 5,30, 7,24 etc.; LdS 231,5, 236,32; BarB 860, a3naÁk BarA I 175 (4565). It is uncertain whether the word is Aramaic or borrowed from Akk. kïnu (Assyrian kënu) ‘true, honest’, cf. Kaufman p. 83 note 266 (i 5,6). AoπAiÉk ‘stone’ Gen. 28,18.22 etc.; Matt. 4,6, 7,9 etc.; LdS 212,17, 230,17 etc.; BarB 860f. etc., apakÁ BarA I 175 (4569), cognate with Akk. käpu ‘rock’ and Amorite käpu (or ka‚pu) ‘rock’, the latter

2

only known from West Semitic personal names in Old Babylonian texts of the first half of the second millennium B.C.191 (i 2). AonAIÉmk ‘ambush’ Joshua 8,2.19 etc.; Acts 23,21.30, 25,3; LdS 24,7 (stated as Ayrk acbxb), 231,7, 237,1; BarB 899, a3naÁmk BarA I 184

(4749) (i 5).

AoylIél ‘night’ Gen. 1,5.14 etc.; Luke 2,8, 5,5 etc.; AylÉl LdS 5,16, 238,12; a3el5l BarB 973, ael5l 134 (twice), 415,15 etc., aellÁ BarA I

89 (2503), 202 (5208). A spelling a3el4l occurs in free variation with attested already in the early W/L text (5e Rule 4) (i 3.4).

a3el5l

AonAIÉml ‘harbour, port’ Judges 5,17, Ps. 107,30; Acts 27,8.12 (twice); LdS 231,7, 237,1; BarB 966, 974, anaÁml BarA I 202 (5209) < Greek limhvn (i 7). aoßyiÉ˙mÆl ‘lamp, torch’ Gen. 15,17, Ex. 20,18 etc.; Matt. 25,1.3 etc., Acts 20,8 (ae™Ai˙^mÆl); adyÉpml LdS 230,29 (this and other examples stated to be ‘ycybx wyrkb); adaÁpml BarA I 203 (5242) < Greek lampavı (gen. lampavdoı), irregular correspondence but comp. BH

dyPilæ (i 7). ‘oar’ Ezek. 27,29 (det. pl., U A25qa5l); 6.8.26 (all pron. pl.); AqÉl LdS 231,10, cf. 23,4 (vowel pattern); BarB 979, aÁqy2--l 968, a2ÁqÁl

a3q5l

See E. E. Knudsen in Studies Trolle Larsen p. 326 with note 28 (Leuven 2004). 191

128

5. VOWELS

BarA I 205 (5271) (both pl.), cf. AE@^qi¥ BO iii i 81b (fig. of the church) (i 5). AonIɪsEm ‘poor’ 1 Sam. 2,8, 2 Sam. 12,3 etc.; Matt. 5,3, 11,5 (both pl.) etc.; LdS 215,31, 231,15 (twice), cf. 25,6 (same pattern as AmÉksa Á BarA I 241 (6214) < Akk. q.v.); an5ks4m BarB 1116, a3n8kÁ sm mußkënu (Kaufman p. 74) (i 6). ™wuxaE‡ AImno ‘(disease) will spread’ (lit. take pasture, ES DUxa5t a5mUn) 2 Tim. 2,17 (also L 298R26f. DUxat] a52mU8n); AÉmwn LdS 204,6 (idiom); aÁmUn BarB 1226, EmUn BarA II 29 (both idiom), cf. LP AìmΩn and BO iii i 89a (idiom) < Greek nomhv ‘pasture’ and metaphorically ‘spreading’ (i 7).

7

AojAIÉpn ‘relief, respite’ Philip. 2,28, Rev. 14,11 (M

1262 (breathing), BarA II 77 (i 5).

a3x3en

‘rest’); BarB

aorIfπæn (ES

a3r5jP6n ) ‘lamp, lantern’ 1 Kings 7,50, 2 Chron. 31,18; John 18,3; LdS 21,3, 25,7 (arÉ@fpæn ), 215,32 (arÉ@fπn), < Greek lampthvr (i 7). AOmAIÉs ‘silver’ Gen. 13,2, 24,53 etc.; Matt. 10,9, Acts 3,6 etc.; LdS 231,6, 237,1; BarB 1293 < Middle Persian sëm ‘silver’ (ILS 218) (i

8). aæryì˙s ‘cohort,’ see ryi˙sEa. aorIsπÆs (ES a3r5sP6s) ‘sword, knife’ Deut. 33,29, Joshua 5,2f. (from flint) etc.; Matt. 26,51f. etc.; LdS 209,21, 215,32, 231,16, cf. 25,7 (same pattern as aorIfπæn q.v.); ar5sp6s BarB 1375 < Mannichean Parthian safsër ‘sword’ (ILS 225) (i 8). ao™AIÉå ‘day of assembly, festival’ 1 Kings 15,13, 2 Chron. 5,3, 15,16; Matt. 27,15, Mark 15,6 etc.; LdS 212,17, 231,6; BarB 1397 (Easter), 1432, a©Aìå BarA II 195 ms. K192 (Transfiguration) < BH hd:[e ‘assembly’ (i 9). aoßIÉåßæå ‘festival’ Ex. 10,9, 12,14 etc.; Luke 2,41.42 etc., compare ao™AIÉå q.v. (i 3).

192 Variant

from Jacobite manuscript K dated 1668.

129

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY aO˜ø∂Iå (ES a3t8d5w) ‘congregation, church’ Matt. 18,17 (twice) etc.; a_TdÉå LdS 212,17; BarB 1408 < BH hd:[e ‘assembly’ (i 9). ‘yIÉå (abs./cstr.) ‘eye’ Num. 14,14 (twice), Ex. 7,20 (twice) etc.; John 16,25, Mark 9,2 etc.; LdS 69,5, 231,12.14, 236,32; ˆ-yw (cstr.) BarB 1430f., BarA II 214f. (cstr./abs.) (i 4). AoqAIÉp ‘dumb’ Ex. 4,11, Is. 35,6, 56,10, Ep. Jer. 40 (M); Mark 7,32; LdS 231,6; BarB 1479, BarA II 239, cf. AoqAIp BO i 125a, 418b (i 5). ao§AiÉp ‘fruit’ Gen. 1,11, 4,3 etc. (all pl.); Mark 4,28.29 etc.; LdS 230,17,

231,6; BarB 1479, 1484, BarA II 239 (all pl.) (i 2).

Aon¸yip (var. AonƸip), a3n7G4p (M) ‘rue’ Luke 11,42; AngyÉp LdS 231,7 (same vowel pattern as AngyÉ@ƒ q.v.); anGyp and NonaGep BarB 1540, often spelled anGep 83, 113 etc., anGep !h Nuna6n6Gyp BarA II 257 (ms. B Aœngyıp, DZ Aäänägyıp)193 < Greek phvganon (i 7). AIfswoqifnè˙ (ES a5jsuq5jn6p) ‘Pentecost’ Acts 2,1, 20,16, 1 Cor. 16,8; ÉAfswqyfnp LdS 204,4; EjsoqejnÁp BarB 1579, EjsUqyjn4p BarA II 267 < Greek penthkosthv (lit. the fiftieth [day]) (i 7).

7

AOfIlqærÆp (ES a3je5lq6r3p) ‘advocate, intercessor’ John 14,16.26 etc.; AfyÉlqrp LdS 231,16; a3jylq6r6p BarA II 289 (ms. A Afylqèræp)194 < Greek paravklhtoı (i 7).

[Aoyorπic (ES a3e3rp$c) ‘goat’ Lev. 4,23, 9,3 etc.; Hebr. 9,12.13, 10,4 (all pl.); LdS 25,12 (said to be Ayrk acbxb), 216,12 (Ap Kkwrb ‘with us,’ i.e. WS), 231,10, 236,32; Ayrpic BarA II 311 ms. D. Cognate with TargA ar…ypix] ‘goat’ (Gen. 37,31). The phonologic correspondence with the Targumic form is irregular. It seems that WS i is a reflex of Proto-Aramaic long ï in *æapïr-. After metathesis and subsequent change of morphological pattern, the vowel was shortened in East Syriac to e in a medial closed syllable. If so, the vowel in question is not a reflex of Early Syriac ¶ ].

Variants from Jacobite manuscripts: B 15th century, D dated 1530, Z 1499. 194 Variant from Jacobite manuscript A of the 16th century. 193

130

5. VOWELS O¥cic (ES

13,1; (i 3).

a3lc$c) ‘cymbal’ Ex. 32,19, 1 Sam. 18,6 etc. (all pl.); 1 Cor. alcÁc BarB 1679, a3lc$c BarA II 312, ms. B O¥cic, cf. LP O¥cyic, O¥cic

a3rc$c ‘cricket (insect)’ 2 Sam. 17,13; a§cyıc LdS 23,25, 230,25; arcyc BarB 1665, pl. a2rcÁc 1680, arc$c BarA II 312, ms. B ao§cic, and also

LP ao§cic (i 3).

AOs§AiÉq ‘right time, occasion’ (1), ‘accident, calamity’ (2), ‘battle, fight-

ing (3) Gen. 42,4.38, Ex. 21,22.23 (all 2); 1 Chron. 11,25, Dan. 11,20 (both 3); Eph. 5,16 (L 293V13 NUhsra4q), Col. 4,5 (L 295R37 NU7ksra5q) (both 1); Matt. 24,6, Mark 13,7 (both 3); LdS 231,6; asra5q BarB 1704 (2,3), asr5q 1848 (2), a3sr5q BarA II 368 (2) < Greek kairovı ‘right or proper time’ (1). Meanings (2, shared with Mandaic) and (3) are unrelated, but possibly related to Aosræq, AonOsræq ‘hard, severe’ (i 5.7). It should be noted that a full spelling oAs§Aiq is attested already in Mas. 3 of PG, cf. also the W/L Masora above, whereas a defective spelling AsRq is common in first millennium manuscripts (PG crit. app.). A spelling asraq is attested in all the Old Testament passages in the seventh century basic manuscript of the Leiden Peshitta (OTS), except in the uncertain passage 2 Kings 11,6 (asrq). ao‡ΩuviÉq ‘ark’ Gen. 6,14 (twice) etc. (U

A37tu7b5q); Hebr. 9,4, 11,7, 1 Peter 3,20, Rev. 11,19; LdS 56,30, 236,32, cf. 25,12 (same pattern as a§ΩyÉg ‘foreigner’ stated as Ayrk acbxb); atob5q BarB 1707, aTwbìq BarA II 320 ms. B, aTwbAìq mss. AE,195 but contrast aTwbeq ms. D < Greek kibwtovı (i 7). [a3qr4jq ‘quiver (for arrows)’ Is. 22,6, 49,2 etc.; AqÉrfq (!) LdS 15,18, AqrÉ@fq (pl. AèqRÉ@fq) 34,13, but AqryÁ@fq 231,8 (same vowel as in Ajyɧ etc. ‘with us,’ i.e. WS), aqr5jq BarB 1768, cf. Aoqryìfq LP Is. 22,6, 49,2, Ps. 126,5 etc. < Middle Persian kantigr ‘quiver’ (cf. ILS 247). The forms suggest that Persian i was taken over as WS i and ES e. If so, the vowel in question is not a reflex of Early Syriac §].

195

Variants from Jacobite manuscripts A and E, the latter dated

1488.

131

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY SyiÉq (abs./cstr.) ‘wood (material)’ Sir. 26,15 (M), Ezek. 15,2, 37,17.19; Rev. 18,12 (M det.); Syiq LdS 69,5. A borrowing from Akk. qißtu (or qïßtu) ‘wood, grove’ as suggested by Kaufman (p. 86) is uncertain, though the two terms may be genetically related (i 4.6).

a73tus5q

‘a kind of precious wood’ 1 Kings 10,11.12 (twice); LdS 25,12 (Ayrk acbxb); BarB 1777 (sandalwood or other precious wood) var. note 10 and p. 1814 atos5q, but a3tuse6q BarA II 356 and LP aOTwusyæq. The Vulgate renders ligna thyina derived from Greek quiva denoting a tree with scented wood, a kind of juniper or cedar (i 4).

a3tløq4q

‘dunghill, heap of stones’ (U A37tløq4q) 1 Sam. 2,8, Neh. 4,2, Ps. 113,6, Lam. 4,5 (pl.); aµlqiq LdS 216,11 (said to be with hard [t], same pattern as aµljÉj q.v.), ¥bz —tlqÉq 57,2 (cstr.), cf. 25,11 (same pattern as arbzÉg q.v.); atlq5q BarB 1830, 425,8 (pl.), atlqyq BarA II 362 ms. D, cf. aOtlæqiq BO i 123b, iii ii 669 (in paraphrase of Song of Hannah 1 Sam. 2,8) (i 3). ‘plough (wooden part)’ 2 Sam. 24,22; AnqÉq LdS 231,9; a3nq5q BarB 206, 1830 (1780 glossed rynla), anqyq 13,12, BarA II 362 mss. EF a3nqyq,196 cf. LP AonqÉq (i 3).

a3nq4q

aorƒiéh§ ‘rhetor, advocate’ Acts 24,1; arj5hr BarB 1878, a3rjyhr BarA II 383, cf. aeRfyih| BO iii i 326b and the adverb tyiaorƒih§ 186a < Greek rJhvtwr ‘public speaker’ (i 7). Aoxyiɧ ‘smell, fragrance’ Gen. 8,21, 27,27 (three times) etc.; John

12,3, 2 Cor. 2,16 (twice) etc.; LdS 231,8; note 21 (det.),197 BarA II 391 (i 5).

a3xyr

BarB 1898 (cstr.),

Aojiɧ ‘head; beginning’ Lev. 1,8, 8,20 etc.; Mark 1,1, 13,8 etc.; LdS

230,31, 231,1.8, 236,31; aiyr BarB 1900 (1901 cstr. three times, det. pl. once, note 9 ms. P I5r cstr.198), and ai5r p. 1899 note 18 and p. 1917 etc. (i 2).

Variants from Jacobite manuscripts: E dated 1488, F 1482. Variant from Jacobite manuscript H dated 1284. 198 Variant from Jacobite manuscript P copied 1886. 196 197

132

5. VOWELS ao™ AiÉj ‘demon’ Lev. 17,7, 19,4 etc. (all pl.); Matt. 15,22, 17,18 etc.; LdS 212,17, 231,6, 237,1; BarB 1923 < Akk. ßëdu ‘spirit, demon’ (often a good demon) (Kaufman p. 101f.) (i 6). Aoyo§AIÉj ‘silk’ Is. 3,21, Ezek. 27,16, Esther 1,6 (U omits ãlaf ); Rev. 18,12; BarB 1926, cf. Aeyo|AIj AenA¨””Om BO iii ii 15 < Middle Persian ßëräi

(i 8).

MyIÉj ‘Shem’ Gen. 5,32, 6,10 etc.; Luke 3,36, cf. LP Myìj, Greek Shvm

< BH µve (i 9).

†yiÉj ‘Seth’ Gen. 5,3.4 etc.; Luke 3,38, cf. LP tyìj, Greek Shvq < BH tve (i 9). aOµlÆjIj (ES a3tløi4i), pl. aO†Ol^jIéj ‘chain, bracelet’ Ex. 28,14.22 etc. (all pl.); Acts 28,20 (sg.), Mark. 5,3.4 etc. (all pl.); LdS 216,11 (aµljÉj) said to be with hard [t], 236,32 (atljÉj), cf. 25,11 (same pattern as arbzÉg q.v.); ali4i BarA II 459 (in note glossed †lsls), cf. aòtlääjìj Acts 28,20 LP and aOtlæjyij BO iii i 314a (from copper) (i 3). LyevaIT (ES

Øe5b5t) ‘the inhabited world’ Is. 13,11, 18,3 etc.; Rom. 10,18 (omits ãlaf ), Rev. 3,10, 16,14 (both M omits); Øeb5t BarB 2031, Øe4b5t BarA II 464, cf. LyebaìT BO i 129, LyebaIT 361 < BH lbete (i 9). a_oTIÉT, pl. èA¨naÉIT ‘fig (tree)’ Judges 9,10.11 etc. (sg.), Num. 13,24, 20,5 etc. (pl.); Matt. 21,19 (twice) etc. (sg.), 7,16, Luke 6,44 etc. (pl.); aTÉT LdS 11,31, 231,10, aTìT 211,17 (stated as wyrkb aTcybx), atnaÉT 33,28 (error in pointing of distinctive accent), cf. 23,5 (same vowel pattern as Ajɧ q.v.); at5t BarB 2039,10, 2094, 2028 (pl.), ata5t 2094, at4t BarA II 494. Note the spellings in M a3ta5t Prov. 27,18 (U 1852 A5ta5t, corrected 1954 h5ta5t with soft [†]) and in U A37t5t Judges 9,10 (A37t58tl !).11, Cant. 2,13, Is. 34,4, Hab. 3,17, also pron. E7t5t (M E8t5t) with soft [†], apparently as evidence of a dissimilation of dentals in the U text (i 2). a_òT§aIÉT ‘conscience’ Acts 23,1 (good), 24,16 (clean), Hebr. 10,22 (bad) etc.; LdS 213,22 (stated to be with hard [t]), cf. aT§aIT BO ii 193 bottom of page (clear), Oatboƒ OaT§aItbæw Aoykæ© AobElb iii i 568a, iii ii 808. Hardly borrowed from Akk. têrtu ‘message, order, decree’ (i 2).

133

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

k Greek and Latin o As was shown above (2d and 3e), Syriac borrowed a set of unaspirated consonants from Greek extending at the same time the environments of its native fricatives /v £ π x f †/ to occur also in word initial position in Greek words and proper names. Syriac also borrowed a vowel o rendering Greek o and w, and Latin o. However, with this vowel the correspondence between the two varieties of Syriac is by far not so regular as with Early Syriac § (above i). The less regular correspondence suggests that the vowel was primarily a feature of educated pronunciation and that in a number of lexical items it was not distinguished from ordinary o±. In Late Classical Syriac the vowel has a limited distribution. It only occurs in final closed syllables (1) and in non-final open syllables (2). In non-final closed syllables both dialects have u, though not without exceptions (3). The vowel does not occur in word final position. In environments (1, 2), it neatly contrasts with the reflex of Early Classical o±, as in the exception to the above rule AonwUm¸Ih, ES a3nUm7g5h ‘governor’ and in imperfect forms like VwUµ√en, ES 7BU8t7k4n. (1) Nwoyìlè˛næwEa, ES NUyl6Gn6o5a ‘gospel’ Mark 1,1 etc. < Greek ejuangevlion, SwOlwà˙, ES `sUlo3p as in Acts 13,7 etc. < Pau@loı, Sworfè˙, ES `sUrj6p 1 Peter 1,1, 2 Peter 1,1 < Pevtroı vs. Nwuy¸El, ES NUe7G4l ‘legion’ Mark 5,9 < Greek legewvn, Latin legio (stem legion-).

2

(2) Aè˙¨woqsì˙Ea, ES a5pUqs4p6a ‘bishops’ Acts 20,28 < Greek ejpivskopoı (sg.), compare further AæyinwOlwoq, ES a3ynUlUq ‘(Roman) colony’ 16,12 < Greek kolwniva, Latin colonia vs. AonwUm¸Ih, ES a3nUm7g5h ‘governor’ (above j s.v.). (3) Aos§wU¸ Oa, ES a3sru7g3a ‘field’ Matt. 27,8. etc. < Greek ajgrovı, AIfswoqifnè˙, ES a5jsuq5jn6p ‘Pentecost’ (above j s.v.) and SwOfnò˙, ES `sUjnup in Acts 2,9, 1 Peter 1,1 < Povntoı and SwoyIfnò˙, ES `sUyjn6p Luke 3,1, 1 Tim. 6,13 < Povntioı, Latin Pontius. It is uncertain if there is a direct connection between this vowel as a feature of Late Syriac educated pronunciation and the particular Greek o of the vowel notation of Jacob of Edessa (above b [8c] and c end of section). In modern Turoyo, the o reflex of the ancient vowel only survives in the traditional reading of the classical language and in names of high clerics and some terms related to the sphere of the 134

5. VOWELS

church. Thus one may find Written Turoyo forms like I¸naµiyos and ortodoks, ortodoksoyo in contrast to efisqufo, efësqufo ‘bishop’ (2) and the common personal names Fawlus and Feµrus (1). l Summary of chapter 5 Late Classical East Syriac had a six term inventory of vowels evenly distributed into three front vowels and three back vowels, as follows: high mid low

i e a

u o ã

Early Classical Syriac had an additional set of mid vowels, front § (5i) and back o±. However, there is no conclusive evidence for higher-mid § and lower-mid o (5k) in East Syriac, and these entities may never have existed in the eastern dialect. In East Syriac of the post-classical period a and ã merged to a under Arabic influence (5h), thus resulting in a five term inventory of vowels identical with that of dialectal Arabic. In the Late Classical period, West Syriac § and i had merged to i, o± and u had merged to u, and ã had changed to o and merged with the foreign o thus resulting in a five term inventory of vowels identical with that of post-classical East Syriac, but with a somewhat different etymological distribution of vowels. For details, see above (5a). The seventh century grammarian Jacob of Edessa is said to have created vowel symbols for Syriac. The available data suggest that in Early Classical Syriac of the seventh century both short and long vowels were permissible in non-final syllables, whereas there was no such distinction in open syllables. There is no evidence for vowels in final closed syllables. A characteristic western feature is the use of the vowel letter # in the diphthong aw of +T+w#lc ‘prayers’ as against eastern a73t3o3lc. The corresponding singular +t‰lc (WS aO‡wUlc, ES a73tUlc) shows that West Syriac œ% had not yet merged with ü as in Late Classical West Syriac. Final = is very common in plural forms. It also occurs in +t=rx ‘other’ (f. sg.), showing that Early Syriac ¶ had not yet merged with ï as in later West Syriac. +, the only vowel symbol not taken over from Greek, is common as rendering the 135

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

ending of the determinate state of masculine nouns and adjectives. Apparently the vowel was felt to be different from # a and unlike any Greek vowel. This circumstance suggests that the rounding of ä well known from later West Syriac and from the tradition of Hebrew and Jewish Aramaic was under way already in Early Classical West Syriac. For details, see above (5bc). The early modern biblical prints of eastern provenience, the M and U editions, use two symbols for e vowels É* and é* . Usage is stable and allows little room for variation. Rules for the spelling of final syllables are largely morphologically conditioned (5e Rules 1 through 2b), whereas the rules for non-final syllables are largely phonologically conditioned. In final closed syllables, if written plene, a non-final consonant has É* as in the particle re5g and the pronoun ˆe5n4a. Elsewhere in final closed syllables, morphology requires the same vowel in the Pe‘al participle I5x3r, but é* in the Pa‘el participle K4l6hm. Non-final open syllables have É* and non-final closed syllables have é* including cases of virtual lengthening (5e Rule 3c). The concept of kernel forms (5e beginning of section) is crucial for applying the morphologically conditioned rules. Thus plural forms of the imperfect like Nul7ka5n and Nul7ka5t have É* because they are derived from a kernel form ØU7ka5n with an initial open syllable. Cases of virtual lengthening like the kernel form ØUw4n have the vowel é* in spite of their initial open syllable. The origin of these conventional rules of orthography can be traced back to the ninth century Masora manuscript Add. 12138. Although the manuscript applies the rules to a large extend, a number of exceptions show that the rules were not absolute and that variation between the symbols for e vowels was largely free. The later dictionaries by Bar Ali and Bar Bahlul permit the same type of free variation. The combined evidence of these sources shows that the use of the symbols for e vowels did not reflect a corresponding distinction of vowels in the underlying spoken form of the language. There was only one e vowel, and vowel length was predictable and non-phonemic in Late East Syriac. For details, see above (5efg).

136

6 THE AUXILIARY VOWEL a The statement by Bar Hebraeus: West Syriac In Classical Syriac the so-called shewa vowel well known from the Jewish traditions of Hebrew and Aramaic has long since disappeared, though it has left several reflexes. One of these reflexes is entirely predictable. The reduction to zero of shewa created medial clusters of three consonants (-CC@C- > -CCC-). These clusters were dissolved by the insertion of a secondary and automatic vowel after the first member of the cluster (-CCC- > -CVCC-). Bar Hebraeus has a lengthy description of eastern usage quoting many examples and some exceptions to his rules. In this evidence, particularly in the conditioned variations in eastern pronunciation, he sees a confirmation of his own western usage that “a quiescent (letter) does not occur with another quiescent unless it is vocalized (AghTT).”199 The insertion of an auxiliary vowel even occurs across a word boundary. As an example Bar Hebraeus quotes Matt. 5,1: Aj¨nkl Åwjy ‘y© azx dk ‘when Jesus saw the crowds.’200 He expressly states that Å has an auxiliary vowel. It is important here to note that this word boundary is not marked by a distinctive accent in fully vocalized biblical texts (cf. 2d). The word boundary is, therefore, orthographical rather than phonological. The auxiliary vowel (Anyghm Aåwz) is rvãæã as in atbêqn ‘female’ (i.e. aO†›qEn ) and atbqèå (sic) ‘heel’ (i.e. aO†vqEå).201 In the WS form /neqb†o/ the consonant cluster /qb†/ was split up by inserting an automatic auxiliary vowel e after its first member. 199 BdS

II 20 (translation), Syriac text in LdS 200,12f. BdS II 15 (translation), Syriac text in LdS 198,8f. 201 BdS II 16 (translation), Syriac text in LdS 198,18. 200

137

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In the same passage, Bar Hebraeus mentions an auxiliary vowel with taw in rmaêTa ‘it was said’, râsaêTa ‘it was bound’ and in ÅdyTa ‘it was known.’ The auxiliary vowel in consonant clusters like †‚m and †‚s changes to a full vowel in /†Ωm/ and /†Ωs/, since ‚ is impermissible in syllable final position and disappears. The first syllable is now open, but virtually closed and has a short vowel. Thus the brevis diacritic in e†Ωmar and e†Ωsar indicates that the preceding syllable has a short vowel, even though it is open. In the last example, the auxiliary vowel merges with the medial consonant of the cluster †yπ to form a full long vowel [i:]. In the first virtually closed syllable, the short vowel is now non-predictable and has to be marked as in Ω†iπa„. Bar Hebraeus’ analysis of these vowels is supported by standard East Syriac biblical orthography which marks them as auxiliary. For the East Syriac documentation, see below (cd). b The statement by Bar Hebraeus: East Syriac Both varieties of Syriac share the feature of inserting an automatic auxiliary vowel after the first consonant of medial three-consonant clusters. Whereas in West Syriac the auxiliary vowel appears in all such clusters, East Syriac is more conservative, and the auxiliary vowel only appears in connection with specific consonants. It seems that East Syriac usage was not entirely uniform, though the various traditions agreed on inserting an auxiliary vowel in connection with „ and the sonorous consonants l, m, n, r. Or as Bar Hebraeus states: Among the Easterners (Ayb¨wc) some know five letters to be pronounced with auxiliary vowels (atyny^ghm), viz. the letters Lå N rm, others six, the letters hnm Lèåò§, still others seven, the letters Xrn hlmå, and still others nine, the letters Nw§ha Ylåm, that is, they exclude ty¿x and add the three vowels (i.e. Y w a). They further state that these (letters), if silent, have silent (letters) preceding them pronounced with auxiliary vowels (‘yg^hm), i.e. they are vocalized (‘å¨yzm). Others than these are unvocalized (‘ƒhRm), that is if silent they appear next to (lit. meet) each other (BdS II 16, LdS 198).

The symbol for an auxiliary vowel is a small horizontal line under the letter (Syriac term Aonoy˛Æhm), whereas absence of vowel is marked by a similar small horizontal line but over the letter (Syriac 138

6. THE AUXILIARY VOWEL

term AonOƒhrÆm). It should be noted, however, that the use of these symbols is not obligatory. Words with auxiliary vowels are very often unmarked. (1) As second consonant of a three-consonant cluster, „ or one of the sonorous consonants l, m, n, r inserts a preceding auxiliary vowel. Among other examples Bar Hebraeus quotes the following: for „ ‘whåø§a ‘their land’ and for the sonorous consonants atlØx© ‘fear’, atmøkx ‘wisdom’, Axndøm ‘east’ and AyrØjm ‘dwelling’ (BdS II 16-18, LdS 198f.). In a historical perspective, it is very likely that insertion of an auxiliary vowel started in this particular environment and that the auxiliary vowel before one of the sonorous consonants expressed a syllabic element of that consonant rather than a true vowel. Parallels from modern spoken Turoyo perhaps best illustrate the phenomenon. In Turoyo, the short neutral vowel @ appears as a syllabic element of a word final l, m, n, r as in komïr ‘he says’ and koxïl ‘he eats’ pronounced without vowel, but with final syllabic r and l. As in ancient Syriac orthography modern speakers perceive the syllabic element as a vowel, and my informant transcribed these forms as komır and koxıl, compare Written Turoyo komër and koxël. The same syllabic element expresses an auxiliary vowel in three-consonant clusters, if the second consonant of the cluster is one of the sonorous consonants as in ma\˛ïrwono ‘alcoholic’ and ma\kïlyono ‘striker (worker)’ (both derived from Af.) for phonemic /ma˛rwono/ and /maklyono/. However in connection with laryngeal „, Bar Hebraeus mentions a few exceptions that are problematic: Nwhåb¿wq ‘their cap’ and Nwhåb¿w§ ‘their fourth (part)’ (BdS II 19, LdS 199,29f., 200,1). In both examples the medial laryngeal appears after /uv/ and one suspects this pair to be responsible for the unexpected form. Bar Hebraeus gives a piece of information that leads to a solution. He states that in ¥vwg§a ‘stone mason’ and ¥vwx ‘compensation’ some Easterners do not pronounce be† (reference above 3d toward end of section). Accordingly, the sequence /uv/ before consonant was pronounced [u:]. The sequence [u:$h] in the two exceptions had no longer a three-consonant cluster and did not require an auxiliary vowel. For further exceptions in clusters of the type „mC, see below (d [5]).

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(2) Some authorities add h to the consonants attracting an auxiliary vowel, as in a§hønm ‘shines’ (Af. ptc., BdS II 18, LdS 199,17). (3) Other authorities further add ˛, but according to Bar Hebraeus only in the noun atxØb© ‘sacrifice, offering’ as against Nwkx¿ln ‘they will lick’, Nwhxj¿m ‘their ointment’, Nwhx§¿wa ‘their way’ and Nwhxb¿wj ‘their praise’ (BdS II 19, LdS 199,28-31). (4) Still other authorities add the ‘vowels’ Y w a, but exclude ˛. The issue of auxiliary vowels in forms like rmèaTa and ÅdìyTa was discussed above in connection with virtually closed syllables (a) and need not be taken up here. The consonant w, as distinct from the vowels spelled w, behaves like the other consonants under discussion and requires an auxiliary vowel as second consonant of a three-consonant cluster. Among other examples, Bar Hebraeus mentions Nwhwøzx ‘their appearance’ and the rare Af „el derivatives a§øwxm ‘whitish, pale’ and AnywØhm ‘creator’ (BdS II 18, LdS 199,22f.). Bar Hebraeus mentions two isolated cases without auxiliary vowels: Nwh§w¿c ‘their neck’ and Nwh§w¿T ‘their ox’ (BdS II 19, LdS 200,1). The evidence of later biblical prints supports his statement, though the usage is not limited to a few cases. It occurs in a specific environment, in three-consonant clusters of the structure wCC which, as a rule, do not show insertion of an auxiliary vowel. For the later biblical evidence, see below (d). (5) According to Bar Hebraeus, other clusters of three consonants do not permit auxiliary vowels. He mentions nouns like Axbd¿m ‘altar’ and atkl¿m ‘queen’ and verbs like rmg¿Ta ‘it was finished’ and Nwdbå¿n ‘they will do’ (BdS II 19, LdS 200,5-8). There is now a small residue of forms stated as exceptions by Bar Hebraeus. Apparently against the rules, Anƒhr¿m – perhaps not incidentally the technical term for absence of auxiliary vowel – and Andmå¿m ‘(John) the Baptist’ have no auxiliary vowels (BdS II 19, LdS 199,32). To the best of my knowledge, the former term does not occur in a vocalized biblical text, but the few attested Pe„al and Af „el verbal forms from the same root are either unmarked or marked as having an auxiliary vowel (exception Hebr. 12,1 with Anƒhrm). The latter term is well attested in the New Testament, and spellings are, without exception, marked as lacking an auxiliary vowel. In the New Testament, Pe„al and Af „el verbal forms from 140

6. THE AUXILIARY VOWEL

this root are either unmarked or marked as lacking an auxiliary vowel. The only Old Testament example (Num. 31,23 M with Anyghm) is an exception. For details, see below (d [5]). c The early East Syriac biblical evidence The early pre-modern biblical evidence available to me comes from the East Syriac Masoretic text BM Add. 12138 (dated 899 A.D.) (i.e. W/L, 1c 1) belonging to the early period of Late Classical East Syriac. By and large, the use of the symbols Anyghm indicating an auxiliary vowel and Anƒhrm indicating absence of an auxiliary vowel is the same as with Bar Hebraeus. As already stated by Weiss,202 it is important to note that the statement by Bar Hebraeus already applies to East Syriac usage of the ninth century. However, the older use of the symbol for auxiliary vowel as it appears in the Masoretic text is somewhat wider than with Bar Hebraeus. In connection with two-consonant clusters, it functions as a warning to the reader of an unusual form often adding one of the symbols for an e vowel. It even functions as an indication that a medial consonant should not be pronounced, as in Ø4zUaØlo ‘and Uzal’ W 5b22, L p. 10 (Gen. 10,27). The modern biblical editions M and U have Ø5zUalo supporting the old reading. With two-consonant clusters, the sublinear line diacritic marks an unusual vocalization of Ø or e as in a3eØ3m4lr6w ‘Adullamite’ W 18a18, L p. 35 (Gen. 38,1), W 18a26 (Gen. 38,12), W 18b6, L p. 36 (Gen. 38,20), and 7tøUy7bn ‘Nebaioth’ W 11a25, L p. 21 (Gen. 25,13), W 13a2, L p. 25 (Gen. 28,9), W 16b29, L p. 32 (Gen. 36,3). In the foreign word for ‘hip’ a3eiøn4g W 15b20, L p. 30 (Gen. 32,32) and a3eøi7n4g W 15b22 (ib.), it indicates a full vowel as in later a3ei4n4g (MU), i.e. genneßyã. In this position an auxiliary vowel is not permitted. With three-consonant clusters usage conforms to the majority rule set up by Bar Hebraeus (above b [1]). According to the statistics given by Weiss (p. 24) and based on his own notes on Genesis

`

202 Akzentlehre

p. 25.

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

and those of G. Diettrich203 on Isaiah, diacritics marking auxiliary vowels are common with „ and the sonorous consonants l, m, n, r. They are also fairly common with ‚ as the second consonant of a cluster, as in the participles Ø4køa7t5m W 4a17, L p. 7 (Gen. 6,21) and r6møa7t5m 5b1, L p. 10 (Gen. 10,9) (cf. b [4]). Weiss (p. 23 top) mentioned one case of an auxiliary vowel before ˛ in NU7kxørual ‘your journey’ W 8b13, L p. 16 (Gen. 19,2). This example contrasts with the statement on ˛ by Bar Hebraeus (b [3]). It is possibly an error on the part of the ancient scribe. The example is not supported by the later text tradition. Relevant parallels in the later M and U editions are unmarked, with only two cases having Anƒhrm in NUh!xrua Prov. 12,26 and Ezek. 36,17 (both M). A feature not mentioned by Weiss is the absence of an auxiliary vowel before the second consonant of clusters of the type yCC in a37to¿e6x ‘animal’ W 1b23, L p. 2, W 2a5, L p. 3, W 2b6, L p. 4, W 5a7, L p. 9 (Gen. 1,24.28, 3,1, 9,2). This example is confirmed by later biblical evidence, for which see below (d [4j]). The case is reminiscent of a similar exception to the general rule in the environment wCC (above b [4]). For further documentation, see below (d subsections [1-6]). d The late East Syriac biblical evidence The late biblical documentation for the statements on auxiliary vowels in sections (bc) above will be taken from the Mosul (M) and Urmia (U) editions. The arrangement of the data will follow the numbering in the two sections. As in the section on lexical items with § (5j) no word statistics are given, except that the abbreviation ‘etc.’ after a reference means that there are five or more attestations. (1) The main rule requires that an auxiliary vowel be inserted before the second member of a three-consonant cluster, if that consonant is „ or one of the sonorous consonants l, m, n, r. Compare: (1a) NUhwør6a ‘their land’ Is. 2,7 (twice).8 etc. (U often unmarked); Acts 13,19. Massorah der östlichen und der westlichen Syrer zum Propheten Jesaias (London 1897, inaccessible to me). 203

142

6. THE AUXILIARY VOWEL

(1b) a73tløx$d ‘fear, feared god’ Gen. 31,53, 1 Kings 11,5.7 etc.; Mark 4,41, 9,5 etc. (1c) (1d)

a73tØm7k4x ‘wisdom’ Prov. 1,2.7 etc.; Luke 2,40, 7,35 etc. a3xønD6m ‘east’ Gen. 10,30, 11,2 etc.; Matt. 2,1.2.9 etc. h5erøi6m ‘his dwelling’ Is. 22,16, 33,16, 57,15 etc. (often

(1e) unmarked in U); det. in Ps. 26,8, 46,4, Job 21,28 (all unmarked in U), Mark 14,14, Luke 22,11, Philemon 22. To the best of my knowledge, there is no biblical evidence to support or to refuse the exceptions in connection with laryngeal „ mentioned by Bar Hebraeus (above b [1]). For free variation in the marking of Anyghm and Anƒhrm in clusters of the type „mC, see below (5). A feature not mentioned by Bar Hebraeus is the absence of an auxiliary vowel in clusters of the type Cmy. It is already attested in the early Masoretic W/L text (1f) and supported by the unanimous evidence of the late M edition (1g). Only the U edition can provide a few markings for an auxiliary vowel (1h). (1f) En6emo3a ‘he let me swear’ W 10b23, L p. 20 (Gen. 24,37), W 23b30, L p. 46 (Gen. 50,5), cf. W 24a4, L p. 47 (Gen. 50,6, suff. 2. m. sg.). (1g) h5emr6a ‘he threw it’ Ex. 4,3, 15,25 etc., 4t6emr6a Gen. 39,7, Num. 11,31 etc. (3. f. sg.). (1h) ed.).

h5eØmr6a Dan. 8,7 U, HueØmr6a Jer. 37,4 U (both unmarked in 1852

This usage is restricted to m in the environment Cmy, it does not occur with the other consonants mentioned at the beginning of this section. Compare, for example, En6eØwj6a ‘it (serpent) deceived me’ Gen. 3,13 (W 2b16, L p. 4), En3n3e2ørq4t a3l ‘do not call me’ Ruth 1,20 (L 163R15, unmarked in U) and the examples above (1e). (2) Some authorities add h to the list of consonants requiring an auxiliary vowel, cf. (2a) ˆyrhøn6m ‘light(s)’ (Af. ptc. pl.) Gen. 1,15, Ex. 25,37 etc.; Matt. 5,15, Luke 12,35 etc. Already in L 33V8 (Ex. 25,37). (3) Some authorities add ˛ to the list, but according to Bar Hebraeus only in one case. Compare and contrast: 143

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

(3a) a73tøx7b$d ‘sacrifice’ Gen. 31,54, Ex. 12,27 etc. (some cases unmarked in MU); Matt. 9,13, 12,7 etc. Already in L 37R10 (Ex. 34, 25). (3b) Nu7k!xl4n ‘they will lick’ Is. 49,23, Micah 7,17, Ps. 72,9. Unmarked in L 183V8 (Is. 49,23). (3c) NUh!xi4m ‘their oil’ Ps. 4,7, cf. Deut. 12,17 (M, suff. 2. m. pl.) and Matt. 25,8 (2. f. pl.). Unmarked in L 125R11 (Ps. 4,7). The evidence of the later M and U texts appears to support the statement by Bar Hebraeus that the auxiliary vowel in (3a) is an exception to the rule. Other examples of ˛ in this environment are regularly marked as having no auxiliary vowel. Compare the following forms: (3d) Hoyr!x7b4t ‘you will test him’ Job 7,18; Nur!x7b4t ‘you will (not) perceive’ Acts 28,26, Rom. 11,8 (3. p. m. pl.). Unmarked in Num. 5,24 (inf.). (3e) K3m!xr4n ‘he will love you’ Deut. 7,13, 13,17 (both unmarked in U), Prov. 9,8; Hoym!xr4n ‘he will love him’ Mark 12,33, John 14,23.21 (1. p. sg.); Num!xr4t ‘you shall love’ Deut. 11,13.22, Ps. 62,10 (all unmarked in U), Zech. 8,17. Num!xr4n ‘they shall pity/love’ 1 Kings 8,50 M; 1 Tim. 3,8, 1 John 2,15 (2. p. m. pl.). Unmarked in Gen. 29,32 (W 13b8, L p. 26) and Titus 2,4. The Urmia edition tends to mark the presence of an auxiliary vowel or its absence to a much lesser extent than does the Mosul edition. However, the former text marks the vowel in a few cases, either due to coincidence or error. Contrast: (3f) Nul!xD4n Is. 25,3, Jer. 51,44 (both M) vs. NuølxD4n (U, 1852 ed. d unmarked). Num!xr4n 1 Kings 8,50 (M) vs. Numøxr4n (U, unmarked in 1852 ed.). (4) Some authorities add the ‘vowels’ Y w a, but exclude ˛. Compare the biblical forms (4a-d) below: (4a) r6møa7t4a ‘it was said’ Joshua 2,2, Dan. 8,26; Matt. 1,22, 5,21.27 etc. Already marked in L 301R12 (Hebr. 7,13), unmarked in 281V34 (Rom. 11,4), cf. also or6søa7t5a 176V25 (Is. 22,3).

144

6. THE AUXILIARY VOWEL

`

(4b) w6dy7t4a ‘it was known’ Gen. 41,21, Ex. 21,36 (U); Mark. 6,14, Luke 24,35 etc. Unmarked in W 19b18, L p. 38 (Gen. 41,21). But w6dy7øt4a Ex. 21,36, Rom. 16,25 (unmarked in L 283V23) (both M). Compare also D4ly7øt4a ‘he was born’ Gen. 4,18.26 (unmarked in U) etc.; Matt. 26,24, John 9,32, Hebr. 11,23, 1 John 3,9.

`

(4c) NUhoøz4x ‘their appearance’ Lam. 4,8 (MU); Ezek. 10,22, Nahum 2,4, Dan. 1,4 (all M), more common with suffix 3. f. pl. Gen. 41,2.3.4 (twice) etc. (all M). Already W 19b2, L p. 38 (Gen. 41,2). (4d)

a3roØx6m ‘whitish’ Lev. 13,24 (M), already L 42R21.

The biblical evidence shows that some examples quoted by Bar Hebraeus for the consonant w are not exceptions, but are predictable and conform to a phonological pattern. The first member of a three-consonant cluster wCC or yCC does not require an auxiliary vowel, even if the medial consonant is one of the consonants mentioned above (1) and (2). However, for the environments (1) and (2) biblical usage is divided. Most spellings are unmarked (4ef). Relatively few spellings mark the presence of an auxiliary vowel with Anyghm (4gh), while others mark the non-presence of this vowel with Anƒhrm. (4ij). Compare: (4e) Hul8ko3a ‘let him eat’ (imp. pl.) 1 Kings 22,27, 2 Chron. 18,26, Dan. 5,21 (pf. pl.). a73t73b2ho3m ‘gifts’ Gen. 24,53, 25,6, 34,12 (W 16a16, L p. 31) etc.; Matt. 7,11, Luke 11,13 etc. a73tmo3q ‘stature, posture’ Lev. 26,13, 1 Sam. 16,7 etc. vs. marked in (4i). a5b2ro3r ‘large’ Gen. 1,16 (W1b17, L p. 2), 21 etc. vs. marked in (4g); Mark 13,2, Luke 21,11 etc. Always unmarked in L 26V20 (Ex. 7,4), 63R18 (Deut. 4,34), 85R5 (Judges 5,16 abs.), 268V8 (Acts 8,10). (4f) NUh8te6b ‘their house’ 1 Sam. 1,19; Acts 18,26, 1 Cor. 16,19, 1 Tim. 5,4, Rom. 16,5. NUhle6x ‘their strength’ 1 Chron. 12,21, 23,5 etc.; 1 Cor. 4,19, 2 Cor. 8,3 (twice), cf. Joel 2,22 (suff. f. pl.), ˆ3q2ne6m ‘those suckling’ (Af. ptc. f. pl.) Is. 40,11; Mark 13,17, Luke 21,23 vs. both items marked in (4h). Nunme6ht ‘you will believe’ John 6,29, 20,31 etc. vs. marked in (4j). a3nme6hm ‘faithful, believing’ Gen. 37,36 (W 18a16, L p. 35), 1 Kings 11,38 etc.; Matt. 24,45, Luke 12,42 etc. Unmarked in L 240R11.21 (Matt. 24,45, 25,21), 254R14.15 (Luke 16,11.12), 265V11 (John 20,27), 278R34 (1 Peter 5,12), 284V28 (1 Cor. 4,17), 296V38 (1 Tim. 1,12).

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(4g) a5b2røo3r Ex. 6,6, 7,4 etc., ˚73trøo3a ‘he has let you inherit, take possession’ Judges 11,24, Hoy7tøro3t ‘you shall let it inherit’ Joshua 1,6 (all unmarked in U). Unmarked in L 26V20 (Ex. 7,4), 87V17 (Judges 11,24) and 74R33 (Joshua 1,6). (4h) NUhløe6x Ps. 49,6, 109,10 etc., unmarked in L 130R25 (Ps. 49,6), 284V30 (1 Cor. 4,19), a3nmøe6hm 1 Sam. 2,35, 8,15 (pron.), NU7knøe6w 11,2 ‘your eye’, ˆ3q2nøe6m Gen. 33,13 (W 15b28, L p. 30, unmarked), 1 Sam. 6,7.10 (all unmarked in U); Matt. 24,19. (4i) NU7kr!o3c ‘your neck’ Micah 2,3 (M), unmarked in U and Jer. 27,12 (MU). a73t!mo3q ‘stature’ Eph. 4,13, Luke 2,52 (pron.) etc., unmarked in L 234R18 (Matt. 6,27), 252V29 (Luke 12,25), 254V28 (Luke 19,3). (4j) a73t!oe6x ‘animal’ Gen. 1,24.26.28 etc. (all M marked except Joel 1,20 [1951 ed. error!], often unmarked in U); Rev. 4,7 (four times), 6,3.5 etc. Nun!me6ht John 4,48, 8,24 etc. For the spelling a37to¿e6x in the W/L Masora, see above (c end of section). (5) The statement by Bar Hebraeus that other clusters of three consonants do not require auxiliary vowels is confirmed by biblical evidence (5ab). (5a) a3x8bD6m ‘altar’ Gen. 8,20 (twice, 2o W 5a1, L p. 9), Gen. 12,7 (W 6a22, L p. 11).8, 13,8 etc. (all unmarked); Matt. 5,23.24, 23,18.19 etc. (all unmarked). a73t8kl6m ‘queen’ Esther 1,9.11.12 etc. (all unmarked); Matt. 12,42, Luke 11,31, Acts 8,27, Rev. 18,7.

8

(5b) r6mg7t4a ‘it was finished’ 2 Chron. 27,3; Hebr. 5,9 (‘made perfect’). NuD8bw4n ‘they will make/do’ Ex. 25,8.10, 27,8 etc. (all unmarked); Luke 2,27, 6,31 etc. (all unmarked). Bar Hebraeus mentions two apparent exceptions to his rule, viz.

Anƒhrm and Andmåm. However, in the spelling of derivatives of the

underlying roots biblical usage is divided, as it is with the clusters wCC or yCC (above [4]). Compare the following forms (5c-g):

(5c) Pe. NujØhr4n ‘they will run’ Is. 55,5 (unmarked in U 1852 ed.), Joel 2,9 (both MU); 1 Sam. 8,11, Is. 40,31, Joel 2,7 (all unmarked in U), Wisdom of Solomon 3,7 (M). Contrast Hoyj!hr4n Hebr. 12,1 (‘run to trial’). Already marked as having an auxiliary vowel in L 184V20 (Is. 55,5 ), 189R23 (Joel 2,7), 93V13 (1 Sam. 8,11), 181R26 (Is. 40,31), and also 302V19 (Hebr. 12,1). 146

6. THE AUXILIARY VOWEL

(5d) Af. Hujhr6a ‘they brought him’ (lit. let him run) Gen. 41,14 (spelled Øh W 19b14, L p. 38). (5e) a3n3D!mw6m ‘(John) the Baptist’ Mark 6,14.24.25 etc. (all marked), in 8,28 PG crit. app. Mas. 1 unmarked (L 244V4). Also unmarked in L 250R19 (Luke 7,20). (5f) Pe. NuD!mw4t ‘you will be baptized’ (lit. will submerge) Matt. 20,22 (PG crit. app. Mas. 1 unmarked, L 238V9).23, Mark 10,38 (PG crit. app. Mas. 1 Nüßm¿å¿T).204 39 etc. (all marked).

7

(5g) Af. t5d8mw6a ‘I baptized’ 1 Cor. 1,14.15.16 (twice); h5d!mw6a ‘he baptized him’ Acts 8,38, contrast HuDmØw6a ‘submerge it (in water)’ Num. 31,23 (L 58V27 unmarked with marginal note ‘do not pronounce’ [auxiliary vowel], U unmarked). Example (5g) shows that the Bar Hebraeus rule (1) above only partially applies to three consonant clusters of the type „mC. This state of evidence is confirmed by examples of other words of the same structure. In some cases the texts mark the absence of an auxiliary vowel, in other cases they mark the presence of one. Compare (5h-j): (5h) NulmØw4td ‘that you take trouble’ Rom. 15,30 (M), L 283R19 with marginal note ‘pronounce’ (auxiliary vowel). (5i) NurmØw4n ‘they will stay’ Ps. 56,6, Prov. 10,30 (both U unmarked) vs. Nur!mw4n Is. 16,4, Ezek. 34,25, Joel 3,17 (all U unmarked). Unmarked in L 130V33 (Ps. 56,6), 175V13 (Is. 16,4). (5j) ˚3rmØw6m ‘your habitation’ Gen. 17,8, 28,4 etc. (often marked in MU), see also 1 Sam. 2,32, 1 Kings 8,30 etc. (M) vs. ˚3rm!w6m (U); a3r!mw6m Rev. 18,2, unmarked in Eph. 2,22 (M) and Deut. 26,15 (U). Unmarked in W 12b24, L p. 24 (Gen. 28,4) and L 92R31 (1 Sam. 2,32), L 293R10 (Eph. 2,22), L 74R6 (Deut. 33,27, with suff. 3. m. sg.). (6) In addition to the usages listed above (3-5), the supralinear Anƒhrm indicates the non-presence of an auxiliary vowel a number Item marked in the text by a red line (lin. rubra) and in margin by a note ‘do not pronounce’ (an auxiliary vowel). Text in L 245R25. 204

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of times in other combinations of three-consonant clusters, though it is not very frequent except with p (6a), q (6b) and å (6c) as the medial consonant. It is much less common with s (6d) and other consonants. All cases in U are unmarked. Compare for example: (6a) Nu7kp!h4n ‘they will return’ Is. 51,11, Jer. 3,19 (2. p. m. pl.), Nu7k!ph4n 2 Chron. 7,14, Ezek. 13,22, Deut. 3,20 (2. p. m. pl.); Matt. 2,12, 7,6 etc. Nurp!x4n ‘they will be put to shame’ Ps. 71,24, Micah 3,7, Is. 45,17 (2. p. m. pl.). Unmarked in L 234R23 (Matt. 7,6), 274R17 (Acts 23,32), 298V20 (2 Tim. 4,4, Af.).

(6b) Nul!qi4n ‘they will take’ Is. 15,7, 30,6 etc. `l4j!q7t4n ‘he will be killed’ Lam. 2,20, Dan. 9,26 (otherwise unmarked in M); Matt. 16,21, Rev. 13,10 (unmarked in Mark 8,31); contrast `l4jøqt4n in 1 Kings 2,24 (M, but unmarked in L 109V20). Also unmarked in W 11b25, L p. 22 with marginal note ‘do not pronounce’ (auxiliary vowel) (Gen. 26,11) and else in L 215R21 (Lam. 2,20) and 230V29 (Dan. 9,26). (6c) Nupj!x4n ‘they will seize’ Job 24,9; `y7b!jc4a ‘he was pleased’ 1 Cor. 10,5, a4l!jc4n ‘we will (not) turn aside’ Hebr. 10,23, Hoyl!jq4n ‘he will kill him’ Deut. 19,12.13 (2. p.) (often unmarked in M); Acts 23,15; Matt. 17,22, 26,4 etc. (all pl.). Unmarked in L 286R15 (1 Cor. 10,5), 302R11 (Hebr. 10,23), 68R16 (Deut. 19,12). (6d) H2o3ns!x6m ‘his loins’ Is. 15,4, already NUuhs¿n7EGl ‘of their kind’ W 1b21, L p. 2 (Gen. 1,21, MU unmarked); Nuq!sp4t ‘you shall cut off’ Luke 6,35, Gal. 5,12 (3. p. m. pl.). Otherwise unmarked in L 175V5 (Is. 15,4), 249V32 (Luke 6,35), 292R25 (Gal. 5,12). The circumstance that this use of the diacritic appears to be absent from the Urmia edition (U) and rare in the old W/L text (dated 899) suggests that it is a relatively late feature in the Mosul edition (M) and intended as a warning against a mispronunciation of specific word forms. e Shift of auxiliary vowels to full vowels In Late Classical Syriac some auxiliary vowels shifted to full vowels. The development seems a fairly late one, since in some cases word forms differ between the two varieties of the language, and since it has left specific imprints in eastern biblical orthography. A further argument for a late date is the fact that the vowel e in the second 148

6. THE AUXILIARY VOWEL

component of numbers 11-19 is rare in the eastern Masora text B.M. Add. 12138 (W/L dated 899, 1c 1). In a large majority of cases the text does not mark any vowel in relevant forms (see below f ). As mentioned in a preceding section (above a end of section), Bar Hebraeus interprets the vowel Ω in rmaêTa e†Ωmar and râsaêTa e†Ωsar and i in ÅdyTa Ω†iπa„ as auxiliary.205 In the following passage, he adds some examples of an auxiliary vowel a (Axtp) in aT§ædx ‘surrounding wall,’ aT§æzg ‘island,’ atqàlèå ‘leech’ and atqàrèå ‘leathern strap or rein.’ Compare the corresponding biblical evidence: (1) (2)

a3tr6d3x a3tr6z3g a37tq6rw

1 Kings 6,6, Sir. 50,3 (M), Jer. 20,2.3. Is. 20,6, 23,2.6; Acts 13,6, 20,15 etc. (WS aò˜§æzòg ).

(3) Gen. 14,23, Is. 5,18, Sir. 22,19 (M); Mark 1,6,206 Acts 21,11 (WS aO†qærEå). Compare also the following additional examples: (4) atkàlEh ‘going; footstep’ LdS 50,18 No. 51, 237,18. ES a73t7k6lh 2 S 5,24, Is. 26,6, etc. NT only pl. attested (1 John 2,6). (5) Abrqèå ‘scorpion’ LdS 237,18. ES a5b2r6qw Deut. 8,15, Ezek. 2,6; Luke 10,19, Rev. 9,3 (all pl.); a73br6qw Luke 11,12,207 Rev. 9,5.10 (M pl.) (WS AovræqEå). A different pattern appears in (6) below. The vowel pattern is irregular and shows that the second vowel is an old auxiliary vowel. (6) a37tq6z4w ‘ring’ Esther 3,10; 8,2.8.10 (in the last three cases U has 3t i.e. {t}) etc.; Luke 15,22 (see also preceding note, WS aO†qezEå). Pron. already attested as ˚73tq6z5w W 18b2, L p. 36 (Gen. 38,18) with the same pattern and with {†}.

Cf. BdS II 16 and LdS 198,18-20. East Syriac form already in Mas. 1 (dated 899), West Syriac form in Mas. 2 (10th cent.) and Mas. 3 (12th cent.), see PG crit. app. 207 West Syriac form already in Mas. 2, see PG crit. app. 205 206

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Bar Hebraeus considers the vowel a in examples (1) and (2) above an auxiliary vowel, apparently because he interprets them as participial formations. Structurally these forms behave like ordinary feminine formations like aO†xærOp ‘bird’ and aO†meyoq ‘column’ (further examples in N 106) with a full vowel in the second syllable. The few differences between the two varieties of Syriac follow specific patterns. In patterns (3-5) above West Syriac preserved the old stem vowel, while East Syriac lost it and made the old auxiliary vowel a new stem vowel. Aramaic etymology confirms this solution. Thus a reconstructed *hilk@†ä (TargA at…K]l]hi ‘custom’ [2 Kings 11,14]) yields the Syriac forms in (4). The Targumic term for scorpion has an aberrant form (with lengthening of the last stem consonant), but Semitic etymology unambiguously points to *„aqrab- > Aramaic *„aqrabä yielding the Syriac forms in (5), though the first stem vowel *a was adjusted to the common pattern in the West Syriac form. Bar Hebraeus does not mention the slightly different pattern in (6), in which both varieties of Syriac preserved the old stem vowel as Ω. In this example too, etymology shows the second stem vowel to be an old auxiliary vowel, and a reconstructed *„izq@†ä (TargA at…q]z“[i [Gen. 38,25]) will result in the Syriac forms in (6). f Secondary vowels in numbers 11-19 As mentioned at the beginning of the preceding section (e), the medial vowel e in the second component of numbers 11-19 only rarely appears in the eastern Masora text B.M. Add. 12138, the W/L text often referred to above and the Mas. 1 of PG crit. app. (dated 899). Compare the following forms as documented in Add. 12138: (11 m.) 2r6sw6dx W 15b6, L p. 30 (two words, Gen. 32,22), L 58R26 (Num. 29,20), L 61V2 (r, Deut. 1,2); r6sw6Dx L 266R29 (Acts 1,26), L 266V6 (Acts 2,14). [Later r6sw6dx (Matt. 28,16)]. (11 f.) a5rsw6Dx L 214R30 (Jer. 52,5); L 222V21 (Ezek. 30,20), L 222V27 (Ezek. 31,1) (both two words), arsw6dx L 111R31 (1 Kings 6,38). [Later a25rs4w6dx (Matt. 20,6)]. (12 m.) r6sw24rt W 11a28, L p. 21 (Gen. 25,16), L 101R18 (2 Sam. 2,30), L 105V14 (2 Sam. 17,1) etc., r6sw25rt W 20b18, L p. 40 (Gen. 42,32), L 38R16 (Ex. 39,14), L 103R15 (2 Sam. 10,6); r6sw2r]t L 150

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260R12 (John 6,71), r6sw5rt L 243V23, PG crit. app. (Mark 6,43), L 260R14 (John 6,72); ars4w5rt L 222R29 (Ezek. 29,1). [Later r6sw4rt (Matt. 10,2)]. (12 f.) a4rsw68t2r6t L 33R11 (Ex. 24,4); L 241R3, PG crit. app. (a5r, Matt. 26,53); arsw6t2r6t L 46R7 (Lev. 24,5), a25rsw6t2r6t L 192R25 (Jonah 4,11); ar]sw,68t2r6t L 276R17 (James 1,1); a4rs7w6t2r6t L 50R23 (Num. 7,86). [Later a25rs4w6tr6t (Matt. 5,8)]. (13 m.) r6sw67t3lt L 58R24 (Num. 29,13), L 58R25 (Num. 29,14). [Later r6sw6t3lt (Num. 29,13)]. (13 f.) a24rsw67t3lt W 6b27, L p. 12 (Gen. 14,4), W 8a14, L p. 15 (a5r, Gen. 17,25), L 199R9 (Jer. 1,2), L 206R5 (a25r, Jer. 25,3). [Later a25rs4w6t3lt (Gen. 17,25)].

2r6sw76t8b2r6a L 42R5 (Lev. 12,5), L 58R25 (r6a, Lev. 29,15), r6sw76t8b2r6a L 112V3 (1 Kings 8,65), L 172R13 (Job 42,12), L 58R25 (r6a, Num. 29,15), a3rsw83br6a L 28R26 (Ex. 12,6), L 226R32 (Ezek. 45,21), a3rs7w3b2r6a L 75V4 (Joshua 5,10), a3rsøw83b2r6a L 45V8 (Lev. 23,5). [Later r6sw6t6br6a (Num. 29,20), a3rs4w6br6a Lev. 23,5)]. (14 f.) a5rsw86b2r6a L 291R23 (Gal. 2,1), L 180R19 (Is. 36,1, unvocalized), arsw6b2r6a L 121V29 (2 Kings 18,13), a5rs4w86br6a L 225R8 (Ezek. 40,1). [Later a25rs4w6br6a (Matt. 1,17)]. (15 m.) r6sw86ti4m6x L 262R1 (John 11,18), a3rsw3im6x L 30R6 (Ex. 16,1), L 59V11 (Num. 33,3), L 187V1 (a23r, Hosea 3,2), a3rsøw3im6x L 45V9 (Lev. 23,6), a3rs4w3im6x L 223R19 (Ezek. 32,17), L 226R33 (Ezek. 45,25). [Later r6sw6ti4m6x (Judges 8,10), a3rs4w6im6x (Ezek. (14 m.)

32,17)].

(15 f.) a2rsw6im6x W 4b8, L p. 8 (Gen. 7,20); a5rsw6im6x L 248R21 (Luke 3,1), L 275V4 (a25r, Acts 27,28). [Later a25rs4w6im6x (Gen. 5,10)].

r6sw76t8ti L 34R1 (Ex. 26,25), L 59R5 (Num. 31,40). [Later r6sw6t8t4i (Ex. 26,25 M)]. (16 f.) a24rsw76t8ti W 22a19, L p. 43 (Gen. 46,18), a4rsw76tti L 120V33 (2 Kings 14,21). [Later a25rs4w6t8t4i (Gen. 46,18 M)]. (17 m.) a3rs-!w73bi W 4a26, L p. 7 (Gen. 7,11), W 4b19, L p. 8 (Gen. 8,4). [Later a25rs4w6bi (Gen. 7,11)]. (18 m.) r6sw68tn3mt L 102V21 (2 Sam. 8,13), L 253R12 (Luke 13,4), L 227R18 (6t, Ezek. 48,35). [Later r6sw6tn3mt (Luke 13,4)].

(16 m.)

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(18 f.) a25rsw6n3mt L 84R9 (Judges 3,14), L 123V25 (2 Kings 23,23), L 124R6 (2 Kings 24,8), L 253R21(Luke 13,16), a4rsw6n3mt L 123R14 (2 Kings 22,3). [Later a25rs4w6n3mt Luke 13,11)]. As mentioned above, the vowel e in the second component of numbers 11-19 in this manuscript only appears a few times, either as ars4w (12 m.), a25rs4w (14 f.), or ar]sw,/a4rs7w (12 f.), a3rs7w/a3rsøw (14 m.), or a3rsøw/a3rs4w (15 m.). The number (17 m.) even appears as a3rs-!w3b7 i indicating lack of an auxiliary vowel. Thus the streams of tradition underlying the W/L Masora are not in mutual agreement. Originally, the second component must have had a medial vowel, presumably an e or i vowel as in a3rs7w ‘ten’ (W 8b9, L p. 16, W 10b12, L p. 20 etc.) and ˆy2rs7w ‘twenty’ (W 8b8, L p. 16, W 15a24, L p. 29 etc.). Apparently, the vowel was felt as an auxiliary vowel and dropped in most cases according to prevailing practice. However, it was preserved in a few cases in this manuscript and survived in the later conventional forms. If analyzed according to construction and etymology the first components of these numerals fall into three types: A. Forms in linear development from earlier reconstructed forms, B. Forms in which an earlier reconstructed auxiliary vowel has changed status to a full vowel, and C. Forms with a connecting vowel reshaped in analogy with forms in group B. For our purposes it is useful to compare Syriac and Yemenite Targumic Aramaic, since both are East Aramaic and both have preserved older forms of the numerals than the Aramaic of the Palestinian Targum and the Aramaic of both the Palestinian and the Babylonian Talmud.

152

6. THE AUXILIARY VOWEL

A. Linear development. (12 m.) r6sw24rt/r6sw5rt etc., TargA rsæ[} yret] (Gen. 25,16). The later r6sw4rt attests to a shortening of the long vowel in a closed syllable, cf. Tu. tra˛≤ar. B. Change of an auxiliary vowel to a full vowel. (11 m.) r6sw6Dx etc., TargA rsæ[} djæ (Gen. 32,22). (14 m.) r6sw76t8br6a etc., TargA rsæ[} t[æb]r“aæ (Lev. 12,5). (18 m.) r6sw68tn3mt etc., TargA rsæ[} tnæm;t] (Gen. 14,14). In (11 m.) the stem vowel of the first component was dropped and the auxiliary vowel changed to a full vowel. After loss of the first laryngeal in (14 m.) the change is regular < *arb„a†-„sar. C. Analogy. The remaining numerals are formed with a connecting vowel -a- in analogy with the forms in B as, for example, (13) r6sw67t3lt (m.) and a25rsw67t3lt (f.). The same connecting vowel -a- appears in Turoyo numerals like tlo†a˛æar ‘thirteen’ and others. In masculine forms ending in a3rsw/a3rs4w/a3rs7w/a3rsøw and a3rs-!w only attested in numerals (14, 15, 17) in the W/L Masora, the connecting vowel -a- appears as -ã- assimilated to the final vowel of the last component. The later forms (as taken from the M and U texts) have the expected connecting vowel -a-. g Summary of chapter 6 The evidence of the early Masora text BM Add. 12138 (W/L, 1c 1) and that of the late biblical prints, the Mosul (M) and the Urmia (U) editions, support the detailed statement of eastern usage by Bar Hebraeus (cf. 6b). The more conservative East Syriac preserved all medial three-consonant clusters in neutral environments. However, if the medial consonant of these clusters was one of a set of specific consonants, an auxiliary vowel (a short e) was inserted after the first consonant of the cluster (CCC > CeCC). West Syriac orthography does not mark auxiliary vowels, but the traditional pronunciation of the language at least supports the statement by Bar Hebraeus (9c). West Syriac inserted an auxiliary vowel (a short e) in medial three-consonant clusters as an automatic feature (6a). In comparing the statement by Bar Hebraeus with eastern biblical evidence there is a difference of substance. Whereas the expe153

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

rienced grammarian describes what he actually heard in the recitation of texts, the notation of auxiliary vowels in manuscripts and printed texts reflects what generations of scribes considered useful orthographical hints for the recitation of sacred texts. This difference of substance explains why the notation of auxiliary vowels as well as the lack of such a notation often appear as facultative variants. To the extent that this notation can be said to reflect the situation in the underlying manuscripts, it supports Bar Hebraeus’ statement that different eastern authorities held varying views on the insertion of auxiliary vowels, depending on the phonological environment. The existence of different traditions within the eastern community of the time of Bar Hebraeus invites reflection on a possible reconstruction of the earliest use of auxiliary vowels as reflected in the available data. The basis of such a reconstruction will be usage (1) below, since this usage is stated by Bar Hebraeus as being shared by all eastern authorities. Other usages (except No. 4 first paragraph) will then be considered later developments characteristic of particular reading traditions. It appears from the examples quoted below (4) and in the preceding section 6d (4e-j) that clusters of the types wCC and yCC have no auxiliary vowel, if the second consonant of the cluster is a neutral consonant (NUh8te6b etc.). It further appears from later biblical evidence that the same type of clusters facultatively mark an auxiliary vowel, if the second consonant is one of the consonants listed below in section (1) (a5b2ro3r and a5b2røo3r etc. and NUhle6x and NUhløe6x etc.). In the W/L Masora, however, these examples are either unmarked or marked as having no auxiliary vowel. Free variation in the later biblical prints suggests secondary development. Therefore, in our reconstruction of the earliest system of auxiliary vowels, clusters of the types wCC and yCC had no auxiliary vowels, even if the second consonant of the cluster was one of the consonants listed below (1), i.e. „ or one of the sonorous consonants l, m, n, r. Other exceptions to the main rule (1) below appear from the examples quoted above section 6d (1f-h) and (5e-j). Clusters of the type Cmy as in En6emo3a ‘he let me swear’ are unmarked in the W/L Masora (1f) as well as in the later M and U texts (1gh). With „mC clusters usage varies. Apparently, since a3n3D!mw6m ‘(John) the Baptist’ had no auxiliary vowel in the reading tradition (5e), this vowel was avoided in verbal derivatives of the same root in the W/L, M and 154

6. THE AUXILIARY VOWEL

U texts (5fg), in W/L there is even a marginal note on this usage (5g). With derivatives of other roots following the pattern „mC the W/L and M texts have markings for auxiliary vowels (5h), whereas M has free variation in adding or avoiding an auxiliary vowel, and the W/L and U texts have examples of unmarked readings (5h-j). In our reconstruction, therefore, clusters of the type Cmy, like clusters of the types wCC and yCC, did not permit auxiliary vowels, even if the medial consonant was m. Clusters of the type „mC behaved like other three-consonant clusters with medial m and added auxiliary vowels, except in the noun a3n3D!mw6m and verbal forms derived from the underlying root. In conclusion, the reconstructed system of auxiliary vowels only permitted these vowels in specific environments. The insertion of auxiliary vowels was a fully automatic feature with no phonological value. (1) If the second consonant of the cluster is „ or one of the sonorous consonants l, m, n, r, all eastern authorities required insertion of an automatic auxiliary vowel. While, for example, a73tløx$d ‘fear’ required an auxiliary vowel and was pronounced dΩ˛el†ã, its phonemic form was /de˛l†ã/. The first syllable was virtually as well as phonologically closed and had a short vowel. Parallel evidence from modern languages, including Turoyo, suggests that if the second consonant was one of the four sonorous consonants the auxiliary vowel appeared as a syllabic element of these consonants rather than as a true vowel. Statistical data based on a few selected, but frequent lexical items from the Old Testament are conclusive in supporting the statement by Bar Hebraeus. Marked forms vary freely with unmarked forms. However, the important point is whether the use of the symbol for an auxiliary vowel (Anyghm) contrasts with the one for lack of auxiliary vowel (Anƒhrm) within the same lexical item. Thus a3xønD6m ‘east’ (attested 120 times in OT) is marked in M 119 times, in U 94 times, i.e. in M 99 %, in U 78 % of all cases, and Nuwmøi4n ‘they will hear’ (attested 101 times in OT) is marked in M 100 times, in U 53 times, i.e. in M 99 %, in U 53 % of all cases. There are, as far as I can see, no markings with Anƒhrm. Markings for insertion of auxiliary vowels are common in the W/L Masora. For details, see 6c and 6d (1).

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(2) Some authorities add h to the list of consonants requiring an auxiliary vowel, as in a§hønm ‘shines’ for phonemic /manhrã/. Apparently not all eastern authorities agreed, and this circumstance is reflected in text statistics. In a majority of attested forms, the imperfects Nu7tØh7b4n (44 times in OT, 6 times in NT) and NujØhr4n (6 times in OT, once in NT) are marked, but each of them is marked once as having no auxiliary vowel, the former in Ps. 31,17 (U) and the latter in Hebr. 12,1 (impf. sg. with suff., M). Markings for insertion of auxiliary vowels already occur in the W/L Masora. For details, see 6d (2). (3) Other authorities add ˛ to the list, but according to Bar Hebraeus only in a73tøx7b$d ‘sacrifice’ to be read dΩve˛†ã. Since the auxiliary vowel in this environment is not automatic and not predictable, it has changed status and has become a full vowel. The first syllable is now virtually closed and has a short vowel that has to be shown in a phonemic transcription. However for those eastern authorities that did not accept adding ˛ to the list, the word was no exception to the general rule. It had no auxiliary vowel, and its phonemic form was /dev˛†ã/. In this case as well not all eastern authorities agreed, and the circumstance is reflected in text statistics. a37tØx7b$d (attested 28 times in OT) is marked in M 15 times, in U 6 times, but marked with Anƒhrm as having no auxiliary vowel in U 10 times. Markings for insertion of an auxiliary vowel in a73tøx7b$d already occur in the W/L Masora, other instances in this environment are unmarked. For details, see 6c and 6d (3). (4) According to Bar Hebraeus some authorities added the ‘vowels’

Y w a, but excluded ˛. Derivatives from roots II/‚ and I/y pose a

particular problem since the two radical consonants disappeared during inflection, the result being that the three-consonant cluster was reduced to a non-cluster and the auxiliary vowel changed status to a full vowel. The initial vowels of r6møa7t4a ‘it was said’ and `w6dy7t4a ‘it was known’ still reflect the old situation. Late biblical orthography treats them as short, thus marking the initial syllables as virtually closed. There is every reason to believe that during the time of Bar Hebraeus all authorities shared this feature. The sequence of two full vowels will have to be shown in transcription. In phonological terms, the brevis diacritic on Ω indicates that the respective vowel is short and that the initial syllable of e†Ωmar is 156

6. THE AUXILIARY VOWEL

virtually closed and has a short vowel. Similarly in Ω†iπa„, it indicates that the initial syllable is virtually closed and has a short vowel. In the latter type of formation the middle consonant and the auxiliary vowel have merged to a full vowel /i/. For virtually closed syllables, see the details in 6a end of section. It appears from the examples given above (6d [4cd]) that the M text marks an auxiliary vowel in clusters of the type CwC in all cases, while the U text only rarely marks them in this position. Text statistics confirm this trend. Thus the common imperfect form ˆ3e2oØh4n ‘they (f.) will be/become’ occurs 63 times in OT, out of these 49 times marked as having an auxiliary vowel in M, i.e. 77% of all cases. None are marked in U. In NT the same form occurs 42 times, out of these 38 times marked, i.e. 90% of all cases (M). The early cases W 22b24, L p. 44 (Gen. 47,24) and Mark 13,4 (PG crit. app. Mas. 1, L 246R6) and others are unmarked (same manuscript!). However, for markings indicating insertion of auxiliary vowels in this environment in the W/L Masora, see 6d (4cd) above. The first member of three-consonant clusters of the types wCC and yCC does not require an auxiliary vowel. However, biblical usage is divided in this matter, and text statistics vary between individual words. Most spellings are unmarked, while spellings with Anyghm and Anƒhrm are relatively rare. In the U text marked spellings are the exception rather than the rule. Thus A#n37tløe6x ‘strong, mighty’ occurs 288 times in OT, marked 112 times in U (39% of all cases), whereas the plural form A5b2ro3r ‘big, large’ occurs 88 times in OT, all cases being unmarked in U. All cases in the W/L Masora for the environments wCC (6d [4egi]) and yCC (6d [4fh]) are unmarked, though a37to¿e6x ‘animal’ is marked for absence of auxiliary vowel in this manuscript (6b and 6d [4j]). It is important to conclude that textual reflexes of the various treatments of auxiliary vowels as reported by Bar Hebraeus are extant already in the early W/L Masora (dated 899) and that these reflexes antedate the turn of the ninth century. In some cases auxiliary vowels shifted to full vowels. With verbs I/‚ and I/y, the auxiliary vowels of medial clusters C‚ C and CyC merged with the medial consonants to a full vowel. Thus Ethpe‘el perfects of these types of verb will appear as rÆmaE‡Ea, ES r6møat4a, i.e. e†Ωmar, and ÅædyI‡Ea, ES `w6dy7t4a, i.e. Ω†iπa„. The initial syllables reflect the old structure of the words. These syllables are virtually closed and have short vowels. For details, see 6b (4) and 6d (4ab). 157

CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY

In other cases the shift from auxiliary to full vowels resulted in different nominal patterns in the two varieties of Syriac. In WS aO†√ÆlEh ‘footstep’ the old stem vowel was preserved, while ES a73t7k6lh lost it and made the old auxiliary vowel a new stem vowel (both from an old stem *hilk-). In WS aO†qezEå ‘ring’ the change is only orthographical, not phonological, in ES a37tq6z4w the stem vowel was preserved while the auxiliary vowel shifted to a full vowel (both forms from an old stem *„izq-). For details, see above 6e. A shift from auxiliary to full vowels also created a new pattern in the formation of the numerals 11-19. In analogy with numerals like r6sw6dx ‘eleven’ (m.) < *˛aπ„sar some numerals like r6sw6t3lt (m.) and a25rsw6t3lt (f.) ‘thirteen’ reshaped their forms with a connecting vowel -a-. For details, see above 6f.

158

7 VOWELS AND VOWEL QUANTITY a Syriac and Jewish Aramaic The evidence of the vowel notation introduced by Jacob of Edessa (above 5bc) suggests that vowel quantity was phonologically relevant in seventh century Syriac. In open syllables vowels were long, whereas closed syllables permitted both short and long vowels. It should be admitted, though, that the evidence for individual vowels is limited and that there is no evidence for the more frequent morphological patterns. There is also no evidence for final closed syllables. With these limitations the vowel system of seventh century Syriac can be listed as follows: i/e208

ï ¶ ë a

u/o209

ü ö± ö ä/ã

In medial closed syllables short i/e (etymological *i ) as in +t$bl ‘tile’ (5b [3a]) contrasted long ï as in +tp%©§ ‘banished’ (f., 5b [5a]) and short u/o (etymological *u) as in =np@‰g ‘vines’ (5b [7a]) contrasted long ü as in +yq&rå ‘flight’ (cf. 5b [8a]). The middle vowels ¶, ë, ö± and presumably also the foreign ö were inherently long, con$. Whether we interpret the entity as /i/ or /e/ is a matter of personal taste. The former choice is supported by etymology, the latter by the symbol itself and by later vowel orthography. 209 Spelled ‰. Again, it is a matter of personal taste whether we write /u/ or /o/. The former choice is supported by etymology and later Syriac orthography, the latter by the symbol itself. 208 Spelled

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trast for example the imperfects n¶mar (sg.) vs. n¶mrün (pl.) and nëxö±l (sg.) vs. nëxlün. After the change ä > ã (5h), this vowel was inherently long, too. The phonological systems underlying the Masoretic (both Tiberian and Babylonian) systems of punctuation as used for Aramaic and Hebrew are very similar to the Syriac phonological system as we reconstruct it on the basis of later orthographical usage. Some features, particularly in the more elaborate Tiberian system, already appear in Early Classical Syriac of the seventh century, and it may be expected that Late Classical Syriac will share other features. The evidence can be supplemented, on both sides, by the statements of native grammarians, particularly by Bar Hebraeus and his older contemporary Rabbi David Qim˛i (both of the thirteenth century). Syriac is closely related to the contemporary Jewish and Christian Aramaic of Palestine (1e). All were part of a larger Aramaic language community stretching across a vast area from Palestine through Syria and Mesopotamia to Babylonia. Though belonging to different religious denominations, Jews and Christians shared a common material and linguistic culture. They used variants of the same alphabet of 22 letters for consonants, and both introduced a vowel notation believed to have developed from the Syriac system of diacritical points. Even some symbols for vowels were identical or near-identical in both writing systems. Thus Syriac é* for e and @ı@ for i are shared by both systems, while the diacritics of Ω for o and ü for u are similar to those of Tiberian / and W. Since the Jewish and Christian communities had close cultural and linguistic ties, it will hardly come as a surprise if phonetic features spread from one language community to the other. Common features in the vowel systems are little known before the appearance of vowel notation in both West Syriac and East Syriac orthography well before the turn of the first millennium (cf. 1b). They can be documented at approximately the same time in Palestine. Such features are two inherently long vowels ë and ö, the rounding of ä to ã (approximately IPA [ç]) (cf. 5h) and the loss of vowel length as a phonemic feature.210 For Tiberian Hebrew, see the statement in G. Khan, A Short Introduction to the Tiberian Masoretic Bible etc. 95-98. 210

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b The Tiberian Hebrew evidence The Tiberian system of punctuation for Aramaic and Hebrew is the most elaborate of the Jewish systems, and it is more detailed than the Syriac systems of vocalization. It may be worthwhile to look into it to see what we can expect to find in contemporary Syriac. In his analysis of Tiberian Hebrew phonology, G. Khan listed seven vowels: i e ∞ a ç o u.211 In addition to the symbols for these vowels the Tiberian punctuation system has a so-called Shewa symbol, conventionally analyzed as either shewa quiescens or silent shewa and shewa mobile or vocal shewa. In the Post-Tiberian period later in the Middle Ages, the grammarian David Qim˛i explicitly stated that “shewa is no vowel, but it serves the vowels.”212 Or as William Chomsky rephrased Qim˛i’s statement: “The Shewa is an auxiliary, not an independent vowel.”213 The mobile shewa and the shewa element of the shewa composita do not render specific vowels. These symbols only occur in unstressed open syllables and may render any of the vowels that cannot otherwise occur in this position. That is, the two types of shewa are orthographical symbols for the phonemic feature short quantity of vowel. Of the seven vowels listed above, the contrast /e/ vs. /∞/ has a low functional load. We have no contemporary Palestinian Aramaic texts with Tiberian vocalization, only the old and traditional Biblical Aramaic parts of Daniel and Ezra in the Hebrew Bible. In Biblical Aramaic the contrast seems even smaller, if we exclude borrowings from Hebrew. The Qim˛i family, David and his father Joseph, were the first to systematically introduce quantitative differences into the description of Hebrew vowels. It appears that vowels except shewa vowels were long in open syllables, vowels were short in closed syllables. However, vowels in stressed syllables were always long. As compared with the situation less than a millennium earlier, as it appears from Origen’s Greek transcriptions of Hebrew,214 this must be a Khan p. 95. Qim˛i, Mikhlol 138b (Lyck edition 1842). 213 Chomsky, Mikhlol p. 16 a (New York 1952). 214 Cf. the text evidence discussed in E. Brønno, Studien über hebräische Morphologie und Vokalismus (AKM 28, Leipzig 1943). 211 212

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linguistic innovation, and in this late period an independent Hebrew development is out of the question. A qualified guess is that the shift is due to influence from contemporary Aramaic. Already the eleventh century grammarian Rabbi Yehuda, better known by his Arabic name ˘ayyüj, made it quite clear that vowel length was automatic. “If someone argues” he wrote “and says that between the m and the r in the words (i.e. perfects) rma and rmç there is a quiescent (i.e. vowel length) and yet it is pointed with pata˛, the explanation is that it is so because of the lengthening of (the vowel of) m due to the accent.”215 In Palestine about the turn of the millennium, long quantity of vowels appears to have been automatic and predictable from the phonological environment, whereas short quantity of vowels was phonemic. In addition to marginal /∞/ Biblical Aramaic of the Tiberian tradition had six vowel phonemes. As in East Syriac, there is no evidence for ¶ and there is no merger of ö± and ü as in West Syriac. Likewise, there is no evidence for the foreign vowel ö. East Syriac had the same six vowel phonemes /i e a å o u/, though I prefer a notation /å/ instead of Khan’s /ç/. As we have seen above (5f), an analysis of the vocalization of British Museum Add. 12138 (dated 899) shows that to the ancient East Syriac scribe the different symbols for e vowels represented the same vowel. At the beginning of the tenth century, orthographic usage was not yet stable and permitted free variation of the symbols for e vowels in a number of environments. On this background, it may be worthwhile to consider the description of thirteenth century Syriac vowels by Bar Hebraeus. c The statement by Bar Hebraeus In his grammar, Bar Hebraeus gives a fairly accurate description of West Syriac /a o e/ leaving /i/ and /u/ out of consideration, possibly because they were felt to be identical with the corresponding Arabic vowels. He states “with zqãfã we emit breath against the upper side of the roof of the palate with narrowing (wcy¢b), with J. W. Nutt ed., Two Treatises on Verbs (London and Berlin 1870) 141 (Arabic text p. III, Hebrew text p. 121). 215

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7. VOWELS AND VOWEL QUALITY p†ã˛ã, on the other hand, against the side of the lower jaw with widening (wxywrb).”216 It seems clear from the description that Bar Hebraeus refers to a closed (high) rounded vowel /o/, the West Syriac reflex of Early Classical ã, and to an open (low) unrounded vowel /a/ felt to be different from the usual Arabic a. Note that in East Syriac terminology, the closed vowel ü is aocyilÆa ‘narrow’, whereas the more open Ω is Aoxyiw§ ‘wide.’ In his discussion of the vowels, Bar Hebraeus uses a diaphonic217 notation based on East Syriac orthography that enables the reader to change any form from West to East Syriac and vice versa. Thus he uses the notation É* for the correspondence WS i* / ES É* and so has to introduce a symbol for the correspondence WS e* / ES É*. For this he uses a variant, the inverted form of the East Syriac vowel symbol Á*. Apart from zqãfã and p†ã˛ã, Bar Hebraeus classifies Syriac vowels in pairs as either Aky§a ‘long’ or Ayrk ‘short.’ If taken literally as an indication of quantity, these terms are misleading for the pairs ˛vãæã WS i* and „æãæã WS u*, because the eastern correspondences are different vowels that have merged into WS /i/ and /u/respectively. Even with the pair rvãæã WS e* the terms are problematic, since we would expect the ‘long’ vowel rather to be short and the ‘short’ vowel to be long. Among his examples Bar Hebraeus quotes arg éa ‘roof’ for diaphonic eggãrã with ‘long’ e and a§AÁg ‘arrow’ for gërã with ‘short’ e. On this background, let us take a look on his description of the pair of e vowels. Bar Hebraeus states “with rvãæã •rixã we deflect the breath to the rim (AsEg ), i.e. the side (arfs) of the roof of the palate with extension (wxytm), and with rvãæã karyã in the same way to the rim, but with contraction (wsypq).”218 Segal paraphrased wxytm as ‘and draw it out’ (Moberg ‘unter Aushalten’) and wsypq ‘but 216 Cf. Moberg in BdS II 74 (translation), Syriac text in his LdS 227,1f. For another slightly different English translation, see Segal, Diacritical Point p. 51. 217 In linguistics, the term diaphone is used to denote a phonological entity (sound or phoneme) and its variants as heard from different speakers of the same language. 218 Syriac text in LdS p. 228,31f. For somewhat different translations, see Moberg in BdS II 78 and Segal p. 52.

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quickly lit. shortly’ (Moberg ‘aber mit plötzlichem Abbruch’). However, the textual documentation in the standard dictionaries does not support an interpretation in terms of vowel quantity. Parallels in the description of zqãfã and p†ã˛ã as cited above rather suggest an interpretation in terms of vowel quality. A more feasible solution would seem to take the items ‘widening’ and ‘extension’ to refer to a more open (lower) articulation and the items ‘narrowing’ and ‘contraction’ to refer to a more closed (higher) articulation. If so, contemporary West Syriac had a lower mid e vowel termed rvãæã •rixã tending towards [∞] and primarily occurring in nonfinal closed syllables and a higher mid e vowel termed rvãæã karyã approximately phonetic [e] occurring in open and in final closed syllables. Thus the term ‘long’ refers to a widening of the vowel, whereas ‘short’ refers to a narrowing of the vowel. The e vowels are in complementary distribution and represent one phoneme /e/. Contemporary evidence from Jewish grammarians suggests that the former vowel was short, while the latter was long. There is no parallel evidence for these varieties of e vowels in modern Turoyo, but the distribution is reminiscent of the situation in modern Germanic languages like German and my own native Danish. Contrast, for example, the short lower mid stem vowel of Standard German senden and the long higher mid stem vowel of sehnen. In his analysis of Syriac vowels based on the statements by Bar Hebraeus, Voigt arrives at the opposite conclusion in his interpretation of the e vowels.219 Thus the vowel termed •rixã as in Lfém ‘because of’ is a closed (high) e (Voigt §), whereas the vowel termed karyã as in LwkAÁn ‘he will eat’ is an open (low) e (Voigt e7). Voigt suggests that vowel quality (Öffnungsgrad) rather than vowel quantity (Länge) is the relevant feature and argues as follows (Voigt p. 51): Da lange Vokale eher als kurze Vokale geschlossen artikuliert werden, kann es zu der phonetischen Interpretation ›offen‹ für ›lang‹ und ›geschlossen‹ für ›kurz‹ kommen.

219

See R. Voigt, Oriens Christianus 81 (1997) 49-51 and 53-55.

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Voigt’s proposal is an attempt to explain how a short closed vowel was termed long and a long open vowel short. However, there is no supporting evidence and the solution remains hypothetical. Bar Hebraeus often comments on differences between western and eastern pronunciations of Syriac. In addition to the remarks on the vowels a and e cited above, he states: The Easterners ... lengthen (lit. strengthen ‘ycyxm) the letter after a letter with p†ã˛ã and pronounce it as doubled, but the letter after a letter with zqãfã they enunciate as single, as it is. For example, they pronounce the ˛e† of Axm ‘he gives life’ with p†ã˛ã of mim as two ˛e†in, one quiescent and the other with rvãæã, but that of Axœm ‘he beats’ with zqãfã of mim they pronounce as it is, as one with rvãæã. It is evident that with quiescent letters, they omit the distinctive lengthening (acywx), as in Ayrœb ah¢ ‘God the Creator’ and Ayrääb Ajnrb ‘created man’ etc.220

Later on he comments on the eastern treatment of e vowels and states: As to rvãæã •rixã which they term zlãmã pßiqã, the Easterners lengthen the letter after a letter with zlãmã pßiqã in the same way as they treat one with p†ã˛ã and with rvãæã karyã, that is zlãmã qaßyã, they enunciate the letter after a letter with zlãmã qaßyã as single as it is. For example, they pronounce the mim of rma ‘he said’ as two and the ßin of Ayåja ‘Isaiah’ as it is, as one. Here also, if a quiescent letter occurs after one with zlãmã, they pronounce pßiqã and qaßyã in the same way. For example, they pronounce the qo±f with zlãmã pßiqã in the noun Amcéq ‘omen’ like qo±f with zlãmã qaßyã in the word LÁq_j ‘he carries.’ And thus they do not distinguish in sound the ˛e† of Amlx ‘dream’ from the ˛e† of LÁxœ© ‘he fears’ besides many others. But it is not so with us. In pronouncing the qo±f of Amcq and the ˛e† of Amlx with rvãæã we widen (‘nyxtm) (it), and the qo±f of Lqœj and the ˛e† of of LÁxœ© with rvãæã we narrow

220

Cf. BdS II 74f. (translation), Syriac text in LdS 227,3-8.

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CLASSICAL SYRIAC PHONOLOGY (‘nyspq) (it) and we make a clear distinction in pronunciation.221

There is, to the best of my knowledge, no mention of stress in Syriac grammatical sources, but the Jewish evidence supports the surmise that final closed syllables were stressed and that forms like LeqOj and Lexo© had a predictable long [e:] in the final syllable. It appears from the discussion above that Bar Hebraeus described Syriac vowels in terms of quality rather than quantity. Vowels seem to have been long in open syllables and short in medial closed syllables. There is evidence that in the Late Classical period the rule that vowels were short in non-final closed syllables also applies to earlier long vowels. In his grammar, Nöldeke stated that Eastern Syriacs had a strong tendency to shorten long vowels in closed syllables (N 42). He mentioned two examples ‘yı^mlääå for ‘yı^mlœå ‘eternities’ and T6Téa for ‡œ‡éa ‘she came.’ As far as I can see, the former example does not occur in biblical texts, neither in the biblical prints M and U nor in the early W/L Masora of the ninth century. The example is relatively late and shows that the stem vowel was shortened to a at a time when East Syriac ã had shifted to ä under Arabic influence (5h), and so it is hardly earlier than the eleventh or twelfth century (cf. 1b end of section). On the other hand, the latter example is common in biblical texts, it even occurs in the early W/L Masora, and it is evidence of a morphological change rather than a phonological one. The form is rare in the Old Testament222 and common in the New Testament (Matt. 3,16, 9,20, 15,25 etc., all M).223 The editors of PG crit. app. mention the form a number of times from their source Amer. of 1874 (Matt. 15,25, 12,42 etc.). In addition to conventional forms the W/L Masora has a few spellings 74t76t5a L 245V33 (Mark 12,42), 74t6t5a L 250V28 (Luke 8,47) and L 264R8 (John 16,32).

Cf. BdS II 78f. (translation), Syriac text in LdS 228,32-229,11. I have noted Dan. 9,13 MU and Gen. 42,21 and Ruth 3,7 both U. 223 The old edition of 1886-1891 in West Syriac orthography has the expected conventional forms. 221 222

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In later biblical orthography of non-final syllables the notation for the two e vowels is stable and largely phonological (5f), and the regular spelling of the numeral r6sw4rt ‘twelve’ (m.) is another piece of evidence for the shortening of etymologically long vowels in non-final closed syllables. For Nöldeke’s example of lengthening etymologically short vowels in open syllables as in hÉtœym§äa for hE†æym§Æa ‘she threw it’, cf. below (8b). A feature not mentioned by Bar Hebraeus is the distinctive short quantity of vowels in initial and medial open syllables, i.e. in positions in which otherwise only long vowels occur. We have already seen several examples, particularly in connection with virtually closed syllables (6a end of section), as in rÆmaE‡Ea ‘it was said’, rÆsaE‡Ea ‘it was bound’ for e†Ωmar and e†Ωsar, and Ao√æ¥Æm ‘angel’ for mal•xã. The syllable preceding that of the marked short vowel is virtually closed and has a short vowel. Thus each of the examples has two phonemically short vowels. There is a rule of thumb well known to students of Syriac that if one of the vowels p†ã˛ã and rvãæã •rixã/zlãmã pßiqã precedes a consonant letter with a following vowel, the consonant is long. Thus AO˙æk ‘palm of the hand’ is kappã and AOmEa ‘mother’ is emmã. Though there are exceptions, the rule is of fairly general application. The underlying linguistic reality must have been apparent to ancient speakers of East Syriac, and a large number of secondary lengthening of consonants by analogy created a situation as described by Bar Hebraeus. Thus, as a secondary feature, contemporary eastern pronunciation had a long consonant in the perfect r6m4a emmar. However, Bar Hebraeus notes absence of length in several cases, as in ah¢ ‘God,’ Ak¥m ‘angel,’ Aba ‘father’ and others. Likewise there is no lengthening of r§ß in aryrq ‘cold,’ aryrm ‘bitter,’ Yrj ‘he began’ and several others, as there is no lengthening of „e in YÌåৠ‘he pleased, satisfied.’224 To the grammarian’s native West Syriac the question of length was irrelevant, since this feature was lost long before his time. Etymologically the a vowels in the examples above were short, but the text gives no clues to decide whether the vowels were short or long in his time. However, in an earlier 224

BdS II 75 (translation), Syriac text in LdS 227,11-15.

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phase of the Late Classical period they must have been short. Otherwise it will be difficult to explain the conventional vowel orthography. d Summary of chapter 7 The detailed statement by Bar Hebraeus (7c) permits us to draw a number of conclusions. There is no specific mentioning of vowel quantity, but several references to vowel quality. The types of articulation are termed ‘extension’ and ‘contraction’ and particular vowels are said to be ‘wide’ or ‘narrow.’ He expressly states that we, i.e. the western Syriacs, either widen the e vowel or narrow it depending on the environment. It appears that West Syriac had a lower mid e vowel termed rvãæã •rixã tending towards [∞] and primarily occurring in non-final closed syllables and a higher mid e vowel termed rvãæã karyã approximately phonetic [e] occurring in open and in final closed syllables. Several examples, as given in the text, point to the same distribution as described in the Jewish texts: Vowel length is predictable from the environment, vowels being long in open syllables and short in non-final closed syllables. The Jewish evidence further supports the surmise that final closed syllables were stressed and that forms like LeqOj and Lexo© had a predictable long [e:] in the final syllable. In Late Classical Syriac, the feature of short quantity of vowel replaced the old distinctive feature of vowel length. A shewa type of vowel appears in forms like Ωmar, •lãhã, q•rirã and many others. In medial position, the presence of a shewa vowel signals that the preceding syllable is virtually closed and has a short vowel, as in Ao√æ¥Æm (ES a73ka6l6m) mal•xã and in verbal forms like Le√aE‡Ea e†Ωxel ‘it was eaten.’ In these examples the vowel of the preceding syllable has the same quantity as the shewa vowel. In verbal forms, East Syriac orthography treats the latter vowel as an auxiliary vowel inserted to dissolve impermissible consonant clusters (6a), as in Ø4køa7t4a. It appears from Bar Hebraeus’ own examples that West Syriac of his time had preserved the Late Classical system of short quantity of vowels. For the e vowels, he lists the following contrasts ordered according to nouns, verbs and particles: (1) arg aé ‘roof’

Lkéa ‘he ate’

Lfém ‘because of’

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(2) a§AÁg ‘arrow’ tion)225

LwkAÁn ‘he will eat’

ahÁa

‘ha-ha’

(exclama-

In (1) rvãæã •rixã renders a shewa vowel in an open syllable in /Ωxal/ and other perfects of verba primae ålaf and after the loss of consonant length also in /Ωgoro/ < eggãrã and in /mΩåul/ < meååo±l. In (2) rvãæã karyã renders a long [e:] in open syllables as in /gero/ and /nexul/ < nexo±l etc.

225 BdS

I 9 (translation), Syriac text in LdS 5,13f.

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170

8 STRESS a Reflexes of word stress Like Arab medieval grammarians, Syriac grammarians do not mention stress. The probable cause of this silence is that stress in literary Syriac had a low functional load. There are, however, several effects of stress in Syriac morphology. In words of two syllables, a short vowel in the first open syllable was reduced to shewa and later to zero as an effect of stress. Thus we may assume that the reduction of a short vowel in AOm© ‘blood’ < *damä‚ and aorb ‘son’ < *birä‚ was due to stress on the final syllable of determinate state forms of this type (for final ‚, cf. 1d 6). The same effect can be seen in pronominal state forms of nouns like ¬orb and HOmj. With first person singular suffix, these biconsonantal nouns regenerate their stems as CiC on the analogy of i stems, and we find forms like Yme©, Yreb and YmEj (ES Em%d etc.) < *dimï etc. reflecting forms with penultimate stress. The same type of evidence can be seen in perfects of the Pe„al conjugation. We may assume that stress was the cause of vowel reduction in the singular LÆfq < *qaåal and in the plural wlÆfq < *qaåalü. A final long vowel in these perfects and in the pronominal state forms mentioned above did not attract stress. The same applies to imperative plural forms like wmwuq < *qümü and wmyIs < *øïmü. In imperatives of verba tertiae infirmae like Yinb < *biniy it seems to be the closed final syllable that attracted stress. There is no conclusive evidence that the rules regulating stress in these short formations applied to the language in general, though the evidence of Jewish Aramaic is clearly in favour of a dominantly final stress, a supposition supported by the distribution of the allophone [e:] in West Syriac (cf. 7c towards end of section). It is a fair guess, therefore, that stress in Late Classical Syriac was on final syllables, whether open or closed.

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b Reflexes of stress in word formation There is no direct evidence for stress in word formation, though irregularities in the formation of verbs with pronominal suffixes may reflect an underlying stress accent. The morphology of these forms is regular. It is the phonology that is irregular. The nonoccurrence of expected vowel reduction in connection with suffixation of object pronouns can be interpreted as effects of stress. In ES h5t3emr6a ‘she threw him/it’ Gen. 21,15 etc., Mark 12,44 etc. (M), the change (lengthening) of a > ä > ã in an open syllable is regular (N 42), but the correspondence with a in WS hE†æym§Æa is irregular.226 In imperatives singular masculine with pronominal suffix, as in Ene6w6mi ‘listen to me’ Gen. 23,11.13.15, the etymologically short stem vowel a is unexpected, unless we assume that the stem syllable was stressed as suggested by Jewish Aramaic. On the other hand, the reduction of the stem vowel in the plural form Enuwmui Gen. 23,8, Mark 7,14, Acts 15,13 is expected and follows established phonological rules. Compare the following imperatives, all of which are old and attested in BM Add. 12138 (dated 899):

ˆe-]27b86h ‘give (f. pl.)’ Matt. 25,8 PG crit. app. Mas. 1, L 240R16. (2) 8h5eD74bw ‘make it’ W 4a9 (Gen. 6,14), W 4a13 (Gen. 6,16) both L p. 7, pointed 8h5ed4bw in MU. (3) ˆe6w86mi ‘listen to us’ W 10a12, L p. 19 (Gen. 23,6). (4) 8he7%k5e6s ‘complete it’ W 4a12, L p. 7 (Gen. 6,16), pointed 8he5k4e6s

(1)

in MU.

8he5q8p5 6a ‘take her away’ W 9b7, L p. 18 (Gen. 21,10), pointed 8he5q4p6a in MU, Ene6q48p6a ‘take me out’ W 19a21, L p. 37 (Gen. 40,14), ponted Ene6q4p6a in MU. (5)

The vocalization of the West Syriac form is attested already Luke 2,7 and 21,4 PG crit. app. Mas. 2 (to be dated to the ninth or the tenth century). 226

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(6) Ene6r86d6i ‘send me’ W 14a1, L p. 27 (Gen. 30,25), Ene6r86di W 15b10, L p. 30 (Gen. 32,26); ˆe6r86d6i ‘send us’ Mark 5,12 PG crit. app. Mas. 1, L 243R12. As was the case in the discussion of numerals (6f), it may be useful to compare the formation of imperatives with pronominal suffix in Yemenite Targumic Aramaic. In the singular masculine of imperatives, as in ynil/fq] ‘kill me’ Num. 11,15, the vocalization shows that the stress was on the stem syllable.227 In contrast, the expected reduction to shewa of the stem vowel appears in the plural form ah;WqP]aæ ‘bring her/it out’ Gen. 38,24, Is. 48,20. The occurrence of etymologically short vowels in non-final open syllables is irregular. It is an important rule of Syriac and Aramaic phonology that short vowels in these open syllables were reduced to shewa and in Syriac later to zero. A feature of stress is usually thought to be the cause of the change. Such a feature is well documented in Jewish Aramaic, and there is no reason to doubt that it should have existed in Syriac as well. It seems a fair guess, therefore, to interpret the last stem vowels of these imperatives as having the main stress of the word. If so, we can rewrite examples (3), (4) and (6) as ßmá„ayn, sayyéxeh and ßaddárayn. It is possible, perhaps even probable, that the stressed vowels were lengthened as suggested by Bar Hebraeus’ analysis of the e vowels quoted above (7c) and supported by the Jewish Aramaic evidence (7b). c Summary of chapter 8 Syriac grammarians do not mention stress apparently because it had a low functional load. As an effect of stress, a short vowel in initial open syllable was reduced to shewa and later to zero in AOm© ‘blood’ < *damä‚ and in the peerfect LÆfq < *qaåal. Final unstressed vowels were lost in pronominal state forms like YmEj (ES Em%i) < *ßimï and in the perfect plural wlÆfq < *qaåalü. In imperatives of verba tertiae infirmae like Yinb < *biniy it seems to be the closed final syllable that attracted stress. For details, see (8a). Cf. the statement in Dalman, Grammatik 374 that in the singular masculine of imperatives with suffix the stress was on the last syllable of the stem. 227

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In the formation of verbs with pronominal suffixes, particularly imperatives singular masculine, phonological irregularities reflect an underlying stress accent. In Ene6w6mi ‘listen to me’ the short stem vowel a is unexpected, whereas the reduction of the stem vowel in the plural form Enuwmui is expected and follows established phonological rules. It seems a fair guess, therefore, to interpret the former example as ßmá„ayn with a stressed stem syllable. The interpretation of this and other forms as reflecting a stress accent is supported by evidence from Jewish Aramaic. For details, see (8b).

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a The classical tradition and Modern Literary Syriac Experience has taught us to treat evidence from traditional pronunciations of languages like Ethiopic and Hebrew with caution. These pronunciations are little more than spelling pronunciations preserving the general phonetic values of consonants and vowels transmitted through the medium of modern languages. Syriac is no exception to the rule. For our purposes however, the traditional pronunciation of Syriac has two important aspects. Features that are different from those of the language of transmission – in our case Arabic – may be old and reveal characteristics of earlier Syriac. The other and more important aspect is the circumstance that the traditional pronunciation of West Syriac is the basis of the pronunciation of Modern Literary Syriac. The transmission of the traditional pronunciation of West Syriac took place in a linguistic community that had shifted its predominant spoken language from Aramaic to Arabic. Even in areas where Aramaic is still spoken, Arabic took over at first as the language of government and from the Ottoman period as a language of prestige. This has been the situation for centuries, and today many users of Modern Literary Syriac are either native speakers of Arabic or bilingual Arabic and Turoyo. Arabic as the language of transmission has left clear phonetic imprints on the traditional pronunciation of biblical texts in the Syriac Orthodox Church. As a specimen of this pronunciation, I have had access to a reading of New Testament texts recorded on tape at the Syriac Orthodox

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monastery in Jerusalem.228 These texts constitute the basis of the phonological sketch given below. Specimens of the pronunciation of Modern Literary Syriac can be found in the tapes and the video cassettes accompanying Abrohom Nuro’s Suloqo 1 (Hengelo 1989), other specimens are transcribed into Written Turoyo orthography in Jan Be©-∑awoce’s Xori Caziz (Södertälje 2001), Turoyo section pp. 27-31 (Syriac text in Syriac section pp. 43-49). I have also used a private tape recording of excellent quality made by an informant to our Syriac project and containing the texts in Johanon Kashisho’s Safro Tobo (Norsborg and Södertälje 1973-1983). b Consonants The modern pronunciation of West Syriac is essentially a spelling pronunciation, most consonants having a one-to-one correspondence with the consonants of a fully pointed Syriac text. The basic unit is the printed word defined as the sequence of letters found between spaces in the text. It is within this word unit that the phonological rules apply. Any combination of words into groups and any intonation patterns regulating phrases and sentences in the text reflect those of the speaker’s natural spoken language. This is evident from the fact that word groups regulated by specific patterns of stress and intonation occur in free variation with groups of separate words each with their own main stress. The choice entirely depends on the personal preference of the reader. Most consonants have a one-to-one correspondence with the consonants of thirteenth century Syriac as described by Bar Hebraeus (3a), even though the application of these consonants may differ from classical usage in a number of cases. The feature of emphasis is as in Arabic and Turoyo. Emphasis is not restricted to the syllable of the primary emphatic consonants, but tends to spread to preceding syllables as in aec^mæq qa’æe ‘locusts’ Mark 1,6 and AOfpæn n±afåo ‘petrol’ ST 2,48 (both syllables emThe recording was made for my colleague Professor Jan Retsø of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. A former student of mine, Dr. Jan-Olaf Blichfeldt, called my attention to the tape, and I thank these gentlemen for permission to use it in the present book. 228

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phatic). The first two syllables are emphatic in aOhOlÆ¥ ∏ä∏öho ‘(to) God’ Matt. 5,8, Slq 63. The last mentioned usage is inherited and shared with Late Classical West Syriac (3a [9]). The treatment of the six consonants tpkdgb differs from classical usage in some points. Fricative V is b in VyI†√࣠dax†ïb ‘what is written’ Mark 1,2 and BET tëb ‘sit’ Slq 14. Both varieties of P are regularly rendered f, but I noted ‘yig ræp†Em me†pargïn ‘they enjoy (movie)’ ST 2,58. The reflex of ‘Greek’ ≠ is f in ¬ò˙wucrà˙ fa‘æüföx ’your face’ Mark 1,2, but p in adyAipmÆl lampïdo ‘lamp’ Slq 16. A distinction of the two varieties of © is the exception rather than the rule. The fricative member often appears as d as in ßæx ˛äd ‘one’ Mark 1,27 (twice), Slq 13 (heading) etc. and ao§dEs sedro ‘classroom’ Slq 13, 27, ST 2,57. Variation of fricative and plosive also occurs, as in ßæª käπ ‘while, when’ Mark. 1,5.13 etc. vs. dæk käd Slq 13, ST 2,21 etc. and heßyìa ïπe ‘his hand’ Mark 1,41 vs. aDya ïde ‘hands’ Slq 48 (four times). Only occasionally I found fricative ‡ as t in XÆtp ftä˛ ‘open (imp.) Slq 13, ST 3,66 (pf.), AoytOj ßotyo ‘she drinks’ 2,17, perhaps not incidentally since Turoyo has †/t in both verbs. Variation appears in YÄhwÆtya ï†äw ‘he is’ Slq 55 (paradigm), ïtäw 15, 55. It is a characteristic feature of the modern literary language that the consonants tpkdgb do not permit their fricative members to occur in word initial position even after an initial particle or as first radical of a verbal form, as in AbO†kæb bak†öbo ‘in the book’ Slq 27, a†nÆgl lgan†o ‘into the garden’ 63, and in the verbal form ‘yEsækm mkäsën (pl.) ‘cover’ ST 2,34. The same rule seems to apply to biblical reading as well, as in Aej¨ne√l Åwujey ‘ye™ aozx ßæª käπ @˛zö dën Yëßü„ @lkenße ‘when Jesus saw the crowds’ Matt. 5,1, though in contrast to VyI†√࣠dax†ïb ‘what is written’ mentioned in the preceding paragraph. It is only in specific expressions that this rule does not apply. Thus I found wƸl l£äw ‘(come) in’ Slq 13 (twice) and wƸb b£äw ‘in’ ST 2,12, 13. hElu√b bxüle ‘in all (winter)’ 34 alternates with Lukl lkül 3,10, 14 (note spelling). Summing up we may say that the standard, or perhaps rather the ideal treatment of the six pairs of consonants tpkdgb has preserved a double pronunciation only for the four consonants tkdg , whereas it was lost for the pair Pb. The shifts v > b and p > f are likely to be due to influence from Arabic. The long poem transcribed into Written Turoyo orthography (mentioned above a) confirms this standard of pronunciation. As in the tape recordings, 177

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I noted some exceptions to the rules as stated above. Plosive k occurs in several cases of ¶ekëm©o ‘wisdom’ 27b (43a), 28ab (43b, 44a) etc., cf. also bukre ‘first-born’ 28a (44a), and contrasts fricative x in subxa© ‘adhered’ (pf.) 27b (43b). Stem initial k often occurs in expressions like b kul and l kul ‘all’ 27b (43a), 29a (45a) etc., but contrast b ¸awo ‘in’ 28a (43b). It even occurs across a word boundary as in l kule ¸ënse ‘all his people’ 28a (44a). Note also the verbal form fo©a¶ ‘he opens (mouth)’ 31a (48a). In t-forms of the verb, prefixed t is assimilated to the first radicals d and å, as in wrÆmࣘaew weddämär ‘and they wondered’ Mark 1,27 and An¡ BæyæƒtEm meååäyabno ‘I am ready’ Slq 48. In the Ethpe‘el of hollow verbs we find expected forms like An¡ XynT†Em metni˛no ‘I am at rest’ Slq 48 (note Syriac spelling). A different treatment, presumably a more recent one, appears a few times in the poem mentioned above. Contrast the forms d e©dqar ‘(arrow) that pierced’ 28a (ræq©Tae© 43b) and e©tasra¶ ‘he was ordained’ 31b (XærsTTEa 49b). Final h in pronominal suffixes is silent. Note, for example, HOluª külo ‘all (the land)’ Mark 1,5 and henEm mëne ‘from it’ ST 2,34, 3,56. The transcribed poem confirms this usage. c Vowels and vowel length The modern pronunciation of Syriac has preserved the old feature of automatic vowel length, but has given up the distinctive feature of short quantity of vowels. Vowels are long in non-final open syllables (1) and in final closed syllables (2). They are short in nonfinal closed syllables (3). Vowels in final open syllables are either half-long or short depending on the prominence in the reader’s diction. As in Turoyo, prefixed w µ ‘and’ is always short. The Written Turoyo spelling w suggests an analysis as a word initial allophone of /w/. Note that main stress falls on the last syllable, if it is closed. Otherwise stress is on the penultimate syllable (cf. N 55). (1) Y√à¥Æm mäläx ‘my angel’ Mark 1,2, AOmEa ëmo ‘mother’ ST 2,12. (2) ‘ye© dën ‘then’ Mark 1,6, tbÆtk k†äbt ‘you wrote’ Slq 124. (3) Aojve© debßo ‘honey’ Mark 1,6, AOglÆT talgo ‘snow’ ST 2,19, 28. If fully stressed, monosyllabic words like mën ‘from’ and kül ‘all’ have a long vowel as in Aòªwu© Luª ‘Em mën kül düko Mark 1,45 and aO†kwu© Lukl lkül duk†o ST 3,14. However, the reader may choose 178

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to read these and similar phrases as compounds with particular stress and intonation patterns. In the former case, the preposition loses its stress and its vowel length as in A¨òyÆm ‘Em men mäyo ‘from the water’ Mark 1,10. In the latter case, the first word joins the second to form one accent unit with main stress and high pitch on the first component and secondary stress and low pitch on the second component, as in aO†kwu© Lukl lkul duk†o ST 3,68. Both types of stress and intonation patterns are known from spoken Arabic and Turoyo (cf. below 10d). Similar patterns explain some cases of free variation of long and short vowels in closed syllables. Contrast examples like wæwØh ‘yijmæjmæw wamßamßïn wäw ‘and they were serving’ Mark 1,13, aowØh †yaiw wï† wö ‘and there was’ 23 vs. aowØh ßEmåÆmw µma„medwo ‘and he was baptizing’ 13, Yl tya, tya Kol, hEl tya it li, it lox, it le ‘I have etc. Slq 19, 25 (paradigm). The last mentioned examples may be due to influence from Turoyo kïtli etc. with the same meaning. There is no fixed standard of pronouncing Syriac vowels, in particular the a vowel, and the speaker is free to pronounce them in Arabic or Turoyo fashion. In the traditional pronunciation, a shift o > u in medial closed syllables occurs in free variation with o. Contrast, for example, Aen^ho√l lkuhne ‘to the priests’ Mark 1,44, kuhne JBS Xori Caziz 28b (twice) (Syriac section 44b) and kohne 29a (45a). This treatment of classical borrowings is common in Turoyo, though influence from Arabic cannot be excluded. Modern usage follows the classical West Syriac treatment of auxiliary vowels (cf. 6a) in some cases, while in other cases it does not. It follows the classical rule in aor›ßÆmb bm•d@bro ‘in the desert’ Mark 1,3.4 and O¥zrÆp f•r@zlo ‘iron’ ST 2,34, 62. Note automatic stress on the first virtually closed syllable in both examples. Before one of the sonorous consonants l, m, n, r, an auxiliary vowel appears either as a true vowel or as a syllabic element of a following consonant as in aO†yinOåmjÆm m•ß@m„önï†o ‘telephone receiver’ ST 2,50 (twice), 51 and AoxndÆm m•d@n˛o ‘east’ 42, 3,24 (cf. 6b [1]). It also occurs across a word boundary in Aej¨ne√l Åwujey ‘ye™ aozx ßæª käπ @˛zö dën Yëßü„ @lkenße ‘when Jesus saw the crowds’ Matt. 5,1, the same passage quoted many centuries earlier by Bar Hebraeus as an example of an auxiliary vowel (6a). A true classical example of an auxiliary vowel is aO‡AÆmƃ å•’•†o ‘unclean’ Mark 1,23. Note that stress is on the first virtually closed syllable and that the first two syllables are emphatic. 179

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Modern usage does not follow the classical rule in Nwurq†en

ne†qrün ‘they shall be called’ Matt. 5,9 and Nwu√r¸ Æa a£rxün ‘your reward’ 12, but contrast the form ‘yerq†Em© dmΩ†@qrën ‘(countries

[f.]) called’ ST 2,34 attesting to free variation in the use of the auxiliary vowel.

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a The Turoyo language Turoyo constitutes the central branch of modern Aramaic. It is spoken in the Mardin province of Southeastern Turkey in Midyat, the only major town of the area, and in the plains and hills to the east and south of the town. For many years now, the number of Christians in the area has been on the decrease due to oppression on the part of their Muslim neighbours. Today the majority of Turoyo speakers live in exile in the West, particularly in Europe, South America and Australia. My own experience with Turoyo began in the early eighties when the wave of Christian immigrants from Turkey had reached Norway. Faulus Korkunc, then a young man aged 22, had left his native village Harabale 20 km south of Midyat, not far from the Mor Malke monastery, and settled with his family in Oslo. Faulus became my teacher of Turoyo and later a patient informant with an open mind on the many questions a linguist may ask. Unless otherwise stated, the remarks in this chapter refer to his language. In 1968 Otto Jastrow had the good fortune to come into contact with some speakers of a hitherto unknown variety of Turoyo formerly spoken in the village of Mla˛sô, modern Yünlüce, northeast of the town Lice in the northern part of the Turkish province of Diyarbakır. The language actually died out, or at least was doomed in 1915 in connection with the Turkish massacres of Syriac and other Christians known as The Year of the Sword. After so many years the informants’ competence in the language was no

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longer fluent, but Jastrow was able to edit a number of reliable texts and later published a grammar of Mla˛sô Turoyo.229 Two features are of particular importance for evaluating the historical relationship between the two varieties of Turoyo: the shift ¶ > ï known from the West Syriac literary language (5i), and the spreading of the present tense particle k/ko- known from Main Turoyo of the South-East. The the shift ¶ > ï is fully integrated in Mla˛sô and appears in lexical items like „izo ‘religious feast,’ divo ‘wolf,’ kifo ‘stone’ and rißo ‘head’ (all Jastrow, glossary s.v.). The shift reached Main Turoyo, but was never fully integrated as shown by the items „eπo, dewo and kefo, all documented in several varieties of Turoyo. The shift has, however, left varying degrees of imprint on the language. The word for ‘head’ is rißo in Midyat and Miden, but reßo in Harabale, though qar„o seems to be the more common term. The word biro ‘well with ground water’ is widely used, and the shift also occurs in the village name „Iwardo, lit. Source of the Rose. The present tense particle originating in the East230 is fully integrated in Main Turoyo, though it appears in different shapes: kin Midyat, ko- in Miden, and k/g- in Harabale. The particle reached Mla˛sô in the shape x-, but was never fully integrated except in a few types of verbs (in particular verba primae ‚) like xomer ‘he says’ and xoxel ‘he eats’ and others.231 As elsewhere in Turoyo the subjunctive is formed without prefixed particle. A present particle is mentioned already by Bar Hebraeus as an eastern feature which he condems: L_ka Aœk and Lzœa Aœk (BdS II 30, LdS 205,8), compare Main Turoyo kox@l ‘he eats’ and k@zzé (Harabale g@zzé ) ‘he goes’. Bar Hebraeus’ examples set a terminus ante quem for the spreading of the particle to spoken Syriac to the thirteenth century.

O. Jastrow, Der neuaramäische Dialekt von Mla˛sô. Wiesbaden 1994. For tense and aspect particles and their distribution in the modern Aramaic languages, see K. Eksell, Acta Orientalia 59 (1998) 52-74. 231 See Jastrow p. 37. 229 230

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Turoyo does not fit in with the conventional classification of Syriac into West and East Syriac, and none of the classical dialects can be considered a direct predecessor of the modern language.232 Western features are the loss of consonant length in native vocabulary, the shift of ä > ö and the shift of œ% > ü (> Turoyo u¿), the last mentioned shift to the best of my knowledge only in the pronominal suffix -xu, Mla˛sô -kun (2. p. pl.). Eastern features are the present tense particle mentioned above and the lexical items qubπo ‘porcupine,’ „isaq†o ‘ring’ (for which see 4b [4] and [9b]) and rawßo ‘shovel’ (3d towards end of section). For the last mentioned example Mla˛sô Turoyo has a West Syriac form refßo (Jastrow, glossary s.v.). Like other linguistic changes within Syriac, western as well as eastern features in both varieties of Turoyo may have spread by diffusion. The oldest of these features, the shifts ä > ö and œ% > ü can be dated to the transition from the Early Classical to the Late Classical Periods (cf. 1b). It appears therefore that the ancestor of Turoyo must have separated from the Syriac parent branch of spoken Aramaic about the tenth century. b The Turoyo phonological system: Consonants The old inherited series of voiced, voiceless and emphatic consonants have survived in Turoyo.233 Voiced plosives and the foreign j (√) are lax, whereas voiceless plosives and the foreign # are tense and aspirated. However, with plosives the feature of voice is not distinctive. Before voiceless consonants, voiced plosives are devoiced but still different from voiceless plosives by being lax. Thus b in rab•o ‘big’ (f. sg.) is voiceless and lax and distinct from p in sap•o ‘lip’ which is voiceless and tense. Jastrow (§ 17a) also mentioned devoicing of ∂ and z. In my notes, I have a single reference to devoicing of ∂ in ∂kïÄÄe ‘he mentioned’ and the infinitive ∂koro Cf. P. T. Daniels in A. S. Kaye ed., Phonologies of Asia and Africa 1 128 (Winona Lake, Ind. 1997). 233 Compare the list of consonants in O. Jastrow, Laut- und Formenlehre des neuaramäischen Dialekts von Midin im Tur Abdin § 2 (my personal copy issued Bamberg 1970). 232

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suggesting allophonic variation. The devoiced item seems to have a weaker hiss than phonemic /•/. I have also noted a Written Turoyo spelling ©kërle. For devoicing of z, I noted free variation of [z] and [s], depending on the speech tempo, in the infinitive zqoro ‘to weave’ and relevant forms of this verb. On the other hand, voice assimilation occurs in ˛ïõbone, a synonym of ˛ï@bole ‘er vermutet.’234 I have noted s > z in ˛ïzbe ‘calculation’ (compare also Ritter p. 238f.). The articulation of emphatic consonants is as in Arabic (cf. 3c). Emphasis is a feature of syllables rather than of individual consonants. It often spreads to preceding syllables, even across a word boundary as in a•iÄan ›ayfe, lit. ‘guests came to us.’ In principle, all consonants and vowels can be emphatic, but specific emphatics sometimes termed primary emphatics mark primary emphatic syllables. In the example just quoted the primary emphatic is › and emphasis spreads from the first emphatic syllable of the word to all three syllables of the preceding word. Turoyo has five primary emphatics, the true (i.e. pharyngealized) emphatics µ, ≤ and the foreign Arabic › (i.e. fricative ∂%), and velarized Ä (3c) and n%. Long ÄÄ and n%n% are common on morpheme boundaries resulting from assimilation of rl and rn. Thus koxanno ‘I eat’ (root ‚xl ) is distinct from koman%n%o ‘I say’ (root ‚mr), compare also mïÄÄe ‘he said’ from the same verbal root. In these cases the emphatic syllables are velarized. The secondary velarized emphatic t in twïÄÄe ‘he broke’ (root twr) has an aspirated release and is distinct from true emphatic µ, as velarized d (plosive) in m@adaÄÄe ‘he sent’ (root @dr) is distinct from true emphatic › (fricative). Turoyo has a less frequent emphatic |. It is predictable as in fï|µa„no ‘flea,’ it is distinctive as in „á|abi ‘Arabic.’ Emphasis is either strong or weak. It is strong in ˛eµe ‘wheat’ (pl.) and µayo ‘Muslim,’ whereas it is weak in the neighbourhood of ≤ and › except in specific backed (i.e. pharyngealized) environments. Thus emphasis in ba≤ro ‘meat’ is weaker than in „a≤ro ‘ten’ (f.) and ˛a≤o ‘back’; in bïµÄono ‘holidays, vacation’ and …œµœr ‘engine’ it is definitely stronger than in pœl˙≤ ‘police.’ Emphasis is weak in ›ayfo ‘guest’ but strong in m˛a›aÄÄe ‘he prepared’ (root ˛›r). 234 See

H. Ritter, Wörterbuch p. 231 (Beirut1979) and Jastrow § 118g.

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Strong emphasis has pharyngealized variants, while weak emphasis has velarized variants. Turoyo has yet another category of consonants: a series of non-emphatic voiceless unaspirated plosives π, †, ª, and a corresponding affricate ‹ distinct from aspirated #. The new series occur mainly, though not exclusively, in Kurdish and other foreign vocabulary. I shall, therefore, refer to this series as ‘Kurdish’ consonants.235 ‘Kurdish’ consonants are pronounced with stronger muscular tension than ordinary voiceless consonants; they are more tense. The acoustic impression is similar to that of Modern Greek and Romance voiceless plosives. The new series of consonants is an innovation of Turoyo, though structurally as a group they replace the Greek consonants of Classical Syriac (for which see 3e). In native Aramaic words, ‘Kurdish’ † occurs in several high frequency terms like f†ï˛le ‘he opened’ and @†ele ‘he drank’ and inflected forms, whereas other members of this series of consonants are either very rare or do not occur in native words. In addition to flapped r Turoyo has a rare rolled r pronounced with two or more taps (Ritter’s ∞) only occurring in Turkish and Kurdish words, as in pï∞Äanµa ‘diamond, brilliant’ < Turk. pırlanta (< French brillante) and ªa∞o (Ritter also k%ã∞) ‘deaf’ < Kurd. ker. c The Turoyo phonological system: Vowels The number of vowels and their classification into phonemes largely follow the statement in Jastrow’s grammar.236 However, the division of Turoyo vocabulary into two distinct components, a native Aramaic component and a foreign Arabic, Kurdish, Turkish and European component, results in a different and, I hope, more adequate and economic analysis of vowel quantity. In the native component vowels are long in non-final open syllables, otherwise short. Predictable vowel length is not marked in transcription. In the foreign component, vowel length is non-predictable and therefore phonemic and has to be marked in transcription. Thus the In the dialect of Miden, ‘Kurdish’ consonants function as foreign phonemes and only occur in Kurdish names (Jastrow § 3 note). 236 See Jastrow §§ 10 and 11. 235

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native ganowo ‘thief’ has two long stem vowels that are unmarked, whereas the long stem vowels in the foreign (Kurdish) ‹˙rœªe ‘tale, story’ has to be marked in transcription. Phonetically, long vowels are slightly longer in stressed syllables than in unstressed syllables. Final vowels, whether stressed or unstressed, are short or half long. The native component includes members of the nominal class, i.e. nouns, proper names, adjectives and verbal nouns, if their singular form ends in -o (1). A recent loan like k˙lo ‘kilogram’ is shown by its plural form k˙lœwat to belong to the foreign component. Other members like ˛as&b ‘bill; calculation’ (from Arabic) and ‹˙rœªe mentioned above (from Kurdish) belong to the foreign component. The native component further includes all members of the class of numerals (2), except recent loans like milyΩn ‘million’ (from Turkish), and all verbs except imperatives singular (3). The classes of pronouns, prepositions, adverbs and subjunctions belong to the native component (4), except members marked by diacritics like laján ‘to, for’ (pron. laj&ne). Note that compound members of these classes will be classified as the main item of the compound. Thus, the compound subjunction mu sabab d ‘because’ belongs to the foreign component as does sabab ‘cause’ (from Arabic). It is important to state that the classification of the native and foreign component classes depends on morphology, not on etymology. The native component includes a number of non-Aramaic terms like xabro ‘word, message’ and the foreign component includes several Aramaic terms like the geographical names Be•nahr˙n and ˜ur„abd˙n.

In the phonetic transcriptions below, the vowels are rendered by their closest IPA equivalents. (1) [µA:yo] → µayo ‘Muslim’; [ba>si:mo] → basimo ‘nice’

(2) [tlo>»•o> «bo:te] → tlo•ó bote ‘three houses’ (3) Contrast [gım»˛A:lïq] → gïm˛alïq ‘he throws’ vs. [m˛A»lïq] → m˛alŸq (imp.), the latter form marked by an accent diacritic. (4) [hat] → hat ‘you’ (sg.) vs. [ha:tu] → hatu ‘you’ (pl.); [me:ne] → mene ‘from him.’ There is still a small residue of forms to mention. In the native component vowels are short in final closed syllables. Short and long vowels alternate in hat and hate ‘you’ (sg.), in man and mane

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‘who,’ and in mïn and mune ‘what.’ There is no such alternation with the vowels /i e o/ and we will have to accept these as long in final closed syllables of monosyllabic words. However, examples are very few. In the simplex passive of verbs (Ethpe.), /i/ is long in sim ‘it was done’ and f≤i˛ ‘he delighted’ etc., /e/ is long in @e• ‘six’ (f.) and /o/ is long in tlo• ‘three’ (f.). If part of the first member of an accent unit (Jastrow’s term Betonungseinheit), the long vowels are shortened in @é• tï@„i ‘96’ and meqïm bïtlú• ï@ne ‘three years ago.’ It is still possible, though, to dissolve the accent unit and pronounce the number phrase as two separate words with two separate stresses as in tlo• ni@e/π˙rat ‘three women.’ Other Turoyo dialects, including Miden (Jastrow § 68), have free variation of qayïm and q&m ‘he rose’ (Jastrow’s q⋲yïm and q⋲m) in the N (Neutral) preterite. This exception to the general rule appears to be a transitional form between the native and the foreign component. In the foreign component there is a particular and relatively rare open o, IPA [ç]. It only occurs in recent loans from Turkish, often of European origin and is distinct from ordinary o. It is short in rapçrt&õ ‘interview’ and Nç@rw£‹ ‘Norway.’ It is long in fúµbç#l ‘football’ and rç#l ‘role.’ Whereas ç is a lower mid rounded back vowel, ordinary o is a higher mid rounded back vowel, lower than cardinal [o] and similar to o in Modern Hebrew @alom ‘peace, wellbeing.’ I have noted a rare foreign [∞] in amp¡r ‘ampère.’ My own evidence for phonemic /ï/ largely agrees with Jastrow’s analysis of the Miden data. However, I prefer to relocate his allophone lower high back [U] of closed syllables to the corresponding empty space in /u/ and interpret examples like his @Ÿƒlo and kŸrfo as @uÿlo ‘work’ and kurfo ‘serpent’ respectively (cf. Jastrow § 11 ï). Even with this relocation, the phoneme /ï/ has a wider range of allophones than any Turoyo vowel phoneme. In my data, it ranges from a lowered slightly centralized high front [i] as in ï@mo ‘name’ through a lower high centralized [I] as in kïtle ‘he has’ and a mid central [ï] in lïh&ne ‘cabbage’ and hanïk ‘those’ to a lower mid central type of [ï] as in karïx ‘he went about, searched.’ The last mentioned allophone lies between lower mid front IPA [E] and higher low front IPA [æ], but it is a central vowel and has a particular timbre resembling a fronted a vowel. Note that frontcentral /ï/ is always short. Between voiceless consonants, it appears to be devoiced and is less audible than other vowels. Before syllable final l, m, n, r, /ï/ appears as a syllabic element of the 187

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following consonant, cf. above (6b [1] and 9c towards end of section). At this point, it may be useful to consider a particular rule for the use of vowel length in Turoyo. In the foreign component there is a strong tendency that penultimate open syllables with a following final open syllable (environment -VCV#) have a long vowel. Thus sabab ‘cause’ will form a plural sab&be and qalam ‘pen(cil)’ a plural qal&me. Since vowel length is fully predictable in the native component and therefore not shown in transcription, added identical demonstrative suffixes will appear in different shapes in the native and the foreign components as, for example, in u baytano ‘this house’ and u qalam&no ‘this pen.’ In order to make transcriptions as clear and explicit as possible, exceptions to the above rule should be marked by an accent diacritic as in ÿálabe ‘much, many’ or a brevis accent diacritic in madra\se ‘school’ (in other Turoyo dialects mádrasa/e). Moreover, a long stressed vowel in a preceding syllable will be marked by a circumflex accent, as in Sûriya ‘Syria,’ indicating that the rule does not apply. In the foreign component the vowel pattern -&-˙- is common, particularly in words of Arabic origin. It may be practical and economic to rewrite this pattern as -a-i- as in the examples in (5-7). Exceptions to the rule should be marked by a length diacritic (8) indicating that the orthographical rule does not apply. It is possible, perhaps even probable, that usage is not uniform in all Turoyo speaking communities. (5) tarix ‘history’ (t&rîx Ritter, Wörterbuch 516, WT tarix) < Arab. ta‚r˙x.

(6) za„if ‘thin, lean’ (za·îf Ritter p. 577), cf. Kurd. zeîf ‘lean’ and Turk. zayıf ‘thin, weak’ < Arab. ›a„˙f ‘weak, feeble’ (WT ™acif from Arabic). (7) latini ‘Latin’ (adj.), WT latini. (8) @al˙† ‘cord, rope’ (ßãlî† Ritter p. 486), cf. Kurd. ßerît ‘string, cord’ and Turk. ßerid ‘ribbon’ < Arab. @ar˙µ ‘string, cord; (magnetic) tape’ (cf. WT @ëriµo ‘cassette tape’ from Arabic). d The Turoyo phonological system: Stress and prominence Word stress is phonemic in Turoyo, though it has a low functional load. In polysyllabic words stress is regularly on the penultimate 188

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syllable. In the foreign component, however, it is on a final closed syllable if that syllable has a long vowel as in maktΩb ‘letter, note.’ Exceptions will have to be marked by an accent diacritic as in azzé ‘he went (away)’ (from the earlier root ‚zl ) and in g£zaré ‘carrot.’ Kurdish words under main stress often have an additional stress on a preceding closed syllable as in qïflïªe ‘padlock’ (Kurdish type of diminutive). Prominence is a term for the interaction of stress and pitch. In Turoyo main prominence has main stress and relatively high pitch, whereas secondary prominence has secondary stress and relatively low pitch. In the greeting fu@ (ï)b@ayno lit. ‘be in peace,’ the imperative enters into an accent unit with a following prepositional phrase. The imperative has main prominence and so higher pitch than the prepositional phrase, which has secondary prominence. This contour pattern is very common, and we have already met it in connection with the discussion of the modern pronunciation of Syriac (9c). A characteristic feature of Turoyo is the specific contour patterns appearing in noun phrases with the prefixed definite article. Depending on the number and structure of syllables, the noun is either unstressed or weakly stressed and has relatively low pitch. In phrases like u bayto ‘the house’ and i qïflïªe ‘the padlock’ the noun is unstressed and has low pitch, whereas in u baytano ‘this house’ the long a of the demonstrative suffix attracts secondary stress and retains low pitch. The latter contour pattern can be extended to cover a longer phrase as in »u mede «˛reno ‘the other thing’ and even a sentence like »u bayto «rabo-yo ‘the house is large’ in which the raised IPA symbol » marks main prominence, and the lowered symbol « marks secondary prominence.237 A similar pattern is characteristic of the construction of numerals as in the example tlo»•o «bote ‘three houses’ quoted in the preceding section (c [2]). A good illustration of the various prominence patterns is the following sentence:

Jastrow §§ 27 and 29 offers a more detailed account of stress and accent units, but without discussing features of pitch and intonation. 237

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(1) ko»xanno »q|œµïn »kul «yawmo »i sa«„&ye »ba@ «@e•. I eat breakfast every day at six. The sentence has five intonation peaks marked as main prominence. The last three peaks marked as main prominence are part of accent units whose second members have secondary prominence and therefore secondary stress and relatively low pitch. e The new Turoyo standard orthography Attempts at writing Turoyo in Syriac orthography go back to the middle nineteenth century. With the great waves of immigration to the West the political and economic situation changed. The Syriac immigrant communities took advantage of the freedom of the press and began publishing books and journals, often in Modern Literary Syriac but sometimes including Turoyo texts in Syriac orthography. In the beginning of the eighties of last century, Swedish authorities introduced a Roman orthography for Turoyo and used it in an elementary schoolbook entitled Toxu Qorena (Stockholm 1983) intended for teaching Syriac children their home language. Dr. Yusuf Ishaq, its editor, later published a pamphlet explaining the new orthography to a broader international public.238 The introduction of a Roman orthography for Turoyo provoked a spontaneous and strong negative reaction from the Swedish immigrant community. Yet some later authors and editors have used the new orthography with minor adjustments, particularly in the journal Nsibin but also in books and pamphlets and in contributions to the internet. In the present book the term Written Turoyo refers to this use of the language. The new orthography uses Roman consonant letters without diacritics with essentially the same phonetic values as assigned to them in the transcription of Syriac (cf. 3a). However, the letter c replaces conventional „ (Syriac Å, Ritter’s · ) in arco ‘earth, ground’ as j replaces conventional √ (Ritter’s c) in jule ‘clothes.’

Definition of the Latin Alphabet and the English Glossary Used in the Primer Toxu Qorena published by Statens Institut för Läromedel (Sweden, undated). 238

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Ishaq’s texts have the letters c, g, s and z with a circumflex diacritic (ĉ, ĝ etc.), whereas later authors use the symbols # (Ritter’s ç) as in #ike ‘a little, bit,’ √ (Ritter’s ƒ) as in √alabe ‘much, many,’ @ (Ritter’s ß) as in @amëc ‘he heard’ and õ (Ritter’s j ) as in õaba@ (pl.) ‘watermelons.’ Note that the new orthography has taken over the symbol √ (with a pointed diacritic) from Turkish ¸ (with a rounded diacritic). In the present book I shall use the Turkish symbol for this sound. The ‘Kurdish’ consonants (above b end of section) are unevenly distributed among Turoyo dialects, and they are not marked in the new orthography. The new orthography uses additional letters with diacritics. The non-emphatic interdental fricatives are spelled © and ™ (corresponding to my • and ∂), and the two primary emphatics are spelled ≤ and µ. Note that later authors often spell emphatic s and t with a cedilla diacritic as in ß and +. Ishaq’s texts distinguish ™ and the primary emphatic ›, whereas later authors do not maintain the distinction and spell both as ™. Compare, for example, Ishaq’s ›ayfo and later authors’ ™ayfo ‘guest.’ Other emphatics are not marked in this orthography. A new symbol ¶ for the pharyngeal aspirate has replaced conventional ˛. The extensive use of diacritics has the disadvantage that typographical errors tend to be more common with letters with diacritics than with letters without diacritics. In addition to unmarked vowel letters, the new orthography has added the vowel symbol ë for conventional ï (Ritter’s ı) as in cëtmo ‘darkness’ and @ëkël ‘sort, type.’ Vowel length and phonemic stress are marked neither in the native nor in the foreign component of vocabulary (for which, see above c).

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192

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