The Info List - Proto-Arabic

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PROTO-ARABIC is the name given to the hypothetical reconstructed ancestor of all the varieties of Arabic attested since the 9th century BC. There are two lines of evidence that could help build up proto-arabic. (i) Evidence of Arabic becomes more frequent in the 2nd century BC with the documentation of Arabic names in the Nabataean script , as well as evidence of an Arabic substratum in the Nabataean language. (ii) The Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions, composed between the 1st century BC and the 4th century AD in the basalt desert of northwest Arabia and the southern Levant, are also crucial to the reconstruction of Proto-Arabic since they exhibit many features in common with Epigraphic
Old South Arabian
Old South Arabian
and Classical Arabic . These common features set them apart from languages documented further south such as Dadanitic and Taymanitic (see Characteristics below).

Old Arabic written in the Nabataean script is first attested in the Negev desert in the 1st century BC, but becomes more frequent in the region after the decline of Safaitic and Hismaic . From the 4th century AD onwards, Old Arabic inscriptions are attested from Northern Syria to the Hijaz , in a script intermediate between cursive Nabataean and the Kufic
script of Islamic times.

The urheimat of Proto-Arabic can thus be regarded as the frontier between northwest Arabia and the southern Levant. Ramzan: period of donation, from the Human


There are several features which Classical Arabic, the modern Arabic varieties, as well as the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions share which are unattested in any other Semitic language variety, including the Dadanitic and Taymanitic languages of the northern Hijaz. These features are evidence of common descent from a hypothetical ancestor, Proto-Arabic. The following features can be reconstructed with confidence for Proto-Arabic:

* negative particles _m_ */mā/; _lʾn_ */lā-ʾan/ > CAr _lan_ * _mafʿūl_ G-passive participle * prepositions and adverbs _f_, _ʿn_, _ʿnd_, _ḥt_, _ʿkdy_ * a subjunctive in -_a_ * _t_-demonstratives * leveling of the -_at_ allomorph of the feminine ending * _ʾn_ complementizer and subordinator * the use of _f_- to introduce modal clauses * independent object pronoun in (_ʾ_)_y_ * vestiges of _nunation_


* ^ "Al-Jallad. The earliest stages of Arabic and its linguistic classification (Routledge Handbook of Arabic Linguistics, forthcoming)". _Academia.edu_. Retrieved 2015-12-08. * ^ Al-Jallad, A. (2015). _An Outline of the Grammar of the Safaitic Inscriptions_. Brill.

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