By Sabatino Moscati, Wolfram Von Soden, Anton Spitaler, Professor Emeritus of Semitic Languages and of Ethiopian Studies Edward Ullendorff
An creation to the Comparative Grammar of the Semitic Languages
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Additional resources for An Introduction to the Comparative Grammar of the Semitic Languages: Phonology and Morphology (Porta Linguarum Orientalium)
G. Ar. *madiniy "Medinese" > madaniy > madaniy (qualitative and quantitative). g. Heb. *l}u§on "external" > l}i§on (qualitative); Syr. 8'dlemon for Heb. 8'dlomo "Solomon" (qualitative). 13. g. Ar. wuguh "faces" > 'uguh (regressive and contiguous); Eth. *z'druw "sown" > Z'dr'dW (regressive and contiguous), though in the Ethiopian example other factors may be at work as well. 3. 14. As will be explained when dealing with syllabic structure (cf. 2), the Semitic languages do not permit the presence of more than one consonant at the beginning of a word.
Quantitatively, a syllable may be: a) short, when it ends in a short vowel; b) long, when it ends in a long vowel or in a consonant. For example: qa, open short syllable; qa, open long syllable; qab, closed (and therefore long) syllable. The term "ultra-long" is used of syllables (cf. g. qab). For syllables in final position, ending in two consonants, see next §. 3. 63), Semitic originally postulated short vowels in closed syllables. This rule is mainly based on the position in Arabic, and its general application over the Semitic field may be subject to some doubt.
Sem. *gawir "guest" > Reb. g~r (but Ar. gar); Sem. *dalawa "he drew" > Reb. dala, Syr. aiila, Ar. dalii, against Eth. g. Sem. *bakaya "he wept" > Reb. Mka, Syr. biika, Ar. bakii, against Eth. g. Sem. *qatalahu "he killed him" > Reb. qiitalo, Eth. qatalo, against Syr. qatleh, Ar. qatalahu. For a detailed treatment of syncope and contraction in Arabic cf. Fleisch, TPA, pp. 98-138. 7. Metathesis 6. 21. The omISSIOn of one of two contiguous syllables with identical consonants (and sometimes vowels) is a phenomenon of dissimilatory origin which occurs in various Semitic languages.