An Outline of the Grammar of the Safaitic Inscriptions by Ahmad Al-Jallad

By Ahmad Al-Jallad

This quantity incorporates a unique grammatical description of the dialects of outdated Arabic attested within the Safaitic script, an historical North Arabian alphabet used quite often within the deserts of southern Syria and north-eastern Jordan within the pre-Islamic interval. it's the first whole grammar of any historical North Arabian corpus, making it an enormous contribution to the fields of Arabic and Semitic experiences. the amount covers issues in script and orthography, phonology, morphology, and syntax, and includes an appendix of over 500 inscriptions and an annotated dictionary. The grammar relies on a corpus of 33,000 Safaitic inscriptions.

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3 The Dating and Authors of the Inscriptions The chronological limits of Safaitic documentation are unknown. Most estimates in the literature place the inscriptions somewhere between the 1st c. BCE and the 4th c. CE. This periodization is based on the fact that the political events mentioned in the Safaitic inscriptions date to the Nabataean and Roman periods. While such an assumption is natural, it could also be the case that the events from these periods were simply prominent enough to be mentioned by the inhabitants of the deserts.

12 chapter 1 Arabic Isoglosses in the Safaitic Inscriptions 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 The Safaitic inscriptions also exhibit two features which were known only from Arabic until the study of the North and South Arabian epigraphy.

Clark edits 1197 texts from the Jordanian panhandle, on the H5 and H4, north of al-Wisād. Three dissertations on Safaitic, written under the direc-tion of R. Voigt, have been published by the series Semitica et Semitohamitica Berolinensia (SSHB): AAEK, AbaNS, and RSIS. Each of these contains an introduction, an analytical section dealing with cultural context of the texts, and a few remarks on grammar, along with an edition of previously unpublished texts and a glossary. While two volumes—AAEK and RSIS—contain photographs, these are usually of such low quality that it is often impossible to scrutinize the reading properly.

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