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A reconstruction of the system of verb aspects in proto-Berbero-Semitic

  • Maarten Kossmann (a1) and Benjamin D. Suchard (a1)
Abstract

Several verbal forms reconstructed for proto-Semitic strongly resemble reconstructed forms in proto-Berber: compare Semitic yV-PaRRaS to Berber y-əFăRRăS, Semitic yV-PRaS to Berber y-əFRăS, and Semitic yV-PRuS and yV-PRiS to Berber y-ăFRəS. We suggest that these forms are historically related and sketch a line of development from the reconstructed meanings to their attested uses. yVPaRRaS, originally imperfective, retains that value in both Berber and Semitic. yVPRas, originally stative, gained a perfective meaning in Berber and Semitic; the stative meaning is retained in Berber, but was largely lost in Semitic. yVPRus/yVPRiS, originally perfective, retained that meaning in Semitic, merging with the newly perfective yVPRas forms; in Berber, yVPRaS completely replaced perfective yVPRuS/yVPRiS, relegating the latter to non-aspectual uses. We conclude by considering the quality of the first vowel; the alternation seen in Berber y-əFRăS and y-ăFRəS supports reconstructions as yiPRaS and yaPRuS/yaPRiS, conforming to the Barth–Ginsberg Law of Semitic.

Copyright
Corresponding author
m.g.kossmann@hum.leidenuniv.nl
b.d.suchard@hum.leidenuniv.nl
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Our sincere thanks go to Holger Gzella, Ahmad Al-Jallad, Marijn van Putten and Lameen Souag as well as to the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

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