Comparative Lexical Studies in Neo-Mandaic

Comparative Lexical Studies in Neo-Mandaic

by Hezy Mutzafi


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Comparative Lexical Studies in Neo-Mandaic by Hezy Mutzafi

Neo-Mandaic is the last phase of a pre-modern vernacular closely related to Classical Mandaic, a Mesopotamian Aramaic idiom of Late Antiquity. This unique language is critically endangered, being spoken by a few hundred adherents of Mandaeism, the only gnostic religion to have survived until the present day. All other Mandaeans, numbering several tens of thousands, are Arabic or Persian speakers. The present study concerns the least known aspect of the language, namely its lexicon as reflected in both its dialects, those of the cities of Ahvaz and Khorramshahr in the Iranian province of Khuzestan. Apart from lexicological and etymological studies in Neo-Mandaic itself, the book discusses the contribution of the Neo-Mandaic lexis to our knowledge of literary Mandaic as well as aspects of this lexis within the framework of Neo-Aramaic as a whole.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789004257047
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 02/15/2014
Series: Studies in Semitic Languages and Linguistics , #73
Pages: 244
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Hezy Mutzafi, Ph.D. (2001) in Semitic Linguistics, Tel Aviv University, is a member of the Department of Hebrew Culture Studies at Tel Aviv University. He has written on Neo-Aramaic, including The Jewish Neo-Aramaic of Betanure (2008).

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgements xi

Abbreviations and Symbols xiii

1 Introduction 1

1.1 Neo-Mandaic and Its Speakers 1

1.2 The Neo-Mandaic Lexicon in Previous Studies 5

1.3 Methodology 9

1.3 Sources 10

1.3 Transcription and Citation Forms 12

2 Aspects of Previous Research 17

2.1 Classicisms 17

2.2 Inaccurate Definitions 22

2.3 Ad hoc Persian and Arabic Loanwords 26

2.4 Ad hoc Circumlocutions 27

2.5 Ghost Words 30

2.6 Aramaic Verbal Roots Based on Incorrect Etymologies 32

3 Neo-Mandaic and Pre-Modern Aramaic 35

3.1 Continuity of the Neo-Mandaic Lexicon and Old Aramaic 35

3.2 Continuity of the Neo-Mandaic Lexicon and Literary Mandaic 36

3.3 Some Hitherto Unattested Mandaic Lexemes Surfacing in Neo-Mandaic 38

3.3 Genuine Aramaic Words and Forms Hitherto Unattested in Literary Mandaic 39

3.3 Early Iranian Loanwords Hitherto Unattested in Literary Mandaic 58

3.3 Akkadian Lexical Influences Surfacing in Neo-Mandaic 62

3.4 The Importance of Neo-Mandaic for Elucidating Literary Mandaic Lexemes 77

4 Neo-Mandaic and Other Neo-Aramaic Varieties: Isolexes 91

4.1 Shared Retentions of Neo-Mandaic and Other Neo-Aramaic Varieties 91

4.2 Shared Retentions with Semantic Differences 96

4.2 Semantic Differences Unique to Neo-Mandaic 96

4.2 Further Shared Retentions with Semantic Differences 99

4.2 Shared Retentions in Neo-Mandaic, NENA and Turoyo 103

4.3 Peripheral Relic Lexical Items 112

4.3 Relic Lexical Items Shared with Western Neo-Aramaic 112

4.3 Relic Lexical Items Shared with Turoyo and with Mlahsô 116

4.4 Neo-Mandaic-NENA Isoglosses 117

4.4 Isoglosses in Both Form and Meaning 118

4.4 Morpho-Lexical Isoglosses 123

4.4 Neo-Mandaic Isolexes with Some of the NENA Dialects 126

4.4 Neo-Mandaic-NENA Isolexes with Semantic Differences 138

5 The Uniqueness of the Neo-Mandaic Lexicon within Neo-Aramaic 145

5.1 Pre-Modern Aramaic Words and Meanings Surviving Only in Neo-Mandaic 145

5.2 Unique Neo-Mandaic Words and Meanings Related to Lexical Replacement 166

5.2 Unique Neo-Mandaic Words 166

5.2 Unique Neo-Mandaic Meanings 176

5.3 Unique Neo-Mandaic Compounds and Blends 193

5.4 Some Unique Neo-Mandaic Words of Unknown or Uncertain Origin 199

5.5 Various Other Unique Neo-Mandaic Words and Meanings 203

Bibliographical References 213

Index of Neo-Mandaic Words 223

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