Second person suffix conjugation endings with 'k' on tertiae y verbs in Samaritan Aramaic

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The Western Late Aramaic language used by the Samaritan community in the Byzantine and early Muslim periods has peculiar 2nd person suffix conjugation endings on tertiae y verbs which are spelled with 'k' instead of the usual 't' known from all other Aramaic dialects. The present paper clarifies three aspects of these forms: (1) An examination of all attestations of 2nd person forms from the texts accessible in reliable editions allows us to determine the extent of the phenomenon: The 'k'-forms are the regular forms in Samaritan Aramaic, not late by-forms, as suggested by some. (2) Ben-Hayyim, Macuch, and Yahalom have proposed different explanations of how these forms developed, all of which rely on a succession of analogies. A critique of their proposals leads to the conclusion that they are highly hypothetical and not convincing. (3) We propose an alternative, phonetic explanation, which assumes that the preceding high-front vowel triggered palatalization of the original t of the endings. This palatalization led to a change in orthography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-156
Number of pages30
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


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