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08/08/2016

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Al-Jallad

In the line of "Himyaritic" you cite, you also have the subordinating particle ka-, which is not typically used in Arabic in this way. Note also Ge'ez bahla 'to speak'. Finally, if I am not mistaken, the examples you list are evidence of 'Himyaritic' influence on the local Arabic dialects and not Himyaritic itself. No full sentences of the unintelligible Himyaritic survive, except for that single sentence. I don't think Hamdani or others were really interested in describing truly non-Arabic languages in the works that survive (Hamdani did have a book on Himyaritic but it is lost). Mehri was known to them, and they said it was unintelligible, but it ended there. No attempt to give a description of the language was made. If true spoken Himyaritic was as unintelligible as Mehri, then I would expect it to be treated in the same way. It maybe too strong to conclude from examples of Himyaritic influence on 10th century Arabic that Himyaritic was just a form of Arabic at this time. It could equally be the result of biased descriptions. This is in fact the conclusion that Rabin draws from all of his dialectal data -- we are seeing Himyaritic and all of the spoken languages through the veil of Classical Arabic. One other thing to keep in mind -- when the South Arabian month names were translated into Arabic in this period, there was an awareness of the equivalence between the suffixed -aan and the Arabic article 'al. None of the descriptions of Himyaritic mention such an article...

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