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10/21/2017

Comments

David Marjanović
Why would Pre-Islamic Arabic already have incorporated this "Hijazism", and so irregularly?

I think there's a precedent for this kind of thing. In older French songs, final -e is reliably pronounced everywhere except before vowels, where it's always silent. In the work of Georges Brassens, it's pronounced whenever it happens to be metrically convenient, and only then. I'm sure this can happen whenever the historical reason for variation is forgotten.

David Marjanović
in the second appendix of this article.

And in that article I find...

The few examples of Neo-Babylonian written in Greek letters indicate that final short vowels had altogether disappeared, e.g. ìïñò = murṣu (Westenholz 2007: 284).

The underdot is written using Unicode, but the Greek is not? What is ìïñò – some kind of μορς?

PhoeniX

Huh. How did that happen! Thanks for pointing that out. It's a screw up on the side of the journal.

Our version on Google Docs simply has "μορς = murṣu", so we wrote it in Unicode and everything.

Just checked our proofs, and it wasn't like this in the proofs. So it somehow bizarrely screwed up in between the proof phase and publication, which was about two weeks apart or so... That's annoying.

As for the example of French final -e, yes that's somewhat comparable. And actually the somewhat haphazard incorporation of dialectal forms into poetry because it's metrically useful reminds me very much of what people think happens in Epic Greek.

The difference both to the French and the Greek parallels is, if the modern transmission of the poetry is to be trusted, the word is always in this dialectal form. Always yarā, never yarʔā. Its occurrences should really be checked in the poetry though, and see if it ever yields metrical irregularities.

I've found one Quran document where, surprisingly the word is spelled with a media Alif, suggesting (especially in that document) a post-consonantal glottal stop. A form that never occurs in any of the reading traditions... It's quite puzzling.

Benjamin Geer

David,

“In older French songs, final -e is reliably pronounced everywhere except before vowels, where it's always silent.”

That’s simply because older French songs followed the pronunciation rules of metrical French poetry. No doubt singers/songwriters in those days aspired to at least some of the legitimacy and recognition that classical poetry enjoyed as an art form (and which was familiar to a wide audience thanks to the school system).

But the loss of final -e in speech had already occurred by the 17th century (see https://periodicos.ufsc.br/index.php/fragmentos/article/viewFile/5941/7716 ).

“In the work of Georges Brassens, it's pronounced whenever it happens to be metrically convenient, and only then.”

I suspect Brassens didn’t care whether his lyrics sounded anything like classical poetry, and was more interested in using the rhythms of ordinary speech.

“I'm sure this can happen whenever the historical reason for variation is forgotten.”

It’s not that it was forgotten, it’s that it was no longer considered important in a particular style of music.

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