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Nice post!

> "Moreover, Aramaic and Hebrew both have undergone the semantic development from 'to overflow' to 'to transgress', and lost its original meaning completely."

The verb is actually only marginally attested in Hebrew; according to my Koehler & Baumgartner, there's only a hiph'il הִטְעוּ 'they led astray' in Ezekiel 13:10 and a conjectured form [טֹעִיָּה] `wandering (f.sg.)' in Song 1:7 (pro עֹטְיָה 'covering oneself (f.sg.)', which works fine). I guess you could read the Ezekiel form as 'they led to transgress'. Since Ezekiel is from the exilic period, it could well be an Aramaic loanword in Hebrew, too.


While I agree that ṭāġūt can hardly be from Ethiopic, I think the issue of uvular/pharyngeal contrast needs more careful handling. There are potentially two separate phenomena at work here: early maintenance of the old distinction in early Aramaic, and later loss of the distinction between ḥ and x in eastern Aramaic, as clearly seen in NENA. When I see a list with 6 voiceless examples to only 1 voiced, that immediately suggests to me that it's the later loss that's relevant here, rather than the old distinction. If you can find more voiced examples, that would strengthen the case...


Is the NENA situation really relevant? I believe the development that we see in NENA must postdate bəḡaḏkəp̄aṯ, but Quranic Arabic (and Classical Arabic for that matter) show no evidence for lenition.

ṭāġūt not ṭāġūṯ; malik not malix; talmūd, not talmūḏ; ʕadn not ʕaḏn; malakūt not malaxūṯ.


Yes, the merger itself must postdate begadkephat, but the shift of ḥ > x could surely have come before the merger?

Chuck Haberl

The shift ḥ > x is not entirely an Eastern Aramaic phenomenon, seeing as Hertevin goes in the other direction and Central Neo-Aramaic keeps both phonemes distinct.


Thought about this some more. I think I'll write this up as an article when I have some time. I kind of went past the most important point.

1. This word having a a ġ or not brings us no closer to proving it is either from Geez or from Aramaic directly.
2. I see absolutely no reason why it would have gone Aramaic > Geez > Arabic; Occam's razor says it makes more sense to just assume Aramaic > Arabic.
3. The traditional explanation: "the ġ come from ṭaġē (< ṭaġaya)" does not hold up, since that is also likely a loanword, since ṭaġā < ṭaġawa is the native cognate.
4. It is possible that the ġ is an retention in an archaic form of Aramaic. But even if we decide that is impossible, the data is still in favour of Aramaic, as the corresponding verb ṭaġē is more likely to come from Aramaic thant Geez, because the corresponding verb in Geez is ṭaʕawa which would have been more likely to be loaned as ṭaʕ/ġā.

Chuck Haberl

Apropos of more archaic forms of Aramaic, it is definitely the case that some written forms of Aramaic continued to distinguish some of these sounds a la Old and Official Aramaic long after the mergers had occurred, even up to the present date (as in the case of Mandaic orthography, with byforms such as zma for dama "blood," arqa for ara "land" and aqna for ana "sheep." Unfortunately, no form of Aramaic distinguishes between ġ and ʕ, to my knowledge, suggesting that these two phonemes had already merged during the period represented by Old Aramaic (but compare, for example, Arabic غزة with Hebrew עזה; that ghayn had to come from somewhere).


The -realm- Malkuth in Hebrew which is an Aramaic term sounds like the five realms or "worlds", Nasut, Malakut, Jabarut, Lahut, Hahut [...+ut]


realm noun
[1] his prime concern was to promote peace in the realm: kingdom, sovereign state, monarchy; empire, principality, palatinate, duchy; country, land, domain, dominion, nation, province.
[2] the realm of academic research: domain, sphere, area, field, department, arena; world, region, province, territory, zone, orbit.
* source: oxford ote

can also bes een as the ‘realm’ of transgression [(see > oxford ote [1] [2])], an idol (false deitie/god)/ or worshipping an idol.. can be seen as an way entering this realm or representing this realm [in those ancient times]

transgress verb
[1] they must control the impulses which lead them to transgress: misbehave, behave badly, break the law, err, lapse, commit an offence, fall from grace, stray from the straight and narrow, sin, degenerate, do wrong, go astray; informal slip up, be out of order; archaic trespass.
[2] few of us will go through life without transgressing some rule of public law: disobey, defy, infringe, breach, contravene, violate, break, flout, infract, commit a breach of. ▷antonyms obey.
* source: oxford ote

etymology of “transgression”
transgression > late 14c., from Old French transgression "transgression," particularly that relating to Adam and the Fall (12c.), from Late Latin transgressionem (nominative transgressio) "a transgression of the law," in classical Latin, "a going over, a going across," noun of action from transgressus, past participle of transgredi "step across, step over; climb over, pass, go beyond," from trans "across, beyond" (see trans-) + gradi (past participle gressus) "to walk, go" (see grade (n.)). Geological sense is from 1882.

err> c. 1300, from Old French errer "go astray, lose one's way; make a mistake; transgress," from Latin errare "wander, go astray," figuratively "be in error," from PIE root *ers- (1) "be in motion, wander around" (source also of Sanskrit arsati "flows;" Old English ierre "angry; straying;" Old Frisian ire "angry;" Old High German irri "angry," irron "astray;" Gothic airziþa "error; deception;" the Germanic words reflecting the notion of anger as a "straying" from normal composure). Related: Erred; erring

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