The Semitic language family

A typological perspective

Authored by: Na‘ama Pat-El

The Semitic Languages

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9780415731959
eBook ISBN: 9780429025563
Adobe ISBN:


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The Semitic languages exhibit a number of typologically unique features, especially morphological features, some of which are well known and regularly quoted in typological literature. Three recent articles have collected a large number of typologically uncommon or interesting morphological and syntactic features in the attested Semitic languages, both ancient and modern (Gensler 2011, Waltisberg 2011, Rubin 2017). The current chapter, instead, will review the typology of some of the features reconstructed for Proto-Semitic (see Chapter 3). I will not discuss the reconstruction of these features, as these are thoroughly treated in the previous chapter. By its nature, this chapter is not exhaustive and includes primarily features that are less known to non-specialists and should, perhaps, gain more recognition. Several of these features show remarkable resilience and stability, and are still attested in some modern languages. Stability and distribution will be noted where relevant.

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