Al-Jallad. 2018. The earliest stages of Arabic and its linguistic classification
Ahmad Al-Jallad
 Ahmad Al-J​allad 
318
3Thelossof the long form of the 1st person independent pron​oun,
ʔanāku
: Proto-Semitic
had two forms of the 1st singular pronoun,
ʔanā
 and
ʔanāku
, the latter reected in Hebrew
ʔanôkî 
, Akkadian
anāku
, and Ancient South Arabian
ʾnk 
. No trace of this pronoun sur 
-
vives in Arabic, which suggests that it was lost at the Proto-Arabic stage.
4 The feminine singular demonstrative element,
t-
, as in Classical Arabic
,
hātā, ʔallatī 
,
and Old Arabic
ty
 /t
 ī/
.
5Thereplacement ofmimation with nunation: In Proto-Semitic, nouns that were not in
the construct stateterminatedin-
n(a)
 in the dual and masculine soundpluralsandin
-m
 
everywhere else. Arabic leveled the
-n
 ending, producing what the Arabic grammarians
called
tanwīn
,
nunation
.
6.Leve​li​ng of the
-at 
 reex of the feminine ending: Proto-Semitic had two allomorphs of 
the feminine ending,
-t 
 and
-at 
. Arabic levelled the -
at 
 ending to all situations, compare
Arabic
qātil-atun
 to Hebrew
qôṭēlēt 
 <
qōṭil-t 
 < *qāṭilt ‘killing’. Relics arepreservedin
isolated nouns, such as
bintun
 ‘girl’ and
ʔuḫtun
 ‘daughter’.
7The3rd feminine plural termination -
na
 on the sufx conjugation: Thisdevelopmentis
the result of leveling with the prex conjugation,
 yaqtulna
. The same feature is found in
Qatabanic and Hadramitic (​Ancient South Arabian; see Stein 2011, p. 1060), which is best
explained as a parallel development, as these languages areattestedmuchearliert​hanthe
 period in which we can posit contact with Arabic.
Proto-Semitic
East Semitic
E
b​l​a​i​t​e A​k​k​a​d​i​a​n E​t​h​i​o​-​S​e​m​i​t​i​c

Ce
ntral Se​mi​ti​c Mo​de​rn So​ut​h

Arabian
Northwest
Semitic
Arabic An​c​i​en​t So​ut​h
Arabian
C
a​n​a​a​n​i​t​e A​r​a​m​a​i​c U​g​a​r​i​t​i​c

West Semitic
 Figure 16.1 Classication of the Semi​tic Languages
Early Arabic linguistic classification
319
 
8 The
mafʕūl 
 pattern as a paradigmatic passive: Proto-CentralSemiticseemstohavehad
two forms of the G-stem passive,
qatūl 
 and
qatī 

, while the nominal stem
maqtūl 
 occurred
in isolated forms. While adjectives often with a passive/stative sense of the former two
remain in Arabic (
qatīlun
,
kabīrun
), the productive means by whichtoformapassive
 participle from the G-stem (formI)isthepattern
maqtūl 
.
9Theabsenceof a paradigmatic innitive. Huehnergard suggested that Proto-Semitic had a
 paradigmaticinnitiveoftheG-stem (form I) in the pattern
qatāl 
. The loss of this feature
and the variety of verbal noun patterns in Arabic wouldthenbeinterpretedasaninnova
-
tion (but see section 3.2).
10Thevowel melody
u~i
 in the passive of the sufx conjugation.Internalpassivesexistin
other Semitic languages, but their vocalic pattern differs.Huehnergardreconstructsthe
 pattern
quttal 
 for Northwest Semitic.
11Thegrammaticalization of the particle
qad 
 as a perfective morpheme, as in
qad faʕala
 ‘he
had done’.
12 The preposition
 fī 
, derived from the word “mouth”.
13The losso
f the anaphoric or remote demonstrative use of the 3rd p​erson pronouns​. The
3rd person pronouns were proper demonstratives in Proto-Semitic and continued as such
in most of the daughter languages, e.g. Hebrew
has-seper h
ā
-
 ‘that book’; Dadanitic
w l-h hʔ 
 ‘and that belongs to him’ (Farès-Drappeau 2005, p. 66); Akkadian
 šarrum šū
 
‘that king’. No such function isattestedinArabic.
14Thepresenceofnunation on nominal heads of indenite asy​ndetic relative clauses: As
Pat-El has shown recently (2014), Arabic exhibits aninnovationinitsmorphosyntax
where nunation may occur on the head of asyndetic relative clauses. Other Semitic lan
-
guages use the construct form of a noun in this syntactic position.
While not all of these developments carry the same weightforlinguisticdiagnosis,theycan
with some condence be reconstructed to the Proto-Arabic stage. The exception is perhaps
Feature 1, where the evidence is ambiguous in Old Arabic,andFeature9,whereithasbeen
recently argued that the
 Maṣdar 
 system of Arabic is in fact original and would therefore reect
an archaism rather than an innovation (Strich 2013). This viewissupportedbythepresence
and use of the innitives in Old Arabic, but the vocalic patte​rns are not always clear.
T
o these innovations identied by Huehnergard, we may add the following:
15Thesubjunctive ending in -
a
: While Hebrew attests a verbal form ending in
â
 and an
-a
 
termination is found in Amarna Canaanite and Ugaritic,verbswiththisterminationdo
not function as a paradigmatic subjunctive. Therefore,Huehnergardsuggeststhatthesub
-
 junctive in
-a
 could be characteristic of Arabic, although he didnotplaceitontheprimary
list of innovations.
16 The negative

: Huehnergard originally excluded the use of
m
ā
 as a negator from
the list of Arabic innovations because it occasionally occursinNorthwestSemitic,e.g.
Hebrew
ma-bbə-yādî rāʕâ
 ‘what evil is in my hand’ (i.e. there isnoevilinmyhand)
(1 Sam. 26:18). However, the negative meaning is clearlyrhetoricalinallofthenon-
Arabic attestations. The innovation in Arabic is then inthegrammaticalizationofthis
rhetorical device into a proper negative adverb.
17 Other prepositions and adverbs that are typicalofArabicmaybeaddedto
 fī 
; these are
*
ʕan
 ablative, *
ʕinda
 locative
 , *ḥatta
y ‘until’, and
ʿkd 
y (vocalization unclear)‘thereafter​
(found in Old Arabic only).
 Ahmad Al-J​allad 
320
18Arabicuniquely uses the particle *
ʔan(na)
 as a complementizer and subordinator, e.g.
ʔarāda ʔan yaḏhaba
 ‘he wanted to go’.
19Theindependent object pronoun base *(i
 y)
 yā
: despite attempts to connect Arabic
iyyā
with the Northwest Semitic object markers, it is clear that the form is a unique develop
-
ment in Arabic, and is probably related to the vocative marker
 yā
 used as a topicalizer
(Wilmsen 2013). Safaitic attests the form simply as
 y
, which may suggest that the Classi
-
cal Arabic form
ʔiyyā
comprises the presentative
ʔin
 and
 yā
, with assimilation of the
n
.
2.2Arabicand ancien​t North Arabian inscr​iptions
The relationship between Arabic and the languages attestedintheAncientNorthArabian
(ANA) inscriptions has been the subject of some debate among scholars (Macdonald 2000).
The most notable difference between many of these texts andClassicalArabicistheshapeof
the denite article,
h-
 in most of the ANA inscriptions and
ʔal 
 in Arabic. Based on this fea
-
ture,somescholars(Beeston1981;Muller1982) have argued for the bifurcation of the lan
-
guages of Central and North Arabia into “Arabic” and ANA. Knauf (2010) objected to this
division and instead argued that the ANA inscriptions werealltobeconsideredanancient
form of Arabic. His argument was based on the presence ofbrokenplurals,aprexedarti
-
cle, and the merger of *s¹ and *s³. Following from ourdiscussionofclassication,boththe
 broken plurals and article are of little value to determine genetic afliat​ion. While the *s¹
and*s³mergerdidoccurinProto-Arabic,itisafterallasoundchangeandcouldhave been
spread areally in Central and North Arabia. Moreover, thissoundchangedidnotoccurinall
ANA corpora.
Al-Jallad (2014, 2015, 2017, forthcoming) argues that the linguistic unity of ANA should
 be demonstrated by the identication of shared i​nnovations,andnotassumed.Thisapproach
fragmented the ANA corpus into several independent branches,inturnindicatingthateven
 North and Central Arabia were home to considerable linguisticdiversityinthepre-Islamic
 period.
 2.2.1 T​aymanitic 
Taymanitic refers to a form of the South Semitic script usedattheoasistownofTaymāʾin
modern northern Saudi Arabia (Macdonald 2004, p. 490) andthelanguageitexpresses.These
inscriptions do not exhibit any of the aforementioned Arabicinnovations,butinsteadexhibit
an interesting isogloss typical of the Northwest Semiticlanguages,thechangeof
w
 to
 y
 in
word initial position:
 y
rḫ
 for *warḫum ‘month, moon’ and
 y
dʕ 
 for *wadaʕa ‘to know’. Other
sound changes include the merger of
*z 
 and
*ḏ, *s
3
 and *
 ṯ 
, and of
*ṣ
 and
*ẓ 
 (Kootstra 2016).
In general, the texts are too short to provide a full linguistic assessment, but these few features
remain signicant and preclude this language as beinganearlyancestorofArabic.
 2.2.2 Dadanitic 
This term refers to the script and language of the oasis of Dadān in Northwest Arabia. The
language of these inscriptions exhibits a few features that seemtohavebeenlostattheProto-
Arabic stage. It retains the anaphoric use of the 3rd person pronoun,
hʔ 
; it does not exhibit
the innovative form *
ḥatta
 y
 (= Classical Arabic ḥattā), but instead preserves
ʕdk 
 y
, probably
*[ʕadkay], and does not level the
-at 
 ending, e.g.
mr 
ʔ 
h
 */marʔah/ <
*marʔat 
 ‘woman’ vs.
qrt 
 
*/qarīt/ ‘town’, ‘settlement’ compare with Arabic
qaryatun
. Moreover, some inscriptions have
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