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The Prefix Conjugation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates that the prefix conjugation in the Aramaic of Daniel has a wide variety of functions, including the expression of the future, modality, general present, and past imperfective. It also argues that these functions are diachronically related, and result from the development of the prefix conjugation along the path of grammaticalization. There are a total of 189 instances of prefix conjugation forms in the Aramaic of Daniel. Since the central functions of the future are "intention and prediction", it could be argued that it belongs more to the category of a modality rather than tense. Traditionally, modality has been subdivided into deontic and epistemic modalities. The jussive and the long imperfect cannot be distinguished, except in 4 instances that are clearly jussive, because of the negation by אל and, in most cases, the presence of a pronominal suffix that differentiates jussives and long imperfects.

Keywords: Aramaic of Daniel; grammaticalization; jussive; modality; prefix conjugation

10.1163/ej.9789004175143.i-200.47
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