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Letter Style, Presentation, And Lexicon

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Chapter Summary

The Genizah letters from various centuries differ not only in their linguistic phenomena, but also in miscellaneous features contributing to 'general layout and style'. These include introductory formulae, dating, and the use of vocalisation signs to facilitate reading. The Hebrew content, lexicon and the use of number signs also vary in the corpora. Letters of the different corpora are easily distinguishable from each other as the introductory formulae differ considerably throughout the centuries. In many of the Maghrebian letters, the style of letter introduction differs slightly from the Egyptian material. The dating in the Late Judaeo-Arabic letters is always in Hebrew and never in Judaeo-Arabic. Vocalisation signs are used in some letters but as with many other features, the use of these signs varies between the corpora. Finally, a quantitative analysis of the lexical Hebrew content in different centuries of Judaeo-Arabic letter writing is focused.

Keywords: dating formulae; introductory formulae; Judaeo-Arabic letter writing; letter style; lexical Hebrew content; vocalisation signs

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