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2. Aspects of Previous Research

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates with selected examples major problematic aspects in the lexical picture of Neo-Mandaic (NM) that is reflected by Macuch's aforementioned works, and also in Häberl's book. In particular: 1) ad hoc learned classicisms, 2) misinterpretations and inaccurate definitions, 3) Persian and Arabic ad hoc loanwords instead of genuine NM words, 4) ad hoc circumlocutions instead of genuine NM equivalents, 5) ghost words, 6) verbal roots based on incorrect etymologies. Some lexical items and forms in works on NM are in fact ad hoc classicisms adduced by learned Mandaean informants and are never practically used in the spoken language. In some cases publications on NM include both ad hoc classical words and corresponding genuine vernacular words. Scholarly literature on NM includes several lexical items that do not actually exist in this language (or in any other Aramaic variety), and ought to be regarded as ghost words.

Keywords: Arabic ad hoc loanwords; classicisms; ghost words; inaccurate definitions; lexical items; Neo-Mandaic (NM)

10.1163/9789004257054_003
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