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Morphology versus Meaning: Biblical Mixed Roots and Andalusi Hebrew Lexicographical Theories

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Chapter Summary

Numerous medieval biblical dictionaries, especially those written in Judeo- Arabic, devote some attention to a phenomenon which occurs in the biblical corpus, whereby some Andalusi Hebrew roots experienced alterations in their triliteral structure because of the transposition or metathesis of weak and geminate letters. Depending on the method applied by a lexicographer, allomorphs can create either harmony or conflict in the dictionary. In the lexicographical works following early grammatical method preceding Ḥayyūj (10th century), allomorphs produce harmony, bringing together forms that share a minimum combination of radical letters around a single meaning that can produce concepts and be identified as a semantic foundation or lemma. Many of the lexicographical tools and principles used in this work became set in stone in Hebrew dictionaries that were composed between the 10th and 15th centuries. Ḥayyūj's work consisted in arabizing Hebrew morphology, giving it an analytical system similar to that of the Muslims.

Keywords: Ḥayyūj; allomorphs; Andalusi Hebrew; biblical dictionaries; Judeo- Arabic; lexicographical works; Muslims; semantic foundation



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