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Reexamination of the Bare Preterite Base in the Jewish Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Zakho

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image of Aramaic Studies

In Neo-Aramaic dialects the historic passive participle is used as the base form for the preterite tense. Nonetheless, the scholarly tradition saw it as a passive form, especially when it appears alone as a 'bare form'. A wide corpus study of Jewish Zakho Neo-Aramaic shows, however, that in some cases it is justified to see this form as bearing an active function. This is established through the examination of the information-structure associated with the form. A comparison to an older stratum of Neo-Aramaic, namely the Nerwa texts from the 17th century, provides a possible diachronic explanation of this change.

Affiliations: 1: École Normale Supérieure, Paris


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