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The Origin of the Official Aramaic Quotative Marker l'mr

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image of Aramaic Studies

In Official Aramaic, l'mr, the old infinitive of the verb √'mr, became the main form capable of introducing direct speech, even when there is another verbum dicendi present. The origin of the pattern has been the subject of several studies and has been assumed to be either an Aramaic innovation or a loan from Biblical Hebrew. An examination of the distribution and syntax of the form shows that it cannot be an Aramaic innovation and is highly unlikely to be borrowed from Hebrew. It is further suggested that the pattern is an Egyptian calque.

Affiliations: 1: The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, 1 University Station, F9400, Austin, TX 78712-0527, USA


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