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Some Lexicographic and Etymological Notes on 'A Jewish Neo-Aramaic Dictionary'

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image of Aramaic Studies

The present article refers to several selected lexical oddities which appear in Yona Sabar's A Jewish Neo-Aramaic Dictionary. The article seeks to clarify the etymologies of these lexical items, to refine their definitions whenever necessary, and to offer extensive comparative data related to cognates and missing links in various other Neo-Aramaic varieties, in particular North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic (NENA) dialects. All lexical items in question are proven to be inherited from pre-modern Aramaic, and five of them appear to be part of the inventory of Akkadian loanwords in NENA and other Aramaic languages. Mere recourse to Classical Aramaic is inadequate for uncovering the origins of most of these lexical items due to far-reaching semantic, phonological and morphological changes that have distanced them from their precursors. In most cases, therefore, a comparative inter-dialectal study is crucial for securing well-founded etyma for these puzzling words. Each etymological discussion specifies the diachronic processes involved in the development of the lexical item under consideration.

Affiliations: 1: Tel Aviv University


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