The Use of the Relative and Near Demonstrative Pronouns in the Introduction of Phoenician, Old Aramaic, and Samʾalian Dedication Inscriptions

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Samuel L. Boyd



The orthography of the relative pronoun and the near demonstrative pronoun in the Byblian dialect of Phoenician is exactly the same, meaning that the grapheme z in introductions to dedication inscriptions has been left to interpretation. The historically related nature of these pronouns and their linguistic development led to this situation, in which the written expression of both pronouns in Byblian is identical. In this article, I examine this situation from a variety of perspectives, using both inner-Phoenician word order and comparative data from related languages, in order to show that two patterns underlie the pronoun z in the introduction to Byblian dedication inscriptions. First, I present the historical data regarding the development of the near demonstrative and relative pronouns in Phoenician. Next, I provide an analysis of the syntax of Phoenician dedication inscriptions and offer comparative material in mortuary inscriptions in Phoenician as well as evidence from Old Aramaic and Samʾalian. In doing so, I argue that, in light of comparative evidence, there is good reason to posit that two patterns exist underlying Byblian z, one in which the grapheme indicates the relative pronoun and another in which the grapheme indicates the near demonstrative.

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