Secondary Stress and Vowel Lengthening in Biblical Aramaic

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Emmanuel Aïm

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Abstract




This study is concerned with the placement of the secondary stress in Tiberian Biblical Aramaic. The challenging aspect of this placement is that, contrary to universal typology, both long-voweled CVVC, CVV and short-voweled CV syllables are stressed whereas short-voweled CVC syllables are not. This apparently abnormal distribution is rationalized by arguing that CV syllables became CVV due to a secondary lengthening of the short vowel. I claim that this lengthening is a late development and likely corresponds to the late orthographical practice of regularly marking the secondary stress on open syllables. A similar lengthening in Eastern Syriac offers support for this interpretation. Finally, the common origin of Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic secondary stresses is briefly discussed.




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