Arabic and IE

Mohamed Diriye Abdullahi diriyeam at MAGELLAN.UMontreal.CA
Sun Jan 31 20:12:38 UTC 1999

----------------------------Original message----------------------------

>At 02:12 PM 1/30/1999 EST, you wrote:
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>Robert Ratcliffe and Shilpi Bhadra are I am sure trying
>to be helpful, but it is surely disinformation to tell
>someone who is clearly a novice to the field that
>Semitic is not related to IE period (as per Bhadra)
>or at least not now known to be so related (as per
>Ratcliffe) instead of saying that

Why would it be disinformation? There is the hypothesis, now being banded
by some, of AA being related to IE, Dravidian, among others, leading to, I
suppose, to "proto-world." That is at the pro-levels and is just a floated
hypothesis. But if someone says Semitic or Cushitic or any of the other
branches of AA is not related to IE, I think that is a valid point. Yes,
Semitic or any of the AA branches has nothing to do with IE. What is there
to show that Semitic is related to AA? What reconstruction is there? Chance
ressemblances are found in all languages; I can give a slew from Somali
that look related to English; ex.  lug <>leg; san<>nose (by metathesis);
il<>eye; lur<>lure; naag<>nag; etc. Giving yourself a semantic leeway and
searching through a toolbox of phonetic processes, it is amazing what
patterns we can imagine.

On another level, I do not see even the reason, except an ideological one,
the same one that puts Egyptology in oriental studies, to have an interest
in Semitic by itself in comparison to IE. The Semitic group is just a small
part  of the AA languages.  The homeland of AA is in Africa by any measure,
somewhere in northeastern Africa. The Asian Semitic group (there is an
African Semitic group---Amharic, etc.) went with African tribespeople who
crossed the Red Sea to the Asian side. Over there, they met the IE
speakers, Persians, etc. whom they influenced and were influenced in turn.
But for a long time, they were rather inconspicuous herders of sheep and
goats who stayed in the deserts of the Asiatic side of the Red Sea, a
terrain similar to where they came.

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