[Lingtyp] Apostrophe highlighting morphological information

Geoffrey Khan gk101 at cam.ac.uk
Sun Sep 13 09:06:32 UTC 2020

Dear Jeff,

There are examples of this in Semitic. In Neo-Aramaic dialects, for 
example, a glottal stop obligatorily occurs before a vowel in 
word-initial position, including when there is proclitic preposition, 
e.g. /'ida /'hand', /b'ida /'in (the) hand', which reflects a 
morphological division /b /[in] + /'ida /[hand]. This can be used as a 
diagnostic for identifying reanalysis of prepositional phrases as verbal 
stems, e.g. /bixala /'eating' (progressive stem), which has developed 
historically from the prepositional phrase /b /[in] + /'ixala /'eating'. 
If it were still a prepositional phrase with a morpheme boundary after 
the /b/, it would have been /b'ixala./

Geoffrey Khan

On 9/11/2020 5:40 AM, Jeff Siegel wrote:
> Greetings:
> I'm posting a question from a colleague in Germany:
> do you know of any language where the apostrophe represents a glottal
> stop and where it highlights morphological information? that is, the
> apostrophe (the glottal stop) only occurs at word-initial or word-final
> position or at morpheme boundaries. it would be great if you could give
> me an example. unfortunately i could not find any in the literature.
> Grateful for any replies.
> Thanks,
> Jeff
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