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Author Topic: Is Palestinian Arabic Based Partly on Hebrew?  (Read 2689 times) Average Rating: 0
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rakovsky
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« on: October 21, 2010, 05:53:27 PM »

Is Palestinian Arabic Based Partly on Hebrew?

The Wikipedia article on the Palestinian Dialect of Arabic notes that before the introduction of Arabic in the 7th century, most people spoke Aramaic. The language of the Bible was also Hebrew, which they spoke before they learned Aramaic.

The Wikipedia article on "Palestinian Arabic" proposes some examples of how Palestinian Arabic goes in the direction of Hebrew.

The creator of modern Israeli Hebrew, Eliezar Ben Yehuda, also thought that Palestinian Arabic had a Hebrew "sub-stratum".
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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2010, 10:30:31 PM »

Some Jordanian dialects give us words like 'yohkel' (eats), whereas others would say 'yahkul'.  Ancient Hebrew gives us 'yohkhel'.  That's one example that crosses my mind.
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2010, 12:03:51 AM »

After reading the wiki article it would seem that if not based on Hebrew that Palestinian Arabic at the very least has loan words from Hebrew along with certain pronunciations that could be ascribed to either Hebrew or Aramaic. This is probably so given that the Palestinians live in Israel (or Palestine, whatever) and since that country is not culturally dominated by Islam that cross culturalization (I made that up... I think) can happen.
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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2011, 11:47:08 PM »

SamB,

Thanks for mentioning: "Some Jordanian dialects give us words like 'yohkel' (eats), whereas others would say 'yahkul'.  Ancient Hebrew gives us 'yohkhel'.  That's one example that crosses my mind."

However, Jordan is a separate land from the geographical land of Palestine, and Jordanians are different from Palestinians. By "Jordanian," you might be including Palestinians, it's just that the terms mean different things. So unfortunately, what you wrote doesn't clearly answer the question. To explain it better, just because Jordanian Arabic has a word that seems in a way similar to its Hebrew counterpart doesn't mean that Palestinian Arabic has the same similarlity.

But still, it's interesting about the languages of the Levant.

Regards.



dcommini,

The Wikipedia article noted:
Quote
the rural dialects of Palestinian Arabic contain features that appear to resemble their classical Hebrew counterparts.

The clearest example is the second and third person plural pronouns. hemme (they masc.) and henne (they fem.) resembles Hebrew hēm / hēn as against Classical Arabic hum/hunna, Aramaic hennōn/hennēn and general Levantine Arabic hunne.

This example lines up as follows:
Hemme (Pal. masc)
m (Heb. m)
Hum (Arabic m)
Hennōn (Aramaic m)
Hunne (Levantine m)

Here it doesn't seem that Palestinian is closer to Hebrew than the others. At first glance, it seems that the Hebrew could be closer than Arabic because the Hebrew starts with ē and the Palestinian has e. The problem is that ē in my mind isn't really a long version of regular e. In my mind, phonetically a letter "ē" is actually a combination of two sounds: short i and y. If you say "short i" and then "y" together, you will see that you get ē, like in the word "eat."

So the beginning of the Palestinian word, Hem-, is hardly closer to the Hebrew beginning of Hiym- than it is to the Arabic Hum-. Further, even if it is closer, then the very beginning is even closer to the Aramaic, which begins with He-, just like the Palestinian begins with He-.

The blue letters above show in my mind how likely it is that the Palestinian word came from those other sources. Hebrew seems a possibility, but a small one.

Likewise, the word's female form lines up:
Henne (Pal. female)
n (Heb. f)
Hunna (Arabic f)
Hennēn (Aramaic f)
Hunne (Levantine f)

Here, it strongly appears that the Palestinian word's origins are Aramaic and Levantine Arabic, rather than Hebrew.


The Wikipedia article on similarities between Hebrew and Palestinian Arabic continues:

Quote
Similarly the suffixes -kem (you or your, masc.) and -ken observed in Bīr-Zēt resembles Hebrew -khem / -khen as against Classical Arabic -kum and -kunna and Aramaic -kōn / -kēn and northern Levantine Arabic -kon.

Here's how the suffix lines up:

-kem (Palestinian)
-ken (Birz-ēt)
-khem/khen (Hebrew)
-kum/-kunna (Arabic)
-kōn / -kēn (Aramaic)
-kon (Levantine)

This is probably a better example of a similarity between Hebrew and Palestinian, because here, only Hebrew has the "e" that Palestinian does.


The Wikipedia article further writes:
Quote
A less clear example is the transformation of glottal stop followed by long alif (alif madda) into an "o" sound, as in the form Ana bokel (أنا بوكل) noted above. This certainly occurs in the future forms of Hebrew verbs with an aleph as the first consonant of their root. However, it is equally characteristic of Aramaic.  


This doesn't go one way or the other, because it notes that it's equally characteristic of Aramaic, so on the face of it, the similarity could have come equally from Aramaic or Hebrew. Also, I don't understand what they are talking about in their explanation of the alifs and "Ana bokel."

I agree with you that:
Quote
After reading the wiki article it would seem that if not based on Hebrew that Palestinian Arabic at the very least has loan words from Hebrew along with certain pronunciations that could be ascribed to either Hebrew or Aramaic. This is probably so given that the Palestinians live in Israel (or Palestine, whatever) and since that country is not culturally dominated by Islam that cross culturalization (I made that up... I think) can happen.

The wikipedia article mentioned Hebrew loan words. However, these loan words that it listed are ones that it appears it picked up in the last 200 years, like the word "computer." Such loan words don't go to the base of the language. So they don't show that the language itself has a Hebrew sub-stratum, just like loan words from slavic languages like "vodka" don't show that English has a slavic sub-stratum. Your apparent explanation is also correct: what you are suggesting is that since Hebrew is the dominant force's language, cross-culturalization can happen, with loan words from Hebrew into Palestinian. On the other hand, even if Islam culturally dominated Palestine, there could still be cross culturization with Hebrew, so long as there was also a significant contact with Hebrew. For example, in Western Ukraine under Austrian rule, Russians weren't culturally dominant, but there was some influence of Russian language among Carpathian nationalists. When they tried to write "proper" Rusyn, it appears that they took some Russian grammar or wording. Or alternatively, the Carpatho-Rusyn language appears to borrow heavily from Slovak, even though it isn't Slovak and the Slovaks are hardly the dominant political force.

Talking about Islam as being not culturally dominant among Palestinians is actually incorrect, since most Palestinians have Islamic background. That's why by "culturally dominant" I assumed you meant "politically dominant" in my analysis above.

Take care.
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2011, 11:57:23 PM »

I meant culturally dominant as a whole nation (that being israel) and also political. I find this topic to be quite interesting and I will have to study it more.
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2011, 12:27:26 AM »

SamB,

Thanks for mentioning: "Some Jordanian dialects give us words like 'yohkel' (eats), whereas others would say 'yahkul'.  Ancient Hebrew gives us 'yohkhel'.  That's one example that crosses my mind."

However, Jordan is a separate land from the geographical land of Palestine, and Jordanians are different from Palestinians. By "Jordanian," you might be including Palestinians, it's just that the terms mean different things. So unfortunately, what you wrote doesn't clearly answer the question. To explain it better, just because Jordanian Arabic has a word that seems in a way similar to its Hebrew counterpart doesn't mean that Palestinian Arabic has the same similarlity.

But still, it's interesting about the languages of the Levant.

Although Jordan is not Palestine, it isn't on the other side of the world either.  It is like Canadian English, whose early core was the American English of the Loyalist who fled/were expelled to there.  The Bedouin dialects of Arabic were in both Palestine and Jordan (and Syria) in the time of Christ and before.  In both areas the divide was not so much the Jordan River (though that did have a role) but urban versus tribal, the former predominating in Palestine, the latter in Jordan, but both communities very much linked.

Regards.



dcommini,

The Wikipedia article noted:
Quote
the rural dialects of Palestinian Arabic contain features that appear to resemble their classical Hebrew counterparts.

The clearest example is the second and third person plural pronouns. hemme (they masc.) and henne (they fem.) resembles Hebrew hēm / hēn as against Classical Arabic hum/hunna, Aramaic hennōn/hennēn and general Levantine Arabic hunne.

This example lines up as follows:
Hemme (Pal. masc)
m (Heb. m)
Hum (Arabic m)
Hennōn (Aramaic m)
Hunne (Levantine m)

The gender distinction is a tribal Bedouin feature, found throughout the Arab world where it is lost in the urban dialects, except (for instance) the Gulf.  Btw, the Classical Arabic is hum (m), hunna (f); Egyptian humma.

Quote
Here it doesn't seem that Palestinian is closer to Hebrew than the others. At first glance, it seems that the Hebrew could be closer than Arabic because the Hebrew starts with ē and the Palestinian has e. The problem is that ē in my mind isn't really a long version of regular e. In my mind, phonetically a letter "ē" is actually a combination of two sounds: short i and y. If you say "short i" and then "y" together, you will see that you get ē, like in the word "eat."

The Heb. qualitative/quantitative vowel distincitons are not the same for all period. The Heb. here doesn't come from ay (which it does elsewhere) but from short e being raised under the accent.

Quote
So the beginning of the Palestinian word, Hem-, is hardly closer to the Hebrew beginning of Hiym- than it is to the Arabic Hum-. Further, even if it is closer, then the very beginning is even closer to the Aramaic, which begins with He-, just like the Palestinian begins with He-.


Btw, in Levantine Arabic u and i conflate. Ex. Class. Ar. "umm", Levantine "imm" "mother."

Quote
The blue letters above show in my mind how likely it is that the Palestinian word came from those other sources. Hebrew seems a possibility, but a small one.

The problem is that here one is comparing languages which are in any case related.

Quote
Likewise, the word's female form lines up:
Henne (Pal. female)
n (Heb. f)
Hunna (Arabic f)
Hennēn (Aramaic f)
Hunne (Levantine f)

Here, it strongly appears that the Palestinian word's origins are Aramaic and Levantine Arabic, rather than Hebrew.

Indeed.

Quote
The Wikipedia article on similarities between Hebrew and Palestinian Arabic continues:

Quote
Similarly the suffixes -kem (you or your, masc.) and -ken observed in Bīr-Zēt resembles Hebrew -khem / -khen as against Classical Arabic -kum and -kunna and Aramaic -kōn / -kēn and northern Levantine Arabic -kon.

Here's how the suffix lines up:

-kem (Palestinian)
-ken (Birz-ēt)
-khem/khen (Hebrew)
-kum/-kunna (Arabic)
-kōn / -kēn (Aramaic)
-kon (Levantine)
This is probably a better example of a similarity between Hebrew and Palestinian, because here, only Hebrew has the "e" that Palestinian does.

Maybe.


Quote
The Wikipedia article further writes:
Quote
A less clear example is the transformation of glottal stop followed by long alif (alif madda) into an "o" sound, as in the form Ana bokel (أنا بوكل) noted above. This certainly occurs in the future forms of Hebrew verbs with an aleph as the first consonant of their root. However, it is equally characteristic of Aramaic.  


This doesn't go one way or the other, because it notes that it's equally characteristic of Aramaic, so on the face of it, the similarity could have come equally from Aramaic or Hebrew. Also, I don't understand what they are talking about in their explanation of the alifs and "Ana bokel."

The o comes form a long alif.

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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2011, 01:08:06 AM »

As an Egyptian, I can understand Palestinian Arabic a lot better than I can understand Gulf/Levantine Arabic. Actually, my understanding of Levantine isn't bad, but, Gulf Arabic to me sounds like nothing but a bunch of broken sounds Cheesy
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« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2012, 04:16:19 AM »

As an Egyptian, I can understand Palestinian Arabic a lot better than I can understand Gulf/Levantine Arabic. Actually, my understanding of Levantine isn't bad, but, Gulf Arabic to me sounds like nothing but a bunch of broken sounds Cheesy

I thought that Palestinian Arabic was also Levantine Arabic. This is what I thought: Levantine Arabic= Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, and Syria.
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2012, 10:33:52 AM »

As an Egyptian, I can understand Palestinian Arabic a lot better than I can understand Gulf/Levantine Arabic. Actually, my understanding of Levantine isn't bad, but, Gulf Arabic to me sounds like nothing but a bunch of broken sounds Cheesy

I thought that Palestinian Arabic was also Levantine Arabic. This is what I thought: Levantine Arabic= Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, and Syria.
It's like cockney and British English, a sub-dialect of a dialect continuum.
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