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Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/187666310X12688137960669 Brill's Annual of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics 2 (2010) 2379 brill.nl/baall
 

Summary:  Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/187666310X12688137960669
Brill's Annual of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics 2 (2010) 2379 brill.nl/baall
Materials and Language:
Pre-Semitic Root Structure Change
Concomitant with Transition to Agriculture
Noam Agmon*
Institute of Chemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
agmon@fh.huji.ac.il
Abstract
Materials and language have evolved together. Thus the archaeological dating of materials possibly
also dates the words which name them. Analysis of Proto-Semitic (PS) material terms reveals that
materials discovered during the Neolithic are uniquely triconsonantal (3c) whereas biconsonantal
(2c) names were utilized for materials of the Old Stone-Age. This establishes a major transition
in pre-Semitic language structure, concomitant with the transition to agriculture. Associations
of material names with other words in the PS lexicon reveal the original context of material
utilization. In particular, monosyllabic 2c names are associated with a pre-Natufian cultural
background, more than 16,500 years ago. Various augments introduced during the Natufian,
and perhaps even more intensively during the Early Neolithic, were absorbed into the roots,
tilting the equilibrium from 2c toward 3c roots, and culminating in an agricultural society with
strictly triconsonantal language morphology.

  

Source: Agmon, Noam - Institute of Chemistry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

 

Collections: Chemistry