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A Description and Quantitative Analysis of Linguistic Variation
This work focuses the social context of writing in ancient Western Arabia in the oasis of ancient Dadan, modern-day al-ʿUlā in the northwest of the Arabian Peninsula between the sixth to first centuries BC. It offers a description and analysis of the language of the inscriptions and the variation attested within them. It is the first work to perform a systematic study of the linguistic variation of the Dadanitic inscriptions. It combines a thorough description of the language of the inscriptions with a statistical analysis of the distribution of variation across different textual genres and manners of inscribing. By considering correlations between language-internal and extralinguistic features this analysis aims to take a more holistic approach to the epigraphic object. Through this approach an image of a rich writing culture emerges, in which we can see innovation as well as the deliberate use of archaic linguistic features in more formal text types.
From its Hijazi Origins to its Classical Reading Traditions
What was the language of the Quran like, and how do we know? Today, the Quran is recited in ten different reading traditions, whose linguistic details are mutually incompatible. This work uncovers the earliest linguistic layer of the Quran. It demonstrates that the text was composed in the Hijazi vernacular dialect, and that in the centuries that followed different reciters started to classicize the text to a new linguistic ideal, the ideal of the ʿarabiyyah. This study combines data from ancient Quranic manuscripts, the medieval Arabic grammarians and ample data from the Quranic reading traditions to arrive at new insights into the linguistic history of Quranic Arabic.
The alignment splits in the Neo-Aramaic languages display a considerable degree of diversity, especially in terms of agreement. While earlier studies have generally oversimplified the actual state of affairs, Paul M. Noorlander offers a meticulous and clear account of nearly all microvariation documented so far, addressing all relevant morphosyntactic phenomena. By means of fully glossed and translated examples, the author shows that this vast variation in morphological alignment, including ergativity, is unexpected from a functional typological perspective. He argues the alignment splits are rather the outcome of several construction-specific processes such as internal system harmonization and grammaticalization, as well as language contact.