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Peter Nahon

This article sheds new light on the linguistic identity of the so-called ‘Portuguese Jews’ of Gascony. According to the currently-accepted historical reconstruction, after being Spanish-speaking during the first centuries of their settlement in France, these communities all adopted standard French towards the end of the 18th century. However, their linguistic legacy has been misinterpreted: Spanish was a mere written tongue, used by learned members of the communities until the 18th century, whereas Gascon, the local vernacular, was spoken. This situation of diglossia, paralleling that of the local Christian inhabitants, who wrote in French yet spoke Gascon, resulted in differentiation of the common language of both communities, with the emergence of a distinctive Jewish variety. Now mostly obsolescent, this ‘Jewish’ language is being recovered through intensive study of textual evidence – samples of which are provided here along with some of our theories.

Eran Cohen

This article describes several functions of presentative constructions in the Neo-Aramaic dialect of Zakho. Following a section introducing and discussing the forms, the presentative copula wēle (and in some cases the preverbal particle wal) is examined and found to have several functions: first, it serves as a concrete presentative and for an array of abstract presentative functions. Second, as wēle is first and foremost a copula, it is additionally found with different predicate types, most importantly in the formation of compound tenses, such as the present progressive and present perfect. Finally, in narrative it is also employed in circumstantial clauses.

Ori Shachmon

This essay presents the main characteristics of a variety of Jerusalem Arabic, which was spoken in Jerusalem in the first half of the 20th century by Jews of North-Syrian origin, and also by others who conformed to this way of speech. The description provided is based on new evidence collected in 2012–2013 through interviews with elderly Jews who grew up in Jerusalem in the 1930s and 1940s. Growing up in mandatory Jerusalem, they mixed and socialized freely with their Christian and Muslim neighbors. Many of them heard the Arabic dialect of Aleppo at home, yet their home-dialect went through processes of linguistic accommodation, resulting in a contact variety which evidently differs from standard Jerusalem Arabic. Throughout this article I discuss a series of distinctive phonological, morphological, and lexical features, and discuss them vis-à-vis the standard dialect of Jerusalem and also in comparison with Aleppo Arabic. While many differences follow from the retention of substrate features in the language of the immigrants, this Jewish variety is by no means identical to any Syrian dialect. Rather, it is a contact dialect which emerged after the immigration to Jerusalem and which differs from Syrian Arabic in several prominent aspects. The linguistic analysis of the materials demonstrates the spread of features of the local dialect at the expense of others, as well as the emergence of fudged linguistic forms, which are identical neither to those of the local standard nor to those of the input dialect.

The last section of this essay offers two full-length texts, demonstrating the Ḥalabi variety of Jerusalem Arabic (hereafter: ḥja) in its natural context.

Werner Arnold and Assaf Bar-Moshe

The Arabic dialect of the Jews in Baghdad (jb) presents some surprising similarities with Levantine dialects, and specifically with the Arabic dialect of the Jews in Aleppo (ja). These similarities, which are rarely found in the vast geographical area between the two cities, might be explained by immigration or at least strong connections between these two Jewish centers. This article presents the grammatical features that the two dialects share and compares them with other dialects in the Mesopotamian-Levantine region. Afterwards, these findings are compared with existing historical sources. Finally, some speculations are presented about how the linguistic evidence reflects on the history of these two communities.

Shinji Ido

The present article describes the vowel chain shift that occurred in the variety of Tajik spoken by Jewish residents in Bukhara. It identifies the chain shift as constituting of an intermediate stage of the Northern Tajik chain shift and accordingly tentatively concludes that in the Northern Tajik chain shift Early New Persian ā shifted before ō did, shedding light on the process whereby the present-day Tajik vowel system was established. The article is divided into three parts. The first provides an explanation of the variety of Tajik spoken by Jewish inhabitants of Bukhara. The second section explains the relationship between this particular variety and other varieties that have been used by Jews in Central Asia. The third section deals specifically with the vowel system of the variety and the changes that it has undergone since the late 19th century.

The Attic particle μήν

Intersubjectivity, contrast and polysemy

Kees Thijs

The paper examines the various usages of the Attic particle μήν and proposes a unified analysis of its main function. I argue that the prevalent analysis of Wakker (1997) needs some important reconsideration when instances of μήν in Platonic dialogue are concerned. First, the particle can target not only the propositional content of a discourse act, but also its illocution (felicity conditions). Second, I propose ‘countering expectations or assumptions of the addressee’ as the basic value of the particle. Functions in terms of commitment are better seen as secondary side effects. Third, I argue that differences in the origin of the countered assumptions or expectations are a natural basis for distinguishing between attitudinal μήν (extra-linguistic context and/or previous words of the addressee) and discourse connective μήν (previous words of the same speaker). It follows from my analysis that strict categorical boundaries between these usages are not to be expected.

Nikos Liosis

The Tsakonian clitic system possesses a clitic auxiliary with the same syntactic and prosodic properties as the object clitic pronouns with which it may cluster preverbally or postverbally. The clitics of the two Tsakonian subdialects (Peloponnesian Tsakonian and Propontis Tsakonian) differ typologically since the latter has second position clitics but the former does not. It is shown here that Peloponnesian Tsakonian clitics do not simply constitute a mixed system in a state of transition between the inherited Medieval Greek enclitics and SMG proclitics, because of certain peculiarities they show. In particular, circumclitics and split clitics have arisen, and second position clitics are retained not as free variations but as elements whose placement depends on strict prosodic and/or syntactic conditions.

Marios Mavrogiorgos

This paper pursues the idea, originally proposed by Landau (2007), that the Extended Projection Principle is PF related on the basis of Greek enclisis. It is argued that the complementary distribution pattern attested with Cypriot Greek finite enclisis derives from the fact that the first head H c-selecting TP has a morpho-syntactic requirement, and a related PF/prosodic requirement subject to an Economy Condition. The former derives merger of an X or XP copy at H, while the latter ensures that only one of the two copies gets spelled-out. Non-finite H triggers obligatory enclisis in both Cypriot and Standard Greek, as it contains only affixal morphemes, which is further supported by Medieval Greek non-finite enclisis. The parameterization of H along with potential implications are also discussed.