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The IOS Annual Volume 21: “Carrying a Torch to Distant Mountains”, brings forth cutting-edge studies devoted to a wide array of fields and disciplines of the Middle East. The three sections—the Ancient Near East, Semitic Languages and Linguistics, and Arabic Language and Literature—include sixteen articles. In the Ancient Near East section are studies devoted to Babylonian literature (Gabbay and Wasserman; Ayali-Darshan), history (Cohen and Torrecilla), and language (Zadok). The Semitic Languages and Linguistics section contains discussions about comparative Semitics—Egyptian and Modern South Arabic (Borg; Cerqueglini), Aramaic dialects (Khan; Stadel), Palestinian Arabic (Arnold; Procházka), and Tigre and Ethiosemitic languages (Voigt). The final section of Arabic Language and Literature is devoted to ʿArabiyya and its grammarians (Dror, Versteegh, Sheyhatovitch, Kasher, and Sadan).
The Israel Oriental Studies Annual Dedicated to the Ancient Near East, Semitics, and Arabic
The IOS Annual will present volumes that focus on either a variety of topics listed below or, alternatively, a volume focused on a specific topic or issue. Contributions in English and Arabic are accepted. The use of Arabic will promote the diffusion of western linguistic approaches in the Arabic Sprachraum and the translation into Arabic of specific terms from new linguistic disciplines. All chapters will include an abstract and keywords in Arabic, English and Hebrew.

The Ancient Near Eastern section will hold articles relating to the cultures and languages of the pre-Islamic Near East, in general, Cuneiform Studies (Assyriology and Hittitology) and Egyptology. Topics will include languages, religion, history, and culture. Articles will range from text editions and traditional philology to digital humanities and big-data in ancient corpora. The intended readers are scholars of the ancient Near East and related fields, such as Biblical Studies, the Classics, and Archaeology of Mesopotamia, the Levant and the Mediterranean.

The Semitic Linguistics section will publish papers on original, innovative research on all branches of the Semitic linguistic family, also considering their Afroasiatic background. The section will be open to different linguistic approaches: from the more traditional historical and comparative methods, to cognition, semantics, pragmatics, corpus linguistics, linguistic anthropology, psycholinguistics and discourse analysis. The openness to contemporary linguistic approaches will be a unique platform for the young generations of Semitists, attracting scholars of spoken/modern Semitic languages who must address platforms of general linguistics, often not suitable for specialists of Semitic and Afroasiatic languages, as they do not strictly follow traditional historical and philological models. The intended readers are scholars and students of Semitic and Afroasiatic languages and cultures and scholars in all linguistic disciplines who want to access Semitic/Afroasiatic data.

The Arabic Language and Literature section will contain original articles on classical and contemporary Arabic linguistics and literature, with a particular stress on the medieval Arabic linguistic and literary traditions, their relations with other disciplines and cultures, and their modern offshoots. The intended readers are scholars and students of Arabic language and literature.


Spatial Frames of Reference (FoRs) are mental coordinate systems applied to locate a Figure (F) with respect to a Ground (G). In Levinson’s theory (2003), every language selects a dominant FoR among Intrinsic, Relative and Absolute, leaving non-dominant FoRs for restricted sets of cases. Bohnemeyer (2011) enlarged this typology, describing ‘referentially promiscuous systems’, as characterized by free switch among FoRs and absence of a default strategy used by the whole community. We show here that Traditional Negev Arabic (TNA) represents a new, hitherto unknown type, which we label ‘referential complementarity’: all its speakers use all three FoRs in everyday discourse, yet not freely switching among them. Different Gs of traditional life, when observed in their traditional locations, prime specific referential strategies: inherently partitioned Gs (horse/coffee-pot) prime the binary Intrinsic FoR; those with no inherent partition (stone/tree) prime ternary Relative or Absolute FoRs, depending on their alignment vis-à-vis the Observer (O). Interestingly, culturally salient objects considered integral to the tent, such as a hosting cushion or a tent pole, absorb the tent’s Intrinsic orientation; but outside the tent these behave just like their non-tent-integral counterparts (stone/tree). In particular, the Absolute FoR is used for (i) culturally unfamiliar Gs (chair/shoe/dinosaur) and (ii) certain Gs in non-salient O-F-G alignments. We conclude that FoR selection in TNA follows culture-specific rules, paying more attention to cultural familiarity or salience than to supposedly universal metrical and formal features.

In: Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics