Suffix Pronouns and Reconstruction
Pronouns are often a key element in determining historical relationship between languages, and defining stages of language change. This chapter reconstructs the suffix object pronouns of proto- and/or pre-diasporic Arabic on the basis of a 49-dialect sample. Two significant points emerge. First, the reconstruction based purely on the dialects yields forms which turn out to be remarkably similar to recent reconstructions of proto-Semitic pronouns, which have excluded the Arabic dialects from the comparison, i.e., proto-/pre-diasporic Arabic as reconstructed here dovetails with proto-Semitic reconstruction. Secondly, against assumptions by prominent Arabicists (e.g., Brockelmann, Birkeland, and Cantineau), no evidence emerges for the presence of traces of a former case system in the reconstructed pronoun system.
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