Blau, Joshua. On Pseudo-Correction in some Semitic Languages. Publications of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Science and Humanities, 1970.

Blau analyzes an interesting feature of language contact resulting from the tension between “higher” and “lower” forms, whether between different spoken dialects or between spoken and literary dialects. Pseudo-correction is the application of a feature in the higher dialect by analogy to a form where it does not occur, betraying the author’s lack of experience in the higher dialect. The existence of pseudo-corrections in a text may be a clue as to whether it reflects living language or literary idiom, but unfortunately our knowledge of ancient dialects is too scarce in most cases to distinguish the two. Unambiguous cases of pseudo-correction in ancient texts are therefore rare. One example of hyper-correction is seen in Aramaic orthography which used z to spell proto-Semitic /ð/ even after it had merged with /d/. However, even /d/ which went back to proto-Semitic /d/ was spelled with z at times.

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