Blau, Joshua, “On some Arabic dialectal features paralleled by Hebrew and Aramaic”, The Jewish Quarterly Review, 76 no 1 (1985), 5-12.

In this article Blau traces the development of certain linguistic features in Arabic to suggest possible explanations for similar developments in Hebrew and Aramaic. On the reasons for the loss of the determining force of the definite article in Eastern Aramaic, Blau adduces examples from the Arabic dialect of Daragozu and the modern Western Aramaic dialects of the anti-Lebanon. In these dialects it is the subject and not the object in which the determinate noun is not differentiated from the indeterminate. This seems to follow from the fact that the determination of the subject is based mostly on context and does not need to be marked for the purpose of communication. More important is the distinction between subject and object. Since subjects are naturally definite, it is definite objects which are most likely to be mistaken for subjects. Thus Daragozu maintains the definite article only with definite objects, but indefinite objects and all subjects are left unmarked. In the Anti-Lebanon definite objects are marked by a special form of the verb. In Eastern Aramaic the use of le and/or an anticipatory pronoun to mark definite objects allows ambiguity of the emphatic state.

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