Linguistic Variety of Judaeo-Arabic in Letters from the Cairo Genizah 9004187766, 9789004187764

The Cairo Genizah has preserved a vast number of medieval and post-medieval letters written in the Jewish variety of Ara

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 9004187766, 9789004187764

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Linguistic Variety of Judaeo-Arabic in Letters from the Cairo Genizah

Études sur le Judaïsme Médiéval Fondées par

Georges Vajda Dirigées par

Paul B. Fenton


Linguistic Variety of Judaeo-Arabic in Letters from the Cairo Genizah By

Esther-Miriam Wagner


This book is printed on acid-free paper. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Wagner, Esther-Miriam. Linguistic variety of Judaeo-Arabic in letters from the Cairo genizah / by Esther-Miriam Wagner. – 1st ed. p. cm. – (Etudes sur le judaïsme médiéval, ISSN 0169-815X ; t. 41) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-90-04-18776-4 (hard cover : alk. paper) 1. Judeo-Arabic language. 2. Arabic language–Dialects. 3. Jews–Correspondence. 4. Cairo Genizah I. Title. II. Series. PJ5071.W34 2010 492.7'7–dc22 2010020792

ISSN: 0169-815X ISBN: 978 90 04 18776 4 Copyright 2010 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill, Hotei Publishing, IDC Publishers, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers and VSP. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill NV provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, MA 01923, USA. Fees are subject to change.


Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii Chapter One Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter Two General Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter Three Corpus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter Four Phonology and Orthography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter Five Morphology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter Six Letter Style, Presentation, and Lexicon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter Seven Syntax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter Eight General Trends in the Judaeo-Arabic Letters from the Genizah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1 11 13 25 69 97 117

Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Classmarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Plates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

235 243 249 253



The research that forms the basis of this investigation was undertaken for my doctoral thesis, and would not have been possible without help and support from many people. My profound thanks go to Prof. Geoffrey Khan, who took me on as a Ph.D. student and supervised me with great leadership, benevolence, and contagious enthusiasm. Not only has he been a fountain of knowledge and wordly wisdom, but he also knew how to motivate me, how to exercise exactly the right amount of pressure, and how to give kind support and guidance whenever I encountered problems during my research. I could not have imagined a better and more suitable supervisor, and I am deeply grateful for all that he has done for me. I also would like to thank everyone in the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, where I learned about the idiosyncracies and richness of the Genizah material, and had a proper training in the codicology and palaeography of manuscripts. In particular, I have to express my gratitude to Dr Ben Outhwaite for sharing his immense knowledge of the Genizah sources, for always having the patience to explain, and for discussing large parts of this investigation with me. Melonie Schmierer, Dr. Dan Davies, Dr. Mark Williams, and Dr. Theresa Biberauer deserve sincere thanks for reading parts of this work and providing me with comments. I am most appreciative of Prof. Benjamin Hary for giving invaluable input in his review of the thesis. I would also like say thank you to Dr. Rebecca Jefferson, Dr. Siam Bhayro, Dotan Arad, Prof. Gideon Bohak, Maciej Pawlikowski, Blazej Mikula, Dr. Avi Shivtiel, and Henrike Kuehnert, as well as to Fabio, Alex, Mina, Mair, Mike, and all of my football friends for their help and advice in various matters. The Master and Fellows of St. John’s College, Cambridge, must be thanked for taking me into their fold. My husband Sebastian Engelstaedter has been a steady source of encouragement and positivity. He should be praised for making me reflect on all my doings and for letting me be myself. My fairy godmother Antje, my father, my parents-in-law, and the rest of my family have provided constant support.



I am grateful for the financial support I received from the AHRC, the Faculty of Oriental Studies in Cambridge, the Cambridge Board of Graduate Studies, and the Kurt Hahn Trust Cambridge during my studies. The people at Brill have been brilliant to work with and my thanks go to Jennifer Pavelko, Katelyn Chin, and in particular to Michael Mozina for being such a patient and reliant editor. All images are reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library. I would like to dedicate this thesis to the memory of my mother Renate Margot Manegold Wagner (–).

chapter one INTRODUCTION

.. Spoken and Written Languages No language is ever written as it is spoken. Rather, written and spoken varieties of a language represent two connected but divergent entities.1 These entities emerge because their discourse is shaped by two different sets of participants who operate in quite different linguistic environments: writer/reader in the case of written texts, and speaker/listener in oral conversation. Furthermore, there is temporal separation between writer and reader, but immediacy between speaker and listener. Whereas speech makes use of means such as intonation and extra-linguistic cues (e.g., hand or facial gestures), and has the simultaneous advantage and disadvantage of evanescence, written varieties may be formulated and edited over a period of time, and the writers are usually aware of the protracted availability of the produced work.2 A reader may re-read passages of a written text, while listeners have to understand statements as they hear them, although they may interact with the speaker to clarify matters where necessary. This leads to structured, generally syntactically more complex, written varieties and less structured spoken varieties, in which complexity is achieved less through syntactic relations but by other means, such as intonation, use of demonstrative and pronouns, or repetition. Ferdinand de Saussure, the founder of modern linguistics, has provided an explanation of how spoken and written varieties can be two distinct branches of one language when he posited the seminal dichotomy of langue and parole. According to Saussure’s theory, the abstract language system (langue), an institution of norms, controls the possibilities in the individual utterances (parole). This has fostered the understanding that

1 For the divergence of spoken and written varieties of languages, see Halliday (), Chafe () and Tannen (). 2 See Daniels (, ff).

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all languages have different, grammatically correct registers of language. These registers range from formal literary standard to vernacular, from sociolects to idiolects. Different varieties may be found within both the categories of written and spoken language. Literary varieties, for example, include the registers of language used in legal codices, poetry or technical contexts. Vernacular varieties can be categorised according to the groups in which they are spoken. There may be sociolects germane to distinct social groups but also between younger and older speaker of the same variety. Religiolects may be spoken by member of different religious denominations. There are also idiosyncracies of individual speakers or registers reserved for certain speech situations. This leads to a large variety of written and spoken registers within any one language. Written languages ordinarily emerge from spoken languages, so they naturally have an initially close relationship with a spoken variety. Over time, however, this closeness may diminish as the spoken language undergoes changes which are not reflected in the language’s writing system; as writing systems are conservative, it is often the case that they diverge markedly from the corresponding spoken system. On the other hand, written language can influence the spoken variety, too, for example, when people use RSVP (répondez s’il vous plaît) as a verb in speech (‘I rsvp-ed immediately’), or when ‘and slash or’ is used to mimic the initially written-language form ‘and/or’. The situation in Arabic, however, is more complex. In Arabic we encounter not only the kinds of variation that typically occur within one language. Instead, all Arabic varieties are sited in a spectrum between two poles. While Standard Arabic is for most speakers an acquired language form and considered the ‘High’, ‘correct’ or ‘pure’ variety of the language, there are also the vernaculars of the different regions, regarded by many Arabic speakers as ‘Low’ and even ‘incorrect’ varieties. The phonological, morphological and syntactic differences between Modern or Classical Standard Arabic on the one hand and the vernaculars, spoken for instance in Egypt and the Maghreb, are vast. Uneducated vernacular speakers may not be able to understand the ‘High’ variety Standard Arabic, as Diem (, f) has discussed. Educated vernacular speakers of Maghrebian and Egyptian varieties may prefer to communicate in French or English rather than Arabic, because of the differences between the dialects. To explain this phenomenon, we must look to the history of the Arabic language.


.. Diglossia, Multiglossia, Continuglossia: The Case of Arabic After the Arab conquests in the th century, Islam, and Arabic with it, spread over a vast area in a relatively short time. The extreme social changes in the newly-founded empire were accompanied by rapid language change, from which various dialects of Arabic emerged. In Modern Arabic dialectology, most scholars distinguish between five major dialects: the dialects of the Arabian peninsula, Iraq, the Levant, Maghreb and Egypt. There are also peripheral Arabic dialects spoken in countries such as Sudan, Malta, Nigeria and Uzbekistan. At the same time, some urban spoken varieties of different dialect groups are closer to each other than to the rural varieties of their own dialect. Whilst various spoken varieties of Arabic developed in different geographical regions, the written variety remained the same for all Arabic speakers. This literary standard, Classical Arabic, probably emerged from a register associated with poetry and divination and is the language variety in which the Qur"an and the religious literature were codified in the first centuries of Islam. It forms the prescriptive background for Muslim literary writing and is relatively uniform, exhibiting only minimum variability. Due to its link with the Qur"an, the literary variety Classical Arabic was and is considered ‘correct’ Arabic, while the vernacular has little prestige in comparison. Educated Arabic speakers may choose to converse with each other in Modern Standard Arabic (which arose out of Classical and post-Classical Arabic), while speakers of different dialects may have no other choice but to revert to the written variety to be able to communicate. Diem () has given an excellent evaluation of the distribution of the different language layers in Arabic speaking societies and has also shown to what percentages vernacular and standard language may be mixed in which situation to address certain groups or express certain ideas. The dichotomy between written and spoken Arabic is one of the most striking features of Arabic, and was termed diglossia by Ferguson (), which is still the most widely used term among Arabists and linguists. Hary ( and ), however, has suggested nomenclature such as multiglossia and continuglossia to describe the linguistic situation more accurately, because beside the dichotomy between standard and vernacular, there are other poles within the Arabic spectrum. For example, there is a contrast of nomadic versus sedentary dialects, which share common features across dialectal borders. Additionally, spoken varieties of Arabic can be found which are exclusively used by Christians and Jews. These

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religiolects may be a result of segregation between the religious communities and, in the case of the Jewish population, the continued exposure to Hebrew, but they could also attest a desire of different religious groups to have their own language, a common feature of sociolects. Interestingly, these two mentioned phenomena often converge. Christian and Jewish religiolects may differ from their neighbouring Muslim varieties because they did not undergo Bedouinization and retained the old urban dialects while nomadic dialects infiltrated the Muslim spoken vernacular. Consequently, the difference between religious groups also extends to writing. Literary forms of Arabic other than Classical Arabic were used by non-Muslims. These written varieties exhibit more vernacular elements than Classical Arabic and were thus termed ‘Middle Arabic’ by the first scholars working on them, such as Blau. However, the term ‘Middle Arabic’ has since been largely discredited (Blau himself has partly changed his terminology) as it proposes a false continuity between Old and Modern varieties of Arabic but is nevertheless still used by scholars as it describes a wide range of Arabic substandard varieties as opposed to Classical Arabic or the Modern Written Standard Arabic.

.. Substandard Arabic (‘Middle’ Arabic) As described above, there is a clear Arabic dichotomy in the Muslim part of the population between the spoken vernacular, on the one hand, and the literary language based on the language of the Qur"¯an, S¯ıra and Had¯ . ıt on the other. The situation in the Christian and Jewish parts of ¯ the population was slightly different. In addition to the specific cultural environment and segregation of the non-Muslim communities, they were not bound as their Muslim counterparts were to the literary ideal of al-#arabiyya, the Arabic standard language based on the Qur"¯an and Muslim religious literature. An additional factor, as suggested above, might have been the desire of Christian and Jewish speakers to segregate themselves linguistically from the Muslim population and to create their own sociolect. Milroy and Margrain () and Milroy and Milroy () have shown that low-prestige varieties persist in closely-knit social networks, which are dependent on strong solidary relationships for survival. Despite the stigma that may be attached to substandard language, these varieties provide the speaker with a social identity and enforce ties within the social network. This explains the continued use of


substandard varieties by the religious minorities in Arab countries, which led to the development of substandard written varieties of Arabic. This is not to say that there are no Muslim ‘Middle’ Arabic texts. A number of Muslim sources can be found which are not written in Classical Arabic but exhibit a register that includes elements of vernacular origin and of substandard literary language. This register is found not only in documents and letters but also in literary works, for example, those by Ibn Hald¯un, Us¯ama b. Munqid and Ibn al-Muj¯awir.3 Especially in the ¯ is clear that the Muslim writers concase of ˘the former two authors, it cerned knew how to write Classical Arabic but deliberately employed a more vernacular or substandard style for certain purposes, probably to make the accounts more lively, and to communicate with readers on a more personal level, perhaps engaging with a broader audience including parts of the population that had less training in Classical Arabic. In general, however, mediaeval Christian and Jewish sources exhibit many more vernacular features than contemporary Muslim texts, as the literary traditions of the Muslims penetrated the non-Muslim literary tradition only to a limited degree. Therefore, many vernacular elements of mediaeval dialects can be found exclusively in the language strata of Christian4 and Jewish Arabic. This makes the study of these ‘Middle’ Arabic varieties very important for the history of the Arabic language and its vernaculars. While Christian Arabic is written in Arabic script, Judaeo-Arabic employs the Hebrew alphabet. Through this use of a different alphabet, Judaeo-Arabic is of special interest for anyone working on historical linguistics of the Arabic language, as it helped abandoning Arabic orthographical traditions and facilitated the influence of Hebrew norms, which in turn makes it easier to access certain Arabic vernacular elements.

.. Judaeo-Arabic Judaeo-Arabic is the name given to a variety of Arabic speech forms used by Jews that differ from the language employed by their Muslim and Christian neighbours. Hary (, ff) has proposed a periodization of Judaeo-Arabic into Mediaeval, Late and Modern, with the 3

See Rex Smith (). For Christian Arabic, see the works of Georg Graf, especially Graf (), and Blau (–). 4

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Mediaeval period being separated into Pre-Islamic, Early and Classical Judaeo-Arabic. A weakness of his approach may be that it mixes spoken and written Judaeo-Arabic. Our knowledge of Pre-Islamic Judaeo-Arabic comes from Arabic sources which describe a Jewish sociolect (see Newbury ) that had no written form. While it is very likely that Arabicspeaking Jews spoke a sociolect throughout the centuries, the degree to which it differed from their non-Jewish neighbours must have varied considerably. For example, since the surviving works of pre-Islamic poets ‘do not exhibit anything that distinguishes them from the works of their non-Jewish contemporaries’ (Khan a, ), the difference between Jewish and non-Jewish varieties of Arabic might have been both marginal and limited to the lexicon in pre-Islamic times. This changed in the course of the Islamisation of Arab society and the increasing association of Arabic with Islam, which lead to the segregation of non-Muslim communities and the rise of religiolects; as mentioned above, in some towns Muslims adopted Bedouin vernaculars, while Jews maintained the older urban dialects. Examples of this can be found in Baghdad and Lower Iraq (Blanc ), in North-African cities such as Tripoli, Oran, Benghazi, and in the Algiers region (Khan a, ). This increasing divergence may be attributed to the advancing segregation of nonMuslim parts of the population. A parallel can be found in the Jewish variety of German, where it is probably no coincidence that the Jewish sociolect became increasingly separated from the language of their German neighbours after the Fourth Lateran Council in  and the following ghettoisation of Jews within Germany, a process eventually leading to the emergence of Yiddish. In contrast to the spoken varieties, the written registers of JudaeoArabic raise somewhat different issues. The earliest written sources in Judaeo-Arabic are papyri from the th century, which are written in a phonetic orthography. Saadiah Gaon’s Bible translation and commentary popularised an arabicised orthography, which was used from the th century onwards. Despite the obvious differences between th-century and th-century written varieties, there is no evidence for language change in the spoken variety. Instead, it may be assumed that Jews, members of a prosperous Middle class in the early Fatimid empire, chose to write in a style that emulated Saadiah and was close to Classical Arabic, with which many of the learnt members of society were familiar in the th and th centuries. Hary (, ) remarks that writing by Jews in standard Arabic cannot be considered Judaeo-Arabic. Blau (, ) has expressed similar


reservations for ‘Jewish writings adressed to the general public (such as medical works)’, and suggested to call them Middle Arabic instead of Judaeo-Arabic. This approach may be necessary and useful for literary Judaeo-Arabic, it is, however, not practical when dealing with epistolary writing. Many of the th-century letters written by Egyptian Jewish merchants in the Hebrew alphabet display hardly any linguistic phenomena that do not appear in contemporary Muslim letters, and they show only a few forms that vary from Classical Arabic. Nevertheless, it can certainly be assumed that they spoke a Jewish religiolect at the time but chose to write in a style which gravitated heavily towards Classical Arabic norms.5 This work will, therefore, adopt the view of Khan (a, ), who suggests that the term Judaeo-Arabic be applied based on a descriptive criterion, i.e., that it should be used for any form of Arabic written in Hebrew script. Khan proposes three major phases, Early (th century), Classical (th–th century) and Late Judaeo-Arabic (from th century onwards). The Genizah letters analysed for this investigation follow this timeline, although there is a major change in epistolary style in the th century, and the classical period may be divided into two subgroups, th/th and th/th century. Additionally, there is a transitional period for letters in the th/th, with a completely new epistolary style emerging at the end of the th century, which breaks with previous orthographic and morphological traditions. This investigation focuses on the language varieties that occur in Judaeo-Arabic Genizah letters from the th to the th century. Although thorough linguistic research on Judaeo-Arabic has been carried out by Joshua Blau,6 Simon Hopkins,7 Benjamin Hary,8 Geoffrey Khan9 and other scholars, with the exception of Geoffrey Khan’s articles,10 their research has focused on Judaeo-Arabic in general or upon specific literary sources. The language used in utility prose, such as letters, however, has not been the subject of any sustained research so far. Blau’s investigations have been based on a disparate corpus that includes many different varieties of the language, drawn predominantly from literary 5 There is a similar discussion in Yiddish Studies about early Yiddish texts that are basically Middle High German texts transcribed into Hebrew, see for example Timm (, f). 6 For example, Blau (), () and (). 7 See Blau and Hopkins () and (). 8 For example, Hary () and (). 9 See Khan (), (), () and (). 10 See Khan (), (), () and ().

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sources. Hary11 has offered brilliant studies of the different varieties of substandard Arabic, but his linguistic investigation has centred, too, on literary texts. Linguistic features, however, vary to a great extent according to the type of text. Letters and utility prose tend to make use of a considerably different type of language from that of literary texts, which may follow existing literary traditions borrowed from contemporary Muslim Arabic literature. Therefore, the linguistic features observed in an analysis of literary texts differ from those found in the investigation of utility prose. Despite the closeness to the vernacular, the language of letters also exhibits some features that are distinctive of Classical Arabic. Furthermore, they also exhibit some phenomena that are neither vernacular nor Classical Arabic features but which represent varieties somewhere along the Arabic continuum. Some of these can be categorised as part of substandard writing in general, or in particular of the epistolary register. This work, therefore, aims at offering a description of the register used in Judaeo-Arabic letters.

.. Linguistic Analysis of Epistolary Judaeo-Arabic All letters used for this investigation come from the Cairo Genizah. Working on a homogenous corpus of datable material enables us to identify linguistic phenomena that are impossible to detect in literary material, which has been subject to copying and revision over a long period of time, sometimes centuries. Due to the closeness of utility prose to the vernacular language, insights into colloquial forms can be gained that cannot be accessed through any other written register. On the other hand, writers may deliberately use higher registers, such as Classical Arabic, which is usually indexical to the social functions of the language. For example, Classical Arabic phrases occur in letters in which people are communicating with someone of higher rank, begging for money or are in the grip of some other pressing needs they would like to have attended to, and consequently they employ a flowery, artificial, often hypercorrect level of Arabic to bolster their apparent level of education and social standing in the eyes of the reader. In some of the letters, writers switch to a vernacular register of Judaeo-Arabic when they are rendering speech of people of lower education than themselves, perhaps to give their accounts


For example, Hary () and ().


authenticity or a touch of realism. Similarly, in one letter, the shouts of an angry man are cited in the vernacular, probably to show the writer’s antipathy. And last but not least, there are typical phenomena developed within and germane to the epistolary register itself, with a mosaic of forms borrowed from both ‘High’ and ‘Low’ registers of Arabic. This work aims at providing a systematic grammatical (orthographical/phonological, morphological and syntactic) analysis of letter-writing within the historical phases of Judaeo-Arabic, both on a synchronic level with descriptions of the epistolary register in the various time periods, as well as diachronic developments in the Judaeo-Arabic used in the letters. For example, in the chapter on orthography and phonology, the orthographical conventions of each corpus are discussed and, if possible, conclusions about the phonological processes at work are drawn. In the realm of morphology, the use of Classical Arabic and vernacular forms is investigated, for example in the conjugation of weak verbs, and the internal passive. On the syntactic level, the emergence of the bi-imperfect and the tanw¯ın-derived relative particle an are discussed and the distribution of demonstratives and negation particles in the different corpora is compared. The time span of material investigated in this work ranges from the classical Judaeo-Arabic period of the th to th century to the post-classical Judaeo-Arabic of the th to the th century. Occasional reference is made to material from the Early Judaeo-Arabic period, and in a few chapters examples from the th-century letter-corpus published by Blau and Hopkins () and () have been included for the purposes of diachronic comparison. Research on Muslim Arabic documents has shown that Maghrebian sources differ considerably from material written further to the East. An initial analysis of a preliminary corpus of ten letters revealed that there are indeed observable differences in letters from the Maghreb and Egypt. Therefore, attention has been focused upon the provenance of the documents and two different corpora were set up for th-century letters to catalogue and establish differences in the epistolary language. In total, five different corpora were set up: one corpus of Egyptian letters from the th-century, one of Maghrebian letters from the th century, one of the th-century letters, one of letters from the th and the th centuries and one of letters from the th and th centuries. Substandard or dialectal features observed in the letters were compared to Modern Arabic vernacular phenomena. Similarly, the letters have been compared to other examples of written sub-standard Arabic,


chapter one

such as literary Judaeo-Arabic, and certain Muslim and Christian varieties of the language. Care has been taken to separate features of written substandard Arabic from actual vernacular phenomena. For example, the standard use of the negation particle lam for all kind of negations, the tanw¯ın-derived relative particle an or the demonstrative d¯alika d¯ı in Late Judaeo-Arabic are neither Classical Arabic forms nor do¯ they represent vernacular usage. Rather, they are typical features of written substandard Arabic. The spelling of long final alif with t¯a" marb¯ut. a, on the other hand, is not only a feature of written Arabic emulating Hebrew spelling but indeed reflects actual shortening of alif at the end of words in the vernacular. Lists of phenomena that can help to determine the temporal origin of letters through linguistic and stylistic have been compiled. Although the major concern of this work is on orthographical, morphological and syntactic problems, other features such as the general style and layout of the letters are also of interest. Discussions concerning the introductory formulae, the dating and the lexicon, which vary considerably in the different centuries, have therefore been included. Similarly, the varying degrees of Hebrew content and Hebrew vocalisation of the material in the different periods are described. Other features investigated include abbreviations and the physical writing materials of the letters.


Due to the enormous importance of a homogenous corpus of documentary material, as discussed in the introduction, only original letters were used for the analyses in this thesis and they all come from the same source, the Cairo Genizah. Five corpora were set up, containing material from th-century Egypt, th-century Maghreb, from the th, th/th and th/th century. To ensure a reliable dating, only letters that were either dated or written by or to a well-known personality were used for the th-century and th-century corpora. This is necessary as the script itself is unfortunately not a dependable criterion for the exact dating of letters. The compilation of the th/th-century corpus presented greater difficulty due to the scarcity of letters from that period. Therefore, letters that were considered to be from the th or th century thanks to a convincing argument based on historical events or on the currency used were also included in the corpus. The th/th-century letters are all dated. The reason for the temporal gap between the corpora was, in the case of the th- and th-century material, to facilitate the detection of differences between the sources. As the th-century letters contain features found in both the th-century and th-century corpora, their omission made it easier to contrast the two corpora. The lack of letters from the th century onwards determined the size and temporal extension of the corpus of th/th-century letters, while another larger group of letters written in the late th/early th century made it possible to set up the corpus of th/th-century material. Every corpus was examined separately, and only after a complete analysis of each corpus were the results compared to each other. At first, a template was developed according to which the letters were completely analysed as regards their orthographical, morphological and syntactic features. This template was initially applied to a corpus of ten letters from the th century, and the application then refined after the first results were evaluated. After that, twenty letters from the th-century corpus were analysed in contrast to the th-century material, and the results of both analyses compared to one another. This led to another revision of


chapter two

the framework. The same template was then applied to the th/thand th/th-century material, and to some extent to other sources, such as the th-century papyri edited by Blau and Hopkins (). Finally, the corpora from the th and th century were enlarged to  and  letters respectively. In order to detect dialectal differences in the language of the letters, the provenance of the letters was carefully examined. Only the th-century corpus, however, provided enough material to warrant a sound geographical division into Maghrebian and Egyptian material and was thus consequently divided into two corpora, separating Egyptian and Maghrebian letters. The methods underlying this separation are described in the chapter which follows. For the purposes of linguistic examination, all letters were analysed in full and every example for a given phenomenon extracted. The gathered examples were then evaluated as regards both their deviation from and their adherence to the rules of Classical Arabic, and were then compared to other substandard Arabic varieties, and to the other letter corpora. The recto and verso sides of each letter were kept as they were conserved in the collections, even in cases when it is clear that the letter actually starts on the verso.

chapter three CORPUS

.. The Letter Corpora The size of the corpora in this investigation differs considerably. The reason for this uneven distribution lies in the fact that the majority of Genizah documents comes from the th to the th century. Few letters from the th and th century can be found. Another large group of letters come from the late th and early th century but only few of those have been published. The main criteria for the inclusion of letters into this investigation was their easy accessibility, i.e., letters which are transcribed in publications. Therefore, the majority of letters used for this linguistic investigation comes from the th century, most of them edited by Gil (), and from the th century, mainly from the correspondence of the Judge Elijah family published by Motzkin. For the th and th century, only six suitable published letters were included. The corpus from the th/th century shows a language that is very different from that of the earlier corpora, and is of special interest for the diachronic research into the language used in letters. As only two letters of this time period have been published so far, a number of unpublished letters were included into this investigation. The aim of this work is to provide a comprehensive examination of the register of letters and an evaluation of both dialectal and classical features of the epistolary language. Likewise, there was an objective to establish whether any differences can be observed in letters from different geographical regions. In the case of Judaeo-Arabic, such investigations may be too ambitious because within the Jewish religiolects it is difficult to separate between geographical regions due to emigrated dialectism. In general, Jewish dialects appear to preserve older urban linguistic traits, and due to the connectedness between the Jewish communities all over the Middle East, many Jewish varieties were probably closer to each other than to their respective non-Jewish neighbouring dialects. Nevertheless, concerning Maghrebian sources there is a lot of evidence


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from non-Jewish Arabic documents that material from this region displays more conservative traits, i.e., features from older layers of Arabic, than contemporary material in territories more central within the Muslim empire, such as Egypt. It is a common linguistic phenomenon that dialects from peripheral areas behave differently than central varieties.1 The peripheral varieties may retain older features for a longer time and display language change in a temporally shifted mode. This may involve that they exhibit change in writing more slowly than the varieties in the centre of a language area. A short survey at the start of this investigation revealed enough differences in orthography, morphology and syntax in the Maghrebian sources as opposed to those originating in Egypt to warrant a provisional separation into Egyptian and Maghrebian material. This separation was only possible in the letters from the th century as this is the corpus in which enough letters from both geographical regions are available.

.. Material of the Letters The letters are almost exclusively written on paper. The exceptions come mainly from the Maghrebian th-century corpus, in which a number of letters are written on vellum, such as T-S ., T-S NS ., TS ., T-S . or T-S .. T-S . is a letter written on vellum from Alexandria. Bloom (, ) mentions that letters and accounts ‘were written on parchment in Tunisia well into the eleventh century’, while ‘Egyptian writers had made the transition to paper about a century earlier’. He thinks the major reason for this ‘was that the provinces of Ifr¯ıqiyya (corresponding to modern Tunisia) and Sicily were centers of sheep raising, and the manufacture of leather and parchment, as well as the export of hides, remained an important industry’. But it may not only be due to the availability and low cost that vellum continued to be used in the th-century Maghrebian corpus. Sheep and goats are also kept also in Egypt. Perhaps, the longer use of vellum (the traditional letter material) in the Maghreb is owed to the general conservatism of Maghrebian documents, which will be shown along many other examples in the chapters of this work.

1 For the peculiarities of peripheral dialects see for example Wolfram (), in particular p. f.



.. th Century In the first half of the th century, Fatimid Egypt was at its heyday, and the relatively tolerant attitude towards non-Muslims and an apparent lack of discriminatory custom tariffs for non-Muslims led to a certain degree of economical prosperity in the Jewish population of Egypt. Jewish merchants formed an important part of the trading community. Because of the general insecurity and the slowness of communications, international trade was largely dependent on personal relationships and mutual confidence. In some cases relationships between trading partners were maintained throughout a lifetime or even through generations of families, and were often secured by inter-marriages. Therefore, extended family businesses played a major role in trading.2 The second half of the th century saw the demise of this prosperous society. This was the time of the Seljuk conquests, when the Turcomans (of which the Seljuks are the most prominent family) conquered Palestine and destroyed large parts of the country, killing many of its inhabitants, followed by raids into Egypt. The Fatimid rulers of Egypt battled the invaders from the East until they were finally overthrown by the Ayyubids at the end of the th century. On a religious level, there was much change for the Jewish authorities as following the atrocities committed by the Turk invaders and the general insecurity of the country, the Palestinian yeshiva relocated from Jerusalem to Tyre. Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of letters in the Genizah collections comes from the times under the Fatimids. Many of the letters were sent from the Maghreb, which makes it possible to separate the material into a Maghrebian and an Egyptian corpus. The main criteria for assignment of letters into either the Egyptian or the Maghrebian corpus was where the letter was written. If, however, there was a strong indication that the writer of the letter was not from the same area but originated elsewhere, the letters were set aside into an extra corpus (C unassigned). Admittedly, this process is riddled with inconsistencies. The people sending letters are not necessarily penning the documents themselves but may use scribes. There is virtually no information at all about many of the writers’ backgrounds. Other writers have been included and excluded because of arbitrary considerations, or based on anecdotal information. For instance, the trader Benayah b. Moses, the author of T-S J.,


See Stillman () and Goitein (–).


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T-S . and T-S J., was a very prominent Alexandrian merchant, but he was of Maghrebian origin and according to Cohen(, ) the leader of the Maghrebian traders in Alexandria. It is unsure how early he came to Egypt and whether he had been a trader before in the Maghreb. Thus it is impossible to ascertain how influenced he would have been by either Maghrebian or Egyptian writing styles. A letter of his son Nissim b. Benayah, however, has been included in the Egyptian corpus as it can be assumed that he grew up and became a merchant in Alexandria. A similar situation is the case of #Aw¯ad. (Abraham) b. Hananel, who is . mentioned in Goitein (–, I ) as a resident of Alexandria. His letters T-S J., T-S Misc . and T-S J., were written from Alexandria to Nahr¯ay b. Nissim in Fust.a¯t. but have been excluded from the Egyptian corpus because of a remark in his son’s (Ab¯u l-Hayr b. #Aw¯ad. ˘ states his b. Hananel) letter T-S Misc . (to the same addressee) who . problems as a trader because his father had been a t. a¯r¯ı, a foreigner or someone who had come from the far. This statement implies that the son, on the other hand, was not a t. a¯r¯ı anymore, so he is included in the Egyptian material. Equally excluded from the Egyptian corpus was the correspondence of Jacob b. Salm¯an al-Har¯ . ır¯ı. Although many of his letters come from Egypt, he writes to his mother in Qayraw¯an. This is a strong indication that he was Maghrebian of birth, yet it is not clear when he left the Maghreb and came to Egypt and, therefore, he has not been included in the Maghrebian corpus. On the other hand, letters written by members of the Tahert¯ı family have been included in the Maghrebian corpus despite the fact that the clan sent its younger men to Egypt for a number of years to act as agents there before they returned to the West.3 Most of the Tahert¯ıs were, therefore, probably very familiar with Egyptian writing. Yet, the prominence and grounding of the Tahert¯ıs in the Maghreb make them ideal candidates for the Maghrebian corpus. Some of the decisions of assignment may be flawed but the methodological problems are outweighed by the benefits of having two reasonably reliable corpora of Egyptian and Maghrebian material for the purpose of comparison. Many of the letters in this corpus are addressed to Joseph ibn #Awkal, who was an important Jewish merchant and resided in Egypt in the first


Goitein (–, I f).



half of the th century. His family originated in Tunisia but he was probably born in Cairo or Fust.a¯t.. His exact date of birth is not known but by the year  he already had two adult sons which points to a birth date before . The latest correspondence addressed to him personally that we know of comes from the year . Joseph ibn #Awkal exported a great variety of commodities from Egypt into the Mediterranean world, such as flax, dyeing materials, pepper, Brazilwood, lacquer and sugar. At the same time, he was not only an outstanding member of the Egyptian business community but also a prominent Jewish communal leader, acting as an intermediary between the Maghrebian Jewish communities and the Academies of Iraq and Palestine. Therefore, his correspondence provides a picture of both the mechanisms of international trade at the beginning of the th century and also of the administrative aspects of how religious queries and financial donations were sent from distant communities to the Jewish Academies, the ‘great seats of Jewish learning’, in return for responsa and treatises. Another prominent recipient of letters in Fust.a¯t. is Nahr¯ay b. Nissim, who also was a prominent merchant originally from the Maghreb. All of the th-century letters have been published by Gil () in his extensive letter compilation. Their readings have been checked against the manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library (CUL) and the Bodleian, with the exception of T-S *, which was lost during the Second World War and Dropsie , which was checked against a digital image of the letter. If a dating is provided in the th-century letters, it has been taken from Gil. ... th-Century Egypt The most prolific writer in the th-century Egypt letter corpus under investigation is Nissim b. Halfon. His activities as an agent in the Egyp. tian province make it likely that he was a native Egyptian, although a lot of his correspondence was sent to Alexandrian traders of Maghrebian origin. The following letters written by him have been included in the th-century Egyptian corpus: () T-S . (, Gil no. ); () T-S J. (about , Gil no. ); () T-S J. (about , Gil no. ); () Mosseri IV.. (about , Gil no. ); () T-S J. (about , Gil no. ); () T-S Misc . (about , Gil no. ); () T-S NS J (about , Gil no. ); () T-S . (about , Gil no. ); () T-S J. (about , Gil no. ); () CUL Or  J (about , Gil no. ); () T-S J. (about ,


chapter three

Gil no. ); () Bod MS Heb e . (Gil no. ). Letters ()–() and () are directed to Nahr¯ay b. Nissim in Fust.a¯t.. The letters were written in different places in the Egyptian province, such as Tinn¯ıs and Damsis, where the writer acted as agent for Nahr¯ay. Letter () was sent to M¯us¯a Tahert¯ı in Fust.a¯t., a member of the large Maghrebian Tahert¯ı clan from Qayraw¯an (see the th-century corpus from the Maghreb below). The inclusion of such a large number of letters by the same author brings with it the danger that the idiosyncracies of one writer may spoil the general statistics of linguistic features in the Egyptian letters. Therefore, if there are any linguistic phenomena that feature in considerable numbers in Nissim b. Halfon’s correspondence but do not . occur in other letters, they will be mentioned and evaluated as a specific trait of his letters. () T-S Misc . (Gil no. ) was directed to Nahr¯ay b. Nissim in Fust.a¯t. and written in about  by Ab¯u l-Hayr b. #Aw¯ad. b. Hananel . ˘ who describes his problems of getting into business after the death of his father. The latter had been a business partner of Nahr¯ay, too, and several of his letters are preserved. His son complains about the high taxes he has to pay due to the fact that his father was only a t. a¯r¯ı, a foreigner. He stresses that this has nothing to do with the tax authorities but is imposed on his head by the Jewish community while others of genuine Egyptian pedigree have to pay less. The letters () T-S J. (Gil no. ), () T-S J. (about , Gil no. ), () Bod MS Heb d. . (Gil no. ) and () T-S J. (arrived th April , Gil no. ), were all sent by Ephraim b. Ism¯a#¯ıl al-Jawhar¯ı from Alexandria to Joseph b. #Awkal in Fust.a¯t.. () T-S J. (around , Gil no. ) was written from Tinn¯ıs by Raham¯ . ım b. #Imr¯an and directed to Nahr¯ay b. Nissim in Fust.a¯t.. No information about Raham¯ . ım is available but there is no indication to assume that he was not a genuine Egyptian. Gil describes the letters as written in the hand of Benayah b. M¯us¯a whose letters have been excluded from the Egyptian corpus as he originated from the Maghreb. This, however, must be a printing error as the script looks nothing like Benayah’s handwriting in T-S J. and T-S J., and the letter has thus been included in the Egyptian corpus. () Dropsie  (around , Gil no. ) was written by Nissim b. Benayah, the son of the above mentioned trader Benayah b. Moses, the author of the letters T-S J., T-S . and T-S J. from the unassigned th-century corpus, who was a very prominent Alexandrian merchant.



() T-S . (Gil no. ) and () T-S NS . (Gil no. ) were directed to Joseph b. #Awkal in Fust.a¯t. and sent by his agent M¯us¯a b. Is. h¯ . aq b. Hisd¯ . a from the Egyptian province. () T-S J. (probably th July , Gil no. ) and () PER H  (st May , Gil no. ) were composed by Ibr¯ah¯ım b. Farr¯ah, . whose nickname al-Iskandar¯an¯ı mark him as a native Egyptian, and directed to Nahr¯ay b. Nissim in Fust.a¯t.. He owned a mail agency responsible for forwarding letters to the Maghreb. ˇ ama for the () T-S . (Gil no. ) was written by Daniel b. al-S¯ merchant Abraham b. Joseph in Alexandria to Ibn Awkal in Fust.a¯t.. ... th-Century Maghreb Most of the letters from the Maghreb were written by members of the prominent Tahert¯ı family. As it has been explained above, the members of that clan often spent a number of years in Egypt to act as trading agents before returning to the West. () T-S . (around , Gil no. ) and () T-S . (around , Gil no. ) were written in the name of the sister of Ism¯a#¯ıl b. Barh¯un Tahert¯ı to her brother in Fust.a¯t.. These are private letters, written in the hand of Sedaqah b. #Ayy¯aˇs. Gil claims that () T-S J. (around . , Gil no. ) was written by the same Sedaqah but the hand, while . looking similar, is not identical. There is no other indication in the letter that would hint at Sedaqah b. #Ayy¯aˇs as the scribe. The letter was written . for Judah b. Joseph to #Ayy¯aˇs b. Nissim in Fust.a¯t.. () T-S J. (Gil no. ) and () T-S . (Gil no. ) were written by Yeˇsu#ah b. Ism¯a#¯ıl al-Mahm¯ur¯ı in  and . He lived in ˘ Alexandria at that time, but was of Maghrebian origin and spent his youth learning there. His letters have thus been included in the Maghrebian corpus. There is also a letter () T-S J. (around , Gil no. ) to him from his sister in Tripolis. () T-S . (Gil no. ) was written by Joseph and Nissim b. Berehyah4 to Joseph b. Jacob b. #Awkal in Fust.a¯t.,  or little later. () ˘ . (Gil no. ) was sent by Joseph b. Berehyah to Joseph b. T-S NS ˘ Jacob b. #Awkal in Fust.a¯t.. () T-S K . (around , Gil no. ) was written by a female family member to M¯us¯a b. Barh¯un Tahert¯ı. () T-S . (around , Gil no. ) is a letter from M¯us¯a b. Barh¯un


For this family, see Gil (, ff).


chapter three

Tahert¯ı in Qayraw¯an to Joseph b. Jacob b. #Awkal in Fust.a¯t.. () T-S . (th Februar , Gil no. ) was sent by M¯us¯a b. Yahy¯ . a alMajj¯an¯ı from Qayraw¯an to Joseph b. Jacob b. #Awkal in Fust.a¯t.. () T-S . (around , Gil no. ) was sent by Ism¯a#¯ıl b. Barh¯un Tahert¯ı from Qayraw¯an to Ephraim b. Shemariah in Fust.a¯t.. () CUL Or  J (probably th August , Gil no. ) was written by the Tahert¯ı brothers M¯us¯a, Isaac and Sali . h. from Qayraw¯an to Joseph b. Jacob b. #Awkal in Fust.a¯t.. () T-S AS .–T-S J. (nd February , Gil no. ) sent by Joseph b. M¯us¯a Tahert¯ı from Mahdiyya to Yeˇsu#ah b. Ism¯a#¯ıl al-Mahm¯ur¯ı in Fust.a¯t.. () Bod MS Heb d. . (around , Gil no. ) was ˘sent by Joseph and Nissim b. Berehyah to Joseph b. Jacob b. #Awkal in Fust.a¯t.. () T-S . (th January˘ , Gil no. ) was written by Barh¯un b. Isaac Tahert¯ı from Mahdiyya to Nahr¯ay b. Nissim in Fust.a¯t.. () T-S * (th August , Gil no. ) was written by Nahum b. ˘ Joseph al-Bard¯an¯ı in Qayraw¯an to the Gaon Samuel b. Hofn¯ ı. The reading . of this letter could not be checked as the original manuscript was lost during the Second World War. The transcription originally made by Goldziher () was, therefore, used. () T-S . (around , Gil no. ) was sent by the Tahert¯ı brothers M¯us¯a and Isaac, probably from Mahdiyya, to Sahl Tustar¯ı in Fust.a¯t.. () T-S J. (Gil no. ) was written by Ism¯a#¯ıl b. Barh¯un Tahert¯ı from Qayraw¯an to his brother Isaac b. Barh¯un Tahert¯ı in Fust.a¯t.. () T-S J. (rd September , Gil no. ) was sent by Nissim b. Isaac Tahert¯ı from Qayraw¯an to M¯us¯a Hal¯ıla in Fust.a¯t.. () T-S . (rd August , Gil b. Ab¯ı l-Hayy . ˘ no. ) was written by Joseph b. M¯us¯a Tahert¯ı from Mahdiyya to Yeˇsu#ah b. Ism¯a#¯ıl al-Mahm¯ur¯ı in Fust.a¯t.. () T-S . (around , Gil no. ) ˘ was written by Faraj, the freed slave of Barh¯un (Tahert¯ı?) from the West to Joseph b. Jacob ibn #Awkal in Fust.a¯t.. () T-S J. (around , Gil no. ) was written by Joseph b. Berehyah to Joseph b. Jacob. b. #Awkal. ˘ ... th Century (Unassigned) In this corpus letters from the original th-century material were compiled that were excluded from the Egyptian and Maghrebian corpora because of doubts about the writers’ provenance. The author of () T-S J. (st October , Gil no. ) was Hall¯uf b. Zechariah, who wrote the letter in Alexandria but was of ˘ Maghrebian origin. () T-S J. (around , Gil no. ) was written by Joseph b. Yeˇsu#ah in Alexandria to Ab¯u l-Faraj Joseph b.



Jacob ibn #Awkal, but Joseph was probably of Maghrebian origin. () T-S J. (ca. , Gil no. ) was written by Jacob b. Salm¯an al-Har¯ . ır¯ı, who lived in Egypt but we have letters from his mother in Qayraw¯an. Thus it may be assumed that he stemmed from there. () CUL Or  J (Gil no. ) and () T-S . (Gil no. ) were written by Judah b. Joseph b. Simha . in Alexandria, but letters of his from the Maghreb can also be found and he was most likely Maghrebian. () T-S . (, Gil no. ), () T-S J. (, Gil no. ) and () T-S J. (, Gil no. ) were written by Benayah b. Moses, a very prominent Alexandrian merchant, who was of Maghrebian origin. () T-S J. ˙ al from (, Gil no. ) was written by H¯ar¯un b. Joseph al-Gazz¯ Qayraw¯an to Joseph b. Jacob b. #Awkal in Fust.a¯t.. .. th Century The Ayyubids had succeeded the Fatimids at the end of the th century and ruled over Egypt during the time when the letters of the th-century corpus were written. It was a time of social transformation caused by the generally worsening economic conditions in the times of constant warfare between crusaders, Turk invaders and local dynasties. The correspondence from the th-century includes a greater number of letters of a more private nature than the earlier material. Dates are rarely given but they all stem from the first half of the th century. Most of the correspondence in the present corpus was written by or addressed to the family of the judge Elijah in Fust.a¯t.. Especially his son Solomon is the author of many documents. Solomon was married ˙ al, the daughter of Ab¯u l-Faraj, in an unhappy to his cousin Sitt Gaz¯ marriage which was also the cause of a lot of correspondence between Solomon and his wife’s family. Most of the letters (nos. –, –) were transcribed and some translated by Motzkin () in his PhD thesis. His readings have been checked against the manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library. GW VIII was published with photograph in Gottheil and Worrell (). T-S J. was published by Ashtor () and its reading has been checked against the original in the Cambridge University Library. Letters written by Solomon b. Elijah are () CUL Or  J to Ab¯u l-Barak¯at al-Har¯ . ır¯ı, () CUL Or  J to his father the judge Elijah, () T-S . and () T-S . to his father-in-law Ab¯u l-Faraj in Alexandria, () T-S J. to the judge Hananel, () T-S J. to his .


chapter three

father-in-law Ab¯u l-Faraj in Alexandria, () T-S J. to his brother Ab¯u Zikr¯ı, () T-S J. and () T-S J. to his paternal aunt, () T-S J. to his brother Ab¯u Zikr¯ı, () T-S NS J a begging letter to an unknown recipient, () T-S NS J a note to Ab¯u l-Rab¯ı#. Letters written by the judge Elijah include () T-S J. an order of some clothes to an unknown recipient, () T-S J. to David Kohen in Bilbays, () T-S J. to his two sons Solomon and Ab¯u Zikr¯ı, () T-S . to his brother-in-law Ab¯u l-Faraj in Alexandria. Letters from other writers: () CUL Or  J and () T-S . sent by Ab¯u l-Faraj from Alexandria to his son-in-law Solomon b. Elijah; () CUL Or  J the beginning of a letter of Judah #Amm¯an¯ı to Judge Elijah; () CUL Or  J a business letter from Ab¯u lMajd, temporarily in Damascus, to the judge Elijah; () T-S . from Alexandria to Solomon b. Elijah; () T-S . to the judge Elijah from an unknown sender; () T-S . Rachel of Byzantium to the judge Elijah; () T-S J. and () T-S J. from Abraham b. Solomon, the Yemenite Rav, in Jerusalem to the judge Elijah; () T-S J. Umm Ism¯a#¯ıl to the judge Elijah; () T-S J. from Joseph b. Jacob ha-Kohen in Bilbays to the judge Elijah; () T-S J. to the judge Elijah from his nephew M¯us¯a; () T-S J. from Umm Halaf to Solomon; () ˘ T-S J. Tuviah Ab¯u Mans. u¯ r to the judge Elijah; () T-S J. . business letter to the judge Elijah from Joseph b. Nad¯ıv the cantor; () T-S J. to the judge Elijah from a female relative; () T-S J. to the judge Elijah from an unknown sender; () T-S J. to the judge Elijah from Da"¯ud, the muqaddam of Bilbays; () T-S J. to the judge Elijah from Alexandria; () T-S J. to the judge Elijah from his wife’s nephew Ab¯u l-Barak¯at b. al-#At.t.a¯r; () T-S J. to the judge Elijah from his brother-in-law Ab¯u l-Fadl . in Alexandria; () T-S J. to the judge Elijah from an unknown writer in Bilbays; () T-S J. from the uncle of Solomon’s wife, Ab¯u l-Barak¯at in Alexandria, to Solomon and his wife; () T-S J. to Solomon from the mentioned Ab¯u l-Barak¯at in Alexandria; () T-S J. to Solomon from the mentioned Ab¯u l-Barak¯at in Alexandria; () T-S J. to the judge Elijah from Da"¯ud in Qaly¯ub; () T-S J. from Umm Da"¯ud to her nephew Ab¯u Zikr¯ı; () T-S J. from Ab¯u l-Majd and his father Ab¯u l-Faraj to the judge Elijah; () T-S J. from Simha . Kohen to his father-in-law judge Elijah; () T-S NS J from Ab¯u Zikr¯ı to his father Elijah; () T-S J. from Umm Mak¯ın to the judge Elijah; () CUL Or  J was written by Da"¯ud b. Judah to the judge Elijah;



() GW VIII5 was written in  by a certain Ab¯u l-Tan¯a to the judge Elijah; () T-S J.6 was written in the middle of the¯ th century by a certain Benjamin to Hayyim in Alexandria; () CUL Or  J is . a business letter to the judge Elijah. () T-S J. was written to the judge Elijah by his son-in-law Simha. . .. th/th Century The letters of this corpus were written under Mamluk rule (–), with one letter sent just at the turn to Ottoman rule (). These were turbulent and economically bad times, with repeated plague epidemics and a short succession of sultans due to power play between the different political groups. This corpus consists of six7 letters. GW XXX and GW XXVIII were published in Gottheil and Worrell () with photographs. The other four letters ()–() were published by Ashtor () and their readings have been checked against the manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library.8 () GW XXX and () GW XXVIII are probably fragments of the same letter. They were written by a man who appears to have originally come from Fust.a¯t. to Damascus and was trying to establish a business there. He writes to someone back in Fust.a¯t. and recounts the problems he faces from Muslims and Jews alike in setting himself up. Because of the currencies used in the letter (nus. f was not used before the reign of al-Mu"ayyad –), the letter has been dated into the th century. () T-S NS J, sent from Damascus to Fust.a¯t., is dated to  because of historical correlations. () T-S . has been dated to the end of the th century because it was written to the nagid Nathan ha-Kohen. () T-S J. comes from the second half of the th century. () T-S . was written from Gaza by the physician ‘Af¯ıf b. Ezra to a certain Samuel in Fust.a¯t. at the beginning of the th century.


Published by Gottheil and Worrell (). Published by Ashtor (, no. ). 7 Another letter (T-S .) is dated to  by Ashtor. Goitein, however, has pointed out that the letter in fact comes from the year . 8 In particular many readings in Ashtor needed corrections, so the examples in the following may differ markedly from Ashtor’s transcriptions. 6


chapter three .. th/th Century

The letters of this corpus were written after the Ottoman rule over Egypt had been interrupted by the French occupation of Egypt in . After the French had been driven out, a civil war ensued between the Ottomans, Egyptian Mamluks and Albanian mercenaries led by Muhammad Ali, who then took control of Egypt in  as governor (wal¯ı) under the Ottoman sultan but effectively ruled on his own. His aegis of over fourty year was marked by rapid reforms and modernisation, making Egypt one of the most developed countries outside of Europe. The th/th-century corpus consists of  letters. Many of them are business letters sent to a certain Mercado Karo y Frances or to Mercado Hayyim Abraham ha-Levi by Solomon Hayyim Abraham Chizana or . . Abraham Gabriel. Although the ten letters used for the analysis here all come from the first two decades of the th century, other very similar letters that were not taken up into the corpus for various reasons were written in the late th century. Because of those, the material has been named the th/th-century corpus. Two of the letters, T-S AS . and T-S J. have been published by Khan.9 The other eight are, yet, unpublished. The readings of letters from the Cambridge collections were checked against the originals in the Cambridge University Library, while the letters from Alliance Israélite Universelle were checked against digital images. () T-S AS . ()10 was written by a certain Moses Bibas, an Egyptian Jewish trader, and addressed to the trader Mercado Karo y Frances. () T-S NS . () was written to Mercado Hayyim Abra. ham ha-Levi by Solomon Hayyim Abraham Chizana. () T-S NS . . (), () AIU VIIE  () and () AIU VIIE  () were written to Mercado Karo y Frances and Simeon Frances by Abraham Gabriel. () T-S Ar. . () to Mercado Karo y Frances by Abraham Gabriel. Abraham () T-S J. ()11 was written by Solomon Hayyim . Chizana to Mercado Karo y Frances and Abraham ha-Levi. () AIU VIIE  () was written to Mercado Karo y Frances and Simeon Frances. () CUL Or .. was sent by Joseph Yu#bas. to Jacob Yu#bas. . () CUL Or .. () was sent to David b. Na#¯ım by Me#ir b. Na#¯ım. 9 10 11

Khan () and (). Edited and analysed in Khan (). Edited and analysed in Khan ().


.. Introduction and Methodology The purpose of this chapter is to outline the changes in orthography and phonology within the different periods of Judaeo-Arabic epistolary writing. Letters represent an ideal corpus for such examinations as, unlike literary works, they can be accurately dated and because they mirror the conventions at the precise point of time of their writing. By contrast, literary sources are subjected to copying and re-editing, with the result that the occurrence of certain forms or words can never be dated exactly. When dealing with a corpus of written material the study of phonology meets a fundamental difficulty: orthographical conventions often disguise phonological change. The problem is exacerbated in the case of Judaeo-Arabic because, to varying degrees, its writers may have sought to emulate the ideal of Classical Arabic orthography. Furthermore, there are hypercorrect1 or hypocorrect2 forms, which represent neither the actual contemporary pronunciation nor the Classical Arabic spelling. It is clear from vocalised texts, such as T-S Ar. ()., that the actual pronunciation, or more properly, the reading tradition of the letters differed greatly from Classical Arabic vocalisation. Vocalised words are rare in the corpus, so it is impossible to separate orthographical and actual phonological features; they, therefore, have to be treated as one. 1 These are defined by Blau (, ) as ‘[employing] forms peculiar to Classical Arabic, even in a context which demands forms occuring in Middle Arabic as well’, leading to ‘overshooting’ and using a form grammatically incorrect in that specific context according to Classical Arabic rules. 2 A term introduced by Blau for hybrid forms that display ‘Classical and vernacular features simultaneously, and [are] non-existent […] both in Classical and Middle Arabic’ (Blau , ); the writer endeavours in these forms ‘to correct the vernacular form to a Classical one, but, owing to deficient knowledge, he corrects only one of its features to the rules of Classical grammar, retaining also a vernacular feature’ (Blau , ).


chapter four

Even when vocalised letters are available they may add further to the confusion. Incorrect interpretations of Tiberian vocalisation signs in vocalised letters, in particular T-S Ar. ()., have resulted in scholars over-emphasizing supposed Maghrebian features in the Egyptian material. Blau and Hopkins (), for example, interpreted the occurrence of shewa in T-S Ar. (). as elision or reduction of short vowels in unstressed syllables and as a sign of oxytone stress, characteristic of Maghrebian phonology. This evaluation of Maghrebian features in Egyptian Judaeo-Arabic was subsequently taken up by various scholars and has lead to a slightly distorted picture of the Egyptian Jewish dialect. Khan (b), however, has shown that this shewa most likely represented short vowels, mainly a but also i and u, rendering the theories of Maghrebian syllable structure and stress patterns somewhat doubtful. For this phonological investigation of the letters, deviations from Classical Arabic were collected. Classical Arabic serves as the initial model against which the Judaeo-Arabic of the corpus is compared; it is ideal for a comparative approach since it has a relatively clear, prescriptive set of rules and standards, forming a perfect base for a comparative approach. The rules for phonology and orthography of mediaeval JudaoArabic as described in Joshua Blau’s grammar () provide a second standard comparison. He examines the orthographical and phonological deviations of mediaeval Judaeo-Arabic in contrast to Classical Arabic in great detail, and although his grammar is principally based upon literary sources, many of his findings hold true for the letters of the earlier corpora. The later material, on the other hand, displays a break with earlier orthographical conventions. Hence, there is a twofold aim in this chapter, first, to give a comprehensive insight into the deviations from standard Arabic occuring in the letters and evaluate the distribution of more common phonological and orthographical epistolary phenomena, and secondly, to compare the findings in the various mediaeval and Late Judaeo-Arabic corpora with one another. Where appropriate, the epistolary forms are compared to corresponding dialectal forms to show how mediaeval vernacular forms penetrated the written substandard Judaeo-Arabic variety in the letters, and to other Arabic substandard varieties. Since the letters from the th century (the th-century papyri) were treated extensively in Blau and Hopkins3 and their phonological and


Blau and Hopkins () and ().

phonology and orthography


orthographical properties are exhaustively described there, they have not been included in this chapter. Suffice it to say that the papyri show a peculiar pre-classical orthography, for example in the use of ã for d¯al, d¯al, ¯ d¯ . ad and z. a¯" and the assimilation of the article before sun-letters. Instead, in this chapter the examination will focus on the letters from the th century onwards.

.. Consonants As the Hebrew alphabet consists only of  graphemes, while Arabic possesses , in Judaeo-Arabic a number Hebrew graphemes are each called upon to represent two (or more) Arabic graphemes. This concerns the graphemes è ö ë ã â and ú. In most cases, one of the set is provided with a dot4 above the grapheme whereas the other is not. Those graphemes supplied with a dot are in many cases t, j, h, d, d. and z. (ë˙ ˙â ú˙ etc.), whereas ¯ ˘Some ¯ letters, however, indicate t, d, s. , t. , g˙ and k are without (ë â ú etc.). g˙ with the dot and not j. Others, such as T-S J. and T-S J., point both g˙ and j. In a few Late Judaeo-Arabic letters, such as T-S J  and T-S NS ., dots are placed below the consonant and may indicate both g˙ and j. Additionally, a great number of letters do not differentiate at all in writing between the two phonemes, and there are also letters in which k5 or d are marked with a supralinear point or stroke.6 As these phenomena are restricted to the earlier material and relatively rare, they have not been included in the table. Dots or strokes above k and d occur frequently in the th/th-century material. The purpose of the dotting was probably to distinguish between b and k, and d and r, which can be very similar in their form.7 In the th/th-century material f may be marked with a stroke above, and is used in its initial and medial form

4 In letters from the th century, t may be indicated by two dots, for example, ¯ on the other hand, two dots may be used to in T-S J./ . In Maimonides letters, differentiate t (see T-S ./ ) and t¯a" marb¯ut. a (see T-S ./ ) from h, while he assigns three dots to t (see T-S ./ ). ¯ for -k appears from the th century onwards and is especially 5 Final ê with a dot frequent in material from the th century onwards. It appears, the dot is used to distinguish final -k from Hebrew -k and Judaeo-Arabic h. ¯ transition between ˘ dot, stroke-like dot and stroke 6 In the letters, there is a smooth above the consonant. For practical reasons, all these signs are indicated in this work with a dot above the consonants. 7 See Khan (a, ).


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even in word final position. These letters also display other dots whose functions are not yet clear and worth a separate investigation. " b t t ¯j h. h d˘ d r¯ z s8 ˇs s.

à á ú ˙ú ú ˙â â ç ˙ë ë ã ˙ã ã ø æ ñ ù ö

d. t. z. # g˙ f q k l m n h w y

˙ö ö è ˙ è ö˙ è ò ˙â â ˙ ôô ÷ ë ì î ð ä å é

The following sections note the deviations from Classical Arabic found in the letters. As the Hebrew alphabet is unsuitable to describe the phenomena because of the variations in spelling, the graphemes have been transcribed into their standard Classical Arabic transliteration. ... d. and z. Blau and Hopkins9 both point out that d. and z. had already merged in pronunciation in the th century and hence the resultant sound could be spelled with either ö˙ /ö or è, or even ã in early vulgar Judaeo-Arabic spelling. In the letters of our corpus, the writers, however, seem to have been aware of what the original sound in Classical Arabic would have been at least in the case of Classical Arabic d, . which is exclusively spelled with the grapheme ö, in most cases with a dot above; it is only dotless in letters that add no other dots to the script.10 The situation is different with Classical Arabic z. . Here, the problem may have been not so much the Classical Arabic grapheme  because no variations in the spelling of Classical Arabic d. can be observed. Instead, the difficulty 8 In particular in letters from Byzantium, we also find ù for s, see Outhwaite (, ). There are no such examples in our corpus. 9 Blau and Hopkins (, f) and Hopkins (, f). 10 In other documentary sources from the Cairo Genizah, è ˙ may be used for Classical Arabic d, . for example in the legal document T-S J./  àðøè˙ ç ‘we were present’ and T-S J./v. àðéìà úøè˙ ç ‘she presented herself to us’.

phonology and orthography


might have been how to represent  in Hebrew script. Two different spellings of Classical Arabic z. are observed: either the corresponding Hebrew spelling equivalent è/è˙ to the actual Classical Arabic grapheme (), making its differentiation from d. easier, or ö˙ to represent both Classical Arabic z. and d. . The latter may be evidence that some writers were unfamiliar with the Classical Arabic distinction between z. and d. because they were pronounced identically in the vernacular, in which the merged consonant is either stop or fricative.11 This subsequently became a standard spelling used even by writers who were probably very much aware of the original Classical Arabic sound. Some proof for this theory arises from Nissim b. Halfon’s letters. While he uses è˙ . for z. in his earlier letters, T-S . and T-S J. (both from the year ), he writes ö˙ for z. in his later letters T-S J. (), T-S . () and T-S J. (). It is feasible that he changed the spelling in order to accord with the orthographical practises of his business partners. Some th-century letters may display two different spellings, both ˙ and ö˙ , for z. , for example øö˙ ðà T-S J. / 12 ‘see!’ and úððè˙ T-S è/è J. / 13 ‘I thought’ (also in letters that have not been included in the corpus, such as ïèà Bod MS Heb d. ./v. ‘I think’14 and ˙ Bod MS Heb d. ./lm. ‘he triumphed’). Does this mean both øôö spellings were equally acceptable or is there another explanation for the two variants? A possible cause may be that there was no homogenous pronunciation of Classical Arabic z. in the dialect. This is supported by Spitta’s (, ) examples of the pronunciation of Classical Arabic z. in th-century vernacular Egyptian. He shows that Classical Arabic z. could be pronounced as both d. and z, depending on the word. For instance Classical Arabic #az. ¯ım (mighty) becomes #azym (Spitta) while Classical Arabic #az. m (bone) becomes #adm . (Spitta). On the other hand, there is no reflection of this in Late Judaeo-Arabic letters as only ö˙ and no examples of æ can be found for Classical Arabic z. in the th/th-century material, although spellings with ã also occur.


See also Diem (, f). The letter was composed for a woman in Tunisia in the Maghreb, where both spellings were equally common. 13 Another example of Classical Arabic z written as è ˙ occurs in this letter: l.  äøè˙ úðî. . 14 The reading is, however, not a entirely certain. The è is oddly stretched and disjointed compared to other T¯ . a"s in the letter, for example in line . 12


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a) th-century Egypt In the letters from th-century Egypt, both è˙ and ö˙ can be found for Classical Arabic z. , with ö˙ occuring more often. In some of the letters, the handwriting makes it difficult to tell è and ö apart. ö˙ for z. : íéö˙ ò T-S J. /  ‘big, mighty’; øö˙ ðú T-S . /  ‘you should see’; øö˙ ðà T-S J./v. ‘see!’; àäøåäö˙ T-S J. /  ‘their backs’; äö˙ ôç T-S . /  ‘he guarded it’; ïö˙ é T-S J./v. ‘he thinks’. è˙ for z. : íéè˙ ò T-S . / , ; T-S J./v. ‘big, mighty’; è˙ ôçé T-S J. /  ‘he guards’. è for z. : ˙éèò T-S J. /  ‘big, mighty’. As mentioned before, Nissim b. Halfon uses è˙ for z. in his earlier letters . T-S . and T-S J. (), while he writes ö˙ for z. in his later letters, T-S J. (), T-S . () and T-S J. (). Nissim’s letters also show another phenomenon in this connection. He writes the forms of the verb ã˙ ôð ‘send’ as õ˙ ôð. This spelling is consistent in all his letters and appears for example in T-S J. / , T-S J./v., Mosseri IV.. / , T-S Misc . / , T-S NS J / , T-S . / , T-S J. /  and Bod MS Heb e..  / . Derived forms of õ˙ ôð also occur in a letter (T-S J. / , ) sent to Nissim by another merchant, which in addition shows õ˙ ë˙ à in place of ã˙ ëà in line . It appears, therefore, that this group of merchants influenced each other in their choice of orthography. b) th-century Maghreb The distribution of è˙ and ö˙ for Classical Arabic z. is about even in the th-century Maghreb letter corpus. As in the Egyptian letters, it may be difficult to tell è and ö apart as their written forms closely resemble one another. T-S J. has both ö˙ and è˙ for Classical Arabic z. . Similarly, two letters by Yeˇsu#ah b. Ism¯a#¯ıl al-Mahm¯ur¯ı have both ö˙ (T-S ., dated ) and è˙ (T-S J., dated ˘). ˙ for z. : éøàö˙ èðà T-S . /  ‘my expectation’;15 øö˙ ðú T-S ./v. ö ‘you should look’; äîéö˙ ò T-S . /  ‘big, mighty’; óøö˙ à T-S . /  ‘more elegant’; øö˙ ðà T-S J. /  ‘see!’; äö˙ ôç T-S . /  ‘may he protect him’. è˙ for z. : øàäè˙ úñà T-S J. /  ‘to ask for help’; úððè˙ T-S J. /  ‘I thought’; ïè˙ ú àì T-S K ./ ‘do not think’; êè˙ ôç


For ú > è see ...

phonology and orthography


T-S J. /  ‘your protection’; è˙ àôìà T-S */ ‘words, speech’; íè˙ òà 16 17 T-S J. /  ‘more’. è for z: . íèòà T-S AS .–T-S J. /  ‘more’. c) th century ˙ ö

(in a few examples ö) occurs more frequently than è˙ in the thcentury letters, there are, however, examples for both spellings. ö˙ for z. : ˙ ôç CUL Or  J /  ‘he guarded it’; íéö˙ ò CUL Or  J/v. äö ‘great, mighty’; øö˙ ð CUL Or  J/v.18 ‘to see (infinitive)’; øö˙ ð T-S . /  ‘he saw’; êøö˙ ðá T-S J. /  (compare also l. ) ‘in seeing you’; äîéöò T-S ./v.19 ‘big, mighty’; åðö˙ CUL Or  J/v.20 (compare also l. ) ‘they thought’. è˙ for z: . øè˙ ðì CUL Or  J /  ‘to see’ (compare also l. ); è˙ ôç T-S J. /  ‘may he guard’; äîéè˙ ò T-S . /  ‘big, mighty’ (compare also l. ); and from outside the corpus ˙ ò T-S . /  ‘big, mighty ; íéàè˙ ò T-S . /  ‘big events ’ from äîéè outside the corpus. d) th/th century The th/th-century letters show only ö˙ for Classical Arabic z: . øö˙ ð T-S . /  and T-S . /  ‘seeing’; êøö˙ ð GW XXX/ ‘seeing you’; ˙ òà T-S . /  ‘more’. íéö e) th/th century In the earlier letters many examples with z. are derivates of the root #zm . ‘powerful, mighty’. The sparcity of examples with Classical Arabic z. in the th/th-century material may perhaps be due to the unpopularity of the root #zm . in the later material. ˙ and è˙ for z: ö . åøåö˙ ðà T-S NS . /  ‘look (pl.)!’; øåè˙ ðé CUL Or .. /  ‘he will see’. Classical Arabic z. ahr ‘back’, however, is spelled with d in íëøäã AIU VIIE /m. ‘your back’. This may reflect the merging of the dental and alveolar plosives (after z. had merged with 16

Gil reads ïèé àî in T-S ./  ‘he thinks’ but I believe the reading is actually àî

ïåëé. 17 18 19 20

In this letter õ˙ ôçúî also occurs in lv.. The letter is conserved the wrong way round so the recto of the letter is on verso. See the preceding footnote. The letter also has è˙ for z. .


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d. into d) . or, more likely, the orthographical representation of not only dental plosive d and interdental fricative d, but also of alveolar plosive and fricative d. and z. by the grapheme 㯠in certain layers of the vernacular. This phenomenon also occurs in th-century Judaeo-Arabic papyri.21 ... Tafh¯ım: s. for s (and z) ˘ In an emphatic environment, s can change to s. , e.g., beside q and s. , or beside r. This phenomenon is called tafh¯ım and denotes the supraseg˘ mental spread of emphasis caused by an emphatic consonant in the word or word group. The fact that q causes tafh¯ım in examples from the th to the th centuries may indicate that the ˘modern pronunciation with glottal stop for q had not penetrated the Jewish vernacular of the respective writers. Grotzfeld (, f) gives evidence for the glottal stop pronunciation for q as early as th-century Cairo, but Davies (, f) points out that a range of post-velar reflexes of q can be found in the dialects of Egypt, both modern and mediaeval. a) th-century Egypt Examples of s. for s occur frequently: ä÷öå T-S J. /  ‘its load’ (Classical Arabic ); éðéú õàø T-S J. /  ‘Ra’s T¯ın¯ı’ (Classical Arabic ); èàôöà T-S J./rm. ‘baskets’ (Classical Arabic U ); øöð T-S J. /  ‘we are glad’ (Classical Arabic ); øåöëî T-S Misc . /  ‘broken’ (Classical Arabic ); ÷öåî T-S J. /  ‘loading’ (Classical Arabic ); ïé÷åöåî T-S J. /  ‘loaded’ (Classical Arabic  ). b) th-century Maghreb Examples of s. for s occur occasionally, usually in an emphatic environment, similarly to the th-century Egyptian letters: ïàèìöìà T-S J. /  ‘the sultan’ (Classical Arabic  M); äðàèìö T-S J. /  ‘his sultan’; èôö T-S AS .–T-S J. /  ‘basket’ (Classical Arabic F ); à÷öå T-S J. /  ‘freight’ (Classical Arabic ).


See Blau and Hopkins (, ) and (, ff).

phonology and orthography


c) th-century (unassigned) äèàöåá

T-S J. /  ‘through mediation’ (Classical Arabic I ).

d) th century Examples of s. for s occur occasionally: ïàèìöìà T-S ./v. ‘the sultan’ (Classical Arabic  M); øéèàöî CUL Or  J/v.,  ‘lines’ (Classical Arabic  I ); úîãöðà CUL Or  J/v. ‘it healed’ (Classical Arabic ). e) th/th century Examples of s. for s occur occasionally: øéèöú T-S . /  and T-S NS J /  ‘to write’ (Classical Arabic  M). An example of s. for z is found in ê÷öø GW XXX/ ‘your life support’ (Classical Arabic  ). f) th/th century Examples of s. for s occur frequently, although it seems to be restricted to certain letters within the corpus: äòøåö T-S NS . / , ,  ‘quickly’ (Classical Arabic !"); øàòöà T-S J. /  ‘prices’ (Classical Arabic  #); åîö÷åé T-S J. /  ‘they will divide’ (Classical Arabic $%&). ... Tarq¯ıq: s for s. There are also cases of loss of emphasis (tarq¯ıq) where Classical Arabic s. .


is written for

a) th-century Egypt and th-century Maghreb Examples of s for s. occur very occasionally in derivations of äøñ ‘purse’ (Classical Arabic '(), in Mosseri IV.. / , T-S ./rm. and T-S . / . b) th century In the th-century letters, we can find the following examples of tarq¯ıq: âàáñìà T-S J. /  ‘as. -Sabb¯ ag˙ (the dyer)’, and in some letters, in . derivations of the word s. a˙g¯ır ‘small’; äøéâ˙ñ T-S . / , , ; øéâ˙ñ


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T-S J. / ; øàâ˙ñ T-S J. / . In most cases, however, the spelling accords with Classical Arabic: øàâö T-S . / ; øâöà T-S J. / . Even the writer who uses äøéâ˙ñ (T-S . / , ,  above), also employs øéâö T-S . /  in the same letter. c) th/th and th/th century No examples can be found in the th/th-century corpus but a number of examples occur in the th/th-century corpus: âàáñ T-S AS . / ,  ‘dyer’; éôøéñ T-S AS . /  ‘money lender’; âàñ T-S AS . /  ‘pure’; ìåñåá T-S J. /  ‘about the arrival’; ìñç T-S J. /  ‘it happened’. In one letter we can observe tarq¯ıq and tafh¯ım ˘ in the same word: íåëìñåè T-S J. /  ‘it reaches you’ (Classical Arabic )*); äðö˙ ñ÷ T-S J. /  ‘he came to us’ (Classical Arabic +). Khan (, ) suggests that in these cases the use of ñ might not necessarily reflect a loss of emphasis but may simply be an orthographic alternative. On the other hand, it could indicate metathesis of velarisation, by which one consonant loses its point of articulation to another. ... tarq¯ıq and tafh¯ım: d. for d and d (t) for d. ˘ Examples of d. for d are rare in letters from the th to the th centuries. One example is øö˙ àùð T-S . /  ‘ammonia’ (Classical Arabic , -)22 from an th-century Maghrebian letter. In particular letters from the th/th century, however, a larger number of examples can be found, for instance in T-S J.: øö˙ ðá T-S J. /  ‘town’; ˙ T-S J. /  ‘we searched’; íåëåö˙ ö÷ð äðåë íì T-S NS . /  äðøåö ‘we wouldn’t have approached you’; äðö˙ ñ÷ T-S J. /  ‘he came to us’ (Classical Arabic +). There is also an th/th-century example êçúéúá T-S AS . /  ‘you are laughing’ (from the root ., ‘to laugh’) where the consonant is additionally devoiced (see below).

22 This appears also in a letter from the th-century unassigned corpus: ‘ammonia’ CUL Or  J/ .

˙ àùð øö

phonology and orthography


... Voicing and Devoicing of Dentals: d for t and t for d Examples of d for t are extremely rare. There is only one instance in the th-century Maghreb corpus: éøúñã T-S AS .–T-S J. /  ‘Tustar¯ı’.23 This might not necessarily be due to devoicing; the spelling could in fact represent an unaspirated /t/. In certain, more vernacular, letters of the th/th-century material, t for d occurs frequently through assimilation; for instance åòôúú T-S J. /  ‘you should pay’ and àäåòôúú T-S J. /  ‘you should pay it’, and the above mentioned êçúéúá T-S AS . /  ‘you are laughing’. ... tafh¯ım: t. for t ˘ In letters from the th/th century, øùòèñîë for øùò äñîë is found in GW XXX/ ‘fifteen’.24 In the th/th-century material, a large number of examples occurs, which, however, seem to be limited to particular letters; for instance åôøòè T-S NS . / , ,  ‘you should know’; øèëà T-S J. /  ‘most’ (after the shift aktar > aktar); êàøèùà T-S J. /  ‘he shares’; àäåèòè T-S NS .¯/  ‘you should give her’. Cases of dissimilation in verbal forms, where d. and t apparently merge into an emphatic t, spelled è, also occur, such as àäåèá÷ T-S NS . /  ‘you received them’. ... ˇs for j Davies (, f) has summarised the discussion on the pronunciation shifts of Classical Arabic j¯ım (/) and stated that the depalatised pronunciation g came about between  and . Hary () has similarly shown that from the th to the th centuries, / had an affricate pronunciation, only changing to the present-day velar stop pronunciation from the th century onwards.25 One method of investigation employed by Hary, the pointing of â as a marker of pronunciation, is not suitable for the letter corpus as the pointing occurs erraticly, with the dots indicating either g˙ or j, or even both.


Similarly in a letter from outside the corpus, Bod MS Heb d. ./v.address. Another example in Ashtor, ìåèèá àìå T-S ./v. ‘do not delay’, actually reads ìåè ìàèá àìå T-S ./v. ‘do not delay’ (which has an odd first stem verb instead of a second stem). 25 For the th century, also see Blanc (, f). 24


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A related phenomenon occurs in the letters from th-century Egypt and in the th-century unassigned corpus. A few examples show ˇs written in place of j. This may suggest a pronunciation similar to that of modern Palestinian or Maghrebian dialects, for example, the spelling could reflect North African dialectal /ˇz/for j¯ım, see Heath (, f). However, ˇs written in place of j occurs only with the root ijtama#a: òîúùð ‘we meet’ T-S J. / ; úòîúùà ‘I met’ Dropsie  / ; òàîúùàìà T-S J. /  ‘the reunion’; òîúùàìà T-S . /  ‘the meeting’; perhaps this was caused by a crossover with the root ˇsml, which carries a similar meaning. ... ˇs for s In the th-century corpus, a few examples may be found in which ˇs appears in the place of s in tenth stem forms. It is unclear why it occurs there but may have to do with the presence of ˇs in the root. Another possibility could be the use of ù for s as it appears in Byzantine sources: ùçåúùî T-S J. /  for ùçåúñî ‘missing somebody’; øéùúùð CUL Or  J/vm. for øéùúñð ‘we ask for advice’. ... d for d. ¯ In a letter from th-century Maghreb (T-S AS .–T-S J. / ), there is an occurance of äøèã˙ é ‘it forced him’ for Classical Arabic 01M2&. Here, ã˙ could be an alternative spelling of d, . but it could also reflect a phonological situation where d, d, z. and d. had all become interchangeable. The spelling of d, d, z. and d. ¯with ã is a common feature of the thcentury Judaeo-Arabic¯ papyri.26 Heath (, f) also mentions the spirantization of stops k, t, d in Maghrebian dialects, which could explain the example. ... Voicing of the Alveolars: ö˙ for t. A very rare phenomenon occurs only in a letter from the th-century Maghreb: õ˙ ôð T-S . /  ‘pitch’ for Classical Arabic F .


Blau and Hopkins (, ).

phonology and orthography


... h for h. The spelling h for h. is found uniquely in àúä for éúç in GW XXX/ (and possibly ) (C/C). As this has no parallel, it probably represents a spelling mistake rather than a phonological phenomenon. ... Double Spelling of Consonants A number of examples with double spelling in the letters differ from Classical Arabic use. Most frequent is the double spelling of yy when the radical is doubled. As Blau (, ) has mentioned, the writing éé or åå follows Rabbinic Hebrew orthography to mark geminated or simply consonantal y and w, to differentiate it from the long vowel. In many of these cases, however, it is to be questioned whether the second é actually represents a short i-vowel or whether we are really dealing with the double spelling of y. There is also double spelling of l. a) th-century Egypt A few examples with double spelling of éé can be found, and there is one example of åå, restricted to certain writers: äáééèà T-S J. /  ‘his best’; øééâ àì T-S . /  ‘nothing else’; øééâìà T-S NS . /  ‘the rest’. In äììáåå T-S J. / , the double spelling of åå may indicate the emphatic pronunciation of the word caused by the emphatic l in all¯ah, although all¯ah is normally pronounced emphatically only in wall¯ahi and not in connection with the preposition bi-, at least not in bill¯ahi. The reading of the example is a bit problematic but if it is correct the phrase may be a blend form of bill¯ahi and wall¯ahi, thus exhibiting the emphatic pronunciation of the latter. In many cases it is unclear whether éé represents -yy-, -iy- or -yi-: ãééâ ‘good’ T-S ./v., T-S J. / , T-S J. / , T-S J. / , and T-S J. / ; éãééñ ‘my master’ T-S NS ./v., Dropsie  / , and T-S ./v.; àáééè ‘good’ T-S . / . b) th-century Maghreb The majority of examples with doubly written consonants are those with -yy-. The orthography emulates Rabbinic Hebrew spelling: ééçìà T-S . /  ‘al-Hayy (name)’; åãééò T-S J. /  ‘they celebra.


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ted’.27 In many cases there is either a plene spelling of the vowel i or double spelling of the consonant. These examples form the biggest part of double spelling of consonants: áééè T-S J. /  ‘good’; ãééâ T-S . /  and T-S . /  ‘good’; äãééâ T-S J. /  ‘good’. In examples such as ééìà T-S J. /  ‘to me’, the double spelling of y could either be influenced by Hebrew spelling, or the é may represent alif maqs. u¯ ra spelled with y¯a" for the short a (see ..). c) th-century (unassigned) In the unassigned corpus an example of geminated l¯am contrary to Classical Arabic can be found, possibly influenced by the spelling of all¯ah: éãììà T-S J. /  and  ‘which’ (Classical Arabic 345). d) th century In the th-century material, double spelling of geminated y is the standard rather than the exception. In many cases, a plene writing of an adjacent i might similarly have contributed to the double spelling. While yy is the standard, ww occurs often. Many double spellings are additionally marked by ˇsadda; ãééñ T-S J. /  and T-S J. /  ‘master’; øééñ T-S J./v. ‘he sent’; úøéé6 ñ T-S J. /  ‘I sent’; äéé6 áö T-S J./v. ‘girl’; äééöå T-S ./v. ‘order’; äåå÷ T-S J. /  ‘strength’; äãåå6 ò T-S J. /  ‘he returned it’; âååæúéá T-S . /  ‘he is getting married’. The double spellings may occur even in cases in which the consonant is not doubled; ééù CUL Or  J /  ‘thing’; ä÷ôååî T-S . /  ‘supporting’; ó÷ååé T-S J. /  ‘he will halt’. e) th/th century Double spelling of yy and ww occurs occasionally, but in contrast to the th-century material it is not the standard for yy. Again, double spelling can in most cases be read as plene spelling of an adjacent i-vowel, éãééñ T-S . / ; T-S . /  ‘my master’; úîååò T-S J. /  ‘I went by ship’. It may also occur where the consonant is not doubled: ùééà T-S ./v., ‘what’. There is also double spelling in the word ill¯a ‘except’


This could also represent short -i- in the dialectal form of the second stem ‘ayyid¯u.

phonology and orthography and il¯a ‘to’, probably by analogy with the spelling of all¯ah ‘God’, GW XXX/ ‘to’; àììà GW XXX/ ‘except’.

 àììà

f) th/th century Double spelling of yy and ww occurs very frequently and is the standard in many letters. In the case of yy, there is usually an adjacent vowel i that could be written plene. Commonly, double ww appears often in places where it is not geminated in Classical Arabic. Typologically interesting parallels are provided by comparison with spelling practises of Yiddish, where double spelling is used to distinguish between consonants y and w (spelled éé and åå) and vowels i und u (spelled é and å). Examples in the letters include äééä AIU VIIE  /  ‘she’; äééëøù T-S NS . /  ‘partnership’; äâååúà CUL Or .. /  ‘he turned to’; äååä AIU VIIE /m. ‘he’; ìàééø T-S AS . /  ‘riyal’; ìéëåå T-S AS . /  ‘he appointed an agent’; áàååâ T-S J. /  ‘reply’; äðìöåå T-S NS . /  ‘it arrived to us’; éååàð T-S AS . /  ‘intend to’; ãéçàåå T-S AS . /  ‘one’; ååä T-S Ar. . /  ‘he’; éú÷åå T-S NS . /  ‘my time’. ... Assimilation Assimilation or dissimilation in the spelling of the suffix conjugation only occurs from the th/th century onwards: úò÷ GW XXX/, ,  ‘I stayed’ (Classical Arabic 7#) (C/C); úëà GW XXX/ ‘I took’ (Classical Arabic 748) (C/C); àäåèá÷ T-S NS . /  ‘you received them’ (Classical Arabic 9:2;) (C/C). ... Writing of t¯a" Marb¯ut.a in the Construct State Although t¯a" marb¯ut. a is usually transcribed by ä, some of the scribes follow Hebrew orthography or early Judaeo-Arabic writing traditions and spell it with ú in the status constructus. For instance, in T-S J. many of the construct forms are spelled as such: éàìåî úîàìñ T-S J. /  ‘the well-being of my master’ (C Egypt); ìàãòàìà úìîâ T-S J. /  ‘the entirety of bales’ (C Maghreb); íéñð àðáø úàôå T-S T-S J. /  ‘the death of our lord Nissim’; àìåîìà úåëð T-S J. / f (C) ‘the generosity of the master’. However, a systematic study of the writing of t¯a" marb¯ut. a in the status constructus is impossible because in many letters the forms of ä and ú


chapter four

are almost identical and cannot be distinguished from each other with absolute certainty. Thus it should suffice to say that in all investigated periods of Judaeo-Arabic, both ä and ú can be found for t¯a" marb¯ut. a in the status constructus. Sometimes, double strokes or dots over the ä are used to indicate the < àôå T-S J. /  ‘the death of his father’ (C t¯a" marb¯ut. a, as in: äåáà ä ˙ Maghreb); àìåîìà ä < øöç éìà T-S J. /  (C) ‘to the excellency of the master’; êéùìà áàúë øöçà ïà ä¨ òàñô T-S J./m. ‘the (very) moment I finish the letter of the elder’. Summary: C E C M C C/C both, ö˙ more both equally both, ö˙ more ö˙ common common common

both, ã





very common

s for CA s.






d. for CA d d for CA t


very rare





very rare




˙ è

and ö for CA z. s. for CA s


t for CA d






ˇs for CA j






ˇs for CA s






d for CA d. ¯ double spelling of consonants


very rare




yy common ww rare

yy common ww rare

yy standard ww occasional

yy common ww occasional

yy standard ww standard in some letters

phonology and orthography


.. alif ... Final alif for Classical Arabic alif maqs. u¯ ra Spelled with y¯a" a) th-century Egypt In the Egyptian corpus, alif is, with the exception of a handful of words, written almost exclusively for alif maqs. u¯ ra spelled with y¯a", e.g., àåñé T-S J. /  ‘it equals’; à÷áúé íì T-S J. / f ‘it has not remained’;28 àøúùà T-S J. /  ‘he bought’; àåñ T-S NS . /  ‘equalling’ (Modern Egyptian Arabic siwa, Classical Arabic siwan/suwan). Regular exceptions are ‘al¯a, il¯a, mat¯a, hatt¯ . a and names, such as M¯us¯a, which are usually spelled with y¯a’, in accordance with Classical Arabic rules. There are, however, also cases in which those words are written with alif, compare for example: àúî T-S J./v. and T-S . /  ‘when’; àúç T-S J. /  and T-S J. /  ‘until’; àìò CUL Or  J /  and Bod MS Heb e. . /v. ‘on, about’. Hypercorrect forms occur, such as éìà for ill¯a (‘except’), which is written with alif in Classical Arabic, probably under the influence of il¯a (‘to’), and similarly éãë kad¯a (kida) (‘thus’). ¯ b) th-century Maghreb As in the Egyptian corpus, alif is almost exclusively written for alif maqs. u¯ ra spelled with y¯a": àö˙ î T-S J. /  ‘he went’; àå÷ð àî T-S ./v. ‘we are not able to’. Again, parallel to the Egyptian letters, #al¯a, il¯a, mat¯a, hatt¯ . a and names, such as M¯us¯a, are exceptions, although they may be written with alif : àúç T-S J. /  ‘until’; íåéì íåé ïî éðìèàîé åäô äøàãçðà íåé àìà T-S . / f ‘and he put me off day after day until the day of his departure’. The spelling of éøâ T-S . /  and T-S J. /  either follows Classical Arabic orthography or mirrors a change in the morphology of the verb (jariya instead of jar¯a).

28 In Classical Arabic, the apocopate would follow the negation lam and the y¯ a" would be omitted.


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c) th century As in the earlier material, Classical Arabic alif maqs. u¯ ra spelled with y¯a" is in most cases spelled with alif : øàãìà àðòî CUL Or  J /  ‘the matter of the house’; éù àåñé àî ãð÷ìàå CUL Or  J /  ‘the candy is not worth anything’; àìåî T-S . /  ‘master’ (same line also has éìåî); àáøî T-S NS J /  ‘jam, marmalade’ (Classical Arabic murabban).] Compared to the earlier sources, however, exceptions are more numerous. Aside from the regular examples ‘al¯a, il¯a, mat¯a, hatt¯ . a, alif maqs. u¯ ra spelled with y¯a" as written in Classical Arabic also appears, for example, in éìåî T-S J./v., T-S . / , T-S . /  (same line also has àìåî) and CUL Or  J/v. ‘master’; éìàòú CUL Or  J/m., T-S . / , T-S J. /  and T-S J. /  ‘exalted’; éöåú T-S . /  ‘he was entrusted’; éåñ T-S J./v. ‘except’; éøúùà T-S J./v. ‘he bought’. The regular exceptions #al¯a, il¯a, mat¯a, hatt¯ . a may be written with alif, for example: àìà T-S J. /  ‘until, to’; àìò T-S J. /  ‘on, about’. d) th/th century As in the earlier material, Classical Arabic alif maqs. u¯ ra spelled with y¯a" is in many cases spelled with alif : àøâ T-S NS J /  ‘it happened’; à÷á GW XXX/ ‘it remained’;29 àåñ T-S ./v. ‘except’. Exceptions are words such as #al¯a, il¯a, mat¯a, hatt¯ . a and names, such as M¯us¯a, éñåî T-S J. /  ‘M¯us¯a’, although, again, these may be spelled with alif, compare: àììà GW XXX/ ‘to’; àìò T-S . / 30 ‘on’. e) th/th century The spelling alif for Classical Arabic alif maqs. u¯ ra spelled with y¯a" occurs only rarely in the th/th-century material. This is due to the fact that final alif is usually spelled with -h, which includes those forms originally spelled with y¯a". The spelling emerged as a result of ‘hebraized


After baqiya changed to baq¯a. In this letter, àúç T-S ./v. and àìà T-S ./  can also be found, whereas Classical Arabic alif is usually spelled with -h. 30

phonology and orthography


orthography’31 in combination with pre-existing Arabic t¯a" marb¯ut. a for final short a (see ..). Therefore, the few examples of alif for Classical Arabic alif maqs. u¯ ra spelled with y¯a" in this corpus are in fact hypercorrect according to Classical Arabic standards as they emulate an older JudaeoArabic writing tradition that is incorrect according to Classical Arabic rules: àìò T-S NS . / , , CUL Or .. / , ,  and CUL Or .. /  ‘about, to’; àìà T-S NS . /  ‘to’. ... Final y¯a" for Classical Arabic alif maqs. u¯ ra Spelled with alif Under the influence of il¯a ‘to’, ill¯a ‘except’ is sometimes written with y¯a". This only occurs in the earlier material; from the th/th century onwards alif is mostly replaced by h¯a", as explained in the previous paragraph. a) th century éìà (ill¯ a) ‘except’ occurs in T-S J. /  and T-S J. /  (in an extreme ligature); éãë (Classical Arabic kad¯a, Modern Egyptian Arabic ¯ kida) ‘thus, so’ T-S J./topm..

b) th century éìà (ill¯ a) ‘except’ in T-S J. /  and in éìà éìà äéìà ãðúñú ãðñ àäì àî äììà

T-S J. / f ‘there is no support she could lean upon except God’.32 Cases of other hypercorrections which show Classical Arabic alif written with y¯a" can be found in éúùìà T-S NS J /  ‘winter’ (Classical Arabic = :>); éùòìáå äøëá íåé ìë T-S J. /  ‘every day, in the morning and in the evening’ (Classical Arabic = -!). ... Final alif for Classical Arabic t¯a" marb¯ut.a a) th-century Egypt The spelling alif for t¯a" marb¯ut. a occurs frequently, for example in: àâúôñ T-S J. /  ‘bill of exchange’; àåô T-S NS . /  ‘madder’; àøâåà

31 32

Hary (b, ). … ill¯a il¯a ll¯ah.


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T-S . /  ‘wage’; àçéá÷ìà T-S NS ./v.f ‘his abominable doings’; àéöå Bod MS Heb e. .  /  ‘order, assignment’; àøàëù T-S J. /  and T-S . /  ‘portion, piece’; àøéúë T-S J. /  ‘many’. The spelling of alif for the feminine nisba ending occurs very frequently: àéèéëìà T-S J. /  ‘Hit.t.ian’; àéáøâî CUL Or  J/v. ˘ and T-S J. /  ‘ruba#iyya’; ‘Maghrebian’; àéòàáø T-S J./v. àéøöî T-S ./v. ‘Egyptian’. b) th-century Maghreb The spelling of alif for Classical Arabic t¯a" marb¯ut. a occurs only in a few cases and less frequent than in the Egyptian material: àåúù T-S . / ; T-S J. /  ‘winter’ (ˇsatwa); àéãäî T-S . /  ‘Mahdiyyan’. c) th century There are a number of examples in this corpus in which alif occurs for Classical Arabic t¯a" marb¯ut. a: àãéãâ T-S J. /  ‘new’; àáøâ T-S ./v. ‘the far’; àå÷ T-S J./v. ‘power’; àéàáâ˙ T-S J. /  ‘tax collection’; à÷éø T-S J./v. ‘saliva’; àáø÷ T-S ./v. ‘the near’. There is also an unusual spelling of Classical Arabic lill¯ahi: àìì T-S J. / . d) th/th century ä has replaced final alif in many examples in the th/th-century material. There are, however, cases in which alif is written for Classical Arabic (and Hebrew) h¯a", probably as a hypercorrection: òâø ìà T-S Ar. . /  ‘the receipt’; àìéä÷ ìà AIU VIIE /m. ‘the community’; àçìöî T-S NS . /  ‘beneficial service, business matter’; àòì÷ ìà CUL Or .. /  ‘the fortress’; äòñì T-S Ar. . /  ‘still’.

... ä for Classical Arabic alif maqs. u¯ ra Spelled with y¯a" In a number of cases, which are almost exclusively limited to the feminine forms of ìåà ‘first’, øëà ‘other’ and ãçà ‘one’, alif maqs. u¯ ra spelled with y¯a" is replaced by ä in analogy with the formation of ordinary feminine forms. Only in a few examples are these words spelled according to Classical Arabic norms.

phonology and orthography


a) th century In all letters of Nissim b. Halfon, the name Yahy¯ . . a (Classical Arabic ?@ A) is spelled äéçé in Judaeo-Arabic, e.g., T-S J./address and Mosseri IV../v.address, although in the address in Arabic script in the first letter (T-S J.) he spells it according to Classical Arabic standards. Further examples for ä for Classical Arabic alif maqs. u¯ ra spelled with y¯a" are äìåà Bod MS Heb. d. . /  ‘first’; äøëàìàå T-S J. /  and äøëåàìàå T-S J. /  ‘the other (world)’. b) th century for alif maqs. u¯ ra spelled with y¯a" is rare in the th-century material: T-S J. /  ‘the other (world)’. In construct forms, nouns ending in alif maqs. u¯ ra spelled with y¯a" may be spelled with -t, apparently after the form was reanalysed as written with t¯a" marb¯ut. a: êúøëà T-S J. /  ‘your other (world)’; äúøëà T-S . /  ‘his other (world)’. ä


c) th/th century As ä becomes the standard spelling for final alif, most words written with alif maqs. u¯ ra spelled with y¯a" are spelled with ä. ... ä for Classical Arabic alif ä appears frequently for Classical Arabic alif. In particular from the th

century onwards it replaces Classical Arabic alif in most examples. Hary (b, ) has pointed out that this is a feature of ‘hebraized orthography’ whereby in imitation of Hebrew orthography ä is used to spell final alif. This was probably helped along by the fact that Arabic has the similar t¯a" marb¯ut. a at its disposal to write final short a, and that—with the shortening of final long vowels—h¯a" or t¯a" marb¯ut. a became an obvious orthographical choice. For more examples, compare also forms of the demonstrative pronoun äãä/äãàä used with the masculine (see ..). a) th century In a number of Egyptian examples ä is spelled for alif : äðà Bod MS Heb d. .  /  ‘I’ (Classical Arabic ); äö˙ éá T-S J. /  ‘white’


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(Classical Arabic = 2@B); äöéà T-S J./v. ‘also’ (Classical Arabic 2&). A few more examples can be found in the th-century Maghrebian corpus, such as äö˙ éá T-S J. /  ‘white’. The th-century unassigned corpus also has äîéàã T-S J. /  ‘always’ (Classical Arabic C &,) b) th century In the th-century letters t¯a" marb¯ut. a (or Hebrew h¯a"/construct -t) for alif may be used in the construct: äúéðã T-S . /  and T-S J. /  ‘this world of his’. c) th/th century One letter in the corpus from the end of the th century (T-S .) anticipates the spelling of letters from the th / th century and has ä regularly spelled for alif, although the same letter also has a few words spelled according to Classical Arabic norms. Many of these are suffixes of the st plural. äð÷ååòú àì T-S . /  ‘do not hinder us’; äðà T-S . / ,  ‘I’; äðãðò T-S . /  ‘with us’. In the same letter, examples in which Judaeo-Arabic alif is spelled with ä occur in words that are written with y¯a" in Classical Arabic: ä÷áé T-S . /  ‘it will remain’; äìàòú T-S . /  ‘exalted’; àìò T-S . /  ‘on, to’. On the other hand, many examples show alif : àî T-S . /  ‘what’; àäá T-S . /  ‘with her’ (all rd feminine singular suffixes are written like that, as two -h beside each other are apparently unacceptable), àìò T-S . /  ‘on’ (Classical Arabic D !); àìà T-S . /  ‘to’ (Classical Arabic E); àúç T-S ./v. ‘until’ (Classical Arabic ?:.). Apart from that, in GW XXVIII and GW XXX the st plural suffix may be written with -h: äðúñ GW XXVIII/, ,  ‘our lady’; other examples include äúù GW XXVIII/ ‘winter’ (Classical Arabic = :>); äãáà GW XXX/ ‘ever’. d) th/th century All in all, ä is the standard spelling for final alif in the th/th-century letters. In a few letters, for instance T-S AS ., AIU VIIE  or T-S NS ., all alifs aside from those in the rd feminine suffix -h¯a (which

phonology and orthography


is always spelled àä-) are spelled with -h: äðì T-S AS . /  ‘to us’; T-S AS . /  ‘except’; äì T-S AS . /  ‘no, not’; äö˙ éà AIU VIIE  /  ‘also’; äðáçî AIU VIIE  /  ‘our beloved’; äðãë˙ à T-S NS . /  ‘we took’; äðòôðé àì T-S NS . /  ‘it does not benefit us’; äãë T-S NS . /  ‘so, thus’; äðáúë T-S NS . /  ‘we wrote’; äðôøèá T-S NS . /  ‘in our area’. Other letters, such as AIU VIIE , write most final alifs with ä but show a number of exceptions in which they use à as in Classical Arabic: äðì AIU VIIE  /  ‘to us’; äðéìò AIU VIIE /m. ‘over us’; äðìñøà AIU VIIE  /  ‘we sent’; but: àðéìò AIU VIIE  /  ‘over us’; àðéáç íì AIU VIIE  /  ‘we did not want’. In some letters, however, such as CUL Or .., the final Arabic alifs are written with à as in Classical Arabic: àðìöå CUL Or .. /  ‘it arrived to us’; àðáì÷ CUL Or .. /  ‘our heart’. äìéà

... Otiose alif Only three writers in the entire corpus use otiose alif. They are all from the th-century corpus: Judge Elijah, who uses it quite regularly, his son Ab¯u Zikr¯ı and another writer in a query addressed to Judge Elijah. Exposure to Classical Arabic as a result of their public position may be responsible for their use of this feature, as well as their relationship and correspondence with each other: àåøééñéå T-S . /  ‘they will send’; àåìà÷ T-S J./v. ‘they said’; àåö˙ ôçé T-S J./topm. ‘they should guard’; àåðàë T-S NS J/v. ‘they were’; àåðâúñúô T-S J./v. ‘you should dispense with’. ... The Use of alif for the Expression of the Accusative Ending -an The accusative had become redundant in Judaeo-Arabic speech by the time the earliest letters were written, but the old accusative ending survived in several forms. The most visible of these is the phenomenon of the independent word an used in attributive expressions (see .). The old accusative is also preserved in the adverbial ending -an, which is productively used to form adverbs. This adverbial ending is often written conservatively, i.e., as in Classical Arabic, in the form of alif. The accusative may also appear, sometimes hypercorrectly, to emulate Classical Arabic literary norms. The occurrence of these forms, however, varies considerably among the separate corpora.


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a) th-century Egypt The majority of examples showing a reflex of the old accusative ending in the form of alif are those with the adverbial ending -an, written conservatively with à, such as àøéúë Bod MS Heb d. .  /  and T-S J. /  ‘many, much’; àîìàñ T-S J. /  ‘safe’; àøéë Bod MS Heb d. .  /  ‘good’; àãáà T-S J. /  and T-S J. /  ‘ever’. Apart from those, there appear to be no cases (apart from one example given below) in which the accusative is used, neither according to Classical Arabic conventions nor hypercorrectly. The only exception can be found in a construction, which is typically expressed in Classical Egyptian Judaeo-Arabic with the independent tanw¯ın-derived particle an. In this example, however, the Classical Arabic accusative occurs: äãò àáúë êéìà [úáúë úð]ë T-S NS J / f ‘I wrote you a number of letters’. b) th-century Maghreb In contrast to the Egyptian corpus, the Maghrebian letters use the accusative alif in many more constructions and in more conservative ways, following the rules of Classical Arabic. A number of hypercorrect uses may also be found. As in the Egyptian examples, alif is used as an adverbial ending -an: àîéàã T-S J. /  ‘always’; àîéã÷ Bod MS Heb. d. ./rm. ‘old’; ˙ àîìàñ T-S J. /  ‘safe and victorious’. àøôàö A number of examples occur after numerals –, which require the counted noun to stand in the accusative singular in Classical Arabic. This construction is apparently kept in some of the Maghrebian letters: àøàðéã T-S . / , , , ,  and T-S . / .33 The accusative also occurs hypercorrectly after numbers – and even hundreds, in places where the genitive would be expected in Classical Arabic: àøðéã äéàî T-S . /  ‘hundred dinars’; àéáò ˙â T-S . /  ‘three mantles’ (#ubiyyan). In addition, the nouns may occur in the Classical Arabic h¯ . al accusative in a number of examples, some of them hypercorrectly: àéëàù T-S . /  ‘moaning’; àéëàá T-S . /  ‘crying’. 33 The old accusative ending is also retained after numerals – in letters from outside the th-century corpus such as: àìãò è˙˙é Bod MS Heb d. ./  ‘ bundles’ and àìãò ïéñîë äòáøà Bod MS Heb d. ./  ‘ bundles’.

phonology and orthography


In àëàù úñì T-S */ ‘I do not doubt’ laysa has its predicate in the accusative as in Classical Arabic.34 Since the original manuscript has been lost, however, this reading of the example has to rely on Goldziher’s transcription. The spelling of alif also occurs in other accusative constructions, both correctly or hypercorrectly according to Classical Arabic rules: äì úòáå à÷öå T-S J. /  ‘he sent him freight’; àáàá çéöú T-S . / f ‘she screams at (?) the door’; àééìå êì ïàë T-S . /  ‘he shall be your helper’. c) th century In the th-century letters, the accusative is almost exclusively used as adverbial ending: àãâ˙ T-S ./v. ‘very’; wazant¯a, although both in Classical Arabic and in Modern Egyptian Arabic the suffix retains the h¯a" (Classical Arabic -h¯a and Modern Egyptian Arabic -ha).


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constructions derived from an original tanw¯ın environment. All the examples, however, also show a non-specific referent in a restrictive relative clause. The an connection could, therefore, possibly have been used to express restrictive relative clauses. A comparison with the data from the th-century Egyptian corpus yields an astonishing result: no unambiguous asyndetic relative clauses may be found. This lack of asyndetic relative clauses following indefinite nouns in the th-century Egyptian letters makes it conceivable that for a limited period of time in the epistolary language, constructions with an replaced the asyndetic clause after indefinite nouns. By comparison the Maghrebian letters show no an clauses of this type, but many asyndetic relative clauses. In the th-century Egyptian letters, therefore, constructions of the type NOUN + an + ATTRIBUTIVE CLAUSE seem to have replaced the asyndetic relative clause. An alternative explanation is that the relative particle an denoted the tighter connection between the referent and the relative clause that exists in restrictive clauses, as opposed to non-restrictive clauses still expressed by asyndetic relative clauses. Compared with the Egyptian material, the absence of an in relative constructions with an indefinite referent in the th-century Maghrebian material raises further questions. Is an in relative constructions an Egyptian phenomenon? It is most likely not a phenomenon that occured in the spoken language, but seems to be a feature of the written register. So is it absent from Maghrebian letters due to the more conservative Maghrebian style of writing? As already mentioned, the Maghrebian corpus shows many examples of asyndetic relative clauses following an indefinite antecedent, which is in contrast to the lack of these constructions in the Egyptian corpus. Probably, the conservatism of the Maghrebian letters prevented the clauses with an from spreading into attributive constructions, whereas in the more progressive Egyptian letter-writing, NOUN + an + ATTRIBUTIVE CLAUSE replaced the asyndetic relative clauses. b) th century, th/th century and th/th century In the two examples from the th-century corpus, the antecedent expresses a generic concept (e.g., ‘every direction’, ‘every example’). These generic constructions are semantically more definite than indefinite, even though they cannot be made definite by an article and would have been given the tanw¯ın in Classical Arabic. These constructions could thus be remnants of the original tanw¯ın. Taking the evidence from the th-



century Egyptian corpus into account, however, there is another explanation. As seen in the Egyptian letters, the construction NOUN + an + ATTRIBUTIVE CLAUSE was used for a certain time as the default relative construction following an indefinite antecedent, or possibly to express restrictive relative clauses. It is conceivable that this construction, in non-generic constructions abandoned in favour of Classical Arabic syntax, survived in attributive clauses with a generic referent because an asyndetic relative clause seemed incorrect due to the certain definiteness expressed in generic concepts. A relative pronoun was needed in these attributive constructions but since allad¯ı was restricted to referents with the article, an continued to be used as a¯ relative particle in connection with generic nouns, supported by the homophonous conjunction an. What is most striking is that the two following examples are also restrictive relative clauses. The relative particle an might have been used to mark the tighter connection between referent and relative clause as opposed to the more lose connection in non-restrictive clauses: àäàðéùî ïà úéùî ìë ïçð T-S J. /  ‘every direction that we went’; äéô àðà ïà øéë ìë íìòà T-S J. /  ‘I know all good (fortune) that I have’. Similarly to the finds in the th-century corpus, the th/thcentury corpus shows one example of a generic noun followed by a restrictive relative clause: äéì çåøà ïà úéá ìëì éòî êãëàå GW XXVIII/ ‘I will take you with me to every house I go into’. One example can be found in the th/th-century corpus which shows a restrictive relative clause following a generic antecedent: äãë éô ˙ ïà éùìåë äðçà T-S J. / f ‘then, anything we have íåëì åìñøð äðãë taken, we will send to you’. Another example might reflect a construction similar to those written with independent an: äðì èøôé éö˙ ø ïãçà íìå T-S J. /  ‘there was no one who agreed to sell to us at a low price’. The form could, however, also be a hypercorrect use of the Classical Arabic accusative. In contrast, asyndetic non-restrictive relative clauses occur in the th-century, th/th-century and th/th-century letters: ïéç äðçå ˙ ø äö˙ ô˙ ôìà W[[ äðàèçå êñî ïàøáåâ äòî äééëøùìà äðìîò T-S íåëéìò äðàö NS . / f (C/C) ‘when we established the partnership with Jubran Misk we put down , fad. da . 80 which we returned to you’; äììà éìà éìà äéìà ãðúñú ãðñ àäì àî T-S J. / f (C) ‘she has no support, which she could lean upon, except God’. Since asyndetic relative


A currency commonly found in the Late Judaeo-Arabic letters.


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clauses occur in the later corpora, which means they were at the writers’ disposal, the examples with an as relative particle may have been used because of the generic nature of the referent. .... NOUNS OF TEMPORAL REFERENCE + an + ATTRIBUTIVE CLAUSE The construction with ‘temporal’ nouns as referents should be analysed differently to those in the preceding chapter. In addition to the temporal connotation of the relative clause, these constructions are definite. The referents are the head of a mud¯ . afa construction, which receives its definiteness from the following clause. This analysis is confirmed by the fact that úòàñ occurs in the construct state, indicating that the whole expression was evaluated as a construct by the speaker. Constructions in which the referent and following relative clause form a mud¯ . afa construction are frequent in Semitic languages, like Akkadian paras iprus¯u ‘the decision they made’ or d¯ın id¯ın¯u ‘the judgement they passed’. In Classical Arabic, however, they are restricted to relative nouns with a temporal connotation. In these clauses, the noun of temporal reference stands in the accusative and receives its definiteness from the following clause; see the examples from Reckendorf (, § ): yawma l¯aqaw Du"aybata ‘on the day they met with Du"ayba’, sanata g˙az¯a #Amm¯uriyyata¯‘in the year he went on a campaign¯ against #Am¯uriyya’, zam¯ana huwa l-#abdu ‘when he was a servant’. The constructions in the letters are very similar. With the loss of the accusative, however, it seems the connection needed an additional marker. The tanw¯ın-derived an, reassigned with an attributive function in other constructions, took on the role and functioned like the accusative of time in Classical Arabic. That ‘temporal’ nouns behave differently from other nouns is not restricted to Arabic. In Yiddish, for example, nouns with temporal connotation have shown that they are very susceptible to the change of conjunctions and relatives that follow them.81 A later regular language change can often first be observed in their context.

81 This was one of the findings in syntactical analyses within a joint project between the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany, and the Hebrew University Jerusalem on Yiddish subordinate syntax. The results still await publication.



a) th-century Egypt In the th-century Egyptian corpus the following examples may be found: àãçàå àìå úéøúùà àî àäøîà øëã˙ ú êáàúë ìöå ïà íåé ïî ïà äììàáå T-S . / f ‘by God (I swear) that from the day your letter mentioning their business arrived, I have not bought a single one’; àäúãôðà ïà íåé ïî Bod MS Heb e. . /  ‘from the time I send them’; éìò úô÷å ïà úòàñ äúëñð êéìà úäâå áàñçìà úâøëà êáàúë T-S NS . / f ‘the very hour I read your letter I took out the account to send you a copy’; ú÷å ˙ î ïà T-S Misc . /  ‘the time you went away’; éô ìâùå äîàìñ ïò úéö êáàúë éìò úô÷å ïà úòàñ ïî éáì÷ éìò ãøå àîî áì÷ìà T-S NS . / f ‘(I am writing in a state) of good health but with a laden heart from what descended upon my heart from the moment in which I read your letter’. b) th-century Maghreb In the Maghrebian letters, an cannot be found in indefinite relative clauses. The only examples of the relative particle an preceding an attributive clause occur in connection with nouns of temporal reference; ú÷å ïî åø[ä]àöúà ïà T-S . /  ‘from the time that they became related by marriage’; éìà åìëã ïà ú÷åå T-S . /  ‘and when (lit. the time that) they came in to me’. In the following example, a definite noun follows a temporal noun and an, in what looks like a ‘regular’ Classical Arabic mud¯ . afa construction between two nouns, with the difference that an is used as a connector: ˙ éô ìöú ïåëé àì T-S . /  ‘they (the goods) should øôñìà ïà ú÷å ÷éö not arrive too shortly before the departure time’. The lack of constructions of the type INDEFINITE NOUN + an + ATTRIBUTIVE CLAUSE combined with the occurence of examples of NOUNS OF TEMPORAL REFERENCE + an + ATTRIBUTIVE CLAUSE might suggest that an originally spread into temporal clauses first, before it was used to follow indefinite referents. This is a very likely scenario given the special nature of temporal nouns. c) th century The th-century Egyptian letters show a great number of ‘temporal’ nouns as referents in an constructions: ìöå ïà ú÷å ïî CUL Or  J/m.ff ‘from the time he arrived’; íôìàá äìá÷à äàø÷à ïà ú÷åå T-S


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./vmargin ‘when I read it (your letter), I kiss it with (my) mouth’; úìöå ïà ú÷å ïî T-S J. / f ‘from the time I arrived’; òî úøöçà ïà ú÷å ¨ òàñô áúëìà T-S J./m. ‘the time I was finished with the letters’; ä êéùìà áàúë øöçà ïà T-S J./m. ‘the (very) moment I finish the letter of the elder’; úøôàñ ïà äìéì äì àäúòôã T-S J./m. ‘I paid them to him the night I left’; êåìîîìà ìöå ïà íåé T-S J. / f ‘the day the servant arrived’. d) th/th century Similar constructions may be found in the th/th-century corpus: íåé T-S . /  ‘the day that it arrived’; ïà íåé ïî éì àøâ˙ àî ìàñú àì øöî ïî úòìè GW XXX/ ‘don’t ask what happened to me from the day that I came up to Cairo’.

ìöå ïà

... Conclusions The distribution of independent an in attributive or attributive-temporal constructions is as follows: a) noun an attributive adjective

b) noun an attributive noun

c) noun an attributive clause ‘non-temporal’ nouns non-generic


‘temporal’ nouns

C Egypt


C Maghreb




It can be seen that an in all attributive constructions features most prominently and shows its broadest application in the th-century Egyptian material. In the contemporary Maghrebian material only examples with ‘temporal’ nouns can be found, which may be owed to the more conservative letter writing style cultivated in the Maghreb. In letters from the th century onwards, an only survives in constructions where it stands between a generic noun and an attributive clause, probably as a marker of a restrictive relative clause, or between a noun of temporal conno-



tation and an attributive-temporal clause. Still, an retains a property of its tanw¯ın-derived origins, never appearing with formally definite referents. These four different constructions can be differentiated as follows. All of them were probably only part of literary Judaeo-Arabic, and it is doubtful whether they ever entered the actual spoken vernacular. . NOUN + an + ATTRIBUTIVE ADJECTIVE These constructions appear almost exclusively in the th-century Egyptian letters. They are closest to the original tanw¯ın constructions in Classical Arabic. The antecendent is still formally and semantically indefinite. The accusative an was retained in the middle of a breath group in the most common indefinite constructions, those with an accusative, and developed into a marker of attributivity, spreading into indefinite constructions that were originally nominative or genitive. . NOUN + an + ATTRIBUTIVE NOUN Constructions of this type are rare. It seems that the use of an as a marker of attributivity originated in the complex NOUN + an + ATTRIBUTIVE ADJECTIVE and later penetrated the constructions of the type NOUN + an + ATTRIBUTIVE NOUN. They are limited to the th-century Egypt corpus and may have been used there in letter writing for a limited time only. . INDEFINITE NOUN + an + ATTRIBUTIVE CLAUSE Semantically and formally indefinite nouns followed by an + ATTRIBUTIVE CLAUSE only occur in the th-century Egyptian letters. The construction also appears in later letters in connection with formally, but not semantically definite nouns, where it is restricted to nouns expressing a generic concept. The function of this construction might have been to temporarily replace the asyndetic relative clause following an indefinite referent, or, to express the restrictive relative clause as opposed to the non-restrictive relative clause, which was still written asyndetically.


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. NOUNS OF TEMPORAL REFERENCE + an + ATTRIBUTIVE CLAUSE These constructions use an as a substitute or marker for the original Classical Arabic accusative.82 After the loss of the accusative, these constructions required another marker of attributivity and thus an was used to denote the close connection between the referent and its relativetemporal clause. These clauses may be the origin of the emergence of an in type () INDEFINITE NOUN + an + ATTRIBUTIVE CLAUSE. If this type () had been developed after construction () with temporal nouns had already been established, it would explain the occurrence of the latter construction in the th-century Maghrebian letters, which is the only construction with the relative particle an encountered within this corpus.

.. Numerals: Cardinal Numbers ... Introduction In many languages, numerals and numeral constructions are one of the first groups to be affected by language change. From the change of substantival to adjectival numerals in Old Indian to the modifications of the character of certain numerals in Sabaic, some general language change phenomena manifest themselves first in numeral constructions.83 Accordingly, Blau (, ) states for Middle Arabic: ‘The most far reaching changes have affected the numerals. Being different from the other parts of speech in many regards, they were not, unlike the other classes, protected by analogy’. Classical Arabic numeral constructions show a number of characteristic peculiarities. First, the numerals ‘one’ and ‘two’ are adjectives, while all higher numerals are nouns. Thus the numerals ‘one’ and ‘two’ follow their counted in the manner of adjectives, while the higher numerals precede it in the manner of nouns, e.g., qaryatun w¯ahidatun ‘one village’ vs. . hamsu qary¯atin ‘five villages’. ˘ 82 In the equivalent Classical Arabic construction, the accusative did not have the tanw¯ın because the referent received its definiteness from the following clause in a mud¯ . afa construction. 83 See Wagner (, ff).



Secondly, the number of the counted is not determined by the actual number of individual counted items but according to the value of the preceding numeral. While the counted item follows in the singular and dual after numerals ‘one’ and ‘two’, e.g., rajulun w¯ahidun ‘one man’, it . stands in the genitive plural after numerals  to , e.g., ‘arba"atu rij¯alin ‘four men’. After numerals –, the counted follows in the accusative plural, e.g., tal¯at¯una rajulan ‘thirty men’ whereas it appears in the genitive ¯ hundreds and thousands, e.g., ‘arba"u mi"ati rajulin ‘ plural after¯even men’. Several explanations for the different behaviour in the counted have been brought forward. Some scholars have suggested that the singular after – stems from the numbers –, in which an originally genitive construction, for example, ‘’ = ‘four of the ten’ rules out another following genitive construction.84 Another (possibly more plausible) explanation is that, although the notion of natural individuum or individual objects is still tangible in numbers of –, higher numbers lend themselves to more of a collective idea of the counted. This may be based on finger counting, and there is evidence for differentiation between – and higher numbers in many languages.85 Thirdly, numerals occur in two forms, a longer and shorter form, historically termed feminine and masculine according to their ending. The form ending in -h (the feminine numeral) will hereafter be called ‘long form’, whereas the form without ending (the masculine numeral) will hereafter be called ‘short form’. There is gender agreement with numerals ‘one’ and ‘two’, but with numerals –, the long form is used with masculine nouns, and the short form numeral precedes feminine nouns, e.g., ‘arba"atu ban¯ına ‘four sons’ vs. ‘arba"u ban¯atin ‘four daughters’. This phenomenon is known as gender polarity and is a common feature of ancient Semitic languages. Fourthly, compound numerals made up of single digits, tens, hundreds and thousand can be constructed either in ascending or descending order, with the restriction that the single digits always precede the 84

See Reckendorf (, f). For instance, Japanese has over  different counting words for numbers from – depending on which category the counted noun belongs to. The different categories are made up of round/flat objects, long/thin objects, thin/flat objects, measures, houses, steps, minutes, birds, mammals, insects, people, etc., and for each category there are special counting words from –, of which most share a morphological base from the numeral itself (an exception here are the counting words for people). Higher numbers than ten, however, are expressed uniformly for all categories. 85


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tens. The number of the following counted is constructed according to the last numeral before the counted item, e.g., there are two possible constructions for ‘ years’: #arba"un wa-tis#¯una wa-tam¯an¯ı mi"atin wa¯ una sanatan.86 alfu sanatin and alfun wa-tam¯an¯ı mi"atin #arba"un wa-tis#¯ ¯ With regard to the first of these four peculiarities, in the epistolary language the numerals ‘one’ and ‘two’ usually follow their counted, with very few exceptions. Similarly, a remarkable conformity to Classical Arabic rules regarding the second point, the syntactic construction of the counted according to the preceding numeral, can be observed. In accordance with Classical Arabic, the nouns after numerals from – stand in the plural while the nouns following numerals from  to  and even hundreds and thousands are written in the singular. However, following the loss of the case endings, however, no differences in the numbers – (Classical Arabic with accusative singular) and the even hundreds and thousands (Classical Arabic with genitive singular) can be observed. This compliance with Classical Arabic rules regarding the number of the counted is found, with very few exceptions, from the earliest letters of the th century to late letters from the end of th/early th century. The conformity to Classical Arabic rules in the Judaeo-Arabic letters, which cannot be observed in all Middle Arabic language strata,87 may be explained by the nature of many of the letters where numerals are most likely to occur and their writers: they were traders, in their profession in constant contact with Muslim authorities and traders, and thus very much exposed to the Classical Arabic way of constructing numbers. The form of the numeral itself (described for Classical Arabic under the third point above) does, however, vary considerably in the different letter corpora. This phenomenon will be examined in detail. To give a comprehensive view over the numeral construction in the Judaeo-Arabic letters, the examination of the material will first focus on indefinite and then on definite numeral constructions. In each part, numbers ‘one’ and ‘two’,  to , – and even hundreds and thousands will be investigated separately. As the forms from th century papyri are of interest for the diachronic comparison of numeral constructions, they have been included in this chapter.

86 87

See Brockelmann (, ). See the deviations in Christian-Arabic in Blau (/ , ff).



... Indefinite Numerals .... The Numbers ‘One’ and ‘Two’ In Classical Arabic, the only regular numeral adjectives, ‘one’ and ‘two’, are accompanied by the singular and dual, respectively, and in most cases the whole construction is expressed solely by singular or dual forms without numerals. In the letters, gender congruence is observed in all examples in which the numeral adjective follows the counted noun: ìãò ãçàå T-S J. /  ‘one bale’ (C Egypt); ãçàå ãìá éô êòî ïëàñ úðë åì àìöà ê÷øàôð úðë àî T-S ./v.f ‘if I lived together with you in one country, I would never leave you!’ (C); ïàì äúîàìñ éìò äììà àðøëùå äãçàå øàãá éìåîìà ãðò ïëàñ êåìîîìà T-S J. / f ‘we thanked God for his recovery because the servant is staying with the master in one house’ (C); ãçàå áàñéç äåîìòð ïàîë éù äðì ãâé àî áåøá T-S J. / f ‘if we should have anything additional, we shall put it into one account’ (C/C). In one example, however, the numeral occurs before the counted noun and in addition, the short form numeral is used with a feminine88 noun, so that both Classical Arabic rules of gender agreement and word order are violated: àåô ãçàå õ˙ ôðé àîå T-S . / f ‘he does not hatchel a single madder plant’ (C Egypt). This may be an example of a common Judaeo-Arabic phenomenon described by Blau (, § ) in which w¯ahid . can replace ahad . ‘one of the …’, which stands before the noun. The example shows the short form w¯ahid due to the loss . and not w¯ahida, . of many feminine forms89 in Judaeo-Arabic letters. Still, while this may account for the unusual word order, it does not explain the lack of the definite article before fuwwa in the example. It is possible that w¯ahid . is fronted before the noun to express intensity: ‘a single madder plant’. In another example, w¯ahid . is used as an indefinite article:90 íëàðôøòå ˙ å äðöìåë˙ àððà AIU VIIE  / f ‘we informed you that we paid éåâ ãéçàå àðòö our part payment to a gentile’ (C/C). No observations can be made of the numeral ‘two’, as constructions involving two things of a kind are expressed by the simple dual without a numeral. This indicates that in written substandard Arabic, the dual was The orthography for madder plant in Classical Arabic is fuwwa '^. For example, allat¯ı has been replaced by allad¯ı in most examples, or in numerals ¯ of feminine. –, the single digit numbers are masculine instead 90 Also see Blau (, § ). 88 89


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still very much alive and in use: ïéåì÷øá T-S J. /  ‘two barqallos’ (C Egypt); ìåìà ïî ïé÷á ïéîåéì T-S J. /  ‘two days remain of (the month) Elul’ (C unassigned); ïéìãò T-S J. /  ‘two bundles’ (C Egypt). .... Numerals – ..... Introduction In Classical Arabic, numerals from – are composed with gender polarity, i.e., the long form numeral with masculine nouns and the short form numeral with feminine nouns. The counted items following numbers –, as well as those following compound numerals with higher number and numbers – (e.g., ‘’ or ‘’), stand in the plural as in Classical Arabic. Most numbers in the th- and th-century sources are actually written with number signs, while in later sources many of the numerals from  to  are written in full orthography. This is important to consider when observing the gender polarity of numerals. ..... The th-Century Letters In the th-century corpus, most numerals are written with Hebrew letters as number signs, supralineated with a dot or a stroke above the letter: ˙â ˙ 91àãéå Vienna H /  ‘also  robes’; ìéàìâ Vienna H /  ‘ robes’; ìéàìâ ã èéøø÷ ˙å Vienna H /  ‘ carat’. In few examples the numerals are written in full. The first two examples show the numeral in gender agreement, i.e., the short form numeral in combination with masculine nouns, which is contradictory to Classical Arabic rules of gender polarity, while the third shows the form in Classical Arabic gender polarity with the long form: òáøòá […] ïà êîìòàå 92 øéððã[à] P. Mich. Inv.  Recto/f ‘I inform you that … at  dinars’; èéøø÷ øùòå øðéã 93ãá÷ Vienna Inv. Ar. Pap.  /  ‘he received a dinar and ten carats’; ççéö äøùò Vienna H  /  ‘ten undamaged94 ones (sc. dinars)’. This indicates that, while the number of the counted noun in the mediaeval vernacular still followed Classical Arabic rules, classical gender polarity was already abandoned by the th century. Modern dialects show 91 92 93 94

d. is represented by ã in the th-century papyri. For the form adn¯an¯ır see below .... This is another example of d. spelled ã. s. ih¯ . ah, . pl. of s. ah¯ . ıh. .



a similar phenomenon, with plural nouns95 after – and singular from –, while gender polarity is no longer observed. Is it also possible that Modern Egyptian may shed light on why some nouns take the short form numeral and others the long form. In Modern Egyptian Arabic, as described by Mitchell,96 nouns are normally combined with the short form cardinal while nouns of ‘value or measurement’,97 i.e., certain nouns perceived to be collective, are constructed with the long form, followed by the singular. Davies (, ) describes the system similarly, stating that the long form is used ‘to enumerate nouns of value and measurement … the following noun is in the singular’ while the short form ‘is used, with following plural noun, in all other cases’. The usage of numerals in the papyri, while not Classical Arabic, are the exact opposite of today’s usage. In the thcentury examples, the short form cardinals are used in combination with the counted nouns ‘carats’ and ‘dinars’ (value or measurement), while the example with ççéö shows the long form numeral. Additionally, the counted noun stands in the plural opposed to the counted in the singular in Modern Egyptian Arabic in all given examples. In contrast, however, Spitta-Bey (, f) evaluates the use of either long form or short form cardinals as completely arbitrary, whereas the use of singular or plural in the counted after – seems to be similarly random. It is not clear whether a different use of the numerals was established in th-century Egypt or whether the differences in the descriptions are due to analyses of different dialects or even sociolects. In comparison, Maghrebian dialects also show arbitrary use in the gender of the cardinal.98 Many modern dialects, however, are very strict about the use of the plural after – and the singular with higher numbers. The examples indicate that the system employed in the th century differs from both Classical Arabic and Modern Egyptian Arabic. To shed light on the issue, gender polarity will next be examined in the letters from the following centuries. For the classification of examples with numeral written in full, the following eight categories are set up:

95 96 97 98

For exceptions in the use of collectives see below. Mitchell (, ) and (, ). Mitchell (, ). See Heath (, ff); Singer (, ff).


chapter seven a) short form numeral with feminine noun



b) short form numeral with feminine noun


non-MEA (value/measurement99)

c) short form numeral with masculine noun



d) short form numeral with masculine noun


non-MEA (value/measurement)

e) long form numeral with masculine noun


MEA (value/measurement)

f) long form numeral with masculine noun



g) long form numeral with feminine noun


MEA (value/measurement)

h) long form numeral with feminine noun



The examples from the th-century papyri thus belong to classes d) [nonClassical Arabic, non-Modern Egyptian Arabic] (st and nd example) and f) [Classical Arabic, non-Modern Egyptian Arabic] (rd example). They are not constructed according to Modern Egyptian Arabic norms, and only in one example follow Classical Arabic rules. ..... The th-Century Egyptian Letters As in the th-century papyri, the majority of examples have the numeral expressed only as a number sign in the form of a Hebrew letter, while the counted follows in the plural: ìàãòà ã˙ úãù ïà éëéùàé êîìòðå T-S . /  ‘I inform you, my elder, that I have packed  bales’; áúëìà úé÷á ãùà àðàå ˙ éô àäãôðàå T-S J. /  ‘and I will bundle the rest of the áëàøî ä letters and send them in  ships’; øéðàðã ˙æ àåñ àã˙ àä éîåé éô éòî é÷á àîå T-S NS . /  ‘at this day of mine, I have only  dinars left’. Only few examples with the number fully written can be found, one of type c) short form numeral with masculine noun (non-CA, MEA) is òéáìà íåé ìá÷ øåëãîìà øéøçìà ñîë ãëåà ïà ãéâ ïàë êìãëå øéúë íàéàá T-S J. / f ‘and thus it would be good if  of the aforementioned satin (bales) would be taken many days before the sale 99 The group of ‘value and measurement’ includes for example all terms for coinage and weights but interestingly not day, month or year.



day’. In this example, the numeral does not stand in an ordinary numeral construction but rather in a standard genitive construction, meaning that if the expression was to be rephrased into a definite construction, it would result as: al-hams min al-har¯ . ır al-madk¯ur. The numeral could ˘ also be in gender polarity or agreement with ¯an omitted term such as bale or another measurement. With the scarcity of examples, it is hard to evaluate the rules of gender polarity or agreement in th-century Egyptian letters. ..... The th-Century Letters from the Maghreb The situation is similar in Maghrebian letters. The bulk of examples shows number signs, with the counted noun following in the plural: úñáúçà[å] ˙ íàéà ˙â T-S J. /  ‘they were held back for  days’; éô ïàúë ìàãòà ã éðàðâ˙ìà áëøî T-S . / f ‘ bales of flax in the ship of al-Jin¯ an¯ı’; ˙ððã ä˙ äéòàáåø T-S . /  ‘ dinars in quarter dinar coins’. Similarly to the th-century Egyptian material, written numerals occur only in few examples in the Maghrebian letters, and they take the form of type f) long form numeral with masculine noun (CA, non-MEA): éáò äúñ T-S . /  ‘ mantles’; ìåìà ïî ïé÷á íééà äøùòì T-S . /  ‘ten days are remaining from (the month) Elul’. As in the Egyptian examples, written numerals may be found outside of numeral-noun construction: äøùòá Bod MS Heb. d. . /  ‘for ten’; àäúàìú [äîìò]îìà áàéúìà T-S . / f ‘the … clothes, all three of them’. In the latter example, the numeral is used in the short form, following masculine tawb/tiy¯ab. Due to the unusual word order, the ¯ for the discussion of gender polarity or example is not very ¯suitable agreement. However, another example of a numeral written in full in a definite numeral construction is found, of type e) long form numeral with masculine noun (CA, MEA value/measurement): øéððã äøùò ìà Bod MS Heb d. . /  ‘the ten dinars’. All examples with normal numeral-noun order are constructed according to Classical Arabic rules. As only few examples may be found, however, these findings must be supported by further material. ..... The th-Century Letters In contrast to earlier sources from the th and th century, letters from the th century show few numerals with number signs and the majority is written in full. Number signs: êñð ã˙ … éáöìà òî úãôðà ã÷ úðëå T-S J./v.ff ‘I had sent with the young man …  copies’; àãä ïî íàéà ˙é éìà äéìò úìäîàå


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GW VIII/v.(upside down)  ‘she has granted him (a respite of) ten days from today’; íéäàøã ˙éå äéàî äðî úöá÷ GW VIII/v.(upside down) f ‘she has received of that (sum)  dirhams’. Written in full: type a) short form numeral with feminine noun (CA, MEA) ïéðñ úìú ä < ãî T-S J. /  (above the line) ‘the period of three years’; of type c) short form numeral with masculine noun (nonCA, MEA) øäùà ñîë CUL Or  J /  ‘ months’; øåã÷ òáøà TS J. /  ‘and four pots’; of type d) short form numeral with masculine noun (non-CA, non-MEA value/measurement) àåñé àî … ãð÷ìà ˙ î øùò äììàå CUL Or  J / f ‘the candy … is not (even) ìé÷àú worth, by God,  mat¯aq¯ıl’; áãàøà ñîë T-S J./v. ‘five irdabb’; ¯ íäàøã øùò T-S J. /  ‘ten dirhams’; of type e) long form numeral with masculine noun (CA, MEA value/measurement) øéðàðã äúñ CUL Or  J /  ‘ Egyptian dinars’; of type f) long form numeral with masculine noun (CA, non-MEA) éìò êìîà ïàë éãìà õëùìà ïî àåìöôðàå øäùà äéðàîú äãî ïî äéáöìà T-S J./m.f ‘they separated her from the person who had been engaged to the girl for the period of eight months’; øéðàðã äøùòá êì äúòáà åì éì óåë ïàë ïà íìåò àøåá íìò ã÷å T-S J. /  ‘God knows that I would have been afraid, had sold it to you for  dinars’; øåäùà ä¨ ñîë T-S J. /  ‘five months’; äòñúå íäøã ä¨ éàî íäðîú íäàøã, T-S J. /  ‘their price is a hundred and nine dirhams’.100 To add to the number of examples, those constructions with definite numeral are examined in the following: of type d) short form numeral with masculine noun (non-CA, non-MEA value/measurement) ïáà àöéàå ìé÷àúî ñîëìá àìà éð÷øàô àî íéäàøáà ïåîàä CUL Or  J / f ‘and also: Ibn H¯am¯un Ibr¯ah¯ım left me with only the  mat¯aq¯ıl’; of type e) long ¯ àîå form numeral with masculine noun (CA, MEA value/measurement) ãð÷ìà éô äì éãìà äñîëìà àåñú CUL Or  J / -m. ‘and it is not worth the  (mat¯aq¯ıl/dinars?), which were his from the candy’. ¯ all kinds of forms are present. Some forms follow the It is evident that prescriptive Classical Arabic and/or Modern Egyptian Arabic constructions, but a number of examples may be found which do not accord with neither Classical Arabic nor Modern Egyptian Arabic rules. Although the majority of examples follows Classical Arabic rules, there also seems to be a certain freedom to use both genders of the numeral with all nouns, both long form and short form. 100 In this example, the counted noun appears twice, following the even hundred in the singular and ‘nine’ in the plural. Apparently, the writer was not sure about the ‘correct’ number after ‘’.



..... The th/th-Century Letters In the th/th-century letters, numerals can be written both as a number sign or in full. The counted follows in the plural. Before continuing the examination of gender polarity and agreement, another phenomenon that has emerged in the th/th-century material will be discussed. A number of examples show a t-prefix attached to the counted: ä˙ úò÷ íàéàú GW XXX/ ‘I stayed  days’; óàöðú ˙â úìîò GW XXX/ ‘I made three half-dinars’; óàöðú ä˙ úìîò GW XXX/ ‘I made  half-dinars’; óàöðú òáøàá [ú]ìîò GW XXX/f ‘I made  half-dinars’; óàöðú øùò äáäå GW XXX/ ‘and a gratuity of  half-dinars’; óàöðú òáñ íàùì éòî øáò GW XXX/f ‘ half-dinars came with me to Damascus’. A t-infix appears in Modern Egyptian Arabic in numeral constructions of numbers – when the following noun begins with alif. Not every noun starting with alif, however, shows this t-linking but it commonly occurs with nouns of the pattern af#¯al. These constructions have the form hamast iyy¯am ‘ days’ or talatt"al¯af ‘,’, i.e., the short form ˘ followed by -t before the counted item.101 In addition, edunumeral is cated speakers also use hamsit ayy¯am or hamas ayy¯am. ˘ The t-infix in all the˘above Judaeo-Arabic examples stands in places where in Classical Arabic a long form numeral would have been required, with the construct ending -t. At first impression, this t- seems to have become reanalysed as part of the counted after numerals, thus resulting in it being attached to the counted noun in writing. The form of the numeral, however, both in Modern Egyptian Arabic and in our examples, is that of the short form hamas, with the -t- of -tiyy¯am being part of the ˘ of the numeral. This also manifests in writing counted noun rather than in the letters, with t- as part of the noun. Thus the t-infix could be a secondary development, and need not necessarily have emerged from the loss of the long form numerals as a remnant of the feminine construct form -t. It may only be coincidence that the nouns of value and measurement in our examples are combined with the short form numeral. From the morphological form of the numerals, it could be assumed that the use of the short form numeral in numeral constructions was fully established in the vernacular by the th century. Only afterwards, the t-infix was inserted in the constructions concerned, perhaps under the influence of the use of long form numerals in similar constructions in Standard Arabic or by analogy with the forms of the numerals –.


See Mitchell (, f) and (, f).


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Evidence in favour of the latter is that the t-infix in numeral – can already be found in the th-century letters. Examples of the counted noun without the t-infix after number signs and numerals written in full are, for example of type c) short form numeral with masculine noun (non-CA, MEA) òáøà äúàìúá ìîòð íåé ìëå óàöðà T-S J. / f ‘everyday I make four half-dinars out of three’; íàéà òáøà úò÷ GW XXX/ ‘I stayed for  days’; áúë úìú ïéö÷àð íäúãâå T-S . /  ‘I found that three letters were missing’; óàöðú øùò äáäå GW XXX/ ‘and a gratuity of  half-dinars’; of type d) short form numeral with masculine noun (non-CA, non-MEA value/measurement) äéôøùà òáøà ïéã ééìòå íëãðò ïî úòìè GW XXX/f ‘I went out from you, owing a debt of aˇsraf¯ıs’. An example with definite numeral of type c) short form numeral with masculine noun (non-CA, MEA) occurs in […] åøñëðà éãìà øäùà ñîë˙ ìà T-S NS J / f ‘the  months (in) which they broke …’. Even though the majority of the examples is in agreement with Modern Egyptian Arabic rules, there is also an example contradicting both Classical Arabic and Modern Egyptian Arabic rules. All examples do, however, use the short form numeral in numeral constructions. As already inferred from numeral constructions with the t-infix, the short form numeral was fully established in numeral constructions by the th century. Yet, counting nouns of value and measurement with the long form numeral appears to be an innovation not yet established by the th century. Independent counts, however, are conducted with the long form numeral, just as in Modern Egyptian Arabic and Classical Arabic: íåé ìëå óàöðà òáøà äúàìúá ìîòð T-S J. / f ‘everyday I make four halfdinars out of three’. ..... The th/th-Century Letters As in the th/th-century letters, numerals in the th/th-century material are written both as a number sign and in full, although the majority of examples shows number signs. Hebrew letters used as number signs in the earlier letters have been supplanted by Persian-Arabic number signs in th/th-century letters. The counted noun appears in the plural. In a number of examples the t-prefix/infix is attached to the counted: éã˙ ìà äðì åãë˙ àú íì ìàç ìàå ˙ àú ïéçéàø åìå÷úéá T-S NS . / f ‘and now, you have not õô÷ú U[ åãë taken anything for us of which you said you were going to take  baskets’; ñàéëú V ìà åðî äðãë˙ å äðéàçå T-S J. / f ‘and we greeted



and took from him the three bags’; ñàéëú øùò éâé íì øö˙ ðá ìéô ãåâååî ìàå T-S J. / f ‘what is available in town does not exceed  bags’. This t-prefix/infix also appears in constructions in which numerals – are combined with another numeral, in these cases ‘thousand’, as its counted noun: ìàééø ôìàú ñîë˙ øã÷á ïéãë˙ å äðà÷á éú÷å ìéãå T-S J. /  ‘this time we were taking the amount of , riyy¯al’; ìàå ˙ ô˙ ùø÷ ôìàú U[ øã÷ äðì åìñøú ïà íåëôøòð ìàç T-S NS . /  ‘and äö now we inform you that you should send us the quantity of , silver piasters’. Examples with number signs are íàééà Y éô ùø÷ ôìà S åìàâ T-S NS . /  ‘, piasters came for him to be redeemed within  days’; ˙ äðãðò ïà äøåã ìà ìá÷ ïî éøæò ˙éñìàå íåëôøòðå T-S J. / f ùåø÷ UU[ ò ‘we inform you and Mr Ezri concerning the maize that we have (some) in our possession to the value of  piasters’ Numeral phrases in which the numeral is written in full are, for example, type b) short form numeral with feminine noun (CA, nonMEA value/measurement) ïéãà÷ò ìà ãðò äìà äååñ úà÷åà øùò ãéâåú íìå T-S J. / f ‘there are not (even) ten ounces except in the possession of the trimmers’; type c) short form numeral with masculine noun (nonCA, MEA) íæåø òáøà ïàë˙ åã ìà êìàã˙ ïî ãë˙ à AIU VIIE / f ‘he took from that tobacco  bundles’. As in the th/th-century letters, only the short form occurs in numeral constructions. ..... Summary for Numerals – Counted noun: In all examples, the counted noun behaves as in Classical Arabic and stands in the plural. No constructions with the counted in the singular can be found, which in contrast is common in Modern Egyptian Arabic. Gender polarity: In earlier letters from the th and th century, the Classical Arabic gender polarity is largely abandoned. A large number of examples are not constructed according to Classical Arabic, although some follow Classical Arabic rules. Additionally, most of the nonClassical Arabic numeral phrases may not be in accordance with Modern Egyptian Arabic norms. It appears that various constructions were acceptable in substandard literary writing during that period. The Classical Arabic forms showing gender polarity were widely used, writers also adopted the Modern Egyptian Arabic default construction in which the short form numeral appears with masculine nouns. The short form


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numeral may even occur with nouns of measurement and value which would require a long form numeral in Modern Egyptian Arabic. The letters of the th/th-century corpus reflect a different situation. In these, the short form is used as the standard numeral in numeral constructions, while the long form may be used for counting and independent numbers. It should, however, be noted that the th-century letters seem to be written in a language closer to the vernacular than the earlier letter corpora and conform less closely to literary substandard writing. Consequently, it is expected that the modern default use of the short form in numeral constructions occurs more frequently. In the th/th-century letters, a similar situation prevails, and all the numerals used are short forms. It may, therefore, be assumed that the short form numeral was used in numeral constructions in the spoken language and from there spread into letter writing. As in the letters from the th and th centuries, no evidence for special treatment of nouns of value and measurement in both the th/thcentury and th/th-century letters can be found. Thus the phenomenon described by Mitchell may be a relatively recent feature of Egyptian Arabic, and Spitta’s observations for th century vernacular Egyptian (as discussed above) may indeed be correct for that time period. t-infix: From the th/th century onwards, the t-infix appears in numeral constructions between the numeral and the counted. It is written as a prefix to the counted and was probably also analysed as such. Because of its form, the t-infix appears to be a secondary development and should not necessarily be regarded as having emerged from the loss of the feminine construct ending -t. Rather, this phenomenon may be viewed as an independent development, inserted after the short form numeral in numeral constructions had become fully established in vernacular language by the th century, possibly under the influence of Standard Arabic or by analogy with numerals –. .... The Numerals – ..... Evidence from the Letters In Classical Arabic, the gender polarity and agreement rules for numerals – are complex. In numerals ‘eleven’ and ‘twelve’, the single digits and tens agree in gender with the counted, e.g., ahada #aˇsara rajulan ‘eleven . men’ and itnat¯a #aˇsrata bintan ‘twelve daughters’, while all numerals from –¯ show gender polarity in relation to their counted noun in



the single digits and gender agreement in the tens, e.g., sab#ata #aˇsara rajulan ‘seventeen men’ and tal¯ata #aˇsrata bintan ‘thirteen daughters’. All ¯, are¯ also uninflected. numerals, apart from ‘twelve’ Only few examples with numerals – can be found in the letters. In all examples, the counted is a masculine noun. In two of the examples, a tinfix is attached to the counted noun. A th-century letter has ïéúàìúìà íäøã øùòú ñîëìàå T-S J. / f ‘the thirty and the  dirhams’. In an example from the th/th-century corpus, the -t- is emphatic under the influence of the neighbouring #Ayn: íåé øùòèñîë úò÷ GW XXX/f ‘I stayed for  days’. These forms of numerals – provide further support for the independent development of the t-infix. In Modern Egyptian Arabic, gender indifferent numerals – are formed by adding t¯aˇsar to the short form single digit numeral, e.g., #arba"t¯aˇsar ‘fourteen’, saba#t¯aˇsar ‘seventeen’, tamant¯aˇsar ‘eighteen’. It is possible that this form originates from a construction of long form numeral + #aˇsar, in which the vowel of the feminine -at ending is then omitted. The form for ‘sixteen’, however, is sitt¯aˇsar. Similarly, ‘thirteen’ is talatt¯aˇsar. Unless a haplological syllable ellipsis (sittat¯aˇsar → sitt¯aˇsar) took place (as in the fifth stem verbs), it seems that the t- was infixed only after the short form numeral had become standardised. One example, however, can be found in which the t- is not < ñîë T-S affixed to #aˇsar, and the long form numeral is used: àîåé øùò ä J. /  ‘ days’ (C). This may be explained as a Classical Arabic form, or may show that the long form was used in the single digit numerals –. The t-infix in numerals – attached to #aˇsar appears in thcentury letters, whereas t- affixed to counted nouns can only be found in th/th-century letters, suggesting that the t-infix has its origins in the long form numeral used in – and later spread to counted nouns. ..... Summary Counted noun: The counted noun behaves as in Classical Arabic and stands in the singular. Gender polarity: In one of three examples, the long form numeral is used in the single digit with a masculine counted noun. As the majority of counted things are masculine, it is possible that the long form numeral became the standard in the fixed numeral constructions of numbers – . However, the form for ‘sixteen’ sitt¯aˇsar may also suggest that the short form numeral was used before a t-infix became standardised.


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t-infix: The t-infix affixed to #aˇsar emerged already in the th century, and appears in two of three examples of fully written numerals – in the letters. .... The Numerals – ..... Introduction In Classical Arabic, numerals composed of single digits and tens have a single digit numeral in gender polarity to the counted noun. The counted noun follows in the accusative singular. In all letters from the th to the th century, with few exceptions, nouns following numbers – or compounds of single and double digit numbers with hundreds and thousands stand in the singular in accordance with Classical Arabic grammar rules. Most numbers are written in digits, but a few numerals are written in full. ..... th-Century Egypt Number signs: ìãò è˙ ò˙ ÷˙ éäå T-S J. /  ‘and it is  bundles’; ãäòá T-S J. /  ‘(after) the time of  days from Tobruk’.

˙ ë˙ ÷øáè ïò íåé ä

Written in full: óéð äãîìà éã˙ àä ìåè éô àäðî úéøúùà ã÷ô úàåôìà àøù àîàå T-S NS . /  ‘concerning the purchase of the madder plants, I had bought of them throughout this period more than  madder plants’.

àåô ïéúàìúå

..... th-Century Maghreb Number signs: ˙ðéã ë˙ éáàúòìà äîæøìà éô òôã àîìë T-S ./rm.f ‘all that he paid for the bundle of the #Att¯ab¯ı was  dinars’. Written in full: øðéã ïéøùòå äéàî T-S . /  ‘ dinars’; ïéòáøàá êàììà T-S ./v. ‘lacquer is at  because of its scarcity’.


..... th Century Number signs: äñëðìà øéâ íåé î˙ éäå T-S J. /  ‘and it (lasted)  days without the recurrence’. Written in full: òáøå íäøã ïéñîëå äòáøà øàãìà éìò àðøöë ã÷å CUL Or  J / f ‘we just spent on the house  dirhams and a quarter’; øàðéã ïéòñú åçðá äðî éãðò äììàå CUL Or  J / f ‘by God, I have with me of it (candy) about  dinars (worth)’; àîäøã ïéúìú T-S



J./vm. ‘ dirhams’; àîäøã ïéúñå äéàî GW VIII/v.(upside down) f ‘ dirhams’. One example has the numeral followed by the counted in the plural: íäàøãà ˙ð åîñ T-S J. / f ‘they set  dirhams’. The plural in this example is similar to the plural of dirham used in th century papyri (see below under ...). The plural after ‘’ cannot really be explained but the reading ð may be incorrect. ..... th/th Century It should be noted that a number of number signs are arranged in the order they are spoken and not arranged according to decreasing value. Number signs: íåìù éô íàùì àðøáò 102àúä íåé î˙ ä˙ ÷éøèìà éô àðãò÷ GW XXX/f ‘we stayed on the way for  days until we crossed over to Damascus safely’; óöð ò˙ ä˙ ãëà àî ìúî åãëà GW XXX/ ‘now they have taken as he took:  half-dinars’; íåé ë˙ ä˙ úìàèá ãòá GW XXX/f ‘after a rest period of  days’. ..... th/th Century In the th/th-century letters, numerals – are written both as number signs and in mixed forms, composed of number signs and fully written numerals. Number signs: ä÷åà R[ øã÷ òéàôøå ÷éà÷ã øéøç úéååù äðãðò ïàë äãëå T-S J. / f ‘and then, we had some fine quality silk of  ounces in quantity’. W[ äéðîúå ôìàá äñìåô äðàèòå T-S J. / f ‘we gave him a money order of one thousand and twenty eight (?) French riyy¯al for after its arrival in your hands in ten days’. Mixed:

íåëãééì àäìåñå ãòáì äñðøô ìàééø

íàééú øùòá

..... Summary Counted noun: The counted noun behaves as in Classical Arabic and stands in the singular. Gender polarity: Because of the scarcity of examples written in full, little can be said of gender polarity regarding numerals between  and  that consist of single digit and tens. In an unambiguous example 102

See ...


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available, òáøå íäøã ïéñîëå äòáøà øàãìà éìò àðøöë ã÷å CUL Or  J / f ‘we just spend on the house  dirhams and a quarter’ (C), the long form numeral is used in the single digit with a masculine counted noun.103 t-infix: As expected, the t-infix is not found as it only appears in contact position of numbers  to  with the counted. Because the order of complex numerals normally starts with the lower numbers and proceeds on to the higher, the numerals – and the counted are separated by the multiples of ten in numerals –. Ascending and descending order: In the th- to th-century letters a few examples with descending order of compound numerals may be found, both in written out numerals and in number signs. In the majority of examples, however, numerals are written in ascending order. .... Even Hundreds and Thousands ..... Introduction Even hundreds and thousands, which stand with the genitive singular in Classical Arabic, are followed in the letters by the counted noun in the singular. Most are written with number signs but examples of the numerals written in full also occur. ..... th-Century Egypt Number signs: àåô ÷˙ ìà ïéøðéã øéöåáá õ˙ ôðìà ïà éðâìá T-S NS . /  ‘it reached me that the thrashing in B¯us.¯ır costs two dinars per  madder plants’. ..... th-Century Maghreb Number signs: ˙ðéã ù˙ íäéô øøö ˙â T-S ./v. ‘ purses, in them  dinars’; ïñç òàúî øéúë äçìàö ä÷ù ÷˙ êì àøúùàå T-S . /  ‘he bought for you a hundred excellent garments of very fine quality’. Mixed and written in full: ˙ðéã

˙ óàìà ã

T-S . /  ‘, dinars’;


˙ øã óìà êéìà úäâå ïà áàúëìà äãä øéâ éô êì úøëã éãéùøìà øëá åáà òî ä

T-S . / f ‘I had written to you in another letter than this one that I had

103 Similarly, the long form occurs in àìãò ïéñîëå äòáøà Bod MS Heb d. ./  ‘ bales’ (C) in a letter from outside of the corpus.



sent you , dirhams with Ab¯u Bakr al-Raˇs¯ıd¯ı’; àøàðéã äéàî òôãá T-S . /  ‘with paying  dinars’; ˙ðéã ïéúéàî Bod MS Heb d. . /  ‘ dinars’. ..... th Century Number signs: íäøã ù˙ äì äúòáà T-S J. /  ‘I will send him  dirhams’; íäøã ø˙ ú˙ øàèð÷ ìë T-S J. /  ‘ dirhams per qintar’. Written in full: íäàøã äòñúå íäøã ä¨ éàî íäðîú T-S J. /  ‘their price is a hundred and nine dirhams’. ..... th/th Century Number signs: øöî ïî àäá úâ˙øë éãìà óöð ÷˙ ééìòå óöð ÷˙ äìîâ˙ìà GW XXX/f ‘the total is  half-dinars and I owe  half-dinars with which I went out from Cairo’; óöð ø˙ úøàö GW XXX/ ‘this made it  half-dinars’. Written in full: óöð úéîá úéñúëà äìë äãàä ãòá GW XXX/f ‘after all this, I clothed myself for  half-dinars’. ..... th/th Century In the th/th-century letters, number signs are exclusively written with Persian-Arabic signs. Arabic number signs: äöô T[[[[ äö˙ ô˙ ñéâøéâ ò˙ î ìà øåëãî ìà ïî äðìéöå T-S AS . / f ‘, fad. da . have reached us from the aforementioned honourable Girgis’; äö˙ ô˙ R[[ … éúìë˙ ì 104åòôúú íåëôøòðå T-S J. / f ‘I instruct you to pay my aunt …  fad. da’; . äö˙ ô˙ V[[ 105àäåèòè íåëðôøò T-S NS . /  ‘we informed you to give her  fad. da’ . . Mixed and written in full: äö˙ ô˙ ôìà UXW àìò äðì ÷ìâå T-S J. /  ‘he closed with us on  thousand fad. da’; . àìò äðì ÷ìâéå äñìåô ìà äðéèòé çéàøå ˙ ô˙ ôìà úéî T-S J. / f ‘he is going to give us the money order and äö close with us on a hundred thousand fad. da’; . ôìà S[ øã÷á åãë˙ àú íåëðôøò ˙ ˙ äöô T-S NS . / f ‘we told you to take the quantity of , fad . da’; . ùø÷ ôìà S åìàâå T-S NS . /  ‘, piasters came for him’. The t-infix occurs with the numeral alf ‘thousand’: äðà÷á éú÷å ìéãå ˙ øã÷á ïéãë˙ å T-S J. /  ‘this time we were taking ìàééø ôìàú ñîë the amount of , riyy¯al’; ôìàú U[ øã÷ äðì åìñøú ïà íåëôøòð ìàç ìàå 104 105

See ... See ...


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˙ ô˙ ùø÷ T-S NS . /  ‘and now we inform you that you should send äö us the quantity of , silver piasters’.

..... Summary Counted noun: The counted noun behaves as in Classical Arabic and stands in the singular. Gender polarity: In this corpus no examples of written out single digit before mi"a ‘hundred’ or alf ‘thousand’ may be found. t-infix: The t-infix occurs with the numeral alf ‘thousand’ in th/thcentury letters. ... Definite Numbers .... Introduction The definite numeral constructions seem to present some difficulties. Due to the nature of numbers, standing somehow between nouns and adjectives, and the rare occurrence of definite numeral constructions, there are several ways to form such phrases. In Classical Arabic (as well as in other Semitic languages106), numerals undergo a change in their character when they become definite. The indefinite construction has a numeral as a noun followed by a counted noun in the genitive or in apposition. The phrase can be made definite in the following ways: a) The first construction is formed by analogy with the indefinite construction: tal¯atatu r-rij¯ali. According to Wright (, III f) and ¯ f), ¯ Mörth (, this is the most ‘Classical’ way to express a definite construction, even though the phrase is ambiguous and could be interpreted as ‘three of the men’ and ‘the three men’. Modern Standard Arabic distinguishes between these two different expressions. b) The number stands in apposition to the noun and both receive the article: ar-rij¯alu t-tal¯atatu. According to Mörth, this construction ¯ ¯ ¯ language. It is also the standard means of is frequent in vernacular determination in Modern Written Arabic, as noted by Haywood and Nahmad (, ) and Buckley (, f).


For Sabaic see Wagner (, f).



c) As a third possibility, Mörth presents Classical Arabic at-tal¯atatu r¯¯ ¯ rij¯ali/u107 following Reckendorf. d) Reckendorf (, ) notes that the construction at-tal¯atatu rij¯alin ¯ ¯ and ¯ Wright is very frequent in Classical Arabic, although both Mörth consider it to be post-classical. This is the most usual form in all dialects,108 and it also occurs in Modern Written Arabic.109 .... th- to the th-Century Letters In Judaeo-Arabic letters from the th to the th centuries, all examples of definite number are surprisingly uniform. They almost exclusively110 follow the pattern found under d). This is the most vernacular form of the four definite numeral constructions (in which only numbers receive the article) whereas the counted follows as an indefinite apposition either in the plural (with numerals –) or in the singular (with higher numerals). The use of this pattern implies that the numerals have lost their adjectival character, as they have in definite constructions in Classical Arabic and Modern Written Arabic (= construction b). The numerals function solely as nouns, although the whole construction of numeral and noun may also be viewed as a complex rather than analysed by its parts. .... th-Century Egypt –: àðã ˙éìà úãëàå T-S J. /  ‘and I took the  dinars’; úëøú úðëå ïàøôòæìà èàôöà ˙âìà ìéìâ ìà êéùìà éàìåî ãðò T-S J./rm.ff ‘and I had left with my master the venerable elder the three baskets of saffron’; ˙ å T-S . / f ‘and he mentioned that he would ìàãòà ˙éìà íúé äðà øëã finish (weighing) the ten bales’. –: ˙ðéã è˙˙å ìà ÷åô äììàáå úôìñúàå T-S . /  ‘I borrowed, by God, more than the  dinars’. –: åì÷øáå ìãò òìà åéòàøé ïà äììà àîäîìñ àðáàçöà òéîâ úéöåàå T-S J. / f ‘I advised all our companions to heed the  bundles and

107 108 109 110

The correct case ending is not clear according to Arab grammarians. See the examples in Mörth (, ff). See Haywood and Nahmad (, f) and Buckley (, ). There is one example that is different: ïàåéñ ïî ïéøùò ìà äúàìú ìà íåé T-S J./ 


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the barqallo’; ìãò è˙ ö˙ ìà äì çøùà T-S J./rm.f ‘I will explain to him (the contents of) the  bales’. Even hundreds: àåô ÷˙ ìà ïéøðéã øéöåáá õ˙ ôðìà ïà àðâìáå T-S NS . /  ‘we have been told that the threshing in B¯us.¯ır costs two dinars per  madder plants’. .... th-Century Maghreb –: ˙ðéã ä˙ ë ïî ãçàå [øò]ñ á˙ ìà ïåëé T-S . / f ‘the two (robes) should be of one (= the same) price of  dinars’. –: áçàöì äöç ìôìô ïéì÷øáìàå éåàîè ïàúë ìàãòà ã˙ ìà éô úìòâ˙ ïà úøëã ˙ ìà T-S . / f ‘you mentioned that you assigned a share of éòàáø ù the  bundles of Tam¯ . aw¯ı flax and the two barqallos of pepper to the owner of the  ruba#iyyas’; äé÷àá úìöå éãìà ïàúë ã˙ ìà ïà íú T-S . /  ‘then, the  (bales of) flax that arrived are remaining’; äìîâ˙ ïî úìîç ã÷å ˙ ìà T-S . /  ‘I just sent one of the four bundles àñåî éìà ìãò ìàãòà ã to M¯us¯a’. –: àøàðéã ì˙ ìà äãä àäö˙ åò êì úôøöô T-S . / f ‘I sent to you in their place those  dinars’. Even hundreds: ìôìôìà ïî äúöç éô éòàáø ù˙ ìà óöð äì éãìà éðáìèå T-S . / f ‘the one who owned half of the  ruba#iyyas demanded from me his share of the pepper’; ïî éàøäð ø˙ êðî áìè ïà éì úøëã íú ˙ ìà T-S . / f ‘then you mentioned to me that R. Nahray éòàáø ÷ demanded from you (a share) of the  ruba#iyyas’; øðéã äéàî ìà òôã T-S . /  ‘the payment of the hundred dinars’. .... th Century –: ìé÷àúî ñîëìá àìà éð÷øàô àî íéäàøáà ïåîàä ïáà àöéàå CUL Or  J / f ‘and also: Ibn H¯am¯un Ibr¯ah¯ım left me with only the  mat¯aq¯ıl’; ¯ ãð÷ìà éô äì éãìà äñîëìà àåñú àîå CUL Or  J / -m. ‘and it is not worth the  (mat¯aq¯ıl/dinars?), which were his from the candy’. ¯ –: íäøã øùòú ñîëìàå ïéúàìúìà T-S J. / f ‘the thirty and the  dirhams’. ‘the rd Sivan’ but here the cardinal numerals functions as ordinal numerals, just as is the case in numerals from  onwards in Classical Arabic.



–: íäøã ïéñîëìà äö˙ éàå T-S J. /  ‘and also the fifty dirhams’. .... th/th Century –: […] åøñëðà éãìà øäùà ñîë˙ ìà T-S NS J / f ‘the  months (in) which they broke …’. .... th/th Century –: ñàéëú V ìà åðî äîãë˙ å äðéàçå T-S J. / f ‘and we greeted and took from him the three bags’. .... Discussion and Summary Although the character of the numeral does not change as in Classical Arabic, the construction itself appears to change. After the numerals –  and those with even hundreds the counted noun can no longer be considered as standing in a genitive construction (id¯ . afa) since the phrase does not conform to the rules for the construct state. Rather, the numeral expression takes the form of a nominal compound of the form article[numeral + counted item]. Moreover, the constructions with numerals –, which are constructed with an accusative singular in the indefinite state in Classical Arabic, undergo the same determination process, as seen in examples from the th century. These are constructed in exactly the same way as numeral expressions with lower numbers. While the numbers –, even hundreds and – form different constructions with their counted noun in the indefinite state in Classical Arabic and, following that, show different number (plural after –, singular with higher numeral) in the letters, they are treated in the same way when the counted objects are definite, see in schematic form: definite: article + [numeral + noun (sing./plur. depending on numeral)]. indefinite: (a) numerals –: numeral + noun (pl.) in construct (id¯ . afa), (b) numerals –: numeral + noun (sg.) in apposition, (c) numerals even hundreds: numeral + noun (sg.) in construct (id¯ . afa). Definite numeral constructions in letters from the th to the th centuries are, therefore, expressed uniformly by the pattern article-[numeral + noun]. Unlike Classical Arabic, numerals do not change their character


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according to whether they are definite or indefinite. Instead, they keep their nominal character in both constructions. Moreover, the definite numeral expressions from – are constructed the same way as those of higher numerals, although there is a syntactic difference when the numerals are indefinite. .... The th-Century Corpus and the Problem of idn¯an¯ır and idr¯ah¯ım All th-century examples of definite numerals initially appear to be constructed in a different way to later material. While the numeral has the article, it appears that also the counted, øéððãà, is given the article, written in assimilation; øéððãà øùò ìà òî P. Berol  /  ‘together with the ten dinars’; øéððãà øùò ìà äééìà òôãô P. Berol  /  ‘pay him the ten dinars’; øéððãà øùòìå çî÷ìéá àìéà øéãçðé àìå P. Berol  / f ‘he should only come with the grain and the ten dinars’.111 The interpretation of øéððãà as definite is, however, questionable if the following example is considered: øéðð[ã]à òáøàá … ïà êîìòàå P. Mich. Inv.  Recto/ ‘I inform you that … (is) at  dinars’. In this phrase, a definite counted can be ruled out as the whole construction is indefinite. Similar phenomena are found in later letters. For example, the form íäàøãà appears in the th-century íäàøãà ˙ð åîñ T-S J. / f ‘they set  dirhams’; and a th-century letter (T-S . / f) has §çá àäåøéñééá ÷ùîã ïî øäù ìë íéäøãà ‘with  dinars, which they send every month from Damascus’. In both cases, the counted must be interpreted as indefinite, and there are also no other examples in th-century letters of an article written in assimilation. Thus the form must be interpreted as indefinite. A possible explanation is the omission of the short /a/ in dar¯ah¯ım and dan¯an¯ır with compensation by a prosthetic vowel, leading to the forms idn¯an¯ır and idr¯ah¯ım.112 Thus the definite numeral construction of the th century may be in accordance with those of later letters after all.

111 There is one more (corrupt) example of a definite numeral in ùéùãà äé[..]à ñîëìà P. Berol /  ‘the five … of pounded wheat’. 112 Blau (, ) also analyses the form like that. However, there is one problem. Papyri H /  shows in Arabic script  \5 _K _ ‘three dinars’ with the article attached. This form might have been wrongly reanalysed by the scribe analogous to the forms with assimilated article.



.. Subordination: Relative Clauses ... Subordination in Written and Spoken Language Although certain types of subordinate clauses are used in vernacular speech, subordination as defined by hypotactic clauses or less finite hypotactic structures is generally considered to be a feature of written language varieties. Because of the structural complexity and lexical density that comes with formal subordination, speakers and listeners generally find it a lot easier to produce or follow co-ordinated clauses. Chafe (, f) remarks that whereas ‘speakers appear to be under the constraint to produce no more than one clause at a time, writers have the leisure and editing ability which allows them to produce multiclause units’. Co-ordinated clauses in speech also show subordination but this subordination is only functional and often not formally marked. Instead, hypotaxis is expressed by dynamic complexity,113 through means such as tone, stress, particles etc. A good example for the differences in spoken and written language are conference papers that are ad-libbed and those that are read out from a prepared script. The ad-libbed papers are much easier for the listener to take in and understand, there can even be interaction between speaker and listener if the speaker senses puzzlement in the audience, but usually such talks cannot incorporate as much information as a pre-written paper. On the other hand, papers read from a prepared script in written language feature complex clauses, avoid repetitions and incorporate more information in shorter, subordinate constructions, which help to express matters more precisely and effectively than a sequence of coordinate sentences. This, however, often leaves listeners bemused as they find it much harder to take the information in without being able to reread it (in particular in conference sessions just after lunch!). Some subordinate structures are largely limited to the written language, such as certain types of adverbial clauses, in particular embedded clauses, dependent clauses with nonfinite verb forms, and non-restrictive relative clauses.114 For example, a sentence like ‘At the beginning of July, during an extremely hot spell, towards evening, a young man left the closet he rented from tenants in S–y lane, walked out to the street, and

113 114

Halliday (, ). Thompson (, ).


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slowly, as if indecisively, headed for the K–n Bridge’115 is perfectly acceptable in the written language and considered grammatically correct. It is, however, doubtful as to whether its lexical density would be immediately understood by an unsuspecting listener in an oral conversation. Subordination, including non-finite hypotactic structures, can also be deliberately used to create certain registers of a language. For example, in some works of academic German in the th and th centuries subordination is used as a means against ‘popularity’, to make the language impenetrable to all but the most educated readers.116 Some of the protagonists in the emergence of this German ‘Wissenschaftsprache’ were scholars like Kant, who composed in such a dense, nominalised written language that it is not unknown for German speaking philosophy students and scholars alike to prefer the English translations of philosophical books to those in the original German. When people use subordinate clauses orally, they are often emulating written standards of language. People deliberately switch into registers of written language for all kind of purposes, for example, in academic circles, where the lexical density helps the speaker to convey a complex idea in relatively short time. Or, in situations where speakers try to convey their social standing, the degree of their education or general mental capacities. By the same token, complex sentences can also help a great deal to disguise lack of actual knowledge to the overwhelmed listener. The fact that subordination occurs mainly in the written language means that people less familiar with the prescriptive literary standards may have problems to compose certain kinds of subordinate clauses that conform with the prescribed rules set by the Standard language. These grammatical rules that define standard languages are in themselves arbitrary. For example, while double negation was perfectly acceptable in older German, it was completely extinguished from Standard German by scholars imposing Latin grammatical thought (‘two negations equalling a positive statement’) on it. Thus double negation would be judged as ungrammatical in High Standard German, whereas it occurs freely in some German dialects. Similarly, there are subordinate structures that have been sanctioned by Arab grammarians and are therefore part of

115 The first clause of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and punishment as translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (). 116 For the attitude of German scholars such as Kant, Schleiermacher and Schlegel towards the Verständlichkeit (‘comprehensibility’) of philosophical writing or academic writing in general, see Göttert (), in particular pp. –.



the ‘canon’ of Classical Arabic grammar, whereas others are described as ‘post-classical’ Arabic or vernacular Arabic. Three major groups of subordinate clauses can be discerned: complement clauses (e.g., that-clauses), adverbial clauses (e.g., causal, final, consecutive, temporal and concessive clauses) and relative clauses.117 Within the corpora of Genizah letters, we can observe that the complement and adverbial clauses follow to a large degree the rules of Classical Arabic and do not show a great deal of variability, apart from a few exceptions such as indifference between an and anna or slight semantic changes in the use of conjunctions. About some adverbial clauses it is difficult to make any kind of statement because of the lack of suitable, unambiguous examples. Within the group of relative clauses, however, the letters display a remarkable mix of Classical, post-classical and vernacular structures side by side. The relative clauses in the letter corpora will thus be examined in a more detailed fashion in this chapter. ... Relative Clauses in Arabic and Judaeo-Arabic Two different kinds of relative clauses have to be distinguished in Arabic. The first kind are attributival or adjectival clauses, also termed qualificative clauses, which depend on a referential noun, e.g., the house that cried murder or the man who wasn’t there. The second type are free relative clauses, also termed headless, conjunctive or, rather unfortunately, substantival118 relative clauses, which do not depend on a referential noun, e.g., what women want. .... Attributival Relative Clauses Attributival relative clauses are further subdivided into different constructions depending upon whether the antecedent is definite or indefinite. The relative clauses following definite antecedents are, in Classical Arabic, normally introduced by the relative pronoun allad¯ı and related forms. Relative clauses following indefinite antecedents are¯in most cases constructed asyndetically.

117 This follows the system developed in the DFG-funded project ‘Konkurrenzsyntax’ at the University of Jena under the supervision of Prof Rosemarie Luehr. 118 The term ‘substantival’, as used by French linguistics, could suggest that they are a kind of complement (content) clause.


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..... The Definite Attributival Relative Clauses Relative clauses of definite antecedents in Classical Arabic are usually introduced by the relative pronouns m. allad¯ı, f. allat¯ı, the inflected ¯ dual pronouns m. allad¯ani/alladayni, f. allat¯ani/allatayni, and the plural ¯ ¯ pronouns m. allad¯ına, f. allad¯ati/allaw¯at¯ı. The pronouns accord with ¯ their antecedent in¯ number, gender and, with instances of dual and plural nouns, in case. By contrast with Classical Arabic grammar, the letters show almost exclusively the Classical Arabic masculine singular form éãìà which appears as relative pronoun following masculine, dual and plural antecedents. As will be explained later, this probably reflects the use of the vernacular pronoun illi, which is also indifferent as to gender and number. The traditional Classical Arabic grammars119 also mention definite relative clauses that can be formed by attaching the article to the additional information that is given to a noun, e.g., ra"aytu Zaydani l-hasana . wajhuh¯u ‘I saw Zayd whose face was beautiful’ and hak¯ . a ab¯u l-Fut¯uhi . l-mutaqaddimu dikruh¯u ‘Ab¯u l-Fut¯uh, . who had been mentioned before, ¯ cases should, however, not be considered as equal to related (…)’. These relative clauses with relative introduction. Rather, l-hasana wajhuh¯u and . l-mutaqaddimu dikruh¯u stand in the place of regular determined adjecti¯ val attributes following their names that are naturally definite. The examples are probably the postnominal equivalent of the so-called prenominal relative clauses in German and English, e.g., ‘der schöngesichtige Zayd’ (vs. ‘Zayd, dessen Gesicht schön war’), ‘the before mentioned man’ (vs. ‘the man who had been mentioned before’), ‘ich schlug den von ihm gegangenen Weg ein’ (vs. ‘ich schlug den Weg ein, der von ihm gegangen wurde’), or ‘the beautifully modeled house’ (vs. ‘the house which was beautifully modeled’). On a scale of attributivity, these kinds of attributions are much more explicit than regular relative clauses (compare Lehmann , ), which build an additional nucleus. Yet, of the two examples, l-mutaqaddimu dikruh¯u would probably be judged as leaning ¯ than l-hasana wajhuh¯u because of the use more towards a relative clause . of a participle. In the letters, a similar example, äìöàåìà éòàáø ÷˙ ìà, can be found in ïî êéìà äìöàåìà éòàáø ÷˙ ìà ïî éàøäð ø˙ êðî áìè ïà éì úøëã íú øàîò ïá íééç T-S . / f ‘then you mentioned to me that R. Nahray demanded from you (a share) of the  ruba#iyyas that had arrived to


For example, see Fischer (, f) and Brockelmann (, ).



you from Hayyim b. #Amm¯ar for me’. These clauses would certainly merit . a comprehensive investigation into their use across the whole of JudaeoArabic literature. a) Relative clauses introduced by the relative pronoun allad¯ı and its ¯ derivates The relative pronoun allad¯ı is used following nouns of all genders and ¯ numbers. allad¯ı following masculine nouns: éðøúñå éðìîùà éãìà íëìéîâ óéëå CUL Or ¯ J /  ‘like your good deed that wraps me and protects me’ (C  unassigned). allad¯ı following feminine nouns: éúáçö úìöå éãìà äøöìà êìãëå Bod MS Heb¯ d. . /  ‘likewise the purse which arrived with me’ (C Egypt); êàììà ÷åç ïî áàñçìà éô úé÷á éãìà äé÷áìà ïî è÷ñðú T-S J. /  ‘it will be retrieved from the rest which remains from the account of the box of laquer’ (C Maghreb); éãìà ìú˙ î ÷ôúú ìòì àäéô êúìàñ úðë éãìà äìçìà äãåäé àéøëæ éáà [é]ìà äúäâå T-S . / f ‘the festive costume which I had asked you about, could it maybe resemble the one you sent to Ab¯u Zikr¯ı Judah?’. allad¯ı following dual nouns: éúöàëì úãôðà éãìà úéæ ïéôøö˙ ìàá êîìòà úðëå T-S¯J. /  ‘I informed you about the two containers of olive oil that I sent on my own expense’ (C Maghreb); âàáñìà ïá ãðò éãìà ïéúééèá÷ ìàå T-S J. / f ‘the two Egyptian linens that are with Ibn as-Sabb¯ag˙ (the son of the dyer)’ (C). allad¯ı following plural nouns: éãìà áúëìà ïî êìã êì óùëðà ã÷ ïà åâøàå ¯ T-S J. / f ‘I hope that this had already been revealed to you from the letters that I wrote after the first letter’ (C Egypt); íåëãðò ïî úàâ éãìà øàáëàìà T-S J. /  ‘the news that came from you’ (C Maghreb); àäì éãìà úåéáìà àäðî åãë˙ à íäðàì T-S NS J / f ‘because they took the houses, which belong to her, from her’ (C/C). Very rarely, the writers will orientate themselves along the lines of Classical Arabic and use the feminine relative pronoun allat¯ı after feminine antecedents: àòáøàìà äìéì éä éúìà äáåøòìà äìéì íëãðò øö˙ çð àîáø T-S J./rm.ff ‘possibly we will stay with you for Hosha#na Rabbah which is the fourth night’ (C). There are very few examples in which this Classical Arabic form allat¯ı is used hypercorrectly with a masculine

ìåàìà áàúëìà ãòá úáúë


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antecedent: âéôìà òî éúìà êáàúë íú T-S . /  ‘concerning your letter which (arrived) with the messenger’ (C Maghreb). The use of both allad¯ı and allat¯ı does not reflect the actual use in the ¯ vernacular. The relativizer allad¯ı is a phenomenon of written Judaeo¯ Arabic, whereas the actual pronoun used in spoken Arabic was probably something like the Modern vernacular relative pronoun illi. This is also reflected in the fact that, as mentioned above, allad¯ı is used for both ¯ genders and all numbers just as illi is in the Modern dialects. The occasional appearance of allat¯ı should be interpreted as deliberate usage of a Classical Arabic form, and in some cases as a hypercorrect form. It could also be evaluated as a devoiced derivative Ãlt¯ı from Ãld¯ı, which appears in a vocalised texts (such as a letter120 from the th/th century) in Tiberian vocalisation ald¯ı/äld¯ı. Pseudo-archaic Ãldi also occurs in the written Arabic koine of the Arabic-speaking Jewish communities as described by David Cohen in his article on Judaeo-Arabic in the Encyclopaedia of Islam. Following this it is unsurprising that even in the th-/th-century letters of our corpus, which show many colloquial forms, éãìà has been maintained as a relative pronoun in written Judaeo-Arabic. The pronunciation could be similar to Ãldi but we can also find the vocalisation illadi in the vocalized literary Late Egyptian text T-S Ar. .. This may either present another artificial literary form or it may resemble the actual pronunciation within the Egyptian Judaeo-Arabic reading tradition, which may qualify the pronunciation Ãldi as a characteristic Late Maghrebian Judaeo-Arabic form; éã˙ ìà âìáî ìéã ê˙ éìàã˙ éô˙ ìéëåå øåëãîìà ïéà [ìà÷ ï]àîëå äéìò áåìèî T-S AS . / f ‘and also he said that the aforementioned has appointed an agent in connection with this sum which was requested from him’ (C/C); íëòúá äîæåø ìà åúáçåö éã˙ ìà ñééø ìà ˙åö íåäìæðå AIU VIIE / f ‘he sent them down with the leader with whom your bundles are’ (C/C); äñìåô ìà ñåìô àìò åòî åðàë éã˙ ìà ñåìôìà åðî äðîìúñå T-S J. /  ‘and we received the money which was in his possession from him in accordance with the sum of the money order’ (C/C); ˙ ìà äééëøéù ìà òàúéá ìà[..] ìéã äðì åáúëú ôéë íåëéìò äðáâòúñå àäåúìîò éã ˙ åø øéâ ïî T-S NS . / f ‘you astonished us by the way you wrote to äðàö us this … of the partnership, which you established without our agreement’ (C/C).


Published by Blau and Hopkins ().



The actual vernacular form illi may also appear instead of allad¯ı in a ¯ ìà few rare examples: ãéòà÷ ñåìéô˙ êì éèòé êãðò éàâ åðéà äéìò ìå÷úá éìà éãåäé ˙ T-S AS . / f ‘the Jew whom you say is coming to you to give øöî éô you money, is (actually) staying in Cairo’ (C/C). It should thus be stressed again that the relative pronouns found in the letters are almost exclusively pseudo-classical pronouns, which have derived from the Classical Arabic forms and are used in substandard writing. The actual spoken relative pronoun illi appears only in very few examples. b) allad¯ı as complement introduction ¯ Aside from its use as a relative construction, allad¯ı can also introduce ¯ the th century complement clauses. It occurs in this function from onwards. The close relationship between complement and relative introduction is not unusual, as it also becomes apparent in the complement clause introduction particle an ‘that’ and the homophonous relative particle an derived from the Classical Arabic tanw¯ın.121 A similar phenomenon can be found in English where the homophonous that functions as an introduction particle for both relative and complement clauses, for example, I think that you know vs. the things that you know. In most cases in which allad¯ı introduces complement clauses, the ¯ connotation: äðçà éãìà ááñ ìà éãà clauses have an additional causal òéá ìà äìò ïéìâòúñî AIU VIIE  / f ‘this is the reason that we are in a hurry to sell’ (C/C); éãìàå ãçàå ïàëî éô àðìîù äììà òîâ éãìà àðçøôô íåìùìà àäðéáå êðéá çøè T-S J. / f ‘and we were happy that God united us altogether in one place and that he made peace between you and her’ (C); äøàâö ïî ÷øúôà éãìà êìã éìò æòå T-S J. / f ‘he was in pain about this that/because he was separated from his little ones’ (C). c) Asyndetic clauses after definite antecedent A large number of examples occur in which a definite antecedent is followed by an asyndetic relative clause. That these clauses have to be evaluated as true relative clauses, and not as mere parataxis, is evident in the examples. The explicit definiteness of the antecedent, in two of the examples emphasized by the demonstrative pronoun, only receives


Compare chapter ..


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its relevance through the relative clause: éìà ìöú äàìåî áúë äãäå T-S J. /  ‘these are the letters of his master that should arrive to me’ (C Maghreb); ñôðìà éå÷ú ïàë äúãøà ú÷åìà àãä ìúî éô ééá òè÷ ã÷å T-S J. / -rm. ‘he left me at the very time in which I wanted him to support me’ (C Maghreb); âøëàå óéøùìà éìà úéö˙ î ïà éàìåîàé úøëã êúèìë ˙å˙é øéøç ìèø ˙æ˙é íéäøáøàå éñåî íñàá òàá ïà äéô ãâå øúôãìà T-S ˇ ıf, and J. /  ‘you mentioned, oh my master, that you went to al-Sar¯ he brought out the file in which he found that he had bought  rat. l of satin,  of your share, in the name of M¯us¯a and Abraham’ (C Egypt); ˙ øî äì øëãé óåìëì éãð÷øîñìà ïá áàúë éìò úô÷å íú T-S . / f ‘then I êö read the letter of al-Samarkand¯ı to Hall¯uf which mentions your illness to him’ (C Maghreb); and in letter ˘from outside the corpus ìàãòà ã˙ ìàå ïàåøé÷ìàì àä÷ñåá êæò äììà íàãà úéöåà ã÷ úðë ìôìôìà Bod MS Heb d. . / f ‘the four bundles of pepper which you, may God preserve your honoured position, had instructed to send to Qayrawan’. Some Arabic grammars, like Brockelmann, fail to mention this construction. Wright has described these relative clauses, restricting them to nouns that indicate ‘not a particular individual (animate or inanimate) but any individual bearing the name’.122 This explanation seems not to cover all cases; as in the example in Fischer (, ) li-mani d-day¯aru g˙aˇs¯ıtuh¯a ‘whose are the dwellings that I have come to?’. Fischer classifies this example and the qur"anic ka-mitli l-him¯ asf¯aran ‘like the . ari yahmilu . ¯ mentioned by Wright, as ‘apposiass which carries books’, which is also tional circumstantial clauses’. However, a clause can only be circumstantial to a proposition, not to a noun. As these asyndetic relative clauses occuring after definite antecedents appear both in Classical Arabic and Judaeo-Arabic, they seem to be a general Arabic linguistic phenomenon, which has yet to be treated extensively. d) m¯a as relative pronoun in definite and indefinite relative clauses m¯a as a relative pronoun in attributival relative clauses occurs in thcentury letters. In Classical Arabic, m¯a can only appear as relative in free relative clauses123 and in constructions with generic qualifiers like kul m¯a or jam¯ı# m¯a, although m¯a and man could be used as attributival relatives in pre-classical Arabic.124 In the th-century letters, this function seems 122 123 124

Wright (, II ). Fischer (, ff). Fischer (,  note ).



to have resurfaced; as in the following examples, where the relative particle m¯a follows in the first case a definite and in the latter two cases a formally indefinite, but semantically definite, antecedent: êôøò äúîçøá äéìé àî äúãàòñå äúëøá äììà T-S . /  ‘may God let you experience his blessing and his help which he bestows in his mercy’ (C Maghreb); úçøá àî í[å]é T-S . /  ‘the day that she left’125 (C); äéèò ïá ïî àøúùà àî øòñ éðî äàøúùà éúç äìàñàå äîùçà ìàæà íìå T-S J. / f ‘I did not stop to shame him and to ask him until he bought it from me (for the) price (of) which he bought from Ibn #At.iyya’ (C). With this further expansion of the semantic spectrum, m¯a in postclassical Arabic takes over the following functions: . negation, . free relative, . attributival relative, . wh-word, . complementizer.126 This is quite a wide spectrum for one particle. Diachronic studies in Yiddish have shown that connectives127 in times of intensive language change128 initially enlarge their semantic spectrum considerably and become highly polyfunctional. Then a new system is finally developed, applications are narrowed again and connectives are assigned to certain functions.129 The dichotomy between colloquial and written Arabic, in addition to sociolectal phenomena and the everyday life familiarity with Hebrew, might have led to a similar situation in Judaeo-Arabic. As m¯a only appears as a relative in th-century letters, this may be an indication of more intensive language change during that period, which fits well with the historical processes happening from the late th century onwards. By coincidence, in the letters from the same period ayˇs has taken over the wh-word function. It is also the time when a number of other grammatical features emerge such as the bi-imperfect.130 125 The antecedent is formally not definite. It is similar to those structures in certain Semitic languages in which the relative clause works like a genitive and puts the antecedent in a construct. An example is Akkadian b¯ıt ¯ıpuˇsu ‘a house he had built’, see von Soden (, § ). 126 Hitherto, no occurences in this function could be found in the letters. In Classical Arabic, examples given by Fischer include #ajibtu mimm¯a darabtah¯ u ‘I am astonished that . you beat him’ and yasurru l-mar"a m¯a dahaba l-lay¯al¯ı ‘one is happy that the nights go by’. ¯ It can also occur in this function in Modern Egyptian Arabic, see Spitta-Bey (, ). 127 The term is used here as a hyperonym for both conjunctions and relatives. 128 The term ‘intensive language change’ describes language change forced by a large number of external factors like rapid migration, development of sociolects within a diaspora and repeated language contact, as opposed to ‘slow’ change within a relatively settled, static group of speakers. 129 See Kühnert and Wagner (). 130 See chapter ..


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..... The Indefinite Attributival Relative Clauses a) Asyndetic clauses after indefinite antecedent Relative clauses with indefinite antecedents are normally introduced asyndetically. In the case of asyndetic relative clauses following a definite antecedent the examples make it quite clear that these are actual subordinate relative clause. However, it is often much harder to prove the subordinate connection between indefinite antecedent and its asyndetic relative clause. Many examples could simply be taken as paratactic, asyndetic clauses. In some cases, the relative clauses could also be interpreted as complement clauses, or could have connotations of an adverbial clause (especially purpose or final). However, in the first four examples the relative connection between antecedent and the asyndetic relative clauses is quite tight: úéáøìá àäúôìñà úàîàá GW XXX/ ‘with sums I borrowed with interest’ (C/C); éìà äéìà ãðúñú ãðñ àäì àî äììà éìà T-S J. / f ‘she has no support to lean upon (literally: support which she could lean upon), except on God’131 (C); éù åä àî úãçé T-S J. /  ‘it is not something that one could describe’ (C unassigned); éöøç ïî øú˙ ëà éì øôåúé ä˙ øã éô õøçú äììà êãéà êðà íìòà éðàô T-S . / f ‘I let you know that you, may God help you, are more concerned about dirhams to be saved for me than saving me’ (C Maghreb); êì óöð àî óøòð àî éù ïàë ã÷å T-S J. / f ‘there is a thing which I don’t know how to describe to you’ (C unassigned); òôøð äéãä íëðî äáñçðå äáì÷ äéá CUL Or  J /  ‘we will put on your account a present with which to lift his heart’ (C unassigned); êìö˙ ôå äììà ìö˙ ô ïî éãö÷ úáñìà éô ä÷ôðà éù éô éðøáãú ïà T-S NS J / f ‘my endeavour from God’s grace and your grace is that you will arrange for me something that I (can) spend on the Sabbath’ (C); ïá áøà÷ éô ˙â˙ð äðñ êéìà àäìîç äøö äéô úãâåô ìé÷ò éáà T-S ./v. ‘I found in it a purse which he sent to you in the year  in the boat of Ibn Ab¯ı #Aq¯ıl’ (C Maghreb); òôãé íì êììà úö˙ øòàå åìà÷ àìà ãøô íäøã äéô T-S J. /  ‘I offered the laquer for which one could get a single dirham but they said’ (C); äééëøùìà äðìîò ïéç äðçå ˙ ø äö˙ ô˙ ôìà W[[ äðàèçå êñî ïàøáåâ äòî T-S NS . / f ‘we, íëéìò äðàö when we established the partnership with Jubran Misk, put down . fad. da, . which we returned to you’ (C/C); äðì èøôé éö˙ ø ïãçà íìå T-S J. /  ‘there was no one who was willing to sell to us at a low price’ (C/C).


… ill¯a il¯a ll¯ahi.



b) The particle an as relative introduction after indefinite antecedent In many examples an, which is derived from the original tanw¯ın ending, works as a kind of relative introduction. This has probably been facilitated by the existence of the homophonous complementizer an. The connection was already pointed out by Baneth who regarded an to be identical with the conjunction an. Typologically, it is a known phenomenon for complementizers to take over the function of relative introductions. For example, in Yiddish letters of the th century the complementizer az, which later becomes the standard complementizer in Modern Yiddish, may be used as relative introduction in relative clauses.132 In the following examples, an seems to function as a relative pronoun after an indefinite antecedent, even though in many cases there is an adverbial connotation, mainly final (purpose) ‘in order that’ or consecutive ‘so that’: éä àî êðàúë òî èìúëú ïà éù T-S NS . /  ‘it is not a thing that could be confused with your flax’ (C Egypt); ñáìð ïà áåú éì àî T-S ./v. (written above the line) ‘I don’t have any garment to wear (literally: that I [could] wear)’ (C Egypt); øñð ïà øáë áøâìà ïò àðòîñéå … äììà ïî ìñà äá T-S J. / f ‘I asked God … to let us hear news from the West which gladden us’ (C Egypt); êéùìà éàìåî éìà äéá áúëà ïà éù éì àîå T-S J. /  ‘and I do not have anything else to write to my master’ (C unassigned). In each of the examples above, the antecedents are indefinite, as we would expect in constructions derived from an original tanw¯ın environment. This is, however, different with nouns of temporal reference. Here, the constructions, although not formally definite, are certainly semantically definite, specifying ‘the day’, ‘the hour’ and ‘the time’. Whereas the above constructions seem to be ordinary relative clauses, the clauses with nouns of temporal reference are also quasi-temporal subordinations: ïò êáàúë éìò úô÷å ïà úòàñ ïî éáì÷ éìò ãøå àîî áì÷ìà éô ìâùå äîàìñ T-S NS . / f ‘(I am writing in a state) of good health but with a laden heart from what descended upon my heart from the hour in which I read your letter’ (C Egypt); êéìà úäâå áàñçìà úâøëà êáàúë éìò úô÷å ïà úòàñ äúëñð T-S NS . / f ‘the very hour I read your letter I took out the account books to send you a copy’ (C Egypt); ïà íåé ïî ïà äììàáå ˙ ú êáàúë ìöå T-S . / f ‘by God (I àãçàå àìå úéøúùà àî àäøîà øëã swear) that from the day your letter mentioning their business arrived, I


Kühnert and Wagner (, ff).


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have not bought not a single one’ (C Egypt); åø[ä]àöúà ïà ú÷å ïî T-S . /  ‘from the time (in which/when/that) they became related by marriage’ (C Maghreb); êåìîîìà ìöå ïà íåé T-S J. / f ‘the day the servant (= I) arrived’ (C); ìöå ïà ú÷å ïî CUL Or  J/m.ff ‘from the time he arrived’ (C); øöî ïî úòìè ïà íåé ïî éì àøâ˙ àî ìàñú àì GW XXX/ ‘do not ask what happened to me from the day that I came up to Cairo’ (C/C); íåëì åìñøð äðãë˙ ïà éùìåë äðçà äãë éô T-S J. / f ‘then we will send to you anything we have taken’ (C/C). It is interesting to note the general high proportion of ‘temporal’ nouns like ú÷å ‘time’ or äòàñ ‘hour’ within the examples of relative an. These ‘temporal’ nouns and conjunctions and relatives following them are susceptible to language change, as has been shown in other languages, for instance Yiddish (see ...). Changes that become regular in later stages of a language may often first be observed in their context. What makes the examples in our Judaeo-Arabic corpus particularly instructive is the fact that with temporal nouns the original indefinite nature of tanw¯ın constructions vanishes and an seems to work like a regular grammaticalised form to introduce relative clauses. c) Indefinite nouns followed by allad¯ı ¯ Only one example has been found for this category in Judaeo-Arabic letters. This example appears in a letter that was not included in the corpus because it is from the th century. It shows a not only formally but also semantically indefinite antecedent followed by allad¯ı: àãä ïàå ¯ äáàøë úðàë éãìà äéååæ ˙â BritMuseum Gaster  / f ‘these are three corners which were desolate’ (C Palestine). d) Formally indefinite, but semantically definite nouns followed by allad¯ı ¯ Another group is formed by the formally indefinite but semantically definite antecedents that are followed by allad¯ı. In some cases, the lack ¯ nature with the hur¯uf aˇsof the article may simply be of an orthographic . ˇsams¯ıya written in assimilation, but as the latter phenomenon generally occurs only very rarely in our letters, especially in the letters from the th and th century, it is unlikely: êáàúë éô úáúë éã˙ ìà íñøá äéìò úáúë T-S . /  ‘I wrote the mark on it which you had specified in your letter’ (C Egypt); äãä ïî äöëé éãìà ïîú ïî äììàù ïà äì àäàìîà ìòì äøöìà T-S J. /  ‘perhaps I will fill it, God willing, with (the share



of) the price that belongs to him from this purse’ (C Maghreb); àðàå éù àìå úôö éìà äá éøëð éù àì àðòî àì äéô ïçð éãìà óòö ïî äæâ éô íé÷î ïàìà äììà úîçø àåñ äìéç àðì àìå äéô ááñúð

T-S ./v.f ‘right now I am staying in Gaza because of the (an?) illness which we (I) have, we (I) do not have anything go with it to Safed and nothing to sustain us (me) with and (there is) no power for us (me) except the mercy of God’ (C/C);

˙ îìà äììà÷ àî íàìë ë˙ îìà ïò ì÷ð åäðà éëà úäéâ ïî ë˙ îìà ë˙ ã àîå ìà÷ éãìà ë áúë êìàã êì T-S . / f ‘what the master mentioned concerning my brother that he brought news about the master, which the master did not tell him, which that letter told you’ (C/C). These kind of constructions have parallels in other Arabic substandard varieties. In Khuzistani Arabic, for instance, all definite head nouns of relative clauses, both those followed by the relative pronoun allad¯ı or Ãll¯ı and asyndetic ones, lose the definite article.133 This is probably ¯induced by language contact with Persian. Compare the following example from Shabibi (, ): mara ll¯ı ˇsÃfn¯aha amÃs xabarat ‘the woman we saw yesterday called’. In the case of Judaeo-Arabic, the possible ‘contact’ language, Hebrew, could not be responsible for the loss of the article as it forms its relative clauses similarly to Classical Arabic regarding definite head nouns and relative pronouns. The origin of this construction thus remains obscure.

... Free Relative Clauses Like attributive relative clauses, free relative clauses are divided into definite and indefinite clauses. They are introduced by the relative pronouns man, m¯a and allad¯ı. In Classical Arabic, the former two are used for indefinite clauses, ¯and, rarely, definite clauses.134 In the letters only allad¯ı ¯ is reserved for definite clauses, while man and m¯a introduce indefinite free relative clauses, man denoting animate subjects or objects while m¯a represents inanimate things. a) Definite free relative clauses all¯ad¯ı: íæø ä˙ úàåôìà ïî éãðò éã˙ ìàå T-S . / f ‘what I have with me is  ¯ of madder plants’ (C Egypt); äúéôåúñà ã÷ àðà äì úòôã úðë éãìàå packs 133

See Shabibi (, ). See Reckendorf (, ) who cites examples in which there is no difference in the use of m¯a and allad¯ı for indefinite free clauses. ¯ 134


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ïéîäøã éåñ äðî éì ÷áé íìå äðî T-S J. / f ‘that which I had paid him,

I demanded from him and he owes me only  dirhams’ (C Maghreb); ˙ ìà óöð äì éãìà éðáìèå T-S . / f ‘the one ìôìôìà ïî äúöç éô éòàáø ù who owned half of the  ruba#iyyas demanded from me his share of the pepper’ (C Maghreb); êìàã øéâ éù ìà÷ ïåëé íì åäðà äøåîâ äòåáùá éì óìçå ˙ îìì ì÷ð éãìà ïàå T-S . / f ìä÷ä ãåáë ìò ñç äìîò íàìëìà êìàã ë ‘he swore an absolute oath to me that he was not saying anything but that, and that the one who spread those rumours about the master—his work is “far from the honour of the community”’ (C/C). b) Indefinite free relative clauses Denoting people with man: àìëåìà ïî äàøú ïîì äòôãúå T-S ./v. ‘pay it to whom you see (fit) from the agents’ (C Egypt); äîãàë àðà ïî àé T-S NS J /  ‘oh the one whose servant I am’ (C); àäôøòé ïî àðìàñå T-S J. /  ‘we asked one who knows her’ (C); ìà÷ ïî ìúîë àìà ïàë ïàå T-S . /  ‘that it was only like the one who said …’ (C/C). Denoting inanimate things with m¯a: ïî àäìåöå éô àøð àî äì àðçøùå øëð ìà T-S J. /  ‘our explanation to him of what we see during its (i.e., the ship’s) arrival of loathsome things’ (C Maghreb); úôøòå ˙ ôú ñàðìà T-S J. / f ‘and people knew of your àäì ìöúà àîå íëìö courtesy and what had come to them’ (C); òéîâ˙ éô ãö÷ú àî êìåàðéå êìàòôà GW XXX/f ‘may he give you what you seek in all your doings’ (C/C). c) Generic quantifiers: jam¯ı# m¯a, kul m¯a, ayˇs m¯a and others In a number of examples man and m¯a follow ùéà, ìë and òéîâ. These are probably best interpreted as indefinite free relative clauses modified by ùéà, ìë and òéîâ. kul m¯a: äãðò ïàë àî òéîâ äðî úö˙ á÷å T-S J. / f ‘and I received from him everything that was with him’ (C Egypt). kul man: øàãìà éô ïî ìë úîàìñå T-S J. / f ‘and the safety of everyone in his house’ (C Egypt). jam¯ı# m¯a: éìò ãñôðé àì øñëìà äéâåú éô êúåçé êéìà á÷òé éáöìà äâåð ïà úéàøô äúìîò àî òéîâ T-S NS . / f ‘so I thought that I would send the young man Jacob to you to urge you to forward the balance so that everything that I have worked for should not be spoilt for me’ (C Egypt).



ayˇs m¯a: äá éðáúàë úòîñ àî ùàå T-S J. / f ‘write me anything that you heard’ (C); éðôøòú àøâ àî ùéàå T-S J./v. ‘let me know anything that happens!’ (C). k¯amil m¯a: àðéìò ïåëé ô˙ ìëúé àî ìîàë AIU VIIE /m.f ‘everything that remains behind shall be on us’ (C/C); àðîåìòî øàö åúçøù àî ìîàëå T-S Ar. . / f ‘everything that you explained became known to me’ (C/C).


.. Differences between th-Century Letters from the Maghreb and Egypt The th-century letters were divided up into two corpora to investigate possible differences in the epistolary writing of the two regions. The analysis brought to light a number of phenomena which illustrate the more conservative nature of Maghrebian letters in comparison with their Egyptian counterparts. In Maghrebian Arabic material this conservative nature expresses itself, for example, in the script in general, which is more conservative than the Egyptian as Khan (b) has pointed out.1 In the Judaeo-Arabic corpus, differences between Egyptian and Maghrebian letters start with the writing material itself, where vellum continued to be used in Maghrebian letters at a time when paper had completely replaced vellum in Egyptian letters. The linguistic conservatism of Maghrebian letters also manifests itself in the emulation of an older Classical Arabic writing style and Classical Arabic conventions.2 This becomes visible in letter introductions. The Maghrebian show a preference for more conservative phrases. In Muslim Arabic letters, kit¯ab¯ı starts to be regularly added to the introductory formula from the th century onwards,3 and it has caught on in th-century Egyptian letters where it is the most frequent introductory word. Most of the th-century Maghrebian letters do not

1 This concerns for example the old diacritics of f¯ a" and q¯af in Arabic script. The mediaeval Maghrebian sources show one dot under the letter for f¯a and one dot above the letter for q¯af, an old system that can for instance also be found in Egyptian papyri, while the contemporary Egyptian sources employ one dot above the letter for f¯a and two dots above the letter for q¯af as in Modern Arabic writing. 2 See the chapter on letter style, .. and .. 3 See all the works by Diem in the bibliography.


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exhibit this ‘innovation’ but instead show the older introduction at. a¯la ll¯ahu baq¯a"aka. Orthographically, the Maghrebian sources emulate Classical Arabic to a greater extent than the Egyptian documents. The use of à for Classical Arabic t¯a" marb¯ut. a, for instance, is much more common in Egyptian material than in Maghrebian letters (see ..). Similarly, alif derived from the Classical Arabic accusative -an is found only in adverbial constructions in Egypt. In Maghrebian material it appears after numerals, in place of a Classical Arabic h¯ . al accusative and other accusatives, often set hypercorrectly (see ..). Superscribed alif is written plene in Egyptian letters, but it follows Classical Arabic non-plene writing convention in the Maghreb (see ..). Morphologically, the internal passive is found more often in Maghrebian letters than in Egyptian letters (see ..b). On the syntactic level, the negations lam and m¯a for the negation of the past are distributed differently in the two corpora (see .). The phrase lam + imperfect, which is evaluated as the more ‘classical’ form, appears much more often in the Maghrebian (in   of past negations) than in the Egyptian letters ( ), while m¯a + perfect, considered less ‘classical’, is used in only   of the examples in the Maghreb but in   of examples from the Egyptian letters. The Maghrebian corpus also exhibits no examples of the tanw¯ınderived constructions, such as NOUN + an + ADJECTIVE, NOUN + an + ATTRIBUTIVE NOUN and NOUN + an + ATTRIBUTIVE CLAUSE with non-generic referent, while in the Egyptian sources these construction types are attested frequently (see .). The above described phenomena show that the Maghrebian letters are in many regards closer to Classical Arabic, partaking of a set of features which together show the conservative nature of the Maghrebian material. Yet, at the same time, there is also a stronger Jewish element in the Maghrebian letters. This shows itself in Tiberian vocalisation signs and in the use of Hebrew words and phrases, which are hardly ever used in Egyptian letters. The conservatism thus has to be seen as twofold: On the one hand, the Maghrebian letters followed writing traditions, which are reflected in a stricter adherence to Classical Arabic norms. On the other hand there seems to be a stronger religious influence on the language, which becomes visible in the Hebrew element and vocalisation.

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.. The Weakening of the Bourgeoisie: Social Changes Mirrored in the Language between th- and th-Century Genizah Letters Social changes inevitably lead to changes in language. This is even more so the case with many Jewish languages, because they are by nature sociolects, dialects defined by a certain social environment. The JudaeoArabic used in documents from the Ottoman period th and th century is fundamentally different, for instance, from the language written in mediaeval times. Even for the less initiated observer, the vocabulary, orthography and morphology are very different from mediaeval JudaeoArabic and contain many vernacular features. This is not surprising considering that these documents were written under Ottoman rule, during which the social environment was much changed from the one of mediaeval times, in which the whole society was suffused with the ideals of Classical Arabic writing. However, changes within the so-called Classical Judaeo-Arabic period are not so obvious at first glance. But even within this supposedly homogenous period, subtle differences in the use of the Arabic language can be detected. Goitein described one such phenomenon which reflects social change from the th to the th century. In the th century, the names of wives or generally women’s names do not appear in letters. When a writer wants to send greetings to a man’s spouse, he will send regards to the ahl or the bayt, ‘the people’ or ‘the house’. In the later half of the twelfth century, however, women’s names start to appear in letters. Goitein’s explanation for this phenomenon is that it is ‘one of many expressions of a social transformation caused by the generally worsening economic conditions and the subsequent weakening of the bourgeoisie, which had endeavored to keep up standards of dignified behaviour inherited from the ruling classes and the court’.4 If Goitein is right, it would be expected that the emulation of the Arabic ruling classes and the court up to the th century would have resulted in a closer adherence to the rules of Classical Arabic and to the formulaic language of the courts. The weakening of the bourgeoisie from the end of the th century onwards, on the other hand, should have led to the abandonment of Classical Arabic forms. This can, for example, be found in Muslim Arabic after the Seljuk conquests, as Fück (, ff)


Goitein (–, III ).


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has described. The Judaeo-Araic letters display a similar result, which confirms these patterns and supports Goitein’s analysis. A good example of the differences between th- and th-century letters is to be seen in the introductory formulae. The th-century material shows certain standard formulae such as kit¯ab¯ı y¯a sayyid¯ı wamawl¯aya or at. a¯la ll¯ahu baq¯a"aka at the beginning of all letters. This changes towards the end of the th century. It is the time of the Seljuk conquests, during the course of which the Turcomans (of whom the Seljuks were the most prominent family) conquered Palestine, destroyed large parts of the country and killed many of its inhabitants, followed by raids into Egypt.5 A few decades later the Crusaders arrive, bringing further turmoil to the area, and at the end of the th century the Fatimid empire is overthrown by the Ayyubids. So it is not surprising that in the th-century letters, the Classical Arabic form of introduction has been abandoned. The letter writers completely dispense with the introductory formulae but produce in many cases a somewhat more pragmatic introduction with the name of the sender (often with the attribute al-maml¯uk ‘the servant’) or the name of the addressee given at the beginning. Other letters start with a biblical or liturgical quotation. The flowery formulae in the beginning of the letters that were part of letter style in the th century have been abandoned in favour of Hebrew quotations or pragmatic introductions of the writer and addressee. Just as the introductory formula has changed, so has the dating of the letters (see .). The th-century letters use the Classical Arabic style of dating, introduced by li- with the verbs baqiya ‘remain’ and hal¯a ‘pass’. In ˘ contrast to the Muslim calendar, the units counted seem, however, to be days rather than nights. The th-century way of dating, on the other hand, is much less sophisticated, with the date indicated by ordinal numbers and/or simple numerals. In accordance with the observations made for the introductory formulae, it is obvious that the dating too is more removed from Classical Arabic in the th century than in the th-century material, which conforms closely to Classical Arabic conventions. A comparable phenomenon can be found in the use of wish-formulae such as ‘may he live to long age’ or ‘may God make his strength lasting’.


See Gil (, ff).

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While the th-century letters favour forming these constructions with the perfect, the more analytical imperfect is used widely in the thcentury letters, especially in less common phrases; the perfect survives only in standard formulae. The move away from Classical Arabic norms also becomes obvious in the much higher Hebrew content of the th- century letters (see .). This extends to basic words and phrases such as the use of ˇsalom instead of sal¯am. One of the most obvious differences in spelling when we compare th- and th-century material is the double spelling of y (see ..). While it already occurs occasionally in the earlier letters, it becomes standard in the th-century material. This was certainly influenced by the spelling conventions of post-Biblical Hebrew. Not only is geminated y spelled with double yy, but consonantal y as well. Similarly, many examples showing double spelling of w¯aw may be found. No examples of bi-imperfect can be found in the th-century letters but a number of examples show bi-imperfects in the th-century letters (see .). The question is whether the bi-imperfect was already part of the vernacular in the th century and did not appear because of the influence of Classical Arabic, or whether it actually only emerged in the th/th century. The issue is not an easy one. The very occurrence, however, of bi-imperfect forms shows that the ideal of Classical Arabic, still emulated to a certain degree in the th-century letters, held less sway over the th-century letter writers. Similarly, the th-century letters contain only demonstrative pronouns known from Classical Arabic, while the th-century material, on the other hand, contains more vernacular demonstratives, such as da (see .). Equally, the appearance of m¯a as a relative particle in the th-century letters is also an indication of intensive language change (see ...d). An interesting syntactic phenomenon can be observed in connection with the use of negation particles (see .). The classical Arabic particle lam is considered a negator characteristic of elaborate style, which does not occur in the vernacular, at least not as a regular negation particle. The form m¯a is a Classical Arabic form as much as lam but in contrast to lam it is part of the vernacular language as well. In other words, whilst both lam + imperfect and m¯a + perfect can be used in Classical Arabic, in the vernacular, only m¯a + perfect is acceptable. This has led to the evaluation of the negation as a ‘less Classical’ form. This can for instance be seen in the Modern Standard Arabic used in newspapers, where m¯a, though


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undoubtedly Classical Arabic, is hardly used.6 In the letters, the move away from the Classical Arabic norm can be observed in the use of the two negative particles for negations of the past. In Maghrebian letters, which are more conservative than the Egyptian letters in many regards, lam is used in almost over   of examples and m¯a only in  . In the Egyptian letters from the th century, lam ( ) and m¯a ( ) are used in roughly similar numbers, although lam is nevertheless used more frequently. In the th-century letters, lam is only used in  , while the majority of examples use m¯a ( ). Goitein has observed that the appearance of women’s names in letters in the late th/th century, which started this investigation, was not restricted to the Jewish part of the population; this is supported linguistically by evidence relating to the use of negation from Muslim letters. A look at the use of negations in th- and th-century Muslim Arabic letters published by Diem7 shows that lam was less used than m¯a in private letters compared with business letters—a sign of the prestige of lam and its evaluation as ‘good style’. In the th-century letters, however, lam appears only in very few examples, even in business letters. This shows that as is the case with the Jewish letters, the Arabic in Muslim letters had moved away from what were considered the norms of Classical Arabic. In addition to the change in the frequency of use between the negation m¯a and lam, we also find change in the negations with lam itself. In Classical Arabic, lam can only be used with the imperfect and always expresses a past action. This rule is obeyed in the th-century letters. In the th-century letters, however, examples of lam + imperfect are used to express present action. There are even cases in which lam is constructed with the perfect. This is impossible in Classical Arabic but such forms commence to appear more frequently in the th-century material and become the norm in Late Judaeo-Arabic letters. The findings can be summarized as follows. The letters from the th and th centuries differ in many points. The formulae of letter introduction and the dating system used in the th-century letters are similar to Classical Arabic forms, while the th-century letters construct both introduction and date in much simpler, more pragmatic ways. The thcentury letters also have a higher Hebrew content, and exhibit orthographical, morphological and syntactical features that differ from the th-century material, which follows the Classical Arabic norms more 6 7

See Wehr (, ). Similarly, Holes (, ). Diem () and (a).

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closely. This supports the observations made by Goitein concerning the social changes that took place between the th and the th centuries. In the th century, the social elite of the country upheld the conventions of Classical Arabic as a part of their cultural heritage. To a certain degree, this also permeated the Jewish part of society. The weakening of the bourgeoisie and the general economic impoverishment of the Egypt towards the th century led to the abandoning of Classical ideals in the Muslim part of the population, which then also spread to Jewish writing.

.. Vernacular and (Pseudo-) Classical Arabic Forms in the th/th-Century Letters The later letters from the th/th century show a break from Classical Judaeo-Arabic norms. This is most obvious in the ‘hebraized’ orthographical norms, which are partly reminiscent of orthographic conventions of the th-century letters, and in the lexicon, which takes in many elements from the vernacular language, such as the relative pronoun illi (see .), and a t-infix between numeral and counted (see .). There are, however, certain conservative, i.e., ‘Classical Arabic’, features that reappear in stark contrast to the vernacular elements of the letters, and have to be evaluated as markers of letter language. Many of these phenomena are hypercorrect according to the rules of Classical Arabic, but have become grammaticalised within the language of substandard Judaeo-Arabic writing of the th and th centuries. One of these elements is lam, which is originally a negation particle used in Classical Arabic for the negation of the past. In later JudaeoArabic, it loses its syntactical constrictions, broadens its functions and is finally used as a universal negation particle expressing even nominal negation (see .). Another conservative feature is the spelling of the article al- in nouns with initial sun letters, which may be due to the normative influence of literary Late Judaeo-Arabic where the article is retained, see Hary (, ). To a certain extent this also concerns the demonstratives, as di d¯alika occurs beside regularly used di (see .). Probably the addition of ¯d¯alika was used to elevate the construction into a more Classical form. ¯ Similarly, éãìà has been maintained as relative pronoun in written Late Judaeo-Arabic, although only the form and not the pronunciation are identical with Classical Arabic. The pronunciation could be similar to


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that of the pseudo-archaic form Ãldi/aldi that occurs in the written Arabic koine of the Arabic-speaking Jewish communities. This form also appears in the th/th-century vocalised letter published by Blau and Hopkins (). In the vocalized Late Egyptian text T-S Ar. ., however, it is vocalized as éãìà illadi, which may be an artificial literary form or reflect the Egyptian reading tradition. The pronunciation Ãldi may be characteristic of Late Maghrebian Judaeo-Arabic. It is not only Classical and pseudo-Classical Arabic features that are specifically used in the Late Judaeo-Arabic epistolary language. Revived phenomena known from the Classical Judaeo-Arabic period may also be found, for example the relative particle an in NOUN + an + ATTRIBUTIVE ADJECTIVE constructions that are derived from the Classical Arabic tanw¯ın construction (see .). This relative particle an is a feature of substandard writing and appears in letters from the th century, in particular in those of Egyptian origin. It then reappears in the th/thcentury corpus. To sum up, the letters are written in Hebraized orthography with many vernacular elements but also show older, partly Classical Arabic conventions. There is a great deal of variability between the letters, and a few phenomena appear to be exclusive to the epistolary register.

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INDEX abbreviations, – Abraham Gabriel,  Abraham b. Joseph,  Abraham b. Solomon,  ab¯u, – ˙ al,  Ab¯u l-Barak¯at, uncle of Sitt Gaz¯ Ab¯u l-Barak¯at b. al-#At.t.a¯r,  Ab¯u l-Barak¯at al-Har¯ . ır¯ı,  Ab¯u l-Faraj, – Ab¯u l-Fadl, . brother-in-law of Elijah the judge,  Ab¯u l-Hayr b. #Aw¯ad. b. Hananel, , .  ˘ Ab¯u l-Majd,  Ab¯u l-Rab¯ı#,  Ab¯u l-Tan¯a,  ¯ ı b. Elijah,  Ab¯u Zikr¯ actuality,  #Af¯ıf b. Ezra,  ald¯ı/äld¯ı, ,  alif, – alif for CA alif maqs. u¯ ra spelt with y¯a", –, – y¯a" for CA alif maqs. u¯ ra spelt with alif, , – alif for CA t¯a" marb¯ut. a, –, –,  for accusative, –, ,  t¯a" marb¯ut. a for CA alif maqs. u¯ ra spelt with y¯a", –, – t¯a" marb¯ut. a for CA alif, –, – otiose alif, , – superscribed,  allad¯ı, –, –,  ¯ an (tanw¯ ın-derived), –, , –, ,  arsala, ,  article, –,  assimilation, 

#Aw¯ad. b. Hananel,  . ayˇs,  ayˇs m¯a, – #Ayy¯aˇs b. Nissim,  Ayyubids,  Barh¯un b. Isaac Tahert¯ı,  basmala, –, , – bass,  Bedouin dialects,  Benayah b. Moses, , ,  Benjamin,  biblical quotations,  bi-imperfect, , –,  bil- without alif, – cardinal numbers (definite), –  cardinal numbers (indefinite), –   and , – –, – –, – –, – even hundred and thousands, – cases, – Christian Arabic, – consonants, – continuative actions,  continuglossia,  d, . –,  da, ,  d¯a/d¯a,  ¯d¯aka, – ¯d¯alika, – ¯d¯ama,  ˇ ama,  Daniel b. al-S¯ dating, –, –



Da"¯ud b. Judah,  Da"¯ud (muqaddam of Bilbays),  Da"¯ud (Qaly¯ub),  David Kohen,  David b. Na#¯ım,  demonstratives, – word order, – devoicing, d for t, ,  di, – dichotomy, – di d¯alika,  ¯ diglossia,  d¯ık,  dol, – double spelling, –,  dual, 

Ãldi, ,  Elijah the judge, – elision of glottal stop, – Ephraim b. Ism¯a#¯ıl al-Jawhar¯ı,  Ephraim b. Shemariah,  fall¯ah, ,  Faraj, the freed slave of Barh¯un,  Fatimids, ,  f¯ı + article,  gender polarity, –, –, ,  gender agreement, ,  general denial,  general fact,  general trends, – generic, nouns, – quantifiers, – subject,  glottal stop, – h for h, .  h¯a", for CA alif, –, – for CA alif maqs. u¯ ra spelt with y¯a", –, – habituality, –, –

h¯ad¯a, –, – ¯ h¯ . aga,  halbatt,  Hall¯uf b. Zechariah,  ˘ Hananel the judge,  . ˙ al,  H¯ar¯un b. Joseph al-Gazz¯ h¯a"ul¯a"i,  Hayyim,  . ˇ h. Qas. ¯ıd Ab¯ı Hazz al-Quh¯ . uf f¯ı Sar ˇad¯uf, , ,  S¯ Hebrew content, – Hebrew words (spelling of),  homogeneity,  Ibr¯ah¯ım b. Farr¯ah, .  idn¯an¯ır,  idr¯ah¯ım,  illadi, ,  illi, , ,  im¯ala,  inchoative, –,  individual actions,  interchangeability of u and i, –  internal passive, – introductory formulae, – Isaac b. Barh¯un Tahert¯ı,  Ism¯a#¯ıl b. Barh¯un Tahert¯ı, – j¯a"a + bi,  Jacob b. Salman al-Har¯ . ır¯ı, ,  Jacob Yu#bas. ,  jam¯ı# m¯a, – Joseph b. #Awkal, , – Joseph b. Berehyah, – Joseph b. Jacob˘ ha-Kohen,  Joseph b. M¯us¯a Tahert¯ı,  Joseph b. Nad¯ıv the cantor,  Joseph b. Yeˇsu#ah,  Joseph Yu#bas. ,  Judah #Amm¯an¯ı,  Judah b. Joseph,  Judah b. Joseph b. Simha, .  k¯ana bi-yaf#al,  kit¯ab¯ı, –,  kul m¯a, –

index l¯a, –, , – lam, –, , – langue,  laysa, , –, , – lexicon, – li- (introducing date), –,  ligatures, – lil- with alif,  li-yaf#al,  long vowels, – m¯a, negative particle, –, – , , – relative pronoun, –, ,  Maghrebian Arabic,  Maghrebian features, –, , – in Egyptian,  mahd¯um, ,  ˘ uk, ,  maml¯ Mamluks, – al-maml¯uk yuqabbil al-ard, .  man, relative,  Me#ir b. Na#¯ım,  Mercado Hayyim Abraham ha-Levi,  . Mercado Karo y Frances,  Middle Arabic, – Moses Bibas,  al-Mu"ayyad,  multiglossia,  M¯us¯a, nephew of the judge Elijah,  M¯us¯a b. Ab¯ı l-Hayy Hal¯ıla,  . ˘ ı, – M¯us¯a b. Barh¯un Tahert¯ M¯us¯a b. Is. h¯ . aq b. Hisd¯ . a,  M¯us¯a b. Yahy¯ . a al-Majj¯an¯ı,  M¯us¯a Tahert¯ı,  n-stem (passive), – Nahum b. Joseph al-Bard¯an¯ı,  ˘ da, ,  nafa ¯ay b. Nissim, , – Nahr¯ Nathan ha-Kohen (nagid),  negation, – in Classical Arabic, –


nominal,  of past action, – of present action, – negative wish, ,  Nissim b. Berehyah, – ˘ ,  Nissim b. Halfon, . Nissim b. Isaac Tahert¯ı,  number signs, –, – numerals, –, – Classical Arabic, –, –  compound, –,  definite, – feminine. See long form indefinite, – long form,  masculine. See short form Modern Egyptian Arabic, –  short form,  value and measurement, – omission of l¯am, – optative, – otiose alif, , – Ottomans, – oxytone stress,  paper,  parchment,  parole,  participle, – passive, – internal, –,  performative,  periodization, of Judaeo-Arabic, – Pre-Islamic Judaeo-Arabic,  present progressive, , –  prohibitive, , – pronouns, – demonstrative, –, – independent, – personal, – relative,  suffixed, –



q¯ala + li-,  Rachel of Byzantium,  Raham¯ . ım b. #Imr¯an,  reading tradition, ,  reflexive (passive), – relative clauses, – asyndetic, –, , – ,  attributival, –, – free, – non-restrictive, ,  restrictive, –,  religiolect, –, , , ,  resultative, – ˇs for j, –,  ˇs for s, ,  -ˇs (negation particle), , – s. a¯ba,  Sahl Tustar¯ı,  sal¯am,  Sali . h. b. Barh¯un Tahert¯ı,  ˇsalom,  Samuel,  Samuel b. Hofn¯ ı,  . sayyara, ,  Sedaqah b. #Ayy¯aˇs,  . separation of words, – shewa,  short vowels, – Simeon Frances,  Simha . Kohen (son-in-law of Elijah the judge),  ˙ al, daughter of Ab¯u l-Faraj, Sitt Gaz¯  social changes, – sociolects, –,  Solomon b. Elijah, – Solomon Hayyim Abraham Chizana, .  Spanish Jews (influence of),  specification,  spelling of Hebrew words,  spoken languages, – subordination, – superscribed alif, –

t¯a" marb¯ut. a, in construct state,  tafh¯ım, ˘s for s, –,  . s. for z, – d. for d, ,  t. for t,  z. for d,  Tahert¯ı ¯family, ,  Tanw¯ın, –, , –,  Ta"r¯ıh al-Mustabs. ir, – tarq¯ı˘q, d for d, .  d for z. , – d for d, . ,  ¯s for s, –,  . ‘temporal’ nouns, – t-infix (numerals), – Tuviah Ab¯u Mans. u¯ r,  . Umm Da"¯ud,  Umm Halaf,  ˘ a#¯ıl,  Umm Ism¯ Umm Mak¯ın,  -¯un/-¯una,  union of words,  utility prose, – verb, – agentive,  conjugation, – continuative,  geminate,  habitual, –, – hamza in root, – inchoative,  interval,  moods,  momentaneous,  non-inchoative,  non-stative,  non-telic,  passive, – stative,  stems,  telic,  vocalisation, –

index w¯aw as first radical,  weak third radical, – vocalisation, –, –, –  voicing, d. (ö˙ ) for t. ,  t for d, ,  vowels, – im¯ala,  long a¯, – long e¯,  long ¯ı, – long u¯ , – short a, –

 short i, –,  short u, –,  superscribed alif, –

weak verbs, – (see also under verb) writing systems, ,  written languages, – Yeˇsu#ah b. Ism¯a#¯ıl al-Mahm¯ur¯ı, – ˘  Yiddish, –, ,  z. , –, 

CLASSMARKS AIU VIIE , , , –, , , , , , , , , , ,  AIU VIIE , , , , , –, –, , , , , , , , , ,  AIU VIIE , , , –, , , , , , –, , , , , , , fn, , , , , 

CUL Or .., , , –, , , , , , , , , , ,  CUL Or .., , , , ,  CUL Or .., ,  CUL Or .., , fn, fn, –

Bod MS Heb d ., , , , , , ,  Bod MS Heb d ., , , , , , , , , , , , ,  Bod MS Heb d ., , , fn, fn, , , fn Bod MS Heb e ., , , , , , , , , , , ,  BritMuseum Gaster , –, 

GW VIII, , , , , , , , , , , –,  GW XXVIII, , , , , , , –, –, , , fn, , , , ,  GW XXX, , , , , , , , , , , , , , –, – , , –, , fn, , , , , , –, , , , , , 

CUL Or  J, , , , , , , ,  CUL Or  J, , , , , , , , ,  CUL Or  J, , fn, , fn, ,  CUL Or  J, , , ,  CUL Or  J, , , ,  CUL Or  J, , , , , , , , , ,  CUL Or  J, , , , – , , , , , –, , , ,  CUL Or  J,  CUL Or  J, , , , , , , –, , , , ,  CUL Or  J, , , , , 

Mosseri Ia.,  Mosseri IV.., , , , , , , , –, , 

Dropsie , –, –, , , 

PER H , , , ,  P. Berol , , , fn P. Mich. Inv.  Recto, , ,  Qiryat Sefer  (), p. –,  T-S *, , , , ,  T-S ., , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  T-S ., , , , , , , , , , , , ,  T-S ., , , , , 



T-S ., , , –, , , , ,  T-S ., , , , fn, , –, , , , , , , , –, , , , ,  T-S ., , , , , , –, , , , , ,  T-S ., fn T-S ., , , , –, , , , , ,  T-S ., , , ,  T-S ., , , –, –, , , , –, , , , , , , , , , , , , , – T-S ., , , , , , , ,  T-S ., , , , –, , , –, , –,  T-S ., , , , ,  T-S ., , , , , , , , , , ,  T-S ., , , –, –, , ,  T-S ., , , , , fn, fn T-S ., , , , , , , , , , –, ,  T-S ., , , ,  T-S .,  T-S ., , , , , –, , , fn, ,  T-S ., , –, , , ,  T-S ., , –, –, , , , –fn, , , , , – , , –, , , , , , –, , ,  T-S ., , , –, , , , fn, , , , , , , , fn, , –, , – , –, , , –,  T-S ., fn, ,  T-S ., , , , , , –, , , , –, – T-S ., , , , , , 

T-S ., , , fn, , , , , , , , , – , ,  T-S ., , , –, , , , , , – T-S ., , , , , , –, , , , , , , , , , , –,  T-S ., ,  T-S ., fn T-S J.,  T-S J.,  T-S J., , ,  T-S J., , , –, , , fn,  T-S J., , , , , , – , , , –, , , , , , ,  T-S J., , , , –, , –, , , , , , ,  T-S J., ,  T-S J., , ,  T-S J., , , , , –, , , , , , ,  T-S J., , –, , , – , , –,  T-S J., , , ,  T-S J., , , , , fn T-S J., , , , , , , ,  T-S J., , , , , ,  T-S J.,  T-S J., , , , , , , , , , , , , , , –  T-S J., , , , , , ,  T-S J., , , , ,  T-S J., , , , , , , –, , , , ,  T-S J., , , ,  T-S J., , , , , , – T-S J., , –, , , , fn, , , ,  T-S J., 

classmarks T-S J., , fn, , , , , , ,  T-S J.,  T-S J., , , , , , , , , , – T-S J., , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  T-S J., , , –, , ,  T-S J., , , , , , , –, ,  T-S J., , , , , , ,  T-S J., , , , , ,  T-S J., , , , , ,  T-S J., , , , , ,  T-S J., , , , , –, , , , , , , , , ,  T-S J., , , ,  T-S J., , , , , ,  T-S J., , , , , , , , , –, , – fn T-S J., , , , , –, , , –, , , , , , , –, , ,  T-S J., , , , –, , –, , , , , , – , , fn, , –,  T-S J., , , , , , , , , , , –, , , , , , –, , , –, , , , –, , , –,  T-S J., , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  T-S J., , , , , ,  T-S J., ,  T-S J., , –, –, – , , , , , , –, , –, , – T-S J., , , , , , , , , , , , , , –


, , , , , –,  T-S J., , , , , , ,  T-S J., , , ,  T-S J., ,  T-S J., , , , ,  T-S J., , , ,  T-S J., , , , –, , , , , ,  T-S J., , , , , , ,  T-S J., , , –, , , , , , –, –, , ,  T-S J., , , –, –, , fn, , , , , , – T-S J., , , ,  T-S J., , , , , ,  T-S J., , –, , , – , , , –, , –, , , , , , , , , , , –, –, , , , , –, , , , , , ,  T-S J., , , , , , , , ,  T-S J., , , , , , , , –, –, ,  T-S J., , , , ,  T-S J., , , , , , , , , , , , ,  T-S J., , , , , , , , , , , , , , , – , –, ,  T-S J., , –, , , – , , ,  T-S J., , , , , ,  T-S Ar. ()., , , ,  T-S Ar. ., , , , , –, , , ,  T-S Ar. ., ,  T-S AS ., , , –, –, , , , , , , –



T-S AS ., , –, , – , –, , , , , , –, , , , , , , –, , , , –  T-S K ., , , –,  T-S Misc ., , , , , , ,  T-S Misc ., , , , , ,  T-S Misc .,  T-S NS ., , , , –, , , –, –, –, , , , , , –, , , , , , , , , , – , , , , , , , –, –, , 

T-S NS ., , –, , –, , , , , , , ,  T-S NS ., , , , –, , , , , , , , , , , –, , , , , , , , ,  T-S NS ., , , ,  T-S NS J, , , ,  T-S NS J, , , ,  T-S NS J, , , , ,  T-S NS J, ,  T-S NS J, , , , , –, , , , , , ,  Vienna H,  Vienna H Verso,  Vienna H,  Vienna Inv. Ar. Pap. , 


Figure . T-S J.. A very typical Egyptian th-century letter, in the common cursive hand used for epistolary Judaeo-Arabic, with both the top and side margins entirely filled with text ( ce).



Figure . T-S Misc. .. An Egyptian letter from around the year  ce.


Figure . CUL Or  J. An Egyptian letter from about  ce.




Figure . T-S .. A Maghrebian letter written on parchment (dated February ).


Figure . T-S .. A Maghrebian letter written on parchment from around the year .




Figure . T-S J.. A Maghrebian letter from around  with the early introduction formula at. a¯la ll¯ahu baq¯aka.


Figure . CUL Or  J. A letter from the early th century, with the typical formula indicating the sender in the left hand top corner.




Figure . T-S .. A typical th century letter, with the common formula indicating the sender (maml¯ukuh Ab¯u l-Faraj) and no marginal writing.


Figure  (continued).




Figure . T-S J.. A letter from the early th century, commencing with a Biblical quotation ( Kings :), followed by the sender introduced by both Hebrew and Judaeo-Arabic formulae, without marginal writing.


Figure . T-S J.. A letter from the early th century, with the typical formula indicating the sender in the left hand top corner.




Figure . T-S .. A letter from the end of the th century.


Figure . T-S J.. A letter originating from the second half of the th century.




Figure . T-S J.. A Late Judaeo-Arabic letter written in three columns, which is only found in letters from the th and th centuries, and the standard Late Judaeo-Arabic introductory formulae and signature by the sender (dated ).


Figure . T-S NS .. A typical th/th-century letter, with the standard Late Judaeo-Arabic introductory formulae and signature by the sender (dated ).




Figure . CUL Or ... A short letter from the year .


Figure . T-S NS .. A typical th/th-century letter, with the standard Late Judaeo-Arabic introductory formulae and signature by the sender (dated ).




Figure . CUL Or ... A short letter from the year .