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Author Topic: A Proposed Theory on Absolute, Construct, and Pronomial  (Read 4477 times)

16 January , 2015, 12:06:13 am
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Offline Anaksunamun

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A Proposed Theory on Absolute, Construct, and Pronomial
« on: 16 January , 2015, 12:06:13 am »
While doing some research, I noticed an interesting observation:

It appears that when combining two or more words together a sound shift occurs thus we have the various types of word types (namely absolute, Construct and Pronomial).
What I never understood was how this was not focused on in a majority of the grammars!?

It appears most, if not all words had more than one pronunciation, but in actuality you're dealing with "one basic form" and two or more abridged versions when used in compound form.

I read here:

http://www.mega.nu/protolanguage/essay-sDm.f.htm
That originally Egyptian had only the vowel "a" and other vowels came into being based upon the consonants surrounding them.

So taking thisinto cconsideration, could it be that the original "absolute" form of all words had only an "a" and other vowels are secondary, for example, take the Egyptian term:

nfr mn - stable beauty..
nafar man (absolute forms when used "individually")
When in contact with one another we have: nafarman
Now we have to take into consideration stressed and unstressed position where vowels changed:
náfirmin = náfir pronounced colloquially was núf(i)r (masc) or núfe
Adding 'núfe' and 'min' would cause a stress change, which could give different spellings:
núfmin, nafémin, ect... But all while the original spelling is always 'nafar" and "man".

As confusing as it sounds, in actuality it isn't.
Take for example Standard Arabic which has a "universal spelling" and a "dialect/colloquial"  version.

I think if there was a way of attempting some sort of template in Coptic, an understanding of the Egyptian language as a whole right down to the hieroglyphics might be more comprehensive.

Any thoughts? Or maybe I'm not understanding something.

22 January , 2015, 06:42:40 am
Reply #1

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Re: A Proposed Theory on Absolute, Construct, and Pronomial
« Reply #1 on: 22 January , 2015, 06:42:40 am »
I've read the article you linked to.
The writer is giving his opinion as facts without providing any proves.

Quote
There is ABSOLUTELY no credible evidence for reconstructing U-I-A as components of Egyptian verbal forms; it is rather a speculative (Platonic) attempt to connect Egyptian morphology with the Semitic nominal pattern: nominative -u; genitive -i; accusative -a [which "must" be there somewhere!!!]. In addition, he postulates a doubling of the medial consonant for an emphatic form, patterned on the Semitic kat-taba, for which not a shred of evidence exists in Egyptian either.

Yes he is right, but neither there is any evidence for his theory

Quote
Unfortunately, Egyptian did not indicate tense but only whether an action was concomitant, i.e. occurring at the same time, or non-concomitant, occurring in either the future or the past. The earliest mark of non-concomitance was prefixing i-, which I interpret as an adverbial element meaning "*then", either past or future (analogous with IE e-).

I don't have enough knowledge of Middle Kingdom Egyptian to judge this quote but I can say Late Egyptian (Coptic) has so many tenses

22 January , 2015, 02:28:51 pm
Reply #2

Offline Anaksunamun

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Re: A Proposed Theory on Absolute, Construct, and Pronomial
« Reply #2 on: 22 January , 2015, 02:28:51 pm »
I've read the article you linked to.
The writer is giving his opinion as facts without providing any proves.

Quote
There is ABSOLUTELY no credible evidence for reconstructing U-I-A as components of Egyptian verbal forms; it is rather a speculative (Platonic) attempt to connect Egyptian morphology with the Semitic nominal pattern: nominative -u; genitive -i; accusative -a [which "must" be there somewhere!!!]. In addition, he postulates a doubling of the medial consonant for an emphatic form, patterned on the Semitic kat-taba, for which not a shred of evidence exists in Egyptian either.

Yes he is right, but neither there is any evidence for his theory

Quote
Unfortunately, Egyptian did not indicate tense but only whether an action was concomitant, i.e. occurring at the same time, or non-concomitant, occurring in either the future or the past. The earliest mark of non-concomitance was prefixing i-, which I interpret as an adverbial element meaning "*then", either past or future (analogous with IE e-).

I don't have enough knowledge of Middle Kingdom Egyptian to judge this quote but I can say Late Egyptian (Coptic) has so many tenses



You are (unfortunately) completely correct! He failed to show how he came up with his conclusion. I thank you for your input, as it helps me to get different perspectives. Even though I wish you were wrong hahaha  :P

I can say, he has a few other research where he shows working backwards from Coptic vowels without using the Semitic-biased vowels, it seems to be legit except I personally can't figure out, using his theory, why there would be Coptic 'H' (ee, ay or ah sound), if you remember that was our first 'debate' hahaha and I never got over how frustrating of a letter this Coptic 'H' is because it's history is obscure no matter what perspective is used.

In relation to middle Egyptian grammar, there were no tenses of past, present or future... They simply had perfective vs imperfective aspects and passive vs active (though this is still refuted in a few grammatical nuances). There were only 4 main participles (of which the suffix conjugation utilizes), the infinitive, and the imperative which may have all had synthetic/inflected forms. The relative forms, the infinitival compliment, the stative, and some others used one of the previous forms.

Coptic composes verbs using the original infinitive and the original stative (which became Coptic qualitative). And the tenses in Coptic are analytical and uses auxiliary verbs.
It appears, to me, as time progressed they needed a way of expressing tense (present, past and future) by other methods which resulted in a completely different verb paradigm from Arabic, Hebrew and other Afroasiatic languages. The Egyptologists believe middle Egyptian was synthetic (the way Arabic works with internal vowel switching) and Coptic is not. I don't know if I truly believe this as it doesn't make sense. But that's a whole other subject.
« Last Edit: 22 January , 2015, 02:48:01 pm by Anaksunamun »

22 January , 2015, 05:45:12 pm
Reply #3

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Re: A Proposed Theory on Absolute, Construct, and Pronomial
« Reply #3 on: 22 January , 2015, 05:45:12 pm »
Coptic is just a writing system and not a different language in itself but, you already know that.
If at some point there are so few tenses in the language and in another there are so many, then there must've been a point in the middle when the new tenses started to appear and evolve.

Most people Study Middle Kingdom Egyptian which is couple of thousand years older than Coptic.
Wonder how did the language evolved in late kingdom or in the eras that followed.

29 January , 2015, 03:51:37 pm
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Offline Anaksunamun

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Re: A Proposed Theory on Absolute, Construct, and Pronomial
« Reply #4 on: 29 January , 2015, 03:51:37 pm »
You're totally correct. It's the same language just different names based upon a difference in writing and spelling. There seems to be a huge instability in the vowels in Coptic, this makes it very difficult to work backwards in an attempt to recreate what the vowels may have been in the earlier stages. It's only unique to Egyptian because all other languages I've studied do not come close to the instability. The closest language which you might consider this phenomenon is English, if you compare earlier English to Modern English there is a huge difference in words, spellings and usage which you do not find in languages like Arabic, Chinese, Latin, Russian, ect. where the instability is slightly different.

Take for instance the cuneiform translations of Egyptian names and compare them to Coptic:

Napkororia/Napkururia - nfr kpr ra - Coptic nufr and Re [notice u or o and  a = u before nasal consonants]
Nimmuaria/Nibmuaria - nb maat ra - Coptic nib/nim [notice the b = m]
Riamesesa -  Ra ms(y) - Coptic Re mise

The Akkadian transcriptions represent Late Kingdom spellings at around the time of Nefertiti and Ramses.

There are vowel inconsistencies even before recorded Coptic. It's frustrating. And if you notice these names consist of words placed together as one word. Which is why I believe that maybe individually they had a stable pronunciation but when used together the vowels changed according to the Coptic absolute vs construct vs Pronomial. The stress changed and caused vowels to change into a different vowel.

So it is my belief that the Akkadian spellings represent the exact "idea" of Coptic colloquial construct and Pronomial forms because the scribes used Greek letters to render the spellings of Egyptian words the same way Akkadians used cuneiform to render Egyptian names. Individually used there probably was a simpler form based on Coptic absolute forms which most likely also existed in earlier stages of the language.

Why the scribes continued to write without vowels for so long remains such a mystery to me when around that time all the other civilizations had better forms of representing spellings. Even Arabic and Hebrew came up with vowel inventories early on.
« Last Edit: 29 January , 2015, 04:52:40 pm by Anaksunamun »

30 January , 2015, 06:36:45 pm
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Re: A Proposed Theory on Absolute, Construct, and Pronomial
« Reply #5 on: 30 January , 2015, 06:36:45 pm »
You assume the Akkadian transcription of Egyptian language is accurate enough to rely on for studying pronunciation, I once again would like to disagree with that assumption.


Now the problem with hieroglyphics is that it was believed to be language of gods (Egyptian gods) and not an invented language. being part of the religion placed lot of restrictions on its development especially dramatic development like adding vowels.

Since  hieroglyphics was being used all across Egypt and all had to read and understand it. - I think - that made constants of each word remain standard across the whole country while vowels started to gradually change on the course of thousands of years from one region to another.


Also until 600 AC - at the rise of Islam - Arabic vowels were not always written and even worse there was only one letter that's pronounced (b, t, th),  one letter for (g, 7, kh), one for (d, z), one for (y, n)
dots came latter to differentiate between different letter pronounciations
and long time after that came the signs you place under and above each letter to indicate the vowel that follows - which remains widely UNUSED until now -
« Last Edit: 30 January , 2015, 06:39:10 pm by Admin »

31 January , 2015, 02:00:15 am
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Offline Anaksunamun

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Re: A Proposed Theory on Absolute, Construct, and Pronomial
« Reply #6 on: 31 January , 2015, 02:00:15 am »
The Akkadian renditions are not going to be 100% accurate but if you have some knowledge of Coptic and hieroglyphs, you can definitely compare to see the resemblances and differences in cuneiform which would be more accurate.

And Arabic is such a beautiful language! As I learned hieroglyphs and Coptic I've indirectly learned Arabic. And trust me, I know about Arabic not indicating vowels, it becomes very difficult for non-Arabic speakers to learn how to read, it's not the foreign alphabet that is the issue but only writing half the word which takes time to comprehend. Arabic is also associated with the Qaran which doesn't allow too much variations and changes to the script because it's sacred, so I understand where you're coming from the scribes not adding vowels to the hieroglyphs.

P.S.

If anyone is interested in learning more about Patrick C. Ryan's reconstructions of the vowels, here's some more information added on with what I mentioned in the very beginning of this thread/post. It is actually quite interesting and I would love to hear the administrator's opinion on this  ;)  :^^^

Note: there are three pages, it's rather hard to notice if you're not looking for it but the 'continue' button is in neon green on the bottom of the page.

http://www.mega.nu/protolanguage/Coptic_Vocalism_One.htm


« Last Edit: 31 January , 2015, 03:14:19 am by Anaksunamun »

31 January , 2015, 12:35:43 pm
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Re: A Proposed Theory on Absolute, Construct, and Pronomial
« Reply #7 on: 31 January , 2015, 12:35:43 pm »
I will have to admit my education is not so good to understand his article or the way he is proving his point

31 January , 2015, 03:11:32 pm
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Offline Anaksunamun

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Re: A Proposed Theory on Absolute, Construct, and Pronomial
« Reply #8 on: 31 January , 2015, 03:11:32 pm »
Yes!! Don't you hate how linguistics complicate their research. I've had to read and re-read everything I read over and over again to understand what the hell they're talking about! I've read this many times and I'll explain it as best I can if anyone is interested to know. I love reading these things and anyone who can share my love is more than welcome to converse.

Patrick C. Ryan's research on Egyptian is primarily from a mixture between comparative linguistics as well deconstructing Coptic.

Anyways, his basic theory, as I mentioned before, is that originally Egyptian had only the vowel "a" followed by every constant, so for example: nfr = nafara. (The unaccented 'a' at the end was eventually dropped = nafar).

If there was a j/y or w in the word it most likely created a different vowel by merging the two sounds into one depending on where the stress was located in the word. Also he claims that this can be seen not only in Coptic but in the hieroglyphics when the biliteral signs were used. He uses these examples to prove his theory:

pt (Egyptian hieroglyphs: sky) = pjt =pajata => this word uses a biliteral sign in hieroglyphs,
so there's an unwritten 'j' in hieroglyphs.

Stress is in the first syllable: 'pa-ja-ta, 

The vowel after j gets dropped:  pajta.

 (Feminine ending was reduced to - t  and eventually t was dropped) = paj.

Paj = is then reduced to Coptic 'PE'.

(He also uses Arabic 'bayt' as an example of a similar situation in Arabic, where he claims the two words come from the same origin).

There's many other words which follow this pattern, but where the stress was located determined different vowels. He has a table on the third page of the link I provided on the 2nd post above.

It is quite impressive how it does make sense, much better than other theories I've researched.

01 February , 2015, 09:41:01 am
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Re: A Proposed Theory on Absolute, Construct, and Pronomial
« Reply #9 on: 01 February , 2015, 09:41:01 am »
so in a very simple way:
He says since that ancient Egyptian word is similar in meaning and constants to a another word in a relative language(s) then vowels must've been similar too.
From there I could prove there are some of Egyptian words had "a" following each constant.
Based on that and since I could provide couple of words then all words must have been the same.

That's how I understood it, maybe you could correct me.
--------------------------------- 

I like the very simple explanation that says vowels were never standard across Egypt and so there is no point trying to guess what the vowels were for a specific word.
That simple theory is backed by Coptic writing - where vowels could finally be written -
Its also backed by the fact that even older Egyptian language had dialects as well
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_language#Dialects



03 February , 2015, 09:02:43 am
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Offline Anaksunamun

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Re: A Proposed Theory on Absolute, Construct, and Pronomial
« Reply #10 on: 03 February , 2015, 09:02:43 am »
so in a very simple way:
He says since that ancient Egyptian word is similar in meaning and constants to a another word in a relative language(s) then vowels must've been similar too.
From there I could prove there are some of Egyptian words had "a" following each constant.
Based on that and since I could provide couple of words then all words must have been the same.

That's how I understood it, maybe you could correct me.
---------------------------------  

I like the very simple explanation that says vowels were never standard across Egypt and so there is no point trying to guess what the vowels were for a specific word.
That simple theory is backed by Coptic writing - where vowels could finally be written -
Its also backed by the fact that even older Egyptian language had dialects as well
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_language#Dialects




He didn't base his findings on  one example, he used Arabic 'bayt' as an example to prove his theory.

His theory makes a lot of sense, except in one major realm;

There are different verb forms, and the two major verb forms in Coptic where I feel show the most irregularities is Qualitative and the adjectives, there is a Coptic 'H' in these forms which disproves his theory that vowels did not change their quality through verb forms. I feel Coptic Qualitative is a catch-for-all for forms that the original studiers of the language could not find their origin. Coptic Qualitative, in some types of verbs, show different forms which may result from an original adjective (Note: there is no true Egyptian adjective, adjectives are verb forms, the only true Egyptian adjective is NIB =every, all other true Coptic adjectives originate from Greek or other languages). Take for example the verb:

Kmom - to be black (Egyptian hieroglyphics: km(m))
Qualitative: KHM

If you notice there are different forms using the 'H'
KHME - Egypt
KMHME - darkness

Then you have:

KAME - adj. black

Note: If you gather adjectives and possibly nouns that were originally adjectives and put them together, you'll notice a pattern with 'H', for example:

W,HM / W,HME = small [W, =the 'sh' sound in 'ship']
hHKE / hHKI = poor (h =guttural ' h' sound)
CEB /CHB =knowing, cunning (noun) but originally possibly an adjective.

This pattern follows the Qualitative of 2lit and 2lit gem verbs:
h.HM = hot (h. = guttural 'h' sound)
KHM = black
KHB = cool
BHL = loose
KHT = build

Depending if you believe Coptic 'H'  represents an 'ah', 'ay' or 'ee' sound, determines what theories may be correct or not. If you follow the Egyptiologist's theory then the 'H' represents an original 'i' or 'u' vowel; and the verbs then did change their vowels through verb forms. If you follow Patrick C Ryan's theory it would have been an original 'ah' sound, if then it originally represented an 'ah' sound, what need would there have been for two original long 'a' sounds where one changed to Coptic 'W' and the other stayed long 'a' =Coptic 'H'? This would have only existed in the adjective Form and not at all used in the infinitive.

This is of course following the Canaanaite long ' ah' = long 'oh' theory which evolved into Coptic 'W' and 'o'. You'd notice a lot of original  'a'  vowels, and lack of 'i' and 'u' in the general Coptic language, especially since 'E' and 'I' are used a lot in unstressed position and there is no short vowel version of 'u'.

The formula for 3lit Coptic verbs in the qualitative shows: CoCC which is the same as the construct and this form probably represents the original Stative in Egyptian. If you notice there's no 'H' in any of this verb classes forms. Why is the spelling not CHCC?

Anyways, this is where I feel Patrick C Ryan has not explained his theory thoroughly. But it could just be me not understanding the origin of the damn Coptic 'H', it drives me nuts.
« Last Edit: 03 February , 2015, 09:23:24 am by Anaksunamun »

02 December , 2015, 04:12:14 pm
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Offline Samuraioff888

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Re: A Proposed Theory on Absolute, Construct, and Pronomial
« Reply #11 on: 02 December , 2015, 04:12:14 pm »
The knowledge built up until it is read carefully and feel better right away, do not look at anything else.