The historical pronunciation of Arabic ض

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Abu Rashid, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    Moderator's Note:

    This post beginning a side discussion of the historical pronunciation(s) of ض in Arabic was split from this thread about Proto-Semitic sibilants.


    What does ض have to do with the sibilants?
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  2. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    All native speakers I asked confirmed to me that the production of ض contains elements of a lateral sibilant. ض counts as a "side tone letter".
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  3. ma7adan New Member

    Arabic (Lebanese)
    Well, according to at least one theory, Arabic ض is derived from a pharyngealized [ɬ] sound. The un-pharyngealized version of that phoneme is conjectured to have become the [ʃ] in contemporary Arabic. In which case, the ض is the emphatic counterpart of a sibilant phoneme, by today's pronunciation. Whether you agree with this or not is a different matter. I personally find it plausible, given the unique status accorded to the letter ض by Arabs themselves, as well as the orthographic derivation from ص which is an emphatic sibilant. In any case, we can be pretty sure ض wasn't always an emphatic [d].
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  4. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    This is Sibawayh's description of the consonant and I believe he also considered it voiced. The voiced, lateral, emphatic fricative was considered especially unique which is what lead to the nickname أهل الضاد. One could hardly imagine the modern [ḍ] sound as being considered especially unique :D .
     
  5. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    Riyadh
    Arabic
    Mizo,

    How would you describe this sound to a lay person? A mix of ظ and ل?
     
  6. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Today you find [ɬ] e.g. in Welsh. It sounds like a mixture of "sh" and "l". If you google for videos about the "Welch double L" you'll find many samples. I can't provide you with links here. This is how linguist think a Proto-Semitic s2 sounded link, maybe with plosive, "t" in the beginning.

    ض is the emphatic ("dark") version of s2, like ص is the emphatic version of س.
     
  7. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    Which other language has such a sound?

    The other sound you are describing seems to be the way it is in some MSA languages, and also how it was supposed to have been in Ge'ez. Given the proximity of those two regions to the Arabs, I hardly think they'd have been considered to be the unique users of such a sound then...

    The orthographic derivation has more to do with the mergers of phonemes in North-West Semitic languages than it does to do with how they sound in Arabic. The Arabic alphabet was created through a process which involved borrowing symbols from mostly Nabataean Aramaic script, and in those NW languages, letters like ع/غ ط/ظ etc. had merged together, and so the Arabs used the same shape, and later distinguished them with dots. The problem here of course is that in Aramaic ض had merged with ع not ص but I don't know if that's the case with Nabataean Aramaic, with Hebrew it was merged with ص.
     
  8. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    I'm not really sure how I'd describe. Maybe more like a mixture of ش,ظ and ل if that's possible to conceive.

    Yes exactly, which is why ض is relevant to the sibilant phoneme discussion.

    Plenty. ḍ is just an unaspirated, velarized [d] sound. While not all languages possess a contrast between velarized or pharyngealized and plain consonants, to the untrained ear, ض just sounds like a d and I've experienced many a learner of Arabic not being able to quite tell the difference between ض and د except on the effect on the surrounding vowels.

    If they heard the lateral fricative, which is much rarer in the world's general inventory of sounds than [d], it would stand out even if mispronounced. Of course it depends on the speaker's language background. Obviously if someone speaks a South Arabian language that has lateral fricatives, or Welsh, it might not seem so unique. :)

    It's true, but perhaps the "uniqueness" was more determined when confronted with the sound systems of the Romans, Greeks, Persians, etc.

    I suppose my comment about that was fairly subjective and off-topic anyway, so I apologize. However the important thing is that the original pronunciation of ض (which is not how it is pronounced today), was more akin to the sibilant phonemes of PS.
     
  9. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    For example?

    What you're describing sounds more like the situation where some individuals may "occasion" something approximating to ض whilst the language itself doesn't really contain a distinct phoneme for it.

    I think the Arabs were more in touch with the South Arabians (who are a kind of Arab anyway) and Habashis much more than they were with Europeans. Persians you might have a point.

    So far, I don't think anyone here has made the case for this.

    What actual tangible evidence do you have that ض is not pronounced today as it always was? We see these kinds of claims bandied around, yet no evidence to back them up. Much like the claim I mentioned earlier in this thread of Arabic sin supposedly being pronunced [ʃ] in the early Islamic era, presumably to fit it into the Hebrew-centric view of the Semitic languages that seems to dominate the study of said languages.

    I don't know where you got this idea from, but it doesn't seem based on the reality of Arabic. It might fit nice and neatly into some little matrix of phonemes that you've drawn up, but it simply doesn't map onto the reality of the Arabic language.

    Merely stating something sounds plausible, is not in itself an evidence, it is conjecture.

    There is nothing about the Arabic letter ض that resembles ش at all. And conjecturing an alternate historical pronunciation for ش is just ludicrous. When you need to conjure up a hypothetical historical pronunciation for both phonemes, then you could arrive at any conclusion you like couldn't you?
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2015
  10. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    Sibawayh's Al-Kitab (8th century). (Also)

    Place:
    This is the argument for ḍād having been a lateral consonant. No matter your interpretation of what he means by ṭaraf and what he means by ħāfa, it's clear that he doesn't group ḍād together with the same place of articulation as ṭā, dāl and tā, although in the modern pronunciation, all four sounds have the same

    Voice:
    The interpretation has historically been that Sibaywah's majhūr مجهور refers to "voiced" and mahmūs refers to "voiceless".

    The word "majhūr" means "enunciated" in Arabic while "mahmus" means "whispered." The "whispered" consonants are certainly voiceless. If by "enunciated" Sibawayh means "voiced" it means that there are some other consonants (qāf, ṭā and hamza) which may have also changed in articulation from their historical pronunciation as compared to modern times.

    It could be however that majhūr refers to some other quality that we can't be sure of, however it is meant to contrast with "whispering" and the overwhelming majority of the consonants in that set are indeed voiced consonants.

    Manner:
    However you interpret the meaning of "limp" consonant (whereas he defines obstruent for us quite clearly), it's fairly obvious that he classes ḍād together with sīn, ṣād and zāy and šīn, and not with ṭā, dāl and tā.

    Emphasis:
    So apparently ḍād was pronounced with the side of the tongue,fricative and as emphatic (and perhaps also voiced). Emphatic lateral fricative. Which pairs nicely with a non-emphatic lateral fricative. I'm not saying that ش was ever lateral in Arabic's history, I'm not learned enough about that. It certainly was not in Sibawayh's time because otherwise he would have said لولا الإطباق لصارت الضاد شينا which he doesn't say.
     
  11. ma7adan New Member

    Arabic (Lebanese)
    Thank you so much mizo, those quotes were great! I think the last two prove beyond a doubt that our dear friend ض was not an emphatic [d] back in the day. In fact it seems that ط was pronounced as an emphatic [d], which I find fascinating! The last quote makes it clear that the unpharyngealized (غير مطبقة) version of the ض had by Sibawayh's time disappeared from the Arabic language. Furthermore, the fact that you can "extend" the ض suggests that it may well have been a sibilant of sorts.

    There's still a few points I'd like to give my opinion on:

    I think that the "language of the daad" phenomenon refers to the phone, i.e. the sound unit itself, as opposed to its presence as a distinct phoneme. So if an emphatic [d] is approximated in a foreign language, even without qualifying as a phoneme, it would be enough to discredit Arabic as the "language of the daad." And in languages like Russian, an emphatic [d] is often approximated (and is a phoneme too).

    On a similar note, it's worth considering why the ض phoneme merged with ع in Aramaic. You would think that if a language already had an emphatic [s] and [t], it should not have trouble retaining an emphatic [d]. Even if that phoneme were to be merged, there are more intuitive choices than ع when you already have a ص and a ط.

    I wish you would stop saying that, given that Arabic is the standard used for reconstructing Proto-Semitic. If scholars of Semitic languages were Hebrew-centric then Proto-Semitic would not have different phonemes for ص\ض\ظ and ع\غ. It seems to me that you're taking this personally as an attack on the value of Arabic but really, we're trying to work with the evidence we have. berndf was simply trying to explain the Arabic sibilants in a neat way that agreed with Hebrew, because the job of the historic linguist who's trying to reconstruct a common ancestor like Proto-Semitic is to reconcile differences, not become partisan to one language or another.
     
  12. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    This is off-topic here, but just a brief remark:

    It could be, but I'm not sure. Even though he says it would be as dāl, I have a feeling he means potentially in terms of aspiration. You'll note that in modern Arabic ط is more than just an emphatic ت. The ت is aspirated and the ط is not. If you remove الإطباق from ط you don't quite get ت. You get unaspirated [t] (like in Spanish for example), which often sounds like [d] for languages in which [t] is typically aspirated (like English).

    It could be that Sibawayh tried to pronounce ط without إطباق and heard a sound that he would have classified more like د than ت.

    Or otherwise, if ط really was [ḍ] in Classical times, then that means it underwent devoicing, but kept its status as an unaspirated [t]-sound. This would explain why it is not aspirated in modern times. (I remember once tutoring someone in Spanish and saying a word like "tengo" only to have them look at me quizzically and repeat "dengo?").

    This is indeed curious, and I've often wondered about it. Maybe the fricative ض in Aramaic's history actually merged with ɣ (غ) which at least is also a fricative and the two [ʕ] and [ɣ] were not distinguished in writing or subsequently merged (like what happened in Hebrew, and also more recently Maltese). This is still tenuous in my mind though. But we might not be able to know such a thing. It could have been a certain style of speech that became popular - i.e., there may be some extra-linguistic reason for it that we don't know about, rather than simple rules of sound change.


    I also wanted to comment that when Sibawayh lists the fricatives, he seems to group them in order by place of articulation so he says:

    You'll see he groups them together not by alphabetizing or some other way. He lists first: h,ħ,ɣ, kh and then goes on to š, ṣ, ḍ, z, s and then ḍh,th,dh and finally f.

    That can't be random. I could be reading too much into it, but to me it seems he's definitely grouping š, ṣ, ḍ, z, s together as a set because the first fit together as laryngeal-through-velar, the next as post alveolar-through-alveolar, the next as dental and final labiodental.

    His classical text from the 8th century reads almost like reading the IPA chart. It's truly amazing to me (this is the first time for me reading the original text, let alone attempting to translate it :) ).

    Also note he does not like ʕ ع among the fricatives. He actually says it's between being a fricative and an obstruent.
     
  13. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    clevermizo,

    Thanks for posting that, I have heard this mentioned several times, but never seen the actual text. I'd consider this perhaps a supporting evidence, certainly not any kind of primary evidence though. One description, by a grammarian (albeit perhaps the greatest) does not produce any kind of certainty about the way a phoneme was pronounced. Especially in the absence of any modern pronunciation that resembles this. ض has various pronunciations all throughout the Arabic speaking world, and we'd expect at least somewhere there'd still be evidence of this supposed sound. But as far as I'm aware, there is not.
     
  14. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    ^I agree with you in that we might expect it to have been preserved somewhere in some dialect and furthermore there's always going to be difficulty translating in modern terms exactly what a grammarian many centuries ago described with his own invented terms. However there are some other things which have been lost to the sands of time without any extant examples, such as the three-way case system of classical Arabic in modern dialects.

    However, there is more evidence in that he reports what is heard in popular speech (and I'm sure there's more evidence of this in reports by other grammarians about the errors of common colloquial speech).

    For example his has this section:

    This further supports the claim that ḍ was once a lateral consonant, as it is deemed similar enough in position to l such that a mistake could be made where the two are switched.

    My personal hypothesis as to why ض has lost all vestige of its initial pronunciation is that the merged of ض and ظ is very old (and ظ is one of the most common pronunciations of ض in modern Arabic dialects). This merger would have happened and was brought to most of the Arabic speaking world. In sedentary areas, the sound [ḍh] (as represented by both ض and ظ) would have been made into a plosive [ḍ] as we find often: هذا hādha > هدا hāda, etc. Later on in certain areas, the sound was replaced in certain classicisms with the new sound [ẓ] or emphatic [z] regardless of whether or not the original sound was ḍh or ض. This explains the "jumble" we find in the Levant:

    مضبوط is pronounced maẓbūṭ
    ضابط is pronounced ẓābeṭ
    ظنّ is pronounced ẓann
    ظهر is pronounced ẓəher

    but

    نظف is pronounced naḍḍaf
    نظّارات is pronounced naḍḍārāt
    ضعيف is pronounced ḍʕīf
    ضد is pronounced ḍəḍḍ

    In the rural and Bedouin dialects in all cases the sound is as Fuṣħa ظ or [ḍh] (interdental).

    My hypothesis is that at some point the pronunciation [ḍ] emerged as a sedentary pronunciation for the merged phoneme ض|ظ and eventually came to replace the classical pronunciation of ض. As to how this happened, I have no idea, but I have a feeling there may be some sociological reason for it.

    Nowadays, a colloquial variant, no matter how much popularity or prestige it's acquired, could not replace an accepted Fuṣħa pronunciation, but nowadays I think there is much more of a division between Standard and non-Standard than there was in earlier periods when there were various gradations of what was considered Faṣīħ and what was considered inelegant or plain incorrect. In such an earlier period a pronunciation could more conceivably have become so fashionable that it essentially became standard.

    You'll note for example that Egyptians regularly use the sound [g] for ج even when speaking standard Arabic even though most could pronounce it as [dj]. You could imagine a population in a previous era regularly using [ḍ] for ض and there being some reason to become the "new" standard. As to the actual loss of the lateral fricative itself, I think this is seriously to do with the merger of ḍ and ḍh into ḍh which is ubiquitous in Arabia.

    That's all without supporting evidence, but it's my thought on the matter.
     
  15. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    Likewise some English speakers in certain cases pronounce 's' sometimes like ص that doesn't mean English has ص does it?

    Why is it worth considering? I don't see its significance to this discussion.

    I'm really having trouble following you here. Pretty much all Semitic languages merged ض not just Aramaic, and they all retained emphatic and [t] as well...

    Aramaic seems to be distinct in the way in which it merged most of its lost phonemes. For instance pretty much all other Semitic languages merged ṯ -> s¹, but Aramaic merged ṯ -> t, likewise most other Semitic languages merged ḏ -> z, but Aramaic merged ḏ -> d. Interestingly in colloquial Arabic we see both tendencies.

    Also in some of the older Aramaic sources, it appears ض actually merged with ق since it was represented with the grapheme for ق which means the ض -> ع merger tells us even less. Either way, I don't think ع غ or ق (the 3 merge candidates for ض in Aramaic) suggest anything about ض being something like a sibilant.

    Even with the case of the other Semitic languages, which merged ض with ص they also merged ظ with them as well, which would tend to agree with the situation in many colloquial dialects of Arabic, where ض and ظ have/are merged/merging. So in those languages it's quite likely a merger took place like this: ض -> ظ -> ص

    Well after they realised Arabic was a Semitic language, and that its etymological phonemes are archaic to Hebrew's and then they discovered Sayhadic, Ugaritic etc. then they had little choice but to start using Arabic to fill in the gaps did they? I mentioned that in the post you are responding to (although apparently you neglected to read that part). That was in fact one of the main supports of my argument, was that for the phonemes which appear in Hebrew, they use the Hebrew situation for proto-Semitic, but for those not in Hebrew, they obviously have to "cut and paste" the Arabic values in. That magnifies my point more, and I'm surprised you don't see that.

    Precisely my point. Trying to fit the other Semitic languages around the situation of Hebrew is a big mistake, especially as far as phonology is concerned, because Hebrew phonology is one of the least conservative.
     
  16. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    That is precisely the reason for my reservations. As you are well aware he was writing about things which were not even systemised yet, and he was inventing terminology and concepts as he went along, to try and explain things that only recently did we actually organise into a science. Therefore I think there's a great margin for error in interpreting his observations here. It is indeed an interesting point, but I think it stops far short of being conclusive in any way. If a certain dialect had retained it, or something even remotely close to it, then I'd think it had more weight.

    Again I really think we lack conclusive evidence that 3ameeyah ever split from fus7a. I've read various theories on their origins, and some of them suggest that it may be that they did not split from one another, but possibly from a proto-language, which had no case system, and that fus7a then later contrived this. I'm not saying this is conclusive either, but just throwing it out there to demonstrate that 3ameeyah may not necessarily be just fus7a with some losses.

    That's certainly very interesting, perhaps more so than the other. But something to keep in mind is that by his time, "some of the Arabs" could mean anything. Remember that Arabs had been living amongst Hebrew & Aramaic speakers for instance for centuries, and most northern Arab kingdoms were in fact Aramaic-speakers themselves. So the range of influences upon "some of the Arabs" could be quite vast, and certainly says little about the origins of Arabic pronunciation.
    Very interesting, and very close, but not quite. It is of course originally s¹-d-ṯ. I assume the Arabic sitt came about through a contraction of the d & ṯ. I always found it interesting though that in the ordinal, the ṯ -> s¹ merger occurred, as this does not really occur in fus7a, although it is largely uniform amongst the other Semitic languages (with the exclusion of Aramaic as mentioned above).
     
  17. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    Well I'm talking about his explanation. I'm sure he's basing it off the form سادس in the ordinal set and the word سدس meaning "a sixth" for him to say that سدس was the original root.

    It's not conclusive at all. All we can tell from his writings is the ض was not pronounced like د،ط in his day as it is today and that he considered it similar to the sibilants in regards manner of articulation, but in general he put it in a class by itself. As to actually what the pronunciation was seems unclear but it points to lateral fricative.

    As to his terminology, although we're not always clear on it, you should be aware that Sibawayh is one of the founding fathers of modern phonology along with Pāṇini before him. Linguistics as a discipline in the West didn't arise until the 19th century, and was heavily influenced by classics such as the phonetic descriptions in Sibawayh's Kitāb and perhaps more so by the descriptions in Pāṇini's Ashtadhyayi exposition of Sanskrit. In some ways our modern terminology and system of theory and understanding is built upon the work of these people. Sibawayh's grammar was translated in the late 19th century by Gustav Jahn.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2015
  18. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    Riyadh
    Arabic
    He was an eye-witness. This is as close to primary evidence as you're going to get.

    Most Classical grammars of Arabic are available online. When you find one that describes ض as an emphatic [d], please let us know.

    There is actually a realization of it in parts of Yemen that retains the lateral component (I mentioned a reference to it on this forum a while back). The widespread realization as ظ is also evidence (a preservation of the رخو aspect). It has always been widely known in the Arab world (except among lay people) that the modern Fus7a realization of ض is not the original realization. I've found references to this from the Middle Ages all the way to the modern age. Just google the topic in Arabic and you'll find them. One thing I can assure you of is that it has absolutely nothing to do with any Western bias towards Hebrew. On a minor note, I think the Arabs who originated the theory of the uniqueness of ض were far closer to Persia and Greece than to Ethiopia or South Arabia. Also, there are descriptions from that era of Arabic as being لغة الظاء instead of لغة الضاد, so this notion of uniqueness is not terribly useful in determining what ض originally sounded like.

    Ma7adan,

    The realization of ط as emphatic [d] exists in Yemen.

    Mizo,

    Your theory about the origin of the modern MSA realization of ض (which I agree with) is actually not a new theory at all. See the following:

    Paper published in the magazine of Al-Azhar University in 1987
    http://tafsir.net/vb/showthread.php?t=3875
    Paper published by the Iraqi Scholarly Academy in 1971
    http://tafsir.net/vb/showthread.php?t=3560

    (Abu Rashid -- both these papers offer good surveys of the issue in general, including references to older sources)
     
  19. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    Thanks much! Those will be excellent reads (especially now that my Arabic is more competent than it used to be when I first started posting here. :D ).
     
  20. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    Riyadh
    Arabic
    See also this thread: http://www.tafsir.net/vb/showthread.php?t=173 , particularly post #8. One quote I found particularly interesting was this:



    وكان ابن الجزري (833هـ) قد حدد الأصوات التي يتحول إليها الضاد على ألسنة المعاصرين له فقال في النشر : (والضاد انفرد بالاستطالة ، وليس في الحروف ما يعسر على اللسان مثله ، فإن ألسنة الناس فيه مختلفة ، وقل من يحسنه ، فمنهم من يخرجه ظاءً.
    ومنهم من يمزجه بالذال.
    ومنهم من يجعله لاماً مفخمة.
    ومنهم من يشمه بالزاي. وكل ذلك لا يجوز). النشر 1/219
    وقال ابن الجزري في التمهيد 140-141 : (واعلم أن هذا الحرف ليس من الحروف حرف يعسر على اللسان غيره ، والناس يتفاضلون في النطق به:
    فمنهم من يجعله ظاء مطلقاً... وهم أكثر الشاميين وبعض أهل المشرق.
    ومنهم من لا يوصلها إلى مخرجها ، بل يخرجها دونه ممزوجة بالطاء المهملة ، لا يقدرون على غير ذلك ، وهم أكثر المصريين وبعض أهل المغرب.
    ومنهم من يخرجها لا ماً مفخمة ، وهم الزيالع ومن ضاهاهم).ش

     
  21. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    For the non-Arabic speakers of this thread:

    "And among them are those that don't lead it to its place [of articulation], but rather produce it without it[s original? place of articulation], mixed with the lax ṭā; they don't regard it as other than that; they are most Egyptians and some from North Africa (the Maghreb)."



    Fascinating. These comments point to a possible Egyptian origin for the plosive version of the sound. It seems elsewhere it's always some kind of fricative. Also in all of the Indo-Iranian languages that have borrowed from Arabic it becomes a [z] sound I believe.


    Anyhow, it's possible we should decide to split off this thread into a proper discussion of the ظاء and ضاد merger or just about ضاد in particular. To steer this back on topic, it seems there has been a consensus that ḍād was an emphatic fricative in the past which is a more likely candidate for the emphatic version of one of the Proto-Semitic "s"-like sounds which was the point of being brought up in this discussion in the first place. It also quite nicely rationalizes how such as sound which was at one point preserved in Arabic, in other Semitic languages like Hebrew actually merged with ṣ ص. Not that we needed such a rationalization, but it fits with the story of the evolution of Semitic languages. The voicing feature in Arabic I think is what made it more likely to merge with other voiced sounds like ظ or ز or even ط which was voiced according to Sibawayh, rather than ص.
     
  22. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    But you seem to be forgetting there that Hebrew צ is not just a merger of ص and ض but of ظ as well, and the Hebrew realisation of צ is perhaps a mixture of those 3 sounds. hence its 'z' component. So it may never have even have been ص -> ض anyway. The current values of Arabic, seem to suggest such a merger would make a lot of sense, if Hebrew originally had the same values. But I don't label my theory as anything other than conjecture either.

    Also something that needs to be kept in mind is that Arabic pronunciation has been maintained outside the Arabic world throughout history in the madrasahs all across the Islamic world. And they all agree with the current fus7a values. So unless we have evidence of "emphatic d evangelists" going all around the Islamic world and causing them to shift to emphatic d, then I'd say this theory is pretty well sunk. A pre-Islamic value might be postulated, but that would rule out Sibawayh in that case.
     
  23. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    Riyadh
    Arabic
    Also, in borrowings into Spanish, its reflex contains a lateral component, e.g. alcalde from القاضي.

    Obviously, you haven't read this link: http://www.tafsir.net/vb/showthread.php?t=173 . The historical record is quite damning to the [d] realization. So much so that hardly anyone has argued that it is the original pronunciation. Aside from the oddity of relying on the pronunciation of non-Arabs in non-Arabic countries to ascertain the value of this phoneme in 7th century Arabia, it is well-known that these non-Arabs simply attempt to reflect the dominant pronunciation radiating from the Arabic-speaking nations. In other words, their pronunciation is not some fossilized, pure form as you seem to assume.
     
  24. rayloom Senior Member

    Paris, France
    Arabic (Hijazi Arabic)
    I think the historical Classical Arabic pronunciation of the ض was an emphatic voiced lateral affricate.
    This is more apparent when one takes Sibawayh's description of استطالة in describing the articulation of the ض. explained in Arabic as:
    امتداد اللسان عند النطق بالضاد من أقصى حافته حتى يصطدم منتهى طرف الحافة للثة العليا
    (which means the tongue is "lengthened" within the mouth and touches the edge of the alveolar area).
    Sibawayh even lists, as Mizo noted, the place of articulation in order (from outside in), where in this case the ض is before the Arabic ج [dʒ], then the ʃ and y.
    Sibaway's classification of شدة & رخاوة (plosive vs fricative) doesn't take into account affricates. You can find the ج considered a plosive and the ض considered a fricative.
    This has even led some later western writers, taking only Sibaway's work as a measure of Arabic phonology, to consider that the classical pronunciation of ج for example to be a voiced palatal plosive, as in Watson's The Phonology and Morphology of Arabic. (regardless of other classical descriptions of the letter).

    Describing the modern day ض as an emphatic [d] is also quite confusing, Classical Arabic works refer to 2 ض's which might be now considered thus:
    الضاد المصرية described as an emphatic d, with the same articulation position of the d.
    الضاد الطائية which also described in classical writings as an emphatic d, but differentiated from the Egyptian d as having an articulatory position closer to the ط (not ظ), which is the one common today for the ض and considered standard.

    I also think that the affricate nature of the ض is reason that gave rise to a later pronunciation similar to an emphatic z in certain words as
    مضبوط and ضابط, via an old phenomenon itself named الضاد الضعيفة.
    It might be the reason also behind the pronunciation of the emphatic z in Arabic words borrowed into some other languages.
    (or it could be through the ض to ẓ via ظ , but I don't think so, especially in Arabic regions which don't have the ض & ظ merged together, or in languages which have probably borrowed such words in Classical times).
     
  25. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    Well what's that I see there... is that a 'd'? Why would the Andalusians have been pronouncing a 'd' if it were supposedly something more like [ɬ]?

    Here's a few other Spanish words supposedly derived from Arabic words with ض in them:
    adarvar
    adarve
    ademán
    adiafa
    alarde/alardear
    Source

    Every single one of them using only a 'd' to represent ض why would that be?

    So every time the Arabs changed their pronunciation of a phoneme slightly, they'd send out emissaries to all non-Arabic-speaking regions of the Caliphate from al-Andalus to Indonesia, to 'correct' their pronunciation? Excuse me if I find that a little far fetched. Also it seems you're belittling the independence just slightly of the institutions around the Islamic world that have very long traditions in Tajweed & Arabic.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  26. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    That is not entirely so. E.g. you find ḍḍ>ld in aldea.

    Also Arabic asserted direct influence on Hispanic languages/dialects far into the 2nd millennium A.D. while the Arabic sound shift was supposed to have happened relatively early in CA. To be relevant, we have to show a transcription to be based on early CA.
     
  27. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    That word is not in my list. My statement was regarding the words in the list.

    Perhaps your example is due to the gemination. Wadi's example I thought might be related to the long vowel before the dod.

    Either way, it's certainly not in the majority of the words we've seen so far. So it's looking more like an inconsistency in the Spanish way of transcribing more than it is a support for this theory.

    No further than about half way into the millennium. What exactly do you mean by "relatively early" in CA? If we consider CA to have been around since at least the beginning of the first millennium C.E. then how would the first few centuries of the second millennium be that far removed from the CA of Sibawayh's time?

    It just seems to me that a lot of stretching is being done, to try and prove something that really doesn't match up to the facts of the Arabic language as we know it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2015
  28. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    There are 650 years between Sibawayh's death and the fall of Granada. Lot of time for things to change.
    History of Arabic is not my specialty so I can only report what people more knowledgeable than I say. The only thing I can observe here is a person who grabs every possible straw to deny something everybody else seems to regards as obvious from the historical sources we have as if the salvation of his eternal soul depended on it. It really puzzles me why this is such an ideological issue for you.

    There is a consensus in the field that the reconstruction of the PS origin of the ض phoneme as an emphatic lateral sibilant is what fits the puzzle from all Semitic languages best. There is nothing wrong with remaining skeptical. Skepticism is a healthy attitude in academic discourse and your skepticism triggered an interesting discussion. But the most far-fetched theory presented so far is that each and every PS phoneme should be exactly the same as in modern Arabic. Sound shifts are the most natural things in the world and happened at all times in all languages. If a particular language should be an exception, the onus of prove rests with those who contend this.
     
  29. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    So the theory is this shift occurred the moment Sibawayh passed away? Not sounding any more likely to me. Also the 650 years between the extremities of Sibawayh's death and the fall of Granada are still closer to each other than Sibawayh's time is to the earliest known period of CA.

    Right, but that was just one tiny little pocket in the corner of Spain. The rest of Spain had been reconquered several centuries before then.

    As I said... a lot of stretching going on here.

    So it's a numbers game is it? Anyone not agreeing with the masses must be ideologically motivated and grabbing at straws? Meanwhile, I'm the one supporting the established pronunciation, whilst everyone else seems to be inventing far fetched theories that don't add up to anything other than conjecture.

    If you don't have actual facts, that's fine, but don't pretend you do, and don't ridicule the facts I've presented, merely because the majority (of those bothering to post here anyway) do not accept them.

    These kinds of accusations about my motivation for presenting what I think is correct do not deserve to be dignified with a response, so I'll refrain from responding to them. I'm truly disappointed you'd make such accusations bernd.

    That consensus seems based on very shaky evidence to me, sorry. And that is why I'm presenting my views.

    Also we're speaking about Arabic here, not proto-Semitic, keep that in mind.

    Can you please direct me to where such a theory has been presented? Sorry I must've missed it.

    Given that this thread is split off from one in which we discussed that Arabic merged two of its sibilants together, I think it's ridiculous to suggest I have claimed Arabic did not shift/merge any phonemes.
     
  30. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    Riyadh
    Arabic
    We already know that the [D] pronunciation exists and the sources already tell us that this pronunciation was common in Egypt and the Maghreb (which included Al-Andalus). Since no one is disputing the existence of [D] or that it appeared early, your examples offer us nothing that we do not already know. However, the fact that some words do have a lateral component is just one more bit of evidence for the fact (and I emphasize that this is a FACT and not conjecture) that other variants of ض existed that included a lateral element.

    You are mischaracterizing what I said. What is far-fetched is the notion that people in India or Afghanistan remained completely isolated from the way Arabic was spoken for hundreds of years. Obviously, the pronunciation that developed in places like Egypt and Mecca reached those places and reached them a long time ago.
     
  31. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    Riyadh
    Arabic
    The facts are pretty overwhelming and prove beyond a doubt that the Classical pronunciation of ض was NOT an emphatic [d]. I mean isn't it enough that you have a detailed description by the greatest grammarian of Classical Arabic of all yet cannot produce one single quote by any Classical grammarian that describes a [D] pronunciation? In fact, we have medieval Muslim scholars lamenting the [D] pronunciation. Don't you think it's odd how many books appeared in the Abbasid era attempting to distinguish ظ and ض? Why don't we have similar books that compare د with ذ?

    The facts are there; all you have to is read them. But I can't force you to read them and I don't have time to copy and paste them for you, so there's really not much left to argue.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  32. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    I also thought be did. Therefore I really can't understand your behaviour here.

    After the very clear message given to you by Wadi Hanifa in the post just above I can't see what else could possibly be said. The onus of proof is now really on your side. If you can present evidence what CA ض was an emphatic [d] I am sure we will all be more than happy to consider it simple repetition of your denial won't take us anywhere.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  33. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    bernd,

    What I find most fascinating is that when yourself and Wadi Hanifa used Spanish words with "ld" for ض then the relevance of Spanish borrowings was relevant, yet when I used them, all of a sudden they were in the wrong time period. This is quite clearly a case of moving the goal posts. Is it relevant or isn't it? Keep in mind, Wadi Hanifa was the first to raise the Spanish point.

    Wadi Hanifa,

    They prove no such thing. The current fus7a value is assumed to be the correct one, if there's clear evidence it's not, then there's a reason to re-evaluate it. The original position is not that the current value is incorrect, the original position is that it _IS_ correct. The onus of proof is on the one making a claim, and I am not making any claims, I am merely stating it is as it is. If there's clear evidence to the contrary, I'm more than willing to adopt it, and I do not in the least reject the idea it could've been something else. I just think the evidence being used is flimsy.

    Well I don't necessarily think fus7a's pronunciation today is exactly what is described as an emphatic d. It is very similar in many respects to ظ as you mentioned it was in the past, and that's how I pronounce it and was taught to pronounce it by Qur'anic teachers.

    I personally don't think the description of phones always maps out exactly, and that's why I'm very hesitant to accept Sibawayh's descriptions, because we still cannot know exactly what he was describing.

    I don't think we have any evidence of it appearing. As far as the evidence goes, it's always been the case. The hypothetical lateral-emphatic-counterpart-to-shin is what requires evidence, since it's not established now nor previously.

    I think you'll find even those who developed these theories do not consider them established fact, but one possible hypothesis. Interesting that the proponent of a theory would be more certain of it than the founders of the theory themselves.

    And so all around the Islamic world, they just abandoned their established pronunciations, taught to them by chains of teachers from the Sahabah (rah) and adopted these new pronunciations? I have not mischaracterised you at all.
     
  34. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    As an exercise and for fun, I'm making some vocal recordings of the various historical and/or extant pronunciations of ض as have been described in the various sources. See linked audio file below.

    I made up a nonsense sentence which ends up being a bit of a tongue twister :) :

    ضرب الضابط الضبّ وضجر منه ضيوفه
    The officer beat the lizard and his guests grew bored of him.:p


    *conjectured reconstructed phoneme based on historical descriptions by Sibawayh and others. Combines the features used in classical description: رجوة، مجهورة، مستعلاة، مستطالة، مطبقة، مصمتة
    1. ɮˠɑrɑbɑ ɮˠ-ɮˠɑ:bɪtˠʊ ɮˠ-ɮˠɑbbɑ wa-ɮˠɑdʒɪrɑ mɪnhʊ ɮˠʊju:fʊh.
    lateral
    fricative
    voiced
    emphatic


    *most widespread phoneme, merged with ظ : Arabian & Bedouin/Non-Sedentary
    الضاد الظائية
    2. ðˠɑrɑbɑ ðˠ-ðˠɑ:bɪtˠʊ ðˠ-ðˠɑbbɑ wa-ðˠɑdʒɪrɑ mɪnhʊ ðˠʊju:fʊh.
    fricative
    voiced
    emphatic
    (changed: place)

    *rare but attested historical. Perhaps similar to some Yemeni pronunciations
    الضاد اللامية
    3. lˠɑrɑbɑ lˠ-lˠɑ:bɪtˠʊ lˠ-lˠɑbbɑ wa-lˠɑdʒɪrɑ mɪnhʊ lˠʊju:fʊh
    lateral
    voiced
    emphatic
    (changed: manner)

    *Standard pronunciation.
    *Colloquial Egyptian and Levantine (merger with ظ in most common vocabulary)
    الضاد الفصيحة الحديثة
    الضاد الطائية/المصرية/الشامية
    دال مفخمة
    ومستخدمة عند العامة للضاد والظاء
    4. dˠɑrɑbɑ dˠ-dˠɑ:bɪtˠʊ dˠ-dˠɑbbɑ wa-dˠɑdʒɪrɑ mɪnhʊ dˠʊju:fʊh
    voiced
    emphatic
    (changed: place and manner)

    *Colloquial Egyptian and Levantine. Merger with ظ but used for classicisms primarily
    زاي مفخمة
    مستخدمة عند العامة للضاد والظاء في بعض الكلمات الفصيحة
    5. zˠɑrɑbɑ zˠ-zˠɑ:bɪtˠʊ zˠ-zˠɑbbɑ wa-zˠɑdʒɪrɑ mɪnhʊ zˠʊju:fʊh
    voiced
    fricative
    emphatic
    (changed: place)


    At first I tried to pronounce the Sibawayhian :)) ) phoneme out of both sides of my tongue and that was a bit difficult. Then I discovered it was a lot easier to do it out of the right side of my tongue rather than the left side. So I'm a right-sider I guess when it comes to lateral consonants :D. (However, when I make an [r]-trill I do that to the left side.)


    I've uploaded the sound file (daads.mp3) to this server.. Enjoy! You'll notice that the lateral fricative does sound quite a bit like ظ though it feels very different to produce (and of course I'm not a native of a language with a lateral fricative). I had to exaggerate it a bit to make it obviously different. My initial recordings though they felt and sounded different to me when recording them, didn't sound very different in playback. By the way, this may be telling. If the lateral fricative was a peculiarity of certain tribes, other Arab tribes may have heard it simply as ظ and this coincidence of sound would lead to the merger.

    Oh by the way, I originally made the sentence يضرب الضابط but then I found it next to impossible to pronounce the sequence -ضْرُ- /ḍr/ with the lateral sound [-ɮˠr-] and then into the trill. Maybe it's just me but this seems really really difficult. It makes me curious - are they any principles of إدغام (classical rules/descriptions of assimilation) that pertain to the sequence of ــضْرــ ??

    By the way, if my rendition is done well, you can hear that actually the Sibawayhian sound seems to contain components of all those other sounds. I could really see any of them springing forth from the conjectured sound.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  35. GoldBug

    GoldBug Senior Member

    Great Lakes area - USA
    American English
    -------------------------------

    To make a long story short, there's a very good reason why ض is/was represented by /d/ in Spanish.

    Spanish /d/ between vowels is pronounced very similar to the ض ....not at all like English or Arabic /d/....more like the English /th/ in THEN. This pronunciation is also quite frequent when Sp. /d/ is only preceeded or followed by a vowel.

    The common name PEDRO, for example, is actually pronounced PE ض RO. Listen to a native Spanish speaker when he pronounces الرياض and you could swear the last letter is pronounced like Arabic ض .

    All the examples provided by Abu Rashid above have this /th/ sound for the written /d/.

    This also occurred when the original Arabic was a plain and simple /د /. Arabic الديوان became Spanish ADUANA (customs and immigration offices) and since the /d/ appears between vowels, it's pronounced A ض UANA.

    This is a simplified rendition of this phenomenon but it proves the adage that "what you see is not always what you get".
     
  36. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    This is true, but I think you mean it's similar to ظ or what ض would be to Arabic speakers who had a merged ض/ظ sound rather than distinct sounds.

    Furthermore, even if the Arabic sound at the time was not a ظ-like sound, but rather a د-like sound, the Spanish would still have transliterated with a d, so this doesn't tell us much about what ض sounded like. The Spanish d could be a transliteration for [d] or for [ð] even if the Spanish themselves pronounced it as [ð] (never mind the fact that it's actually more like an approximant and not a true fricative).

    The reason why a word like alcalde is interesting is because ض is being represented by -ld- which appears to preserve a lateral component.

    However you bring up a good point: the instances where Arabic ض is being transliterated as just 'd' in Spanish really don't tell us whether the sound was a stop or a fricative in the past, so it's relatively uninformative.

    I disagree because the Spanish sound is not مفخمة (it lacks إطباق).

    I can see however how this would be the Spanish perception, but I don't think that the Spanish reproduction sounds much like ض either as hypothesized historically or the modern standard one.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  37. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    That's a very nice recording, clevermizo. The different pronunciations do sound very different from each other. Why won't you upload this file to Wikipedia so more people can access it? The Dad article could use an audio example.
     
  38. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    What do you make of this description of ض

    ̈It seems they're talking more about a sound like you were trying to make, they also mention that heavy dal (emphatic d?) is not the correct articulation.

    And I second tFighterPilot's motion for you to upload these to wikipedia.
     
  39. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    Well I mean this is describing the lateral component (which makes both ض and ل akin to one another). However it doesn't mention رخاوة. I've been watching lots of instructional videos about Tajwīd since this discussion started (on Youtube for example).

    What I find interesting though is that everyone, even though they stress this description of the side and it's clear they are using the sides of their tongue to add a lateral component, are still pronouncing it primarily with the tip of the tongue (or so it sounds to me and I could be mishearing) and are making if anything just a heavier version of the standard sound as it is in standard Arabic today. I'm not sure if they're aware of this or if it's subconscious but no one I've listened to has actually made a fricative (a sound with رخوة).

    I watched this one Egyptian guy stress the importance of رخاوة in the articulation of ض. He explained رخاوة by bringing up examples like س or ش which you can hold out indefinitely without disrupting the sound. Fair enough. He then demonstrated it with his ض which was obviously a heavy d- sound (maybe with a lateral component, sounded a lot heavier than the typical sound in colloquial Arabic), and tried to hold it out and his face looked pained :) but the sound clearly was one that had شدة and not رخاوة although he claimed that he was producing something رخوة.

    I think if we're right and this was the sound (or akin to it), it disappeared a very long time ago, and my guess is by merger with ظ.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  40. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    The characteristic of a lateral consonant is a lateral air stream not the part of the tongue with which you produce the occlusion of the air stream. You can form frontal and lateral plosives with the middle part of the tongue alone, depending only on where you produce the opening on the plosive release. The tip of the tongue needn't be involved to produce a perfect /d/.
     
  41. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    I see. That makes sense. So then what they've done is generated a lateral plosive which is sort of an amalgam of the classical descriptions of using the side of the tongue against the molars, rationalized against the plosive standard phoneme which has been around now for some time.

    Interestingly, "lateral plosives" are not deemed possible or are absent from the IPA chart. Is that because they can't be easily distinguished from apically or dorsally produced plosives?

    Also I wanted to comment that I definitely picked words for which the lateral fricative were easier for me to produce. I'm at a complete loss to pronounce يضربون, ضفضع, and ضغط :eek:. If I was living back in earlier centuries, I would have definitely used ظ instead if I was learning Arabic and commit this common error. Now of course the d-sound is standard, so it's what I learn and use.

    I'm still not entirely certain what is meant by the ضاد ضعيفة but maybe this was a solution in certain hard-to-pronounce scenarios. The easiest lateral fricative for me to make is an intervocalic one. The vowels provide a nice "buffer" zone for the consonant. As soon as I come up on a consonantal coda or a cluster I run in fear.:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  42. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Affricates also contain plosive releases. You would transcribe this as [t͜ɬˤ] (assuming it was originally voiceless) like you transcribe "z" in "pizza" as [t͜s], or [d͜ɮ] if completely voiced... or maybe anything in between, like [d͜ɬ].
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  43. GoldBug

    GoldBug Senior Member

    Great Lakes area - USA
    American English
    1. I wonder if "ض ض " > ld as suggested above. To me it seems the [al] of aldea is actually the definite article "ال " despite the assimilation of Arabic ل with ض so that presumably Spanish speakers would not have heard an [L] sound during the time the word was entering Sp.

    In other words, I find it far-fetched that the [LD] in aldea represents how the

    ض was being pronounced by Arabic speakers and thereby transcribed [LD] by Spanish speakers adapting this word.

    Most likely, Spanish transcribed adapted Arabic words based not only on what they were hearing, but also based on "what they thought was correct". So many Arabic words were adapted into Spanish with the ا ل definite article as part of the word itself. ALDEA was simply following this common practice.

    It's also possible, of course, that "aldea" is not of Arabic origin (which is what I believe), but that's another discussion.

    2. I also question the idea that القاضي > ALCALDE and that the appearance of the second [L] in the Spanish word has something to do with how the ض was pronounced by Arabic speakers at that time in Iberia.


    If this were true, then presumably ALL words with a ض in Arabic adapted by Spanish would show an [L] in Spanish, but I don't think that's the case.

    ALCALDE may simply be an anomaly...Does anyone know of further examples where this took place? All of Abu Rashid's examples above do not show this feature. Why is it only present in ALCALDE?

    (I'm not a linguist by training but I trust my argument is clear, even if you disagree with it).

     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  44. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    I am also skeptical. I don't think that the -ld- preserves a lateral component from the original phoneme. There are others like alcalde, such as albayalde from البياض which would also suggest ld for ض, but there are other words like balde which is from باطل bāṭil. That could be metathesis as well, but somehow I don't think so.

    My hypothesis is that the -al- was used for the sound of dark long [ā] before an emphatic consonant, which sounds quite different from long [ā] in front of or around plain consonants. The two ā's sound different and one was perceived of as -al. I don't have more data from this but it just comes from looking at the list here.

    No matter the case, I don't think we can use Spanish data to reconstruct a lateral component for ض as it's inconsistent. Some of that could be time period, maybe, maybe not. The best evidence for the lateral component is simply the classical descriptions of it using حافة أو حافتي اللسان.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  45. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    The counter examples aldea and alcalde only serve to demonstrate that the evidence provided by Spanish transcriptions is inconclusive. That is all I ever intended to say; and I think without much further research (in which case we might, just might, be able to explain the differences) that this is all there is to say.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  46. mungu Senior Member

    Bulgarian
    This is a bit off-topic, but since Abu-Rashid "threw it out" earlier in the thread, I think it shouldn't remain unanswered and confuse other readers.
    Clevermizo:
    Abu Rashid:
    If you have really read that bit about the cases somewhere, then the source you've read wasn't worth reading. The grammatical case system is reconstructed confidently for proto-Semitic, it is preserved not only in Classical Arabic, but also in various other Semitic languages such as Akkadian, Ugaritic and Ge'ez (albeit reduced to only two cases in Ge'ez). Never in history has a language just "contrived" a case system out of the blue - let alone the fact that it would have been very difficult to "contrive" a plausible case system if one didn't already have case in one's language. Once again, your usual tendency to insist, whenever possible, that Arabic has always been the same is wrong.

    And of course, this fact, and the possibility of features vanishing from all modern dialects without a trace, has absolutely nothing to do with 3ameeyah's being or not being direct descendants of fus7a. Inevitably, the original fus7a must have been only one of the various Arabic dialects that were spoken at the time of Muhammad, and it seems very plausible that the modern 3ameeyah are, technically, the descendants of those various Arabic dialects (rather than the product of all Arabs adopting the Quranic dialect and then diverging). That doesn't change the fact that all of these dialects share a common Proto-Arabic ancestor, and that this ancestor certainly had grammatical case like fus7a. Also, it doesn't preclude the fact that the ancestors of the modern dialects must have been very similar to fus7a and to each other, and that they must have been much more like fus7a than their descendants are today, after the obvious innovations that have taken place in them.
     
  47. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    Clevermizo, I think Maltese also consistently represents dod with 'd' correct? As Maltese split from Arabic at least 1000 years ago, this would also be a further reason to conclude that the current value is the same one used back then.

    Mungu, the theory was from Linguistic history of Arabic, but keep in mind I never said I subscribe to said theory.

    Also keep in mind that such a theory would be contrary to the ridiculous accusations you made about me believing Arabic to be the 'perfect language'.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2015
  48. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    Riyadh
    Arabic
    Hear, hear!

    Though I don't think fuS7a was itself a dialect. I think it was a composite based on several dialects. An even better way to view it is looking at it as having been a "dialect type", which would account for its "instability" across different sources.
     
  49. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    Sorry, this can't say much. The earliest written work in Maltese goes back to the 15th century (and it does use d to represent the sound). There are nearly 200 years between Sibawayh's time and the Norman conquest of the islands and then another 5 centuries before we have any idea how Maltese was spoken. That they use a d/t now could mean many things. A) ضاد ظائية was the original variant that reach Malta and it was converted into a plosive later as with ث becoming t and ذ becoming d, B) ضاد طائية/مصرية reached the islands and supplanted what was there previously. Malta/Sicily were conquered and reconquered many times. Lots of time for influence. Remember that there were already different variants of ض in Sibawayh's time and we don't know what arrived in Siciliy. He was describing what he considered the correct sound, but also mentions that there were other pronunciations (like the mysterious ضاد ضعيفة).
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  50. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    Yes, but we can assume the language was being used prior to that.

    200 years is really not a long time.

    This theory could be applied to all of the little pockets of Arabic which all merged دض into a d-like sound, such as Cypriot Maronite Arabic, where ض merged with د & ذ It seems highly unlikely that all of these pockets of Arabic, would all independently develop a d-like tendancy for ض if it did not originally have it.

    Right, but the d-like one seems to have been considered the one worth preserving, and the one which most commonly ended up in those long lost pockets of Arabic like Maltese & Cypriot Arabic, would be interesting to know how it ended up in Central Asian Arabic. Nigerian Arabic (another isolated dialect group) also seems to have an emphatic d.

    I think people often tend to underestimate the religious zeal that was applied to preserving lughat ul-qur'aan. Tajweed for instance is a very detailed field that deals with maintaining correct pronunciation. I find it highly implausible that any sound shifts occurred in Arabic since the dawn of the Islamic period for this reason. Yes prior to Islam, we know they did occur.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011

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