مَلِك

Ali Smith

Senior Member
Urdu - Pakistan
Hi,

Does anyone know why there is a كسرة on the second letter of the Arabic word مَلِك 'king'? It wasn't there in the proto-Semitic form, *malk-.

Thanks!
 
  • analeeh

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    I think it might be a borrowing from some other Semitic language. Hebrew, for example, has melech if I remember correctly.

    Edit: It might also mimic the fa3il adjective form, although not sure why it would follow an adjective pattern.
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    Do you think loans from Judeo-Aramaic are likely? I thought the main transfer route was via Nabatean Aramaic. Of are you suggesting the variant is not confined to Judeo-Aramaic?
    I don't think that the form with "i" is confined to Judeo-Aramaic, why would Jews insert this "i". Need to find a lexical entry for this, of course. (Added) see here "Mandean mlik".

    We see the "i" form in Arabic, Assyrian, Aramaic, therefore an alternative Proto-Semitic form malik is not unthinkable of.

    See also this comment
    Reconstruction Proto-Semitic/malk- Sometimes reconstructed as *malik- to account for the Arabic form, which is otherwise irregular or due to borrowing.
    And also in the same link:
    (perhaps borrowed from Aramaic) Arabic: مَلِك‎ (malik)
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    So you are saying, the variant with /i/ has probably always existed and it may well be inherited and not borrowed. Right?
     
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    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    The pattern faʿil does occur with some primary nouns in Arabic, but they are rare. At the moment I can only think of kabid (but also kabd) “liver”. In Akkadian there is both malku and maliku, but the former is very much more frequent. I do not see hard evidence for *malik in Aramaic. The Mandaic mlyk is the absolute/construct state, just like Syriac mleḵ, with the usual segolisation (or whatever you want to call it). For this reason, Arabic malik can not very well be a loan from Aramaic.
     

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    What does "segolisation" mean?

    mlk appears in Sabaic inscriptions from Yemen. I think that needs to be accounted for in this discussion as well.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    Basically, I mean the way that Aramaic and Hebrew do not tolerate final consonant clusters, but break them up with a secondary vowel. Thus, malk, if it does not have any suffix, becomes mεlεḵ in Hebrew and mleḵ in Aramaic.
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    At the moment I can only think of kabid (but also kabd) “liver”
    The Hebrew word is kabed (eg Exodus 29:13, Mishnah Trumot 10:11), not segolite and therefore it is equivalent to Arabic kabid.

    So a "qatil" pattern was productive in both languages, and yet Hebrew (like most Semitic languages) preferred PS malk while Arabic preferred malik (assuming such PS word has existed). If borrowing from Aramaic is excluded, and borrowing from Akkadian or any other language is unlikely, two possible answers are: either unrelated development of malik from malk in several languages (but then: why malk and not other "qatl" words), or a peculiar development in which the less frequent PS malik won the popularity battle against malk in ancient Arabic.

    Note: using q-t-l letters to denote the 3 radicals of noun patterns is (afaik) a medieval habit of Arabic grammarian that was adopted by Hebrew grammarians and is being used (at least in Hebrew) until today.
     
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    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    The pattern faʿil does occur with some primary nouns in Arabic, but they are rare. At the moment I can only think of kabid (but also kabd) “liver”.

    Lisaan Al-'Arab also gives فخذ fakhidh, كرش karish and كذب kadhib. There is also لَبِنة labinah (plural/collective noun لَبِن). In all of these the second vowel (i) may be elided for 'ease' تخفيف, whether in Classical or vernacular Arabic. So seems to me that malik is more conservative/archaic and malk.
     
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