Linguistic position of Meroitic

Oranje

Member
English - England
I'd like to share the claim that Meroitic belongs to the Saharan language family. As far as I know, this claim has never been published before so I'm making it here.

Meroitic is the dead language of Ancient Kush, used between the 3rd century BCE to the 4th century CE.
Saharan is a language family that includes Kanuri, Teda-Daza and Zaghawa as well as the extinct language Berti. It is the second northernmost Nilo-Saharan language after Nubian. Teda of the Libyan Tibesti is the most northern Saharan language. The other languages are spoken in Sudan, Chad, Libya, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon.

The prevailing theory is that Meroitic belongs to the East Sudanic language family along with Nubian but this is undemonstrated. Other theories put it in Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Saharan in general. No theory has made the language legible.

For instance,
Meroitic sequenceEnglishSaharan cognatesTraditional Reading
cdcøCandace (Queen Mother)Kanuri – kəndu ‘to enter’
Kanuri – kənduwoma ‘a mother (of animals)’ (patient noun of “enter”)
Berti – kandi ‘vagina’
Candace
abrman, maleBerti – ɔŋ ‘person’,
Zagawa(Kube) – ɔ ‘person’ + boru ‘man’
Daza – ɔmeri ‘man’
Kanuri – am ‘people’ + bî ‘male’
man, male
dd & acenddLord (‘Akinadd’ = Lord of Acina)Teda – derde ‘paramount chief’Anthronym
mcgodcf. Berti 'God', Teda, Daza ‘spirit, demon’God or sun god
lga, certainOld Kanembu – laga
Kanembu – la’a
Kanuri - laga
Teda – laa
great
wøtrregreatZaghawa – bettî – ‘older, senior’
Berti – wuti/kuti ‘large, tall, long’
Kanuri – wetrri/kettr
unknown
yeandcf. Zaghawa, Teda, Daza, Kanembu, Kanurivocative
liweis (copula)Zagawa(Kube) – -Ri ‘is.3p’
Zagawa(Bedeyat) – -li ‘is.3p’
copula
demøsheep, ramcf. Kanuri, Kanembu, Zaghawacow
mnetirøAmun nameBerti – tirr ‘name’
Zagawa(Kube) – tɪ́r ‘name’
Daza – cur ‘name’
Kanuri – cû ‘name’
anthronym

A primer to the Meroitic language freely available online is: Karanòg : the Meroitic inscriptions of Shablul and Karanòg : Griffith, F. Ll. (Francis Llewellyn), 1862-1934 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive.

The best introduction to the language is Rilly (2007).
 
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  • Oranje

    Member
    English - England
    The script.

    Demotic.
    𐦠

    𐦡

    𐦢

    𐦣

    𐦤

    𐦥

    𐦦

    𐦧

    𐦨

    𐦩

    𐦪

    𐦫

    𐦬

    𐦭

    𐦯

    𐦱

    𐦲

    𐦳

    𐦮

    𐦴

    𐦵

    𐦶

    𐦷
    Hieroglyphic.
    𐦀

    𐦁

    𐦂

    𐦃

    𐦄

    𐦅

    𐦆

    𐦈

    𐦉

    𐦊

    𐦌

    𐦏

    𐦐

    𐦑

    𐦓

    𐦕

    𐦖

    𐦗

    𐦒

    𐦘

    𐦚

    𐦜

    𐦝
    Traditional transcription.
    a

    e

    i

    o

    y

    w

    b

    p

    m

    n

    ne

    r

    l



    s

    se

    k

    q



    t

    te

    to
    d
    Actual value.
    a

    ø

    e

    i

    y

    w

    b

    f

    m

    n


    r

    l

    j

    s


    c

    k

    g

    t


    ti
    d

    As you can see, Meroitic's four velar consonants conceals a palatal place of articulation. This is transcribed inconsistently in Egyptian transcriptions of Meroitic.

    I compiled this real quick: Meroitic Research Guidance 2019.
    Meroitic Research Guidance 2019 - AnonPaste.co - Encrypted Paste Tool
     
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