A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Souag on a Possible Mehri Loanword in Berber

More vacation posts are coming soon. Meanwhile,  I wanted to point you to another interesting post by linguist Lameen Souag: "A South Arabian loan into Libyan Berber?"  You'll recall that I posted a while back about the surviving non-Arabic South Arabian languages ("The Endangered South Aranisn Languages of Oman and Yemen") including Mehri. After previously debunking myths that Berber and Mehri are related and that Berber is descended from Arabic, he now finds an apparent example of a Mehri loanword in Libyan Zuwara Berber. Coincidence or actual borrowing? Both languages belong to the greater Afro-Asiatic language family, but to quite distinct subfamilies (Berber and South Semitic).

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