n Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages - An anomalous form of Northwest semitic apposition and its ancient near Eastern context

Volume 41, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-0131


Due to the inherent ambiguity of Northwest Semitic syntax with certain morphological collocations, it is often difficult to discern between apposition and a genitive construction. One such construction, marked by the intermittent usage of the generic word for "man" ( שּאּ ) before both occupational and gentilic terms is especially difficult to categorize syntactically. The Northwest Semitic evidence does not correlate with traditional appositional categories and engenders awkward readings that defy superficial explication. Since no comprehensive study of these pleonastic syntactical constructions has yet appeared, this essay surveys the Northwest Semitic evidence, highlighting their conceptual and grammatical affinities, before positing an overarching explanation for their idiosyncrasy grounded in a phenomenon of linguistic convergence known from Canaanite Akkadian.

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