New sources for the study of North-Yemenite Arabic: Beit Ha-'Even ('the house of stone') and Sefer Ha-Ma'aśim ('the book of tales') A. Ben-David

Ori Shachmon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

A series of unique books, published in the years 2008-10 by a private publisher in Qiryat 'Eqron, describe episodes of Jewish life in the northern province of Yemen during the first half of the twentieth century. These books constitute a rare source for the study of the cultural, social, religious and linguistic world of this community, the members of which have meanwhile emigrated from Yemen, predominantly to Israel. The author, Rabbi Dr Aharon Ben-David, uses multilayered Hebrew, into which he interweaves whole sections in the Arabic dialect which was spoken by the Jews while in Yemen, and which in many cases continues to serve as a means of communication among community members after their immigration to Israel as well. The Arabic sections appear in the books in vocalized Hebrew characters, using a unique transcription method developed by the author. These texts form a rich and rare source for the study of a Judaeo-Arabic dialect, which is doomed to disappear within the coming years. This paper describes the main characteristics of the transcription used in these books, as the anomalous use of hātēp-patah, the qāmes, šûreq and qibbûs, dāgēš and and other dots inside letters, as well as the marking of vocalic Anlauts. I shall also discuss a few instances of component merger in speech, which become apparent by virtue of the unique transcription.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)113-135
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Semitic Studies
Volume62
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the University of Manchester. All rights reserved.

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