The interrogative element *ʾayy- in Semitic

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The Semitic interrogative pro-word system includes the element 'ayy-. This element is compatible with different entity types, its functional range across the languages greatly varies, as an interrogative with nominal and/or several adverbial meanings, and it also occurs as a bare form. The pertinent linguistic literature identifies it as an interrogative formative which conveys an interrogative force to adverbs and pronouns. For this idea to be adopted, a principle is devised which accounts for this formal and functional variety of the element 'ayy-, based on comparative Semitic data. The component 'ayy- turns out to be a general constitutent-question marker that is applied to diverse semantic domains (choice/type/quality [~which], time, manner, locative, ablative and allative) to form the corresponding interrogative pro-words.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-342
Number of pages16
JournalZeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019


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