Comparative Semitic Linguistics

NELC 5111: Comparative Semitic Linguistics

The aim of this course is to familiarize the student with the basics of comparative Semitic linguistics, the current issues of comparison, the possibilities and nature of linguistic reconstruction, and the most important bibliography. Students are not expected to have any previous knowledge of a Semitic language. Moreover, the course is designed for two possible audiences: students interested in Semitic languages (perhaps with some previous knowledge of Arabic, Hebrew, or any other Semitic language); and students interested in general linguistics and historical linguistics (who may not have any familiarity whatsoever with any Semitic language). Furthermore, even for those already familiar with Semitic languages, this course will try to open a window onto other languages not commonly studied in NESA (Ancient South Arabian, Modern South Arabian, Ethiopic languages, etc.), as well as onto the more general picture of the Afroasiatic languages. At the end of the course, students will know the basic sound correspondences between some major Semitic languages, to be able to explain why some sets of words are cognates and others not, and to be familiar with the major issues of reconstruction, and the principles of linguistic classification.

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Credit Hours

Semester(s) Offered: