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Historical Linguistics talk – Miller-Naudé & Naudé
April 4, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Trajectories of Diachronic Change in Qumran Hebrew: Evidence from the Negative Existential in Post-Predicate Position
Cynthia L. Miller-Naudé and Jacobus A. Naudé, University of the Free State, South Africa
The trajectory of diachronic change from Biblical Hebrew to Qumran Hebrew has been questioned in recent years, with arguments set forth that the differences between the Hebrew of the Bible and that found in the Qumran texts relate to synchronic rather than diachronic variation (Young, Rezetko and Ehrensvärd 2008, Rezetko and Young 2014). In previous studies, we have demonstrated that Qumran Hebrew has syntactic constructions that attest to language change and diffusion from Biblical Hebrew (Naudé 2000a, 2000b, 2003, 2012, Naudé and Miller-Naudé 2015, 2016a, 2016b; Naudé, Miller-Naudé and Wilson forthcoming). In this paper we provide additional evidence for a trajectory of language change by examining the word order of the negative existential ʾên within the broader context of the Negative Existential Cycle, a cross-linguistically identified trajectory (Croft 1991, Van Gelderen 2011, 2016, Veselinova 2016). We demonstrate that the same diachronic changes seen in the non-biblical Qumran texts are often also reflected in subtle editorial revisions in the biblical Qumran texts.