New Latin Grammar by Greenough et al (eds)

By Greenough et al (eds)

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This distinction is certainly not consistently made in allegro speech, but is often encountered and can certainly be exploited for the purposes of semantic disambiguation. phonetics and phonology 35 pinidos ‘cobbler’ (cf. pl. pinidoze) qačax ‘smuggler’ (cf. pl. 8 Emphasis and Emphatics The Semitic languages are, as a whole, characterised by a series of consonants which are generally referred to as “emphatics”. The name seems to be relatively well established in the parlance of Semiticists and linguists in general, despite the fact that it is a rather vague coverterm for a number of phenomena.

36 chapter one from one another solely by emphasis. In some cases, there seems to be no diachronic reason for one item of a pair to have undergone emphaticisation of some of its historically non-emphatic consonants. This is the case in pairs such as: ṃ ḷele ‘he filled’ : mlele ‘it sufficed’ In such pairs, it seems that the potential for emphaticisation has been seized upon by the language and exploited to mark semantic distinctions. The choice of which item of a pair is to be emphasised seems to be essentially arbitrary.

This is not a regular process, however. Compare ʾәṣṛa ‘ten’ and ʾәsri ‘twenty’. Emphatic pronunciation is not limited to those consonants which could be emphatic in OA, or even to those which could be emphatic in other varieties of Semitic. In general, historically emphatic segments are necessary within a word in order to stimulate the production of the new emphatic consonants. However, the presence of one or more liquid consonants /l/, /r/, /m/ or /n/ and sometimes the labials /b/ and /p/, or even the semi-vowel /w/ may also trigger emphasis.

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