Greg Morrow (drelmo) wrote,
Greg Morrow

A Dangerous Amount of Knowledge

Heh. Knowing only the tiniest amounts of information about Semitic morphology still opens huge portals for comprehension.

Semitic languages have (canonically) roots made up of three consonants, fleshed out into words by the application of a template. Islam, muslim, and salaam all have the same triconsonantal root s-l-m (approximately "peace"), with different templates applied.

So when checking out the Amalekites, I become primed to look for a triconsonantal root, ?m-l-k. Later, there's a reference to Arabic imlaq, "giant".

Say. I know what that is.

That's m-l-q (k being a perfectly unsurprising Anglicized transliteration of the voiceless velar fricative q), plus the i__a_ template from Islam.

Hmm. The article transliterates it as an a-macron, actually. Cross-check: Yes; in Arabic, the a in Islam is also long.

So probably m-l-q means something along the lines of "large", and there's probably a template which looks something like a_a_e_, of meaning to be determined. And probably a Hebrew place name along the lines of "Ashalem" (since Ar. s-l-m is ModH sh-l-m). Hmm.

That's pretty cool, I think. Once you know to look for triconsonantal roots and templates, they're easy to spot even when there's a paucity of input data.

... I should look for a Semitic language that uses the Roman alphabet. I could learn that sucker in no time.
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