Razihi language

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Razihi
Jabal Razih
Native to Yemen
Native speakers
62,900 (2004)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 rzh
Glottolog jaba1234[2]

Razihi (Rāziḥī) is a South Semitic language spoken by at least 62,900 people in the vicinity of Mount Razih (Jabal Razih) in the far northwestern corner of Yemen.[3] It is the only surviving descendent of the Old South Arabian languages.[2]

Speakers[edit]

Razihi is spoken on Jabal Razih, a mountain lying west of the town Sa'dah, whose highest summit, Jabal Hurum, is 2,790 m (9,150 ft) high. The population of Jabal Razih was approximately 25,000 in the 1970s and is estimated to be much more now.[4] The number of Razihi speakers is reported by Ethnologue to have been 62,900 in 2004.[5]

Phonology[edit]

Razihi exhibits wide-scale assimilation of coronal consonants in words. That, unlike in Arabic, is not restricted to obstruents but includes sonorants, most significantly /n/,[6] as can be seen in words such as ssān "man" and ssānah, "woman", which are cognate words of Arabic insān "person". Nasal consonant assimilation was a feature of both Ancient North Arabian and Old South Arabian but is not found in any Arabic dialect. Razihi also has a large number of non-Arabic basic vocabulary items, prepositions and other grammatical forms.[3]

In contrast to Yemeni Arabic dialects, Razihi does not ever allow word-final consonant clusters (-CC).[6]

Syncope, or the removal, of the high vowels /i/ and /u/ is a common phenomenon in Razihi:

  • wāḥdah – 'one f.' (/wāḥid + ah/)
  • wiṣlū – 'they m. arrived' (/wiṣil + ū/)
  • gibẓūhim – 'they m. seized them m.' (/gibiẓ + ū + him/)[6]

In Classical Arabic:

  • š corresponds to Razihi /ɬ/ and its emphatic correlate.
  • ḍ corresponds to general Yemeni /ð/ in recent words but /tɬ/ in older words.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Razihi at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. ^ a b Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Jabal Razih". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ a b c Watson, Glover-Stalls, Al-razihi, & Weir (2006), "The language of Jabal Rāziḥ: Arabic or something else?", Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 36:35–41
  4. ^ Edzard, Lutz; Retsö, Jan (2006). Current Issues in the Analysis of Semitic Grammar and Lexicon II: Oslo-Göteborg Cooperation 4th-5th November 2005. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 40. ISBN 9783447054416. 
  5. ^ "Rāziḥī". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  6. ^ a b c Edzard, Lutz; Retsö, Jan (2006). Current Issues in the Analysis of Semitic Grammar and Lexicon II: Oslo-Göteborg Cooperation 4th-5th November 2005. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 44. ISBN 9783447054416.