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The Safaitic Dictionary is complete! @LanguagePy and I have just submitted it to @Brill for publication! With +1500 words (and that’s a lot for an epigraphic language), I wondered if we could translate the #Bible into this ancient form of Arabic. This is Judges 1:1-4 in #Safaitic
I chose the Book of Judges because it is thematically close to the Safaitic inscriptions. For this short translation, I only used attested words and grammatical constructions. The pronunciation is based on transcriptions of the language in Greek and comparative Semitics.
Judges 1
1) wa-baʕda mawt yehusūʕ, saʔalat banū yeśraʔel haʔ-ʔelāha qāyelīna: man yeʕlay beʕadnā ʕal-hak-kanʕāneyy pha-yoḥārebahom

2)wa-qawola haʔ-ʔelāh phal-yeʕla yahūdat ʔinnī wahabt haʔ-ʔarṣ́a bayna yadayh
3) wa-qawola yadūdat le-semʕān ʔaḫīh ʕalāy maʕī be-ḫalīqatī pha-noḥāreba hak-kanʕāneyya wa-ʔayṣ́a ʔanā maʕ-ak be-ḫalīqatak fa-ʕalaya maʕoh semʕān

4) wa-ʕalaya yahūdat wa-wahaba haʔ-ʔelāh hak-kanʕāneyya wa-hap-parezzeyya be-yaday-hom wa-qatalūhom be-bazq ʕeśrīna ʔalfa ragol
This should be almost completely intelligible to any Arabic speaker today, but with some important differences in grammar and phonology.
1) In Old Arabic ‘hollow’ roots conjugate as strong verbs, so Safaitic qawola vs. Classical Arabic qāla ‘he said’.
2) the most common definite article in these inscriptions is ha-, although ʾa- and ʾal- are attested. I have chosen to go with ha- based on its frequency. But you can see how a different pronunciation of the article is no barrier to understanding.
3) Safaitic often uses the infinitive (maṣdar) in place of the imperative, hence my translation of Hebrew עֲלֵה with ʕalāy ‘come up!’. This construction is preserved in many modern Arabic dialects, for example qawām! ‘get moving’, the old infinitive of qāma ‘to stand’
4) Verbs ending with the root y and w are also strong, so Safaitic ʕalaya versus Classical Arabic ʕalā 'to go up'.
5) Safaitic pronounces the feminine ending as /t/ in all environments – there is no ta marbuta. And so I have Old-Arabicized יְהוּדָה as yahūdat.
6) The construction fa + subjunctive is a common way to introduce modal clauses (result, purpose, etc.), hence pha-noḥāreba ‘that we may fight against’.
7) The ḍād of Safaitic was likely pronounced [ɬˁ], hence ʔayṣ́a as the equivalent of Classical Arabic ʔayḍan.
Here is the Hebrew original and English translation: mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0701.htm
To sample our dictionary, see this link: academia.edu/38191493/Al-Ja…. We will let you know when it is released!
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