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Syria

(4,749 words)

Author(s): Peter Behnstedt
  1. Arabic and minority languages In addition to Arabic, the following languages (in order of number of speakers) are spoken in Syria (see Map 1). Kurdish is spoken on the northern border with Turkey, the main areas being to the northwest of Aleppo and in the northeast in the Qāmišli area. Approximately one hundred thousand Kurds from Turkey live in northeastern Syria. Most linguistic maps used in connection with the Kurdish problem are not exact and ascribe too large an areal distribution to Kurdish (cf. the map in Behnstedt 1992a for northeastern Syria). Turkish…
Date: 2018-04-01

Dialect Geography

(4,952 words)

Author(s): Peter Behnstedt
1. Introduction The Arabic-speaking area is dialectally fragmented, as only few other speech areas are, and many a region remains a terra incognita. This shortcoming is a result of the geographical aspect on one hand: not all localities and regions have been investigated to the same extent. Thus, Khurasan Arabic was discovered only recently (Seeger 2002; Afghanistan Arabic). On the other hand, the data are heterogeneous as for size, quality, and moment of investigation. This can be explained by the fact that Arabic dialectology is rather a secondary discipline of Arabic or Sem…
Date: 2018-04-01

Coptic Loanwords

(2,997 words)

Author(s): Peter Behnstedt
1. Coptic substratum If substratal influence is understood as “imperfect group learning during a process of language shift” (Thomason and Kaufman 1988:38), it has to be dealt with separately from ‘ loanwords’ which are simply ‘ borrowings’ (Thomason and Kaufman 1988:20ff.). On the phonological level, there is no evidence for Coptic substratal influence. It is true that in all Egyptian Arabic dialects the interdentals have merged with plosives, a phenomenon to be observed on a large geographical scale in other areas with a non-Arabic substratum population (m…
Date: 2018-04-01