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The specificity of the Dahalik language within the Afro-Semitic Languages

Abstract : The Dahalik language is the mother-tongue of the majority of the 2500 inhabitants on three islands in the Dahlak archipelago, in the Red sea off Massawa, in Eritrea. It has been listed for the first time at the end of 1996, and its description began only in 2001. On the three islands, Dahalik is in contact with Arabic, another Semitic language, and on two of them it is also in contact with Afar, a Cushitic language. Nowadays, only some islanders have regular contacts with the Tigre-speaking area on the mainland. Contact with Tigrinya is relatively limited. The Dahalik language can be considered as endangered. It is changing very fast because of these contacts and further contacts with both banks of the Red sea. After a brief presentation of some Dahalik characteristics proving the relationship to the Northern South-Semitic, I focus on the verb system. Indeed the study of the verb system and its development shows original features, specific to Dahalik, together with similitarities with other languages of the same sub-group. The aim of this presentation is to enlighten the morphogenesis of the verbal system of a language about which nothing was known up to 1996, and many aspects of which remain unexplored
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Contributor : Marie-Claude Simeone-Senelle <>
Submitted on : Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 4:24:33 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, March 28, 2020 - 2:24:26 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00642971, version 1



Marie-Claude Simeone-Senelle. The specificity of the Dahalik language within the Afro-Semitic Languages. Hisrory and Languages of the Tigre speaking peoples. Studi Africanistici. Serie Etiopica 7., 2010, 7, pp.127-145. ⟨halshs-00642971⟩



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