As in other cases of language shift, many traditional agricultural tools and practices in Palestinian Arabic are referred to by Hebrew and Aramaic substrate words. Studies dedicated to their identification face two challenges. The first relates to the methodology of substrate words’ identification which is particularly acute if the supplanting and the supplanted languages are genetically related, as in the case of the Hebrew → Aramaic → Palestinian Arabic linguistic continuum in the Holy Land. The second challenge requires linguists to have a deep understanding of the traditional agricultural world to which numerous substrate words belong. The detection, identification, and analysis of substrate words in Palestinian Arabic are still far from being complete. Based on a multidisciplinary approach and solid criteria for identifying substrate words developed in my PhD, the project aims to identify and visualize substrate words in Palestinian Arabic from both linguistic and ethno-material perspectives. ‘Hebrew and Aramaic Lexical Substrate of Palestinian Arabic’ (HALSPA) will be based on Gustaf Dalman’s monumental Arbeit und Sitte in Palästina, an extensive description of pre-modern Palestinian agricultural life and customs. It will feature two parts: I. an Etymological Dictionary; II. an Annotated Pictorial Atlas. The Dictionary will encompass circa 100 roots organized alphabetically and include etymological references from Palestinian Arabic and adjacent Arabic dialects, various forms of Aramaic (old and new) and, where applicable, Biblical and Rabbinic Hebrew. The Pictorial Atlas will be organized by basic semantic fields of substrate words linked to the traditional agricultural world. Identification of substrate words in Palestinian Arabic is of value to multiple disciplines. HALSPA is meant to become a standard reference for broad audiences: Semitic linguists, scholars of the Bible and the Talmud, archaeologists, and researchers of Middle Eastern material culture.
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