In the earliest attested stage of the Akkadian language, relative clauses were introduced by a pronoun which agreed in case with the head noun in the main clause, rather than with the relativized NP in the relative clause. Such a system is extremely rare across languages, is demonstrably dysfunctional, and has been termed ‘inherently disfavoured’. This article attempts to explain how Akkadian acquired this rogue relative construction, and how the language then managed to get rid of it. I argue that this construction was only an unstable way-station in the emergence of a new relative clause in the language. The final section of the article examines the few parallels from other languages to the Old Akkadian system.
2018. The origin of the Semitic relative marker. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 81:2 ► pp. 191 ff.
Winter, Bodo & Andy Wedel
2016. Commentary: Desiccation and tone within linguistic theory and language contact research. Journal of Language Evolution 1:1 ► pp. 80 ff.
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