Semitic Languages Discussion Forums

Full Version: Assimilation of nun with no vowel
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
One of the sound changes that Hebrew has undergone over the ages is the loss of the letter nun in words where it has no vowel movement on it (ie. nun with a stop). When comparing Hebrew words to Arabic ones this becomes quite apparent, and even sometimes in the plural form in Hebrew we see the lost nun, where the nun no longer has a stop, and so it was preserved.

Some examples are:

Ar - خنزير (khunzeer)
He - חזיר (khuzeer)

Ar - أنف (anf)
He - אפ (af)

Ar - عنزة (`unzah)
He - עזה (`uzah)

Ar - بنت (bint)
He - בת (bat)

Ar - أنثى (untha)
He - אשה (isha)

Saw (carpenter's tool):
Ar - منشار (minshaar)
He - מסור (misor)

In each case there is a nun with no vowel following it, which has been excised in Hebrew (some of the Old South Arabian languages did this too, as did Ugaritic). In some of these cases, we still see the nun in the plural form (as it has a vowel on it there) like bat -> banot.

In fact something like this phenomenon is part of the Qur'anic recitation rules in certain cases, it is called nun saakin (nun with a stop), whereby the nun will be elided into the next letter, seeming to disappear. But it only occurs with certain following letters, ones which nun easily merges into.
Reference URL's