Punic language

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Punic language
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Dabarīm Pōnnim| altname = CanaaniteTunisia, Morocco, and coastal parts of Algeria, southern Iberian Peninsula>Iberia, Libya, Malta, western Sicily| era = {{circa}} 1150 BC to AD 800| familycolor = Afro-AsiaticSemitic languages>SemiticWest Semitic languages>West SemiticCentral Semitic languages>Central SemiticNorthwest Semitic languages>Northwest SemiticCanaanite languages>CanaanitePhoenician language>PhoenicianPhoenician language>Phoenician| iso3 = xpu| linglist = xpu| glotto = puni1241| glottorefname = Punic| glotto2 = neop1239| glottoname2 = Neo-Punic}}{{Contains special characters| special = Phoenician characters| fix = Help:Multilingual supportSpecials (Unicode block)#Replacement character>question marks, empty boxes, or other symbols| characters = the intended characters| image = Phoenician mem.svg| alt = Phoenician character mem| link = Specials (Unicode block)#Replacement character| section = article| compact = }}The Punic language, also called CanaaniteBOOK,weblink Bilingualism and the Latin Language, James Noel, Adams, Cambridge University Press, 2008, 978-0-5217-3151-5, or Phoenicio-Punic, is an extinct variety of the Phoenician language, a Canaanite language of the Semitic family. It was spoken in Northwest Africa and several Mediterranean islands by the Punic peoplethroughout Classical antiquity, from the 12th century BC to the 5th century AD.BOOK,weblink The Phoenicians, Moscati, Sabatino, 2001, I.B.Tauris, 9781850435334, 200, en, BOOK,weblink L'Histoire des marques depuis l'antiquité jusqu'au moyen âge, Palma, Salvatore Di, 2014-11-18, Société des Ecrivains, 9782342031201, 139, fr, BOOK,weblink Historie de lA̕frique du Nord, Jouhaud, Edmond Jules René, 1968, Éditions des Deux Cogs dÓr, 22, fr, BOOK,weblink L'Afrique du Nord au féminin, Camps, Gabriel, 2015-10-09, Perrin (réédition numérique FeniXX), 9782262057435, 45, fr, BOOK,weblink Politische Geschichte (Provinzen und Randvölker: Allgemeines; Britannien, Hispanien, Gallien), Temporini, Hildegard, 2016-09-26, Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 9783110882070, 664, fr, BOOK,weblink Report on the Phœnician and Roman Antiquities in the Group of the Islands of Malta, Caruana, A. A., 1852, U.S. Government Printing Office, 50, en,


The Punics stayed in contact with Phoenicia until the destruction of Carthage by the Roman Republic in 146 BC. At first, there was not much difference between Phoenician and Punic, but as time went on Punic began to become influenced less by Phoenicia and more by the Berber languages spoken in and around Carthage by the ancient Libyans.The term Neo-Punic is used in two senses: One pertaining to the Phoenician alphabet and the other to the language itself. In the present context, Neo-Punic refers to the dialect of Punic spoken after the fall of Carthage and after the Roman conquest of the former Punic territories in 146 BC. The dialect differed from the earlier Punic language, as is evident from divergent spelling compared to earlier Punic and by the use of non-Semitic names, mostly of Libyco-Berber origin. The difference was due to the dialectal changes that Punic underwent as it spread among the North-African peoples.BOOK,weblink Late Punic Epigraphy: An Introduction to the Study of Neo-Punic and Latino-Punic Inscriptions, Karel, Jongeling, Robert M., Kerr, Mohr Siebeck, 2005, 978-3-1614-8728-6, Neo-Punic works include Lepcis Magna N 19 (92 AD).By around the fourth century AD, Punic was still spoken in what is now Tunisia, other parts of Northwest Africa, and the Mediterranean. The Neo-Punic alphabet also descended from the Punic language. By around 400, the first meaning of Punic was used mainly for monumental inscriptions, replaced by the cursive Neo-Punic alphabet elsewhere.WEB,weblink Punic, Omniglot, 25 October 2015, Examples of Punic literary works cover the topic of Mago, a Punic general with great notoriety, who spread Carthage's influence as much through writing books as he did fighting. Mago wrote 28 volumes about animal husbandry.The Roman Senate appreciated the works so much that after taking Carthage, they presented them to Berber princes who owned libraries there. Mago's work was translated into Greek by Cassius Dionysius of Utica. The Latin version was probably translated from the Greek version. Further examples of Punic works of literature include the works of Hanno the Navigator, who wrote about his encounters during his naval voyages around Africa and about the settling of new colonies.HTTP://HISTORY-WORLD.ORG/CARTHAGE,%20A%20HISTORY%201.HTM, Ancient Carthage, Rollin, Charles, A third version of Punic would be Latino-Punic, a Punic written in the Latin alphabet, but all of the spellings favoured the Northwest African pronunciation. Latino-Punic was spoken until the 3rd and the 4th centuries and was recorded in seventy recovered texts. The surprising survival of Punic under Roman rule was because the people speaking it did not have much contact with Rome, and so did not need to learn Latin.{{cn|date=February 2018}}Latino-Punic texts include the 1st-century Zliten LP1, or the second-century Lepcis Magna LP1.{{clarify |date=July 2015}} They were even written as late as the 4th century, Bir ed-Dreder LP2. Classical sources such as Strabo (63/4 BC – AD 24), mention the Phoenician conquest of Libya.There is evidence that every form of Punic changed after 146 BC according to Sallust (86 – 34 BC), who claims Punic was "altered by their intermarriages with the Numidians". That account agrees with other evidence found to suggest a North-African influence on Punic, such as Libyco-Berber names in the Onomasticon of Eusebius.{{ambiguous |date=October 2015}} The last known testimony reporting Punic as a living language is that of Augustine of Hippo (d. 430).Today there are a number of common Berber roots that descend from Punic, including the word for "learn" (*almid, *yulmad; compare Hebrew (wikt:למד|למד)).Blažek, Václav (2014), "Phoenician/Punic Loans in Berber Languages and Their Role in Chronology of Berber", Folia Orientalia, Vol. 51, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.


Punic is known from inscriptions (most of them religious formulae) and personal name evidence. The play Poenulus by Plautus contains a few lines of vernacular Punic which have been subject to some research because unlike inscriptions, they largely preserve the vowels.BOOK, Les passages puniques en transcription latine dans le Poenulus de Plaute, The Punic passages in Latin transcription in Poenulus by Plautus, Sznycer, Maurice, Maurice Sznycer, 1967, Paris, Augustine of Hippo is generally considered the last major ancient writer to have some knowledge of Punic and is considered the "primary source on the survival of [late] Punic". According to him, Punic was still spoken in his region (Northern Africa) in the 5th century, centuries after the fall of Carthage, and there were still people who called themselves "chanani" (Canaanite: Carthaginian) at that time.{{rp|4}} He wrote around 401:And if the Punic language is rejected by you, you virtually deny what has been admitted by most learned men, that many things have been wisely preserved from oblivion in books written in the Punic tongue. Nay, you ought even to be ashamed of having been born in the country in which the cradle of this language is still warm.AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO, Epistola 17, Letter 17,weblink Franco, Monteverde, Augustine of Hippo, }}Besides Augustine, the only proof of Punic-speaking communities at such a late period is a series of trilingual funerary texts found in the Christian catacombs of Sirte, Libya: the gravestones are carved in Ancient Greek, Latin and Punic. It may have even survived the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, as the geographer al-Bakri describes a people speaking a language that was not Berber, Latin or Coptic in Sirte,WEB,weblink Did Punic Survive Until the Advent of Arabic? Part 4: The Post-Augustine Evidence, Dunn, Michael Collins, 2013-07-30, MEI Editor's Blog, 2019-08-30, where spoken Punic survived well past written use.WEB,weblink Latino-Punic texts from North Africa, Karel, Jongeling, Dept of Comparative Linguistics, Leiden University,weblink" title="">weblink 9 November 2005, However, it is likely that Arabization of the Punics was facilitated by their language belonging to the same group (both were Semitic languages) as that of the conquerors and so they had many grammatical and lexical similarities.{{rp|71}}The idea that Punic was the origin of Maltese was first raised in 1565.WEB, L-Istorja tal-Ilsien Malti, The History of the Maltese language,weblink Mario, Cassar, Akkademja tal-Malti, Maltese, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2015-09-23, Modern linguistics has proved that Maltese is in fact derived from Arabic, probably Siculo-Arabic specifically, with a large number of loanwords from Italian.BOOK, Aspects of Multilingualism in European Language History, Vella, Alexandra, Kurt, Braunmüller, Gisella, Ferraresi, Hamburg Studies on Multiculturalism, 2004, John Benjamins Publishing Company, 978-90-272-1922-0, 263, Language contact and Maltese intonation: Some parallels with other language varieties, However, Punic was indeed spoken on the island of Malta at some point in its history, as evidenced by both the Cippi of Melqart, which is integral to the decipherment of Punic after its extinction, and other inscriptions that were found on the islands. Punic itself, being Canaanite, was more similar to Modern Hebrew than to Arabic.Like its Phoenician parent, Punic was written from right to left, in horizontal lines, without vowels.


Punic has 22 consonants.BOOK, A Grammar of Phoenician and Punic, Stanislav, Segert, 1976, Munich, Beck, 978-3-406-00724-8, {| class="wikitable"! colspan="2" | Orthography! | Name! | Transliteration! | Pronunciation! | Notes------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Aleph)Phnx|𐤀}}Aleph>ʾalp {{nowrap|later ʾalf}}ʾ}}ʔ}} Sometimes also used for the indication of vowels.------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Beth)Phnx|𐤁}}Bet (letter)>Bēt| bb}}| ------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Gimel)Phnx|𐤂}}Gimel>Gaml| gg}}| ------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Daleth)Phnx|𐤃}}Dalet>Dalt| dd}}| ------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|He)Phnx|𐤄}}He (letter)>He| hh}} Under Roman influence often elided but was still pronounced in certain Carthaginian words.------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Waw)Phnx|𐤅}}Waw (letter)>Waw {{nowrap|}}| ww}} Sometimes also used for the indication of the vowel "u".------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Zayin)Phnx|𐤆}}Zayin>Zēn| zd͡z}} In a few names attested as "sd", like in Hasdrubal for "ʿazrubaʿl", "esde" for ("this", used in some Punic dialects), but most texts show a simple "s": "syt" for ("this", in Late Punic)------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Heth)
| {{script|Phnx|𐤇}}
Heth>Ḥet| ḥx}} Seldom used as a vowel for "a, e, i, o, u", the sound of Het was weakened, and words written usually with it were often instead written with the letter Alf in Late Punic inscriptions.------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Teth)Phnx|𐤈}}Teth>Ṭet| ṭt}}| ------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Yodh)Phnx|𐤉}}Yodh>Yod| yj}} Sometimes also used for the indication of the vowel "i" but mostly in foreign names.------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Kaph) {{script𐤊}}Kaph>Kap | kk}} Some words in Latin transliterations, which ended with final Kof, show a spirantization as {{IPAblink|χ}}, written indicated by "h" instead of the usual "ch".------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Lamedh)Phnx|𐤋}}Lamedh>Lamd| ll}}| ------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Mem)Phnx|𐤌}}Mem>Mēm| mm}}| ------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Nun)Phnx|𐤍}}Nun (letter)>Nūn| nn}}| ------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Samekh)Phnx|𐤎}}Samekh>Semk| ss}}| ------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Ayin)Phnx|𐤏}}Ayin>ʿēn ʿ}}ʕ}} Often used for the vowel "a" and "o" in late Punic, mostly for foreign Latin names.------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Pe)Phnx|𐤐}}Pe (Semitic letter)>Pi {{nowrap|later Fi}}| pfp}}{{IPAslink|f}} In Late Punic and in Late Phoenician, {{angle bracketp}}) underwent a fricativization to {{angle bracketf}}) in the 3rd century BC.------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Sadek)Phnx|𐤑}}| Tsade| ṣ/t͡s/}} Attested as "ts" mostly as "s" in Latin and Ancient Greek and Hittite language, Lydian language>Lydian and Etruscan texts. Attested in some Latin texts as "st".------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Qoph)Phnx|𐤒}}Qoph>Qop {{nowrap|later Qof}}| qq}}| ------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Res)Phnx|𐤓}}Resh>Rūš| rr}}| ------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Sin)Phnx|𐤔}}Shin (letter)>Shin| šʃ}}| ------------------------------------------- style="text-align:center;"20px|Taw)Phnx|𐤕}}| Taw| tθ}}|


Act V of Poenulus opens with Hanno speaking in Punic, his native language. The language of the next few lines (italicized) is uncertain but is believed to be "Lybic" {{sic}} (likely a misspelling of Libyc, a reference to one of the Berber languages) or Hebrew, if not Punic. Plautus then provides a Latin translation of the preceding lines:WEB, Riley, Henry Thomas,weblink The Comedies of Plautus, Perseus Project, Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University,
WEB,weblink Plautus, Poenulus, The Latin Library, An English translation is as follows:I worship the gods and goddesses who preside over this city, that I may have come hither with good omen as to this business of mine, on which I have come; and, ye gods, lend me your aid, that you may permit me to find my daughters and the son of my cousin; those who were stolen away from me, and his son from my cousin. But here lived formerly my guest Antidamas. They say that he has done that which he was doomed to do. They say that his son Agorastocles lives here. To him am I carrying with me this token of hospitality. He has been pointed as living in this neighbourhood. I'll make enquiry of these who are coming hither out of doors.As a latin transliteration, the text recorded necessarily departs from the original Punic speech. In addition, the "unknown" text differs in different manuscript sources, with the P ("Palatine") script showing some words being split out and some mis-interpretations.BOOK, Schröder, Paul, Die phönizische Sprache: Entwurf einer Grammatik nebst Sprach- und Schriftproben : mit einem Anhang enthaltend eine Erklärung der punischen Stellen im Pönulus des Plautus, 1869, Verlag der Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses, 287,weblink de, The "unknown" text used here is from the A (Ambrosian Palimpsest) family; both families have lost small chunks of text over time. Some efforts have been made to, among other things, fill in the redactions in the "unknown language" part and to properly split the morphemes. The close mirroring between lines 930-931a/940 and lines 937/947 (underlined above) appear to suggest that the "unknown language" text is also Punic. It is usually assumed that the more corrupted "unknown" form is earlier.JOURNAL, Krahmalkov, Charles R., Observations on the Punic Monologues of Hanno in the "Poenulus", Orientalia, 1988, 57, 1, 55–66, 0030-5367, 43075544, JOURNAL, Gratwick, A. S., Hanno's Punic Speech in the Poenulus of Plautus, Hermes, 1971, 99, 1, 25–45, 0018-0777, 4475664, JOURNAL, Rosół, Rafał, Zum Monolog Des Hanno Im Plautinischen Poenulus (V. 930-960), Hermes, 2012, 140, 1, 89–95,weblink Some punic phrases known in the text include:
  • 930-931a/940: . The "z" () comes from an "esse" kept in the P version. "mucom" in 949 is also MQM.
  • 937/947: . Same "esse".
  • "duber" in 940-949: Semitic root DBR "read". "fel": Semitic root P'L "do".


{{Reflist}}{hide}Library resources box |by=no |onlinebooks=yes |others=yes |about=yes |label=Punic language
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Further reading

  • Hoftijzer, Jacob, and Karel Jongeling. 1985. Dictionary of the north-west Semitic inscriptions. With appendices by R. C. Steiner, A. Mosak-Moshavi, and B. Porten. 2 vols. Handbuch der Orienatlistik, Erste Abteilung: Der Nahe und Mittlere Osten 2. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.
  • Jongeling, K. 2008. Handbook of Neo-Punic Inscriptions. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
  • Jongeling, K., and Robert M Kerr. 2005. Late Punic Epigraphy: An Introduction to the Study of Neo-Punic and Latino-Punic Inscriptions. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
  • Kerr, Robert M. 2010. Latino-Punic Epigraphy: A Descriptive Study of the Inscriptions. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
  • Krahmalkov, Charles. 1970. "Studies in Phoenician and Punic Grammar." Journal of Semitic Studies 15, no.2: 181–88.
  • --. 2000. Phoenician-Punic dictionary. Studia Phoenicia 15. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters.
  • --. 2001. A Phoenician-Punic grammar. Handbook of Oriental Studies: Section One, the Near East and the Middle East 54. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.
  • Schmitz, Philip C. "Phoenician-Punic Grammar and Lexicography in the New Millennium." Journal of the American Oriental Society 124, no. 3 (2004): 533-47. doi:10.2307/4132279.
  • Segert, Stanislav. 1976. A Grammar of Phoenician and Punic. München: C.H. Beck.
  • --. 2003. "Phoenician-punic: Grammar and dictionary." Archív Orientální 71. no. 4: 551–56.
  • Tomback, Richard S. 1978. A comparative Semitic lexicon of the Phoenician and Punic languages. Missoula, MT: Scholars.

External links

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