Cool! 8) Not that I intend to get into Akkadian anytime soon (Hebrew, Arabic and Amharic are enough Semitic languages to know/learn
) but it's interesting to know, for instance, that Akkadian too had case-endings - in fact, almost identical to those of Standard Arabic. Hebrew has none whatsoever, and Amharic only has an accusative mark -n which in Arabic indicates definiteness... So it seemed to me peculiar to Arabic.
No, it marks in
definiteness. The definite article in Arabic is, of course, al-
It's funny though how the grammars seem "German" in attitude
giving Nominative, Accusative, Genitive and even "Dative" case-forms for pronouns, for example. I hope the following note would be more helpful than confusing: Semitic languages (at least those I know a bit of) don't really decline pronouns, but rather attach them to prepositions. Thus "to me" in Hebrew is the just the preposition "lə" + pronominal suffix "-i" = "li"
In Amharic it's "lä" + "əne" = "läne", using the full pronoun.
Well, to be fair Arabic (and Proto-Semitic, possibly some other older Semitic languages like Ugaritic or something) had those three cases. The Semitic languages don't have a true dative though, you're right about that. Those are just clitics.
AFAIK, Classical Arabic is the only member of the family that has preserved the case system of PS. Even MSA hardly ever uses it except the indefinite accusative marker -an
is still written with an alif and in some contexts pronounced that way (in some words it's frozen, like ahlan