Page:Compendious Syriac Grammar.djvu/50

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§§ 18. 19.
— 12 —

Syrians employ in this case partly ◌̄, partly ◌̱ especially in more recent times; and this use of the linea occultans is followed in the most of our impressions. But commonly in MSS. such a sign is altogether wanting.[1]

In contrast with the use of the upper line ◌̄, the under line ◌̱ is made use of, especially with the Nestorians, to denote a fuller vocalisation, that is to say when a vowel is inserted in order to avoid harshness, e. g. ܚܸܟ̱ܡܬ݂ܵܐ = ܚܶܟ̱ܡܬ݂ܳܐ for ܚܶܟܡܬ݂ܰܐ "wisdom" (§ 52 C) &c. So also ܢܸܫܐ̱ܠܘܼܢ = ܢܷܫܐܷܠܘܽܢ for נֶשְׁאֱלוּן they ask (§ 34).



Interpunctuation. § 18. The oldest interpunctuation, which is frequently retained even in later times, consists of a single strongly marked point ܁ after larger or smaller divisions of the sentence, for which, in the case of large paragraphs, a stronger sign ܀, or the like, appears. But even in very ancient manuscripts a system of interpunctuation is found, of a more or less formed character. Later, alongside of the chief point ܦܴܣܘܿܩܳܐ (ܡܠܟܐ܁), the main distinction made is between "the under point" ܬܱܚܬܴܝܴܐ (ܡܠܟ̣ܐ܁), "the upper point" ܥܷܠܴܝܳܐ (ܡܠܟ̇ܐ܁), and "the equal points" ܫ̈ܘܱܝܴܐ (ܡܠܟܐ܃),—to indicate different clauses of the sentence of greater or less importance. To some extent other signs also are used for this purpose. The tests of the usage are not clear, and the practice is very fluctuating, at least on the part of copyists.

Accents. § 19. In order to signify with accuracy, whether,—in the recitation of the sacred text in worship,—the individual words of a sentence should be associated with more or with less connection,—and also what relative tone befits each word,—a complicated system of "Accents" was employed in Syriac as well as in Hebrew. This system however appears only in manuscripts of the Bible, and in a grammatical point of view it is of very slender importance. In isolated cases, signs taken from this
  1. Sometimes the under line is found in still wider employment as a sign of the want of a vowel, in Western MSS., e. g. ܚ̱ܢܺܝܢܳܐ ḥe̊nīnō "who has obtained favour", as contrasted with ܚܰܢܺܝܢܳܐ "rancid".