The Interpretation of Infinitival Paronomastic Usage in
Biblical Hebrew within Karaim Bible Translations
(65th Meeting Astana, 2023)
Karaim is an extremely endangered Kipchak Turkic language, which is spoken by Karaims. Since they are followers of Karaism, the Hebrew Bible has long been translated into the Karaim language. In these translations, there exists a morpho-syntactical structure, which includes a non-finite verb (with the verbal noun marker -mA) preceding the same verb in a finite form, e.g., bil-mä bil-gin ‘know-VN know-2SG.IMP’. According to many scholars, the structure – labelled as paronomastic construction – marks the intensity of an action and is usually attributed to Biblical Hebrew or Slavonic languages. Since such structures are used in the oldest Karaim Bible translation (hitherto described), which is written in Crimean Karaim and dates back to the 17th century, the Slavonic influence solely is not adequate to explain the phenomenon. Considering that the spoken Karaim materials and secular texts also display the aforementioned constructions, the oldest sources of the Karaim language should be analyzed to discuss the issue in detail. Thus, this study aims to analyze and compare all paronomastic constructions in the earliest Torah translations across three different Karaim dialects, along with their Hebrew Bible equivalents. Such comparisons will demonstrate that not all the Karaim paronomastic constructions might be the result of systematical loan translation. Additionally, examples of identical infinitival constructions from the Trabzon dialect of Turkish may introduce new aspects and questions to the topic, as the Black Sea Region dialects of Turkish predominantly exhibit Kipchak Turkic features.