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Under the name of ‘pivot derivation’, this article reconsiders a phenomenon known by Arab grammarians and lexicographers as well as by Arabists and Semitists: the derivation of a secondary lexical family from a primary one, via a morphologically ambiguous form. Through the examples of ma‘īn, masīḥ and ma/isāḥa, and a rereading of Mez (1906), it proposes several extensions of this type of derivation, made possible not only by homophony but also by homography or phonetic accidents, and compatible with the borrowing from other languages.
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