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The existence of the Ugaritic asseverative 'al offers a more appropriate etymological parallel to EA al-lu, and furthermore, it maintains a functional distinction from the local adverbial usage of hl (along with its permutations hln, hlny) evident throughout Ugaritic epistlography.
A number of scholarly voices have also made appeals to the Aramaic asseverative particles hlw (Old Aramaic, Jewish Aramaic [Tg Neof]) and >aluw (Biblical Aramaic) as further evidence against the traditional etymology of the Hebrew particle halo'.
The only form for which a vocalization exists for this asseverative occurs in Biblical Aramaic as 'aluw, most likely cognate with the Imperial Aramaic particle hlw.
In every case except two, Onqelos and Neofiti translate Hebrew halo} with hl'; in the one case in which Neofiti utilizes something different, it highlights the negative rather than the affirmative aspect of the Hebrew expression, making an asseverative meaning unlikely.
Orthography aside, in the case of the Lachish ostracon, if one were to argue for the possibility of an asseverative force here, it would be awkward in this context, since in all likelihood the letter records the appeal of an inferior to his superior.
Does the appearance of an additional waw in the consonantal text provide evidence for an earlier asseverative particle, later confused at the Masoretic level?
From these two examples, it is difficult to argue contextually that the former is better suited for an asseverative particle while the latter better fits the negative interrogative.
82) Additionally, the attestations of hl' from inscriptional Hebrew and the current absence of anything resembling an asseverative *halu throughout casts yet another shadow of doubt on its very existence.
In a similar fashion, though slightly nuanced from the presentation of Brown, Daniel Sivan and William Schniedewind ("Letting Your 'Yes' Be 'No' in Ancient Israel: A Study of Asseverative [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]," JSS 38 [1993]: 226) argue for a bipartite etymology, stating that "[alongside asseverative lu there existed another etymologically unrelated form, namely *halu (II [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]).
It should be noted here that little attention has been devoted to the evidence from Targumic Aramaic, where both asseverative and negative interrogative particles co-exist.
At no point in Brown's discussion of Ugaritic hi does he cite the attested vocalized form al-li-ni-ya first published by Nougayrol in 1968 (see Brown, "HL in Northwest Semitic," 202-7); nor does he account for the evidence of a doubled / in the El Amarna asseverative al-lu, which would also create problems for a connection with Hebrew halo' (ibid.
On the asseverative, see Huehnergard, "Asseverative *la," 570-76.
Note also that 'al would then be distinguished from the proclitic asseverative l- in Ugaritic.
They also point out that since the Hebrew negative xV is almost never spelled plene (35x of approximately 5200 occurrences), [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] must evince an earlier asseverative particle.