Professor Na’ama Pat-El gives a lecture on the Syriac particle lam, delivered on April 10, 2014 at The University of Texas at Austin:
The Syriac particle LAM has been assumed to be a marker of direct speech by grammarians and linguists. Several scholars has traced its history to an infinitive of the verb to say in Aramaic. In this talk I will take a fresh look at the function of the particle in Syriac texts of various genres and periods and its possible etymology. The results will shock and amaze you, and will serve as a reminder of what happens when one does not read ancient texts carefully.
The lecture is available in mp3 audio format.
Na’ama Pat-El is an Assistant Professor, focusing on Semitic historical linguistics. She is the author of Studies in the Historical Syntax of Aramaic (Gorgias, 2012) and a co-author of Language and Nature: papers presented to John Huehnergard (Oriental Institute, 2012). She has published on language contact and historical syntax.
See also: Na’ama Pat-El, “The Function and Etymology of the Aramaic Particle LM”