[b-hebrew] Fw: WAYYIQTOL
kwrandolph at email.com
Sat Mar 13 12:40:15 EST 2004
Are we speaking on the same level?
I have not once questioned whether or not
LH (Mishnaic Hebrew) was a spoken language,
what I have questioned is whether or not it
was a natively spoken language.
I make note of two examples where we have
documentation: Latin and Imperial Chinese.
In both cases, Latin from about the fifth
to fifteenth centuries, and Imperial
Chinese until the 1920s, the languages were
not used in the market nor at the hearth,
but official documents, high literature
and, in the case of Latin, religion, were
all conducted in a fossil language. It was
a sign of a well educated person that he
was able to conduct his affairs fluently in
the official language.
Because in both cases the fossil language
continued to be spoken, it did not remain
static. Neither did it morph into a
different language as did the language on
It is my understanding that by the first
century, spoken Hebrew had become a fossil
language in the same way as Imperial
Chinese and Latin.
Karl W. Randolph.
----- Original Message -----
From: Uri Hurwitz <uhurwitz at yahoo.com>
> The discussion of the duration of Hebrew as a spoken language has to take into account Mishnaic Hebrew, or LH. This language thrived for centuries and cannot be explained away simply as pure invention by the scholars of the time without any grounding in daily life use.
> As for the peculiar phrase "fossil language" which Karl applies to BH, in view of all the works written specifically in this language, to the present day, one can only paraphrase Churchill's words: "Some fossil! Some language!"
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