kwrandolph at gmail.com
Tue Jul 27 14:31:07 EDT 2010
On Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 11:06 PM, Arnaud Fournet
<fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr>wrote:
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "K Randolph" <kwrandolph at gmail.com>
> To: "B-Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Monday, July 26, 2010 9:22 PM
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] T-SADE
> I don’t know ancient Egyptian, so my question is, did it have the “x”
>> phoneme or anything similar? If not, then is not the “ts” phoneme the
>> closest to “x” that they had?
> I assume that you mean a digraph -ks- (not a velar fricative -x-).
Yes, I mean the -ks- as a phoneme.
> As far as I know, underlined t_ very much looks like [ts] (archaic
> tsamekh) and underlined d_ very much looks like emphatic [ts.] (archaic
> S.ippoor > Egyptian d_ p r
> I hope you don’t mean physical shapes of the letters.
>> Secondly, how well do we know ancient Egyptian pronunciation? Just as
>> there are variances among members of this list concerning pre-Babylonian
>> Exile Hebrew pronunciation,
> How many Hebrew dialects were there?
> What ethnolinguistic reality is exactly covered by "pre-Babylonian Exile
> We have only one surviving dialect with very few individual words showing
diversity, recorded in Tanakh. So we are dealing with a written record.
Unfortunately, that constitutes almost all we know about the language, as
the last native speaker died well over two millennia ago and there are very
few other written records.
> so are there reasons to question what we “know” about
>> ancient Egyptian pronunciation?
> I tend to think that the pronunciation is quite secure.
> It can be counterchecked against a number of independent data: coptic (and
> that means several dialects), Proto-Afrasian, loanwords from Semitic or
> Berber, the structure of hieroglyphs, basic principles of phonology, etc.
> Now academic traditions can be very stubborn in their refusal to
> acknowledge that they may be wrong on certain counts and ignore refutation.
> And I suppose that people are spontaneously and sincerely more sensitive to
> this or that kind of evidence and may differ in their reactions to
> "evidence", so it further compounds the issues.
> I consider Sumerian to be extremely conjectural and massively unreliable
> but Egyptian is clear (at least as far as consonants are concerned).
> Now maybe the absolute chronology of changes is not clear and I suppose
> it's not very easy to clarify at all.
> As I understand your response, while some of us are pretty sure that we
know ancient Egyptian pronunciation, yet it is possible that we are wrong.
>> Thirdly, assuming that the Greek pronunciation of Xi was the “x”
>> phoneme, there is evidence that as late as the Persian period,
> That's very interesting.
> What is this evidence?
I listed some verses that have that evidence. Look at the name Ataxerxes
(that was the only name transliterated in all those verses).
> This is another question but the word horse sus is very intriguing.
> It has an obvious similarity with Hurrian aSSuSSa-nni horse-trainer.
> The relative chronology of Proto-Semitic *ts(amekh) > s and *s > sh(in) has
> a bearing of the relationship between sus and aSSuSSa-.
> It also raises a number of questions on Hurrian and Mitanni Aryan.
> Incidentally Georgian has an affricate ac^ua "horse".
> The scientific training I got at the university tells me to discount
anything from a putative “proto-Semitic” or any other putative
proto-language that is based on models and not on observation. When written
examples of this language are found, I will sing a different tune, but as
long as it is found only in theorized models, I treat it as irrelevant to a
study of Biblical Hebrew.
Information from cognate languages and loan words is like Dr. Jeckyl and Mr.
Hyde—sometimes useful in giving information on seldom used words and
explaining concepts assumed in Tanakh as known, but forgotten since then;
but sometimes can lead astray when that information contradicts information
about Biblical Hebrew found in Tanakh. The latter happens all too often.
> the Hebrew samekh was pronounced as an “x”, though there is evidence that
>> it was losing its “x” sound to be replaced with a simple “s” phoneme
>> (Nehemia 2:1, 5:14, 13:6, Ezra sometimes with a samekh, sometimes with a sin
>> e.g. Ezra 4:7 8, 7:1, 8:1).
> In that case, this is more an indication that sin was then losing its
> lateral features and moving toward being a plain sibilant.
> As regards that word, it's also possible that the contact between -z- and
> -r- may cause some phonetic contextual problem.
> In some languages the sequence -r-s- is impossible and changed to -r ts-
> but I don't know if (historical or proto-)Hebrew had this kind of problem.
> What makes you think that the sin and shin were separate phonemes during
the Biblical period?
What contact between -z- and -r-? The zayin is not in the word at all, and
most likely the -r- shows a Greek adaptation to a vowel they didn’t have in
As for the historical development of the language, during the time it was
recorded, Biblical Hebrew showed remarkably little linguistic variance in
its written form over time (though there is recognizable literary
development), therefore we can’t really talk about historical development of
>> Look forward to your answer.
>> Karl W. Randolph.
> Hope it fulfills some of the expectations.
Raised more questions.
> Arnaud Fournet
> Karl W. Randolph.
More information about the b-hebrew