[b-hebrew] Scope of data – language learning
kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Mar 25 00:29:38 EDT 2010
On Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 4:32 PM, Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com> wrote:
> >Define “technical training” when it comes to linguistics.
> Maybe, like being able to understand phonemic systems and
> phonemic change, so as to evaluate historical linguistic relationships,
> so that one would know if the Semitic languages had CVC
> patterns. They do.
> >> CVCVCVCV turns out to be chaff and not Biblical Hebrew.
> >> We certainly differ there.
> >How do you know? The only data you show is from a millennium and more
> You don't listen or remember very well. Once you hear the word 'Masoretic'
> you seem to think that your 'time dodge' is valid.
> Repeating it only means that you either don't listen or don't understand.
> My opinion is 'both', but either would suffice as an explanation.
> Akkadian, Arabic, Geez, Ugaritic, Hebrew, and Aramaic are all related and
> their cognate morphology needs to be explained.
You don’t remember very well either. Just because a language is a cognate,
you forget that it is still a different language.
We have the example of Japanese, which is (or at least until recently was) a
CV language. Its nearest cognate is Korean, which is a CVC language.
Likewise, just because these other languages were CVC does not mean that
Hebrew was. Further, just because later dialects of Hebrew, such as Mishnaic
Hebrew, were CVC does not mean that Biblical Hebrew was. You need better
data than that.
> In past posts you have
> complained that semantics shift and introduce 'uncertainly' in
1) I did not complain.
2) There is always a certain amount of uncertainty in lexicography, as in
any human activity. Deal with it.
3) Languages change over time. Any competent lexicographer will watch out
for that. Deal with it.
4) Words often have different meanings is different languages, even in
closely related cognate languages. That’s part of the definition of being
different languages. Deal with it.
It seems as if you are the one who is having trouble dealing with these
> That is a 'dodge', because lots of core vocabulary remains relatively
> over millenia, and because the morphology shifts much more slowly than
> semantics, and everything doesn't change all at once.
Who said anything about all at once?
> Even Aramaic and
> Hebrew were still different in the Second Temple period (later too, of
Who said anything about them having merged?
> Check out the nif`al (o dear, it's CVC-CVC-(CV), must be from ARamaic !
> But there wasn't any nif`al in Aramaic ! o me o my! that is horrible! And
> didn't even let the Aramaic haf`el replace Hebrew hif`il, despite their
> slavish dependence on Aramaic phonology and morphology. We
> need a good conspiracy theory. They must have forgotten the correct
> *napa`ala and as a group re-written it. They must have reinvented a whole
> language to look different from Aramaic to confuse later researchers. And
> they just got lucky that some of this could be documented in shared traits
> with more distantly related languages than Aramaic. But a good conspiracy
> theory won't be stopped by data that checks out! No siree! )
> These morphological relationships in the Semitic languages go back to
> the pre-Babylonian exile.
You know, you look foolish when you make up crazy stuff like this and try to
attribute it to other people. After such performances, how do you expect us
to take you seriously?
> Not only do the Semitic languages have CVC patterns from before the
> Babylonian exile, but the Masoretic text has accurately preserved them.
Where’s your evidence?
> Imagine that, and linguists think that's linguistically reasonable. The
> Masoretic text has also preserved vowel shifts that are 'late', (at last!
> something maybe not from Bible days.) but by consistently preserving
> them, even they become useful comparative evidence for reconstructing
> pre-Masoretic layers and comparing with cognate languages.
All I see here is speculation upon speculation, the same thing we derided
Jim Stinehard for. Speculation constitutes neither data nor evidence.
> So if you want to ignore the Semitic languages
No, just use them with far more circumspection and care than you and a lot
of your colleagues do at present. Right now you are using them to veto
internal data from Biblical Hebrew itself, which is wrong, but ignoring them
is the opposite extreme which is also wrong. But ignoring them is the lesser
of two evils.
> and do not trace the Masoretic
> spellings through the various phases, then you will be consigned to
> a fictive language, a language that no one ever spoke, and one that does
> predict morphological development correctly, like a good theory should.
A good theory describes the data, not make predictions where there is no way
to check out if the predictions are accurate. The latter is speculation, not
> And you might not be able to recognize ancient Hebrew writers
> when they use "qatol" structures as the main verb of a coordinated clause.
> CVCVCVCV is your choice. But it is not Biblical Hebrew.
Masoretic Hebrew ≠ Biblical Hebrew, on many levels, just as BBC English ≠
Shakespearian English. You cannot say that just because the Masoretes did
things a certain way, that that’s how the Biblical authors did them. (Well,
you can say it, but that does not make it true.)
> Randall Buth, PhD
> randallbuth at gmail.com
> Biblical Language Center
> Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life
> I have never said I have proof that Biblical Hebrew was a CV language,
rather all I have said is that there are some indications that seem to point
that way. I listed them in an earlier message. I don’t understand why you
are getting so bent out of shape by my merely mentioning that such is a
possibility. I don’t have the evidence to prove it, not even to myself, and
at the same time you don’t have the evidence to disprove it, other than your
pre-existing beliefs. I’m quite willing to leave it in limbo, neither proven
nor disproved, neither provable nor disprovable, until such a time as we
have more data. We just have to live with the fact that there are certain
things that we just can’t know with certainty at the present time, and deal
Karl W. Randolph.
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