[b-hebrew] Article by Andrew Bowling
fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr
Thu Jan 27 10:59:01 EST 2011
From: K Randolph
>>On Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 11:48 AM, Arnaud Fournet
>><fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr> wrote:
>>From: "K Randolph" kwrandolph at gmail.com
>>The terminology was developed to describe European languages and Biblical
>>Hebrew is not a European language. …
>>Karl W. Randolph.
>There is a kind of hybris in thinking that a pluri-millenary tradition is
>incorrect and thoroughly inadequate and that you, alone, have the right
>Actually the answer may be harder to hear than the question.
A pluri-millenary tradition for which language?
First, I was commenting on the terminology developed mostly during the last
two centuries, hardly pluri-millenary, to describe European languages and
that that terminology does not fit ancient, Biblical Hebrew.
It seems to me that we can speak of a pluri-millenary tradition for any of
the Greek, Latin or Hebrew languages.
The grammatical terminology we have today is based on Greek ideas of the
second half of the first millenium BCE, which were reinjected into Western
Europe through several paths:
1. Byzantine refugees in Venezia (after the Turkish conquest)
2. Jews living in the Muslim area in the middle ages (especially Spain or
3. Arabic speakers, who developed a number of specific ideas most often in
reaction to Greek tradition (in Iraq and Spain).
4. Not to mention the Latin-based medieval tradition, which in fact was not
very faithful to the Greek original.
I'm not aware that any of these people ever rejected Greek grammatical ideas
as thoroughly inadequate, even if they developed or interpreted it with
their own perspectives.
Chomsky (A Jew!? right?) is basically a kind of Platonician theorist with
Pythagoric symbolist tendencies and a touch of French Port-Royal thinking.
Nothing really new. A pseudo-revolution. That's more about marketing than
How come Hebrew does not fit that or those tradition(s) and nobody noticed
Secondly, while I don’t know Mishnaic Hebrew and its later development, it
is my understanding from discussions on this list that its grammar is
significantly different from Biblical Hebrew. So were the medieval grammars
developed to describe Mishnaic Hebrew, or Biblical Hebrew? My understanding
is that they were developed for the former.
Both are nevertheless Hebrew, right?
How many years of training does one need to tell the difference(s)?
Thirdly, while I have seen only a little of Diethelm Michel’s († 1999) work,
so I don’t know the full extent of what he taught, yet my understanding of
how the qatal and yiqtol worked, which I came up independently of him, seems
to be similar to how he understood them. I read that there are others who
are continuing his teaching, mostly connected with the University of Mainz.
Therefore, I am not alone.
I cannot comment on this,
but I'm interested in learning more.
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