Hebrew philology (somewhat off topic)

Charles David Isbell cisbell at home.com
Sat Aug 4 22:15:30 EDT 2001

Actually MH has specific equivalents for the words you mention:  "philology"
is "BaLShaNuT,"  a "linguist" is a "BaLShaN."   I am aware of three
possibilities for their development. [a] Both are formed from the root
B-L-Sh, "to investigate, inquire, detect" [or slang, "to snoop"].  [b] The
prefix B- may be a short form of BeN, and this would yield a meaning like
"son of a language" for BaLShaN [from BeN-LaShaN, if there is a shift from
"O" to "Ah" as is known from Hebrew to Aramaic, e.g.].  [c] BaL may be a
quickened pronunciation of Ba`aL with the L doing double duty.  Here
Ba`aL-LaShaN would imply "master of a language."
I would be interested if others on the list know the true development of the
words BaLShaN and BaLShaNuT.
Hope this helps,
Charles David Isbell
----- Original Message -----
From: "Trevor & Julie Peterson" <06peterson at cua.edu>
To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2001 8:59 PM
Subject: Hebrew philology (somewhat off topic)

> Okay, I'm going to betray my ignorance of Modern Hebrew here.  Does anyone
> know the Hebrew equivalent(s) of "philology," "philologist," etc.?  It's
> mainly just a curiosity.  It struck me the other day that the Semitic
> philologist (in English-speaking environments, anyway) goes through life
> with a Greek title.  Doesn't see quite right to me.  Anyway, I don't have
> any resources handy to look up such a thing, and about the best I could do
> for a makeshift translation is:
> English:  philology
> Translit:  )aH(a)BaTDaaBaaR
> Readable:  Ahavatdavar
> English:  philologist/philological?
> Translit:  )ooHeeBDaaBaaR
> Readable:  Ohevdavar
> English:  philologists
> Translit:  )ooH(a)BeeDaaBaaR
> Readable:  Ohavedavar
> I'm probably way off here.  It seems like the Qal act. ptc. of )HB would
> work for both one who loves and the adjectival sense of loving DBR.  The
> derived noun would work for love of DBR itself.  I'm not even sure that I
> like DBR as an equivalent of LOGOS, but given the sense of what the
> term is supposed to mean, I think it works.  Probably not even close to
> real term . . .
> Trevor Peterson
> CUA/Semitics
> As in contemporary discos, so in contemporary descriptions of Canaanite
> poetry, much is done under the cover of music that is amusing but not
> entirely licit.  --M. O'Connor, 1978
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