raqia encore

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at mclink.it
Sat Jul 27 20:31:45 EDT 2002

>Ian, I remember you saying something recently about the etymological
>fallacy. That is the fallacy that just because two words (in the same or
>in cognate languages) have the same etymology, there is a relation
>between their meaning. That fallacy potentially applies here. 

The situations are not comparable. I showed what 
was wrong in the specific case. The similarities 
only worked in isolation and not with the 
diachronic changes observed. 

The relationship between Tiamat and tehom is 
systematic in that the differences between them 
can be seen on a language-wide scale. he in 
Hebrew is null in Akkadian. Vocalic waw seems 
consistently an /a/ in Akkadian. Thematic 
feminine taw is lost in the simple form of the 
feminine noun in Hebrew. How would you say 
"his deep" in Hebrew? thwmtw perhaps?

>may not dispute that tehom and tiamat are etymologically related. 

I didn't say "etymologically related". I said that 
they are cognates, ie they come from the same 
source (just as "caput" and "head" do).

>does not imply that there is any relation between their meanings or
>referents, especially in two quite remote languages with (as far as we
>can tell) many centuries of time difference. I accept that they may be
>related in meaning or referent. But a common etymology and a similar
>form does not prove that.

As they are plainly cognates, the important question 
should be what is the relationship between their 
meanings? We do this by looking at the way the terms 
are used.


More information about the b-hebrew mailing list