[b-hebrew] A threat to the integrity of the Hebrew language?

Trevor Peterson 06PETERSON at cua.edu
Fri Jul 18 12:41:23 EDT 2003


>===== Original Message From peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com =====
>So if any of you have any comments to make, either for or against this
>proposal, please speak up now. I will pass on any comments I receive
>(unless requested otherwise) to those who are considering the proposal,
>via the Unicode list, or more personally if requested or if that seems
>more appropriate to me. I can withhold names if requested, but
>attributable comments will be given greater weight.

I would prefer not to distinguish between the two, if it can be avoided. It 
seems like Israelis would be even more inclined to object. Who wants to have 
to change languages when you're typing an article in Hebrew to begin with and 
decide to quote BH? It also forces a distinction that they would not tend to 
recognize (and as you say, it leaves a gaping hole where centuries of Hebrew 
texts that are neither modern nor biblical are concerned). For that matter, 
Tiberian BH, strictly speaking, is a medieval phenomenon. Since this issue 
applies only to vowels and diacritics, there is nothing pre-Masoretic about 
it. So what we're really talking about is a need to better implement the 
pointing standard set by the Tiberian Masoretes. As far as that goes, isn't 
the idea that Modern Hebrew (where it bothers to vowel at all) is following 
the Tiberian system? Sure, there may be situations that need to be addressed 
in BH that are unique and just don't come up in modern usage, but wouldn't it 
make more sense to adapt the system for Hebrew as a whole and just accept that 
some of what it contains will be irrelevant for modern texts?

Trevor Peterson
CUA/Semitics




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