[b-hebrew] Re: Prov. 30:19

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Thu Oct 9 02:32:51 EDT 2003

Dear Peter:

My responses are interspaced within your message.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: Peter Kirk <peterkirk at qaya.org>

> On 07/10/2003 23:00, Karl Randolph wrote:
> >Dear Peter:
> >
> >How do you know that it is not Arabic from over a thousand years later that split one root into two? ...
> >
> Because such things don't happen, within the rather well understood 
> processes of how languages change over time.

Oh? Languages sometimes add phonemes, sometimes reduce phonemes, over time. Who can predict which way an individual language will go?
> >... Even with post-Biblical Hebrew, we see that one letter, sin, was split into two: sin and shin, ...
> >
> No, as Trevor has explained. Sin and shin were always pronounced 
> differently, but were written with one letter because there was no 
> separate letter available for sin.
You have no evidence for this claim.
> >  
> >
> Karl, it is clear that you have very little idea of how languages change 
> over time. Please study some comparative linguistics, history of Semitic 
> languages etc, and weigh carefully the evidence used for their 
> reconstructions, before presuming to know these things better than me, a 
> trained linguist, and than the experts in this field whose theories I 
> have summarised.

Peter, you neither know me nor what I have studied. It seems that Proverbs 18:13 fits this situation. I make no presumptions on your studies and learning.

True, my studies of linguistics emphasized anthropological linguistics, but at the same time I also studied historical changes in languages. For example, in German from about 1000 years ago, the double t “tt” first changed to a “ts” with a sound like the tsada, adding a phoneme, then resolved to a “ss” ‘ß’ as it is in modern German, subtacting the added phoneme. Ancient Greek showed a similar progression from Attic Greek to Koiné Greek. There were other changes as well.

If Moses wrote Torah about 1400 BCE as tradition avers (and I see no reason to doubt this tradition), then it follows that the alphabet more closely follows the pronunciation and linguistic structure of the period than any other period or language.

> -- 
> Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/
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