[b-hebrew] Hebrew transliteration

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Thu Jan 22 01:03:27 EST 2004

As a multilingual person, I have experienced the difficulty of keeping languages straight. My German is affected by Norwegian and English. People sometimes mention my foreign accent, though English is my native tongue. French and Russian are just for reading, and Chinese is what I speak on the street (Cantonese and Toisan dialect). It’s amusing to hear English laden Chinese speech on the street. I expect that many on this list make my linguistic accomplishments look amateurish. One of the reasons I deliberately avoided even Mishnaic Hebrew, let alone modern Hebrew, is that I did not wish to add the additional complexity of trying to keep the different styles of Hebrew straight. I want to have the situation that I react instinctively and correctly, much the same way as I write and speak English. Though I admit, the lack of a modern vocabulary severely limits the subjects about which I can speak in Hebrew.

Not studying cognate languages such as modern Hebrew is an advantage, in that I then react to Biblical Hebrew naturally. I have only one grammar and vocabulary to which to react.

However, it is also a weakness. I can’t compare Semitic cognate languages. You, the other members on this mailing list, have been a major help for me in this. Thanks. 

As for unicode, I am not excited about it. But for the most part it works and there is a lot of support for it, so I can live with it.

Karl W. Randolph.

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

> On 21/01/2004 04:59, Trevor Peterson wrote:
> >... Since 
> >Unicode was designed primarily to meet the needs of living language 
> >communities, ...
> >
> Primarily, maybe, but the need to represent ancient texts has always 
> been an important secondary consideration. SIL is also interested in 
> some ancient texts, primarily but not only in Greek and Hebrew.
> >... it makes sense that SIL would get involved with Unicode. I would 
> >say that this is not a need that extends to the interests of most Semitists. ...
> >
> But Semitists do deal with living languages: Hebrew, Arabic, 
> neo-Aramaic, Amharic etc, modern South Arabian. Or they should - they 
> ignore at their peril modern Semitic languages.
> I have never claimed that Unicode is the only solution, nor even that it 
> is the best, but that it is the one which is already most widely 
> supported and will soon be more or less universal.
> -- 
> Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/
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