[b-hebrew] Fw: WAYYIQTOL

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Sat Mar 13 12:40:15 EST 2004


Are we speaking on the same level?

I have not once questioned whether or not 
LH (Mishnaic Hebrew) was a spoken language, 
what I have questioned is whether or not it 
was a natively spoken language.

I make note of two examples where we have 
documentation: Latin and Imperial Chinese. 
In both cases, Latin from about the fifth 
to fifteenth centuries, and Imperial 
Chinese until the 1920s, the languages were 
not used in the market nor at the hearth, 
but official documents, high literature 
and, in the case of Latin, religion, were 
all conducted in a fossil language. It was 
a sign of a well educated person that he 
was able to conduct his affairs fluently in 
the official language.

Because in both cases the fossil language 
continued to be spoken, it did not remain 
static. Neither did it morph into a 
different language as did the language on 
the street.

It is my understanding that by the first 
century, spoken Hebrew had become a fossil 
language in the same way as Imperial 
Chinese and Latin.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: Uri Hurwitz <uhurwitz at yahoo.com>
>      The discussion of the duration of Hebrew as a spoken language has to take into account Mishnaic Hebrew, or LH. This language thrived for centuries and cannot be explained away simply as pure invention by the scholars of the time without any grounding in daily life use. 
>      As for the peculiar phrase "fossil language" which Karl applies to BH, in view of all the works written specifically in this language, to the present day, one can only paraphrase Churchill's words: "Some fossil!  Some language!"
>           Uri 
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