[b-hebrew] Proto-Semitic, was WAYYIQTOL

Polycarp66 at aol.com Polycarp66 at aol.com
Sun Mar 14 00:52:51 EST 2004

In a message dated 3/13/2004 11:33:42 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
kwrandolph at email.com writes:
What I question about proto-Semitic, as it 
was taught me, is that practically every 
phoneme found in modern Semitic languages 
are posited as having been present in 
proto-Semitic. That ignores that languages 
not only lose phonemes, but gain them as 
well. It is possible that Hebrew, with 22 
consonantal phonemes, was the original 
proto-Semitic that survived the event at 
Babel in the third millennium. I find that 
proposition philosophically attractive, but 
in the absence of clear cut documentation 
for or against, I hesitate to push it. It 
is the same lack of documentation for the 
hypothetical proto-Semitic that makes me 
question its validity as a measure of how 
Biblical Hebrew was originally pronounced.

Why should you assume that Hebrew was the original language? (I believe this 
is what you are implying here.  Correct me if I misunderstand.  Indeed, I tend 
to think of Babel as a myth to explain the existence of a multitude of 
languages despite a previously stated origin of the human species from a single 
ancestor.  This forum is really not the proper place to discuss this matter, but 
since you raised the issue I feel obliged to clarify the point.  You may, and 
perhaps should, answer offlist.


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