[b-hebrew] Hebrew and Welsh?

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Sun Nov 14 20:32:53 EST 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org>
To: "Joseph I. Lauer" <josephlauer at hotmail.com>
Cc: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, November 15, 2004 2:43 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Re: PS /g/

> On 14/11/2004 23:46, Joseph I. Lauer wrote:
> > ... ["An example is "llyfr"
> > (book)" (wouldn't this have been very interesting, and a source for many
> > dissertations, if sefer started with a Sin instead of a Samech?!)].  In
> > humorous vein, a May 2, 1993 article in The New York Times Sunday Travel
> > Section (p. 39), by Pamela Petro ("Gymru and Cymru and All That"),
> > that "The famous Welsh double L, as in Lloyd, is pronounced as if you
> > happen
> > to sneeze violently while saying the word 'little.'"
> >    Whatever its original sound, the Sin apparently has not been
> > pronounced
> > "correctly" in 2,000 years. ...
> Thank you. I tend to agree with the Welsh link, but I will check with my
> pastor who knows both (modern) Hebrew and Welsh (although he is an
> Arab!) Of course the Welsh still pronounce their double L correctly. But
> I guess "llyfr" is  derived from Latin "liber" rather than Hebrew
> "sefer". But you will find Hebrew words in Wales, including the town of
> Bethesda - which probably got its name from a church of that name.
> --
> Peter Kirk

Any claim of direct Hebrew-Welsh influence would have to account for the how
and when of Hebrew-speakers arriving in Wales (or Welsh in Israel?), and I
don't really think that there is any evidence of that. Of course, once
Christianity had arrived, than "Hebrew" words in the (Latin) Bible may have
made their way into Welsh, like "behemoth" etc. into English. "Bethesda", of
course, is not Hebrew per se, it's the Latin spelling of the Greek
pronunciation of the Aramaic name Beth-Hisda. In Hebrew it would have been
"Beth-Hessed" or "Beth Hahessed".


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