[b-hebrew] Why Semitic languages had no written vowels?

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon May 2 13:01:00 EDT 2005


On 02/05/2005 08:45, Vadim Cherny wrote:

>>I don't think you agree with anyone else on this or on any of the rest of
>>    
>>
>your entirely speculative reconstruction of ancient Semitic.
>
>Not entirely speculative. You ignore that:
>
>- all vowels seem to derive from kamatz through syntactical accent
>elongation and stress-shift shortening
>  
>

I ignore this because it is not a fact but another baseless speculation.

>- if at any time the language was so primitive as to include only davar
>nouns (highly likely assumption), then then existed a single vowel, kamatz
>  
>

This is not a "highly likely assumption" but yet another baseless 
speculation.

>- diversification of morphological forms explains later diversification of
>vowels
>
>  
>
Not true if by "diversification of morphological forms" you mean a 
process which took place after the western Semitic alphabet was first 
introduced. For it is demonstrable that most of this diversification 
predated the alphabet, because it is attested in cuneiform Akkadian, as 
well as occasional cuneiform western Semitic which predates the 
widespread use of the alphabet.

> ...
>
>If concepts of script and, specifically, of alphabet are so unique, should
>we imagine the ancients were so stupid as to omit morphologically
>indispensable vowels?
>
>  
>
No, we should just imagine that they hadn't invented the concept yet, 
just as they hadn't yet invented so many other things which we take for 
granted as part of modern life.


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



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