[b-hebrew] Ayin and Ghayin

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Thu Oct 27 19:02:59 EDT 2005

Hello Karl,

I've taken quite a bit of time to think about replying, in that you
have not responded to either of two critical responses by other
members of the list to your posting here.  Having now, however,
two questions on the subject that I am curious as to your answer,
I have chosen to raise the subject again.

> No. What I've noticed is that that spelling is somewhat
> different from the grammar you learned your elementary
> Hebrew from, but I have read plenty of examples of
> spelling consistant with both Gezar Calendar and Siloam
> Pool inscriptions in the Bible

Can you cite a place where the spelling )$ is used for man in the Bible?
Or H) for "he"?  Also, it's not "Gezar."

> Just as I expected, you haven't put in the time, you don't know
> Biblical Hebrew that well.

Biblical Hebrew is not defined as "Hebrew without vowels as given in the
MT."  I don't claim to know Biblical Hebrew, and while I do not "claim it", it
seems to me that I probably have a better understanding of Biblical Hebrew
than you do, as practically the entire world, except you, defines Biblical
Hebrew.  Reading the Bible through nor reading it without vowels is not a
prescription for learning Biblical Hebrew except for your own eccentric
definition of Biblical Hebrew, which seems to be shared by noone else.

> As for finding vocabulary in documents not found in the Bible,
> Duh!!! The average person, so I'm told, has a working vocabulary
> of around 20-25,000 words. Tanakh has about 14,000. Either
> ancient Jews were substandard in their intellectual ability,
> or the Bible contains only a subset of the language as it
> existed at that time.

The Bible uses many expressions to describe the different times
of the day. Why never this particular term?

> > ... I am not at odds with tradition,
> > as you have suggested I am.
> >
> Where did I ever make such a claim?

You wrote, among other places,  "It is your different set of
presuppositions that makes you value cognate language
study and diss the Biblical record."  Hopefully the links
here provided will prevent future questions such as this one.


> > The unpointed text is not "Biblical Hebrew."  It is "half" of
> > Biblical Hebrew.  The other half is the Massorah.
> >
> The DSS show that the unpointed text *is* Biblical Hebrew.

Can you cite an uncontroversial example?

> Good. Now could you read the whole Tanakh using that font?


> Now go back, finish reading Tanakh, through Chronicles,
> then try it again at least once this time without points,
> read the whole magilla, and for fun read the time without
> points using the font found on the Gezar Calendar or
> Jehoash inscription. That should be a good beginning
> to learning Biblical Hebrew.

Rather, how about you answer me two questions, which I
think may advance this discussion:

1) How is it that English originally had two different letters
for the two sounds represented by "th" as in "loath"/"loathe"
and yet, lost them and they are now represented by a
single symbol (ie, "th") for several hundred years.  In other
words, while you suggested that in ancient as well as
modern times, existence of multiple phonemes will cause
the language to modify the alphabet to include new letters
for these phonemes, these two phonemes were never so
provided for, while it is my understanding that other letters
did develop in this time.

2) You have evidently claimed that many words were
influenced by different words in Aramaic, so much so that
a whole new phoneme (&in) developed to represent some
words so influenced.  At least, that is how you seem to
explain &in here:


Now, first, in light of what you write above, can you either provide
evidence that Aramaic indeed "bifurcated" sin/shin?

Second, it would seem to be the case that even if Hebrew originally
had one phoneme, but if it borrowed a great many words from cognate
languages, then the etymology of those words is no longer necessarily
related by root to one another and they may be etymologically unrelated.
That is, we still have to conclude that words do not necessarily have
"one meaning" as you have described your assumption earlier:


Yitzhak Sapir

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