[b-hebrew] Hebrew - dialect of canaanite

Chris and Nel wattswestmaas at eircom.net
Tue Jun 27 19:22:02 EDT 2006


If the Lingua Franca of the Israelites at the time of entering Canaan circa 
1400 BC(1250 BC for some), is classed, by linguists and biblical scholars, 
as a dialect of Canaanite, how can I understand this in terms of:

1. The Israelites having around 400 years to 'cement' a unique spoken 
language in Egypt that would have been a direct ancestral lingua franca from 
Jacob (who is classed as an Aramean in the scripture) and yet:......

 2.  His language was somewhat different from Laban's as testified when they 
set up boundary stones and gave them names in their own tongues (even though 
they were related)? This would:......

3. Lead us to believe that Jacob's language/dialect was markedly different 
from Labans who was syrian aramaic.  Making sense since Abraham would have 
spoken Babylonian Aramaic I presume?

Am I right in concluding that, in so far as the "Spoken Language" of the 
exodus Israeliets is concerned, they would have spoken a Babylonian Aramaic 
Tongue that slowly fused with Canaanite language to become a distinct 
language in itself, this seems improbable, I would imagine, when really an 
invading force driving out its inhabitants would surely continue to retain 
its own unique lingual identity that was formed in Egypt, and to a great 
degree in isolation, from the surrounding canaanitish culture and language?

I hope some of you can see my problem in trying to grapple with this 'Who 
spoke What' situation.  I am wanting to place the theoretical side of all 
the talk about how hebrew has changed and been influenced into a down to 
earth reality ---- could Abraham and Moses have had a good old chinwag 
together without an interpreter?


Chris Watts (a self studier, not a student)

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