[b-hebrew] Hebrew - dialect of canaanite

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Jun 28 07:29:29 EDT 2006

On 6/28/06, Karl Randolph wrote:

> It is recognized that Biblical Hebrew was one of
> several similar languages spoken in the ANE, some
> of which were so close that apparently speakers of
> one language could understand what speakers of a
> different language said, albeit not perfectly. A
> good example being Hebrew and Moabite. Others were
> not so close, e.g. Hebrew and Aramaic where
> speakers of one did not understand the other
> language.

I am not sure on what basis you are assuming speakers
of Hebrew and Moabite could understand each other.  There
are a series of known sound shifts in Moabite and Hebrew
that drove them apart, so it is not clear at all that speakers
of one understood the other.  Furthermore, certain features
of the language (plural construct -ey for example) probably
appeared in Moabite early (9th century BCE) but the only
evidence for their appearance in Hebrew is from the 6th
century BCE (missing from the Siloam inscription, for
example).  So there may even be an issue here that
Moabite may represent something closer to the Hebrew
as found in the Bible than the Hebrew of its time.

Yitzhak Sapir

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