[b-hebrew] Hebrew - dialect of canaanite

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Wed Jun 28 14:01:56 EDT 2006


What I know of Moabite is what I read on the Mesha 
stone. Unless Hebrew from that time had a different 
pronunciation for the letters than did Moab, which 
I find highly unlikely, the differences between 
Moabite and Hebrew were less than those between a 
Hoosier twang and a deep southern drawl, both U.S. 
English, or about the same as between Norwegian and 

In comparison, the differences between Hebrew and 
Aramaic remind me of the differences between German 
and Dutch, recognizably close cognate languages, 
but not readily understood when spoken.

Karl W. Randolph.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com>
> 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
> http://toldot.blogspot.com

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