[b-hebrew] Canaanite - response to certain folks.
peter at qaya.org
Wed Jun 28 18:45:34 EDT 2006
On 28/06/2006 22:55, Chris and Nel wrote:
> PETER KIRK said
>> An alternative scenario, which may appeal more to conservatives like
>> Karl, is as follows: When Abraham and his family came to Canaan, they
>> initially spoke a form of Aramaic, similar to what their relatives who
>> remained in the north, like Laban, continued to speak. But when they
>> moved to Canaan, they picked up the local Canaanite language.
> I agree Peter but surely it is pushing things a bit to say that as a family
> moves from one land to the next they instinctively start to change their
> native tongue? Chris.
I didn't say "instinctively". But it is easily demonstrated from small
immigrant communities worldwide today that within two or three
generations most immigrants have picked up the language of their new
neighbours and have largely if not completely lost their original
language. The exceptions would be where there is a large enough
community to be self-sustaining without much contact with neighbours, or
where there are very particular reasons for retaining one's original
language. We know of no such reasons for Abraham's family, and their
community was not large enough to be self-supporting. So even without
the evidence from Genesis 31:47 we would expect Abraham's family to pick
up Canaanite and gradually abandon Aramaic.
E-mail: peter at qaya.org
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