[b-hebrew] Masoretic Pointing and CV-syllables

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Mon Aug 20 13:56:01 EDT 2007


I will make this one statement, but don't expect me to answer you
should you respond.

On 8/18/07, Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 8/18/07, Peter Bekins wrote:
> >
> > Tiberian Hebrew is a convenient standard for Biblical Hebrew.
> It is also the most authentic and complete reproduction.  Tiberian
> Hebrew represents an authentic tradition of Hebrew that was passed
> down even as Hebrew ceased to be spoken.  Even the fact that
> Tiberian Hebrew won out against other vocalization schemes is
> a result of the scholarship of Tiberias -- where Jerusalem's scholars
> fled after they were expelled from Jerusalem.
This is a vocalization scheme that was first written down a thousand
years after Biblical Hebrew ceased to be spoken as anyone's primary
language. While it gives clues as to how Hebrew was pronounced
according to the Tiberian tradition as it existed at that time,
transcriptions of names and words into other languages from the
preceding centuries indicate that the pronunciation traditions had
been in flux, so the probability that it was an accurate rendition of
Biblical Hebrew as it was spoken in Biblical times is practically nil.
That is further evidenced in that some of the pointings are
demonstrably wrong as far as meaning is concerned. Linguistic
influences that would have caused the pronunciation tradition to
change are Aramaic and to a lesser extent Greek.

> Karl ...

Maybe you should never discuss any idea that I bring up, because
almost every time that you do, you either a) make an ad hominem
attack, b) misrepresent what I say, a straw man logical fallacy, or c)
let logic fly out the window.

> .... has been given ample evidence that Hebrew is not, nor ever was,
> a CV language in the sense that he means it.

The only evidences you have proffered is from a thousand years later,
which for the reasons given above, cannot be proof, or from other
languages which, because they are different languages, may have been
pronounced differently. Hence they cannot be proof.

> ...  Karl prides himself in
> not learning other cognate languages and has refused to take the time
> to even review them even though they seem to have clear relevance for
> his arguments.

Here is an example of where you make a straw man logical fallacy. It
is not a matter of pride, it is merely a record of how things worked
out in my life. If I had had my choice, I would have studied Ugaritic,
Aramaic, Arabic, and the other Semitic languages, but I didn't have
that opportunity. Not having had that opportunity in the past, I have
come to the realization that my loss has become my gain, in that I now
know Biblical Hebrew in a way that you don't. Your knowledge of
comparative Semitic studies is far better than mine, but my knowledge
of Biblical Hebrew is better than yours.

> ...  He now brings evidence from Akkadian, albeit from a
> 60 year old book with Akkadian transcriptions, but this is still
> significant because he has consistently denied the validity of
> transcriptions in cognate languages as evidence.

This is an out and out false statement.

> ...  (Thus, he has
> denied the validity of Egyptian transcriptions for Shin and Sin but
> apparently accepts Akkadian transcriptions for his CV theory).

Again a false statement. What you presented was that other languages
had that differentiation, but no evidence from Biblical Hebrew was
presented. My answer at that time was that just because other
languages had that distinction, does not mean that Biblical Hebrew had
it. Other languages have/had different pronunciations not found in
Biblical Hebrew.

> ...  From
> Gershon Galil's Israel and Assyria (2001, but awarded a 1998 Dan
> Bahat prize?), we have the following transcriptions - Omri = hu-um-ri-i,
> Damascus = URU di-ma-a'$-qi, Ashdod = As-du-di/du.  But Karl just
> refuses any evidence, the conclusions of which contradict what he
> thinks.
> Yitzhak Sapir

In this discussion, there are three possibilities: a) CV, where all
consonants must be followed by a vowel, like in prewar Japanese, b)
any consonant may close a syllable, as in modern English, or c) some
consonants may close a syllable, others must be followed by a vowel,
like in modern Cantonese. You, Yitzhak, insist on b), all I say is
that there is a possibility that it was a), but in practice it may
have been c).  I insist on none of them, rather say that the evidence
is insufficient to insist that any one is correct. However, the
evidence does indicate that more vowels may have been pronounced that
those preserved in the Tiberian tradition.

Yitzhak, I am not trying to psychoanalyze you, but there seems to be
an almost pathological effort on your part to try to prove me wrong:
pathological in that it causes you to let logic and evidence fly out
the window in your postings. How would it benefit you if you could
prove me wrong? On a professional level, I don't understand you.

Professional humility insists that we should acknowledge that there is
a lot about Biblical Hebrew of which we are unsure, even some things
that we don't know. Therefore, where there is insufficient evidence
for any one point of view, we should not insist that our
interpretation is the only right one.

I am open to evidence. But if all you have to present is like what was
in your paragraph above, don't even bother writing it, because I won't
respond to it.

Karl W. Randolph.?

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