[b-hebrew] BO and BO)

JAMES CHRISTIAN READ JCR128 at student.anglia.ac.uk
Wed Aug 22 01:28:42 EDT 2007

IF: The idea that ancient Hebrews started their language with meaningless 
syllables that somehow got combined into meaningful words is anathema to me. 
How, and by what system, pray, did these meaningless sound bits combine into 
meaningful words, again, by a “hardwired algorithm?” I am really astounded 
that there are people on the face of this earth who accept such nonsense. 

JCR: For people who believe that Yhwh created Adam and 
Eve, along with their language, and that Yhwh created
a whole series of new languages at Babel such a theory
presents no problem.

For those that believe people and languages evolved from primates such a theory would present a problem.
Linguistic research with primates shows that Chimps 
are able to learn limited numbers of sounds and 
associate recallable meaning to them. What they are 
incapable of doing is to combine these sounds to form 
more complex meaning (they lack the hardware to do it).

IF: Moreover, Hebrew is a root based language not a word based language.

JCR: I appreciate that.

IF: The whole inherent confusion of Indo-European linguistics stems from the fact 
that most of its initiators and propagators did not know Hebrew, and hence 
did not understand the process of word formation.

JCR: You keep referring to Indo-European linguistics as 
if was the only linguistic model the world had to 
offer. There is so much more to contemporary
linguistics that the data offered by the Indo-European 
family of languages.

IF: Please, don’t come to me with 6 million languages, stay with Hebrew.

JCR: I'm sorry. But the theory you are offering is one 
that shakes the foundations of linguistics. In order to 
support it, the least you could do is to find at least 
one extant living language that exhibits the behaviour 
you are suggesting. There are many languages with their 
root system in tact that are not Indo-European in 
origin. Why do their natives not understand the 
elements of their words/roots?

IF: It is also not clear to me what “the data” is.

JCR: Organisations like SIL have sent missionaries to 
countries around the world with the intention of 
finding languages, learning and documenting them and 
eventually translating the bible in to them. The result 
of this work is that where we once thought that there 
were only just over 200 languages in the world we now 
have data of over 6 million documented languages. This 
data shows for each language that each language is 
composed of words which are composed of combinations of 
meaningless syllables.

Secondly, pyscholinguistic research shows that we have 
dedicated hardware for phonetic learning in our early 
years. This phonetic learning is not accompanied by 
understanding of meaning of any kind. Why would the 
human race have need of such a biological module if 
primitive languages were composed of meaningful 

This is the data I am referring to and, as it stands,
it is standing in the way of your theory. 

For the record, I would like to make it clear that I am 
undecided either way. I would love for you to be able 
to prove your theory. But, in order to be able to prove 
it to me, you need to at least attempt to address these 
issues. If what you were saying is correct then I would 
expect to find at least on of the 6 million documented 
languages exhibiting the behaviour you suggest and some 
kind of psycholinguistic proof that babies are able to 
associate consistent meaning to syllables and invent 
new words as a result of combining these elements of 
language much in the same way as words like 'bookcase' 
or 'ashtray' can be invented.

James Christian Read
BSc Computer Science 
thesis1: concept driven machine translation using the Aleppo codex
thesis2: language acquisition simulation

athesis2: language acquisition simulation

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