[b-hebrew] Genesis 31: 47: What Foreign Language Is That?

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Tue Nov 27 18:44:20 EST 2007


On Nov 27, 2007 10:56 PM, Isaac Fried wrote:

> I am sorry, but I have to disagree with you. -UT is not an
> abstraction marker as you assume it to be. In my humble opinion there
> is no such thing in Hebrew as an abstraction marker. The ancient
> Hebrews surely did not distinguish in their mind between the concrete
> and the abstract and had therefore no use for such a special marker. -
> UT is rather an identity marker, or a combination of two such
> markers, aka personal pronouns.
> A noun is a name for a thing, and this [compound] marker identifies
> the thing.

Hello Isaac,

If I have to choose between you and Dr. Lehmann as members of the list, I
choose Dr. Lehmann.  I feel that what you admit are superficial ideas add
nothing to our understanding of Hebrew or the Hebrew Bible, and have also
nothing to do with reality.  Your refusal to consult and use standard methods
of linguistics is not an advantage, but a disadvantage.  You are entitled to
your ideas, and I'm glad you published them!  But that doesn't mean that
your ideas are on par with the standard well-accepted understanding of
Hebrew.  Just to discuss these ideas is to diminish the value of the list.

Recently, you began to use linguistic terms superficially.  In your message
to George, you used them in a long string of meaningless phrases as if
putting in linguistic terminology as buzzwords together in phrases will result
in some sensible linguistic argument.

Your main example is that language often combines and skips different
parts of words, which is the mechanism by which your assumed elements
were connected together into words.  But this skipping and combining
happens in well defined and understood circumstances, and standard
linguistic theory does understand this process.  Your own theory is no
better although it is in fact worse off because you don't understand the
complete picture of how this happens in language.

You wrote to David, "I wish you would have given us a reasoned
explanation why this is impossible," and "I have horror of abstract
arguments and vague courses of reasoning."  You have provided no course of
reasoning as to how you came to your ideas.  You just expect us to "try
them out and see the light."

I don't know about others.  I had seen enough of your interpretations to know
that they gain us nothing, and while you may be adamant about their correctness,
they're wrong, superficial, and have nothing to do with Biblical Hebrew or the
Hebrew Bible.  That is, they have about as much to do with Biblical Hebrew
as a scribble has to do with geometry.  On a hypothetical geometry
list, a person
might wish to discuss his scribbles along with others on the list.  But any
serious list cannot allow such "equal point of views" discussions.  There has
to be a line.  Your wish to discuss your ideas cannot come in place of the wish
of others on the list to discuss their own ideas productively with Dr.
Lehmann and
others.

Yitzhak Sapir



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