[b-hebrew] Two X letters

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Thu Oct 25 07:55:45 EDT 2007


George,

You know my position [based on observations!] that Hebrew has right  
now five Xs. They are G, H, X, K, Q. I recall now the argument we  
have had some time ago about my claim that HAYAH, 'was', and XAYAH,  
'lived' are but one root.
So what is the point of seizing a random X and accusing it of being  
schizophrenic? To take a Hebrew root and make about it the Alice-in  
Wonderland claim that it is actually two-in-one "different" roots?

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Oct 24, 2007, at 5:49 PM, George Athas wrote:

> Isaac Fried wrote:
>
>> The claim that Hebrew had two "different" X letters that "merged"
> into the present letter is not worth considering.
>
> Isaac, that is very unfair of you. You seem to be overlooking
> overwhelming evidence here. It almost sounds like you are sticking
> your head in the sand so as not to see it.
>
> There is good evidence from cognate languages and transliterated forms
> in other languages. Semitic languages, of which Hebrew was one, had
> two distinct but closely related letters: the more aspirated heth and
> the more fricative hu. A good example is Ugaritic. When Ugaritic uses
> the letter hu, Biblical Hebrew corresponds with the letter heth. This
> means that Biblical Hebrew either merged the two distinct letters into
> one, or else used one grapheme for both phonetic values.
>
> This last concept has persisted in Hebrew down to today, where the
> second last letter of the Hebrew alphabet has two values: shin or sin.
> Today we mark the difference with a superscripted dot, but that was a
> late invention. Another example is the way Hebrew used the letter
> `ayin to signify two phonetic values (`ayin and gayin - both of which
> are used in Arabic still today). The best examples of this last point
> are the Greek transliterations of the town (aMORaH as GOMORRA, and
> (aZZaH as GAZA - both clearly showing a 'g' type sound (i.e., gayin).
> At other times, though, the transliteration demonstrates the `ayin
> sound (e.g., (uZZiYYaHU as OZIAS).
>
> These cases suggest that your dismissive remark (quoted above) should
> itself be laid aside on the basis of evidence.
>
> If you want to be taken seriously in this forum, Isaac, you need to be
> open to evidence rather than dismissive of it. It's more valiant to
> acknowledge weaknesses in one's theories than to pompously dismiss
> contrary evidence as non-existent.
>
>
>
> Best Regards,
>
> GEORGE ATHAS
> Moore Theological College (Sydney)
> 1 King St, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia
> Ph: (+61 2) 9577 9774
>
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