[b-hebrew] Two X letters

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Mon Oct 29 20:53:36 EDT 2007


Dictionary meaning: "attested" refers to the fact that there is witness to it.

In the study of the history of languages, an attested etymology is one
where we have a written record of the language as it changed. An
unattested etymology is one where there is no written record.

In the case of modern English, we have written records that reach back
to Anglo-Saxon, through the Norman period reaching up to today: we can
trace vocabulary usage, changes in word meanings, grammar changes,
spelling indicating pronunciation changes, etc. We have over a
thousand years record of the language.

In the case of Biblical Hebrew, we have no record, none at all. Oh
there are cognate languages, but do they accurately indicate what
Hebrew was like before Hebrew was written down? Or was Hebrew the
language of Adam, preserved through to Moses (as I've heard some
claim) which would mean that it had no etymology?

Did you really not know this, or was your question just a rhetorical question?

Karl W. Randolph.

On 10/29/07, Isaac Fried <if at math.bu.edu> wrote:
> Karl,
> As far as I understand it there is no such thing as "attested etymologies".
> How can an etymology be "attested".
> Isaac Fried, Boston University
> On Oct 29, 2007, at 11:22 AM, K Randolph wrote:
> Are theories concerning proposed but unattested etymologies of
> languages a science at all? Maybe in the post-modern sense where
> theory is considered equal to if not more important than evidence
> instead of as in modern science where theory is merely a possible
> explanation of evidence.

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