[b-hebrew] Two X letters

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Mon Oct 29 22:18:52 EDT 2007


Karl,

I think I start to understand you now. You are wishing for a witness  
or an attestor to "accurately indicate what Hebrew was like before  
Hebrew was written down". What about circumstantial evidence, will  
this not do?

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Oct 29, 2007, at 8:53 PM, K Randolph wrote:

> Isaac:
>
> 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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