[b-hebrew] Speaking only for myself ...

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Jun 27 13:24:32 EDT 2008

Dear John Linebarger:
On Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 12:16 PM, John M. Linebarger <jmlineb at comcast.net>

> I am a lurker on b-hebrew but more active on b-greek, and I am struck by
> the difference between the two groups.  There is much more controversy on
> b-hebrew,…

One of the things that attracted me to the study of Biblical Hebrew, already
back in my college days, was the realization that a lot less is known of the
language than of Greek, for example. One of the results of less being known
of the language is that there is more controversy between different
understandings of the language with less likelihood that the differences be

> …which is not necessarily positive or interesting.…

Can be, but you're right, too often it is not.

> … The most recent exchange between Isaac Fried and David Kummerow is a case
> in point.
> Quite frankly, speaking only for myself, what I find tedious is Isaac's
> persistent refusal either to study linguistics or to accept its results as
> being normative for that discipline.  Isaac appears to wish that lingistics
> was much more like mathematics, but it is not.  So he appears to fight it
> instead of accepting it and working within it.  As a result, what he puts
> forward often appears to be gibberish to the linguistics community.  If the
> goal is to change the field of linguistics, a prerequisite would appear to
> be both an understanding of it and a willingness to use its medium of
> discourse to communicate the need for change.
> My biggest problem with his theories is that too often he is wrong. But
like so many such ideologues, he just blows off the criticism and soldiers

> My humble request is that  unprofitable exchanges like this latest one
> either be minimized or eliminated in future.  A ground rule for posting
> would appear to be a willingness to express oneself in commonly accepted
> terms of discourse in the linguistic community.  Failure to do that is
> simply a conscious choice not to be understood, which dooms the
> communication to be ineffective at the start.
> The problem is, where do you draw the line?

The way I personally deal with it is to skip Isaac's postings when I come
across them, putting them in the electronic round file unread. The way I
deal with messages from Jim Stinehart is to leave them in the in box a
couple of days, then when I round file them, they go with their accumulated
responses unread.

The problems for a list leader (sorry, the proper term escapes me at the
moment) is different from my personal solution. How is he to choose which
people to post, and which to forbid? By formal scholarship? If by formal
scholarship, he would have to deny me, as I have all of one year (two
semesters) of one class in Hebrew. Yet I have read the text of the
Tanakh/Old Testament through several times and in the process wrote a
dictionary from Biblical Hebrew to English, which few, if any, PhDs in
Hebrew have done. I do not envy their job.

> John M. Linebarger
> PhD Computer Science (so Hebrew and linguistics are avocations, not
> vocations)
> Albuquerque, NM

Karl W. Randolph.

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