[b-hebrew] THE ORIGIN OF THE TERM "MYSTERY" IN SEMITIC LANGUAGES.

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Oct 16 10:40:33 EDT 2009


Ishinan:

On Thu, Oct 15, 2009 at 8:46 PM, Ishinan <ishinan at comcast.net> wrote:

> Karl W. Randolph wrote:
>
> Unexamined tradition can lead to etymological errors.
>
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>
> Ishinan:
>
> Applying the comparative method between sister Semitic languages can easily
> dispel erroneous etymologies.
>


> Ishinan Ishibashi
>

On the contrary, the comparative method between languages can exacerbate
etymological errors. The reason is that individual words can have very
different meanings even between very close sister languages.

A story that I heard gives an example: a Swede went to Trondheim, Norway,
and in the evening hopped into a cab giving the instruction, “Ta mig til en
rolig plass.” (Take me to a place where the night life is hopping). The
Norwegian driver heard, “Ta meg till en rolig plass.” (Take me to a quiet
place) and so drove to a cemetery. The story may be apocryphal or the
Swedish use slang, but it illustrates how comparative linguistics would not
catch the Swede’s use (Norwegian “rolig” (pronounced roo-lig) German ruhig).

In comparative linguistics, which meaning of שכח $KX is favored—the Aramaic
“to find” or the Hebrew “to forget”?

Karl W. Randolph.



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