[b-hebrew] Benefit of Modern Eng.?

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sun Oct 25 08:31:32 EDT 2009


On Sat, Oct 24, 2009 at 2:56 PM, Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com> wrote:

> And you may think that someone reading Shakespeare would be
> better off if they could not speak a word of English (some modern
> dialect) but had only read the language or studied its grammar or
> dictionaries. I think that most people wanting to internalize shakespeare
> would be greatful for the head start provided by being fluent in a related
> dialect. and of course, they would learn the diffferences.

I am talking about a person who knows not one word of English, who then
studies English for the sole purpose of reading Shakespeare. He has no
intention of speaking to a speaker of modern English. In such a scenario, he
would be better off not learning modern English.

As far as learning the differences, I don’t know all the differences. I
don’t know where to find them. Other than the claim that there are hundreds
of words still in use, but have different meanings than when Shakespeare
wrote them, I don’t know if there are any scholars who know all the changes.
Therefore, for the foreigner who knows no English, who studies English for
the sole purpose of reading Shakespeare, learning a modern English dialect
would provide a distraction that may make it impossible to internalize
Shakespearean English.

How many native speakers of a modern English dialect have internalized
Shakespearean English so well that they import no corruption from their use
of modern English? Worldwide, possibly could be counted on the fingers of
one hand. Therefore, to expect a non-native speaker to internalize
Shakespearean English through mastering a modern English dialect is a near

The equivalent situation meets us when we face Biblical Hebrew. If he learns
fluently modern Hebrew first, it interferes with his ever internalizing
Biblical Hebrew. I need look no further than the published comments citing
the unnamed scholars who declared the Jehoash Stone a forgery. The way to
become fluent in Biblical Hebrew is to read Tanakh every day, an hour or so
a day, until he has read Tanakh 20–30 times, and after all that he may have
internalized Biblical Hebrew.

> must run.
> Randall
> Karl W. Randolph.

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