[b-hebrew] historical question with linguistic import

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sat Jul 14 17:30:37 EDT 2012

Thank you, Dave:

On Fri, Jul 13, 2012 at 7:00 PM, Dave Washburn <davidlwashburn at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Fri, Jul 13, 2012 at 5:02 PM, K Randolph <kwrandolph at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Ted:
> >
> > On Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 7:44 PM, <TedBro at aol.com> wrote:
> >
> >> **
> >> Karl:
> >> The C-V theory is intriguing, but also appears to have some glaring
> >> difficulties. Since there are only 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet,
> there
> >> would only be one possible vowel following each consonant. Do you find
> such
> >> a theory workable?
> >>
> >
> > What do you mean by “one possible vowel following each consonant”?
> If I may speak for him, he means that if it truly was syllabic and not
> alphabetic, then each symbol would represent only one CV combination.
> Example: the symbol BA in Akkadian only represents BA, it doesn't
> occasionally represent BE or BU. In a true syllabary, each represented
> consonantal sound is followed by only one possible vowel; a different
> vowel would require another symbol. I hope that clears it up.
> --
> Dave Washburn
> Check out my Internet show: http://www.irvingsplace.us
> Now available: a novel about King Josiah!

I see what you mean. If it were a complete syllabary, it would have a
different symbol for each of the consonant - vowel pairs. Just like
Hiragana in Japanese. As it is, it is an incomplete syllabary, listing only
the initial consonants.

Similarly, if it were an alphabet, it would list all the sounds, including
the vowels. But as the vowels were added as an afterthought, a thousand
years after Hebrew ceased to be used in daily life, it could not be called
an alphabet as well. At best maybe an incomplete alphabet.

Of the two possibilities, an incomplete syllabary appears more and more
likely to have been the case. And with Thutmosis III identified as Shishak,
that would include the Hebrew spoken up to the time of the Babylonian Exile.

Karl W. Randolph.

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