Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Hebrew Language: Its Relation to Indo-European in Light of Daniel Sivan, Grammatical Analysis and Glossary of the Northwest Semitic Vocables in Akkadian Texts of the 15th-13th C. B.C. from Canaan and Syria

Franz Bopp, the founder of comparative linguistics, as well as August von Schlözer, who coined the term "Semitic" only 200 years ago, saw ancient Indo-European connections to Hebrew. I have examined some word groups below and draw attention to the following sources, especially to the work of Daniel Sivan, work which I have studied but which is -- surprisingly -- not sufficiently known in the linguistic world, to the detriment of modern linguistics, whose understanding of the ancient languages of the Ancient Near East and including the Egyptian hieroglyphs would profit greatly if they simply read and applied Sivan's findings!

Major References: (Library Volumes)

  • Botterweck et al., Theologisches Woerterbuch zum Alten Testament (in 8 volumes), Verlag W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart (standard work)
  • Jenni and Westermann, Theologisches Handwörterbuch zum Alten Testament, Chr. Kaiser Verlag, Munich, 1976 (in 2 volumes)
  • Wilhelm Gesenius, Hebraeisches und Aramaeisches Handwoerterbuch ueber das Alte Testament, 18th ed., Springer Verlag, 1995.
  • Daniel Sivan, Grammatical Analysis and Glossary of the Northwest Semitic Vocables in Akkadian Texts of the 15th-13th C. B.C. from Canaan and Syria, Volume 214, Alter Orient und Altes Testament, Verlag Butzon & Bercker Kevelaer, 1984, based on the El-Amarna Tablets, The Alalah Tablets (Level IV), The Akkadian Texts from Ugarit (Ras Shamra), and The Tacanak Tablets
    "Here are the changes found by Sivan in the Northwest Semitic Vocabules which every linguist should examine in the future:
    •  i/e, u/a, i/u, aw>o
    • ay>e
    • i+u>u
    • i+a>a/i
    • uw>u
    • iy>i
    • i+i>i
    • i+e>e/i
    • assimilation of vowels to bilabial consonants
    • assimilation of a short vowel to a long vowel following it
    • vowel assimilation in words not beginning with '
    • a shift of a>o (this is also found in Indo-European where most words beginning with S in Latvian are SA- but are found shifted in Greek to SU-) 
    • ana>una (look at Lithuanian ana)
    • dropped vowels as a result of stress shift (in Latvian, where all words are stressed on the first syllable, the initial vowels following the initial consonant are pretty resilient -- but they start to disappear when stress is shifted to later syllables and short vowels disappear more quickly than long ones)
    • a shift of b/p, p/m, m/n
    • many changes among the dentals - going from fricatives or palatalized dentals to simple sibilants or simple dentals
    • shift of n/l
    • assimilation of R, L and N to the consonant following
    • nazalization of n
    • shift of s>sh
    • shift of w>y at the beginning of a word
    • y/w dropped between vowels
    • y is dropped at the beginning of words in certain cases
    • ya>a/i
    • assimilation of y to the consonant following it
    • - etc.
  • Muehlenbachs and Endzelins, Latvian-German Historical Dictionary

    Examine the following word groups as samples.


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