A Guest Blogger

We’re very excited to welcome our latest guest blogger: Ben S. Ben is a Ph.D. student in near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, with a specialization in Comparative Semitics. (What is that? Ben explains on his web site, “Comparative Semitics is a broad language approach to the Near East. That is, I focus on no particular geographical region or time period. I study the major languages from each, more as a philologer than a linguist.”). Ben teaches institute in Chicago, sometimes writes for FAIR, and has his own moderately quirky web site which includes some very useful church resources.

Ben has been a frequent commenter here, and his comments are uniformly good. We’re looking forward to reading his posts.

7 comments for “A Guest Blogger

  1. I’m also not a lawyer or a philosopher, and most of my graduate schooling has been with grammar and syntax of various languages (which I won’t blog on, unless someone actually wants a discussion of why Akkadian has both a semantic t-infix and an aspectual t-infix.) In other words, my posts should be fairly accessible to the average reader. I’ll get something up this afternoon after class.

  2. I will look forward to Ben’s comments. Always good to hear from a fellow linguist.

    Well- make that “almost fellow”, since I ditched my Ph.D. at Michigan for the (greener?) pastures of the law.

  3. Hi Ben! What a surprise. . . you didn’t hint at this at our little gathering a few weeks ago. I look foward to your comments (hopefully a little something on Free Masons, the temple, and Joseph Smith!).

  4. I’m looking forward to some kind of Hebrew Bible insights …

    But more importantly, I checked out your web-site and was grateful to see a fellow appreciator of Ultimate Frisbee, one of the greatest but least appreciated sports. Thanks for that link. I’ll probably be stealing it at some point.

  5. Maybe Ben would care to comment on a theory forwarded by a German Professor at SUU (Terry Blodgett) in his dissertation (“Phonological Similarities in German and Hebrew”) that an influx of Israelites into the North was the catalyst for the first German language shift.

    (He writes about that theory, albeit from a different angle, in “Tracing the Dispersion”, Ensign, Feb. 1994, 64)

    I would be interested to know if Ben has read this theory and what he thinks of it.

  6. Ben’s web site has been a great resource for me and his comments on T&Sn have been insightful, so I’m happy to have him blogging. Welcome!

  7. Jordan:
    I’ve thought about this article recently, and I went back and reread it.
    The author says “In 700 B.C., this sound shift [in six different consonant] was still functional in Hebrew and would have been part of any impact that migrating Israelites would have had on other languages. ”

    I’m curious to know how he knows that. (Curse the lack of footnotes in the Ensign!) One methodological problem that I see is that most of the things he’s basing his comparison on were not indicated in the Hebrew text until 700-800 AD. Some of those indicators that were added are not ancient (such as segholate nouns. For example, we know from Greek transliterations of Hebrew that melek was pronounced malk until post-NT times.) You can’t rely on Massoretic vocalization to accurately reconstruct what Hebrew would have looked in 700 BC. It may be correct, but we know of at least a few cases where Massoretic pronunciation was different from how it would have been spoken pre-NT times.

    On the other hand, I think he may have something with some of his cognates. One that I don’t see listed is Eng. earth

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