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As discussed before, some people claim to find evindence for G-d in the Hebrew language. One of the supposed "proofs" is the following:

Words [that have similar meanings or some other meaningful connection] which have no connection to each other in other languages, are intricately connected in Hebrew.

First, we should define connection. From the examples that follow in the text, I guess they mean the words share the same root. Like "sing" and "singer" for example. The linguistic term for this is derivation.

Ok, so is this so special? That words are derived from one another in one language and not in another should be no surprise. Otherwise translating would be trivial! For example if I look at German and English (two very related languages) I can still find many cases where words are derived from each other in one language, but not the other. One simple example for the German root "fahr-":

fahren (to drive, travel), Fahrt (the drive, ride), Fahrer (driver), Einfahrt (driveway), Ausfahrt (exit), Fähre (ferry), verfahren (to get lost while driving), …

While many words with the root "fahr-" in German share the root "driv-" in English, others do not, e.g., exit or ferry (I’m not cheating, the umlaut is a regular German thing that does not change the root, e.g., "he drives" is "er fährt"). So this fact is really nothing special, rather it is the norm!

IF there were any special point to make about different derivations then that the fields of connected words in Hebrew are so much more meaningful and (for want of a better word) "designed" than in other languages.

Ok, so let’s see an example for Hebrew. This is the original quote:

Birds have the following characteristics: They chirp, fly, can see far while flying, and are covered with feathers. The Hebrew word for bird is צפּור, tzipor. The first two letters, tzadi fay, are the two letter root of the word. Chirping is tziftzoof – tzadi fay, tzadi fay (a double of the letters suggests a lot of that thing – birds chirp a lot). To fly is tzaf – tzadi fay. To see far is Tzofeh – tzadi fay hey. Feathers are tzifiyah – tzadi fay yud hey.

To put it in a more readable form:

Root: צפּ (tzade fe)
צף — tzade fe — tzaf — to fly [*see below]
צפור — tzade fe vav resh — tzipor — bird
צפצף — tzade fe tzade fe — tziftzof — to chirp
צפה — tzade fe he — tzofeh — to see
צפיה — tzade fe yud he — tzifiya — feathers [*see below]

The very very first thing to do is check this for errors with a dictionary or a native speaker. I’m not a native speaker and I only have an online dictionary as I’m currently not at home. But this already fails for two of the words: "tzaf" is translated as "to float" in Morfix, "to fly" would be "af" (ayin fe). "tzifiya" is given as "viewing", "feather" would be notzah. Anyway, let’s give the benefit of the doubt that my dictionary is faulty and go on.

What is happening here argument-wise? First, they use a two-letter root. This is often done in pseudo-science, but in linguistics (and Hebrew grammar classes), people work with three-letter roots. The three letter root for "tzofeh" would be tzade fe he, the one for "tzipor" probably tzade fe resh (again, not a native speaker, but pretty sure). So the actual linguistic relation between "tzofeh" and "tzipor" is questionable.

Assuming two-letter roots exist (and there are some scholars who say they do), there are many more three-letter combinations that we could include and we would need to check that they are also somehow connected to birds. I don’t have a root dictionary here with me, but what found with a very quick search is tzipa (tzade fe he, pi’el, to expect / to cover), tzefi (tzade fe yud, forecast), tzefa (tzade fe ayin, viper), tzafar (tzade fe resh, to honk). Not very convincing.

To prove that Hebrew is the only divine language, we would need to check that the same connection cannot be found in any other language. I don’t really have the motivation to do that here, if you come across another language where "bird", "chirp", "feather" and possibly "view" share the same root, write a comment.

Finally, question is whether it is so surprising that birds, chirping and feathers are related? They are very typical characteristics of birds after all, it is very logical that the words for them are derived from the word for bird. So why would that be something only G-d can put into a language? I don’t get the point, even if the argumentation would hold water, which it really doesn’t.

A final word to those crying heretic: I don’t want to say that Hebrew is not a special language, you are free to believe that if you want. All I’m sayin is that this is not the way to prove it.

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