Thursday, October 15, 2009

"If God spoke a language" - to correct Grimm

Series straddling three blogs: 
 
Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ...on linguistic evolution
...on Tower of Babel or language evolution
Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Milk and Gollum, and Nostratic M-L-Q
Is Boromir a mimsy borogove?
"If God spoke a language" - to correct Grimm
On the "Reformed Egyptian" of the "Nephites"
side issue on previous, Theology: A Gerald Smith on the theme of "Great Apostasy" and "Restored Gospel" - answered
Is Romanides accurate?
Was Romanides accurate? Bis! Not very much at all!
Linguistics for Romanides: Greek, Latin, Patois
Coniectura linguistica, pro casu unitatis vetustissimae indo-europaeae linguae.
Creation vs. Evolution : 32 language families for 72 nations ...
To this essay: 


Noam Chomsky Between the Human and Natural Sciences

Frits Staal
University of California at Berkeley :

Scroll down to 3 about Noam Chomsky and the so called exact sciences, § 2:

A century and a half ago, a debate was raging about the question whether God spoke Hebrew. Jacob Grimm, one of the brothers to whom we owe the collection of fairy tales, pointed out gently that if God spoke language, any language, we must assume that he had teeth, but since teeth were not created for speech but for eating, we must assume that he also ate, and this leads to so many other undesirable assumptions that we better abandon the idea altogether (1851, reprint 1958:28).


You forget, dear Grimm: dental sounds may have existed in God's idea before there were teeth. Light existed before the sun, the moon and the stars above earth. But God did indeed eventually grow teeth, as well as start eating, so we must assume there was laundry going on in Bethlehem, and cooking in Egypt and Nazareth.

A Spanish scholar assuming that God spoke indeed Hebrew concluded that the first name of The Word - he who became flesh in the pure virgins blessed womb - was dabar, a word meaning word and which begins with a dental.

St Anna Katharina Emmerich had another idea given in her visions, Hebrew was one language God created for Heber who did not partake in the building of Babel. §§ 3, 4:

Upon Heber who, as we have said, took no part in the work, God cast His eyes; and amid the general disorder and corruption, He set him and his posterity apart as a holy nation. God gave him also a new and holy language possessed by no other nation, that thereby his race should be cut off from communication with all others.

This language was the pure Hebrew, or Chaldaic. The first tongue, the mother tongue, spoken by Adam, Shem, and Noah, was different, and it is now extant only in isolated dialects. Its first pure offshoots are the Zend, the sacred tongue of India, and the language of the Bactrians. In those languages, words may be found exactly similar to the Low German of my native place.



Thank Wikipedia for bringing these quotes to my atention, the article concluding that Anna Katharina Emmerich had identified the first language with Proto-Indo-European. Maybe - if so the punishment of Babel was for Indo-Europeans a miraculous speed up in langage change and language split. Or maybe not. Tolkien explores the idea of an elfin elven language which is (in this theory) source of Non-Indo-European words of some, usually Indo-European, languages of Northern Europe, leading back Lithuanian "ranka" (=Greek χειρ) and Icelandic "alft" (=swan) back to Quenya words ranca and alqua. The question whether the words alluded to are Indo-European roots or not cannot be decided unless some other document describes which particular words she meant.


Hans-Georg Lundahl,
15 octobre 2009,
ste Theresa d'Avila,
à Emmaüs (Paris I)
et à G. Pompidou (Paris IV)

3 comments:

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

I guess, after today's sermon, Abbé Beauvais wishes me to prefer the Spanish scholar (who was in agreement with St Augustine) to Blessed Anne Katherine Emmerich.

Philosophically it remains true that no problem posed by the concept of God giving man an original language is unsoluble.

If God could shine light before creating Sun, he could pronounce dentals before creating teeth.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Tolkien lingustics and language philosophical questions: 1 Milk and Gollum, and Nostratic M-L-Q 2 Is Boromir a mimsy borogove? 3 "If God spoke a language" - to correct Grimm

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

See also (for functional francophones): Cratylus redivivus