Saturday, October 31, 2020

Rahan Linguistics Revisited

1) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Rahan linguistics, 2) New blog on the kid : How do Esquimaux Learn Tlingit?, 3) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Rahan Linguistics Revisited

When would Rahan have been from?

Pre- or post-Flood?

In reality neither, as he is described?

Pre-Flood, there was a good level of technology, according to narrative sources (Genesis with divine approval for all detail, but also Mahabharata, reflecting a pre-Flood war which could easily have taken place between grandsons of the Cainite Lamech, explaining why either Noah marrie late or his earlier sons were no more available when he built the Ark. In the backhistory we also have a Bharat who'd refelct both the two Henochs, the Cainite and the Sethite one, conflated into one.

The pre-Flood cavemen we do find (in El Sidrón or La Ferrassie for Neanderthals, in Atapuerca, Terra Amata and Denisova for an even bulkier race called Antecessor, Heidelbergian or Denisovan) would have been to these, as Chingachgook and Leatherstocking to the courts of George III and Louis XVI in London and Versailles.

Or burial in caves outside cities was a luxurious custom.

Post-Flood, early on, all lived the life which previously was that of Neanderthals, later of men like Father Brébeuf and his killers and converts - but equally all knew that another technology would be available once one had tested crops for post-Flood climate and found metal ore.

There was no room for anyone creating lots of inventions ex nihilo as a "first" to rise just slightly above previous equally stone age life and that reaching back tens or hundreds or thousands of millennia. Agriculture and metallurgy were always around the corner. The real Rahans would have been engaged in adapting, as long as needed, the memory of "neolithic / bronze- / iron-age" technology to self imposed or Flood imposed "palaeolithic" conditions.

But one thing where this real life scenario does meet up with Rahan is ... linguistics.

Post-Flood men in Noah's remaining years all spoke one language - presumably sth like Hebrew.

In pre-Flood times, we find Denisovan and Neanderthal races both in Denisova in Siberia, and in Spain. The lineages that had diverged genetically in just 2242 years (or less) would not have had time to on top of that within each diverge linguistically very much.

In other words, the pre-Flood world also, like Rahan's imaginary world, was more or less monoglot. If it was not a one world state, it was sth like two competing one world states plus a few outsiders, if such. If you left cities and fields for Neanderthal hunting grounds in Belgium or pine nut orchards in El Sidrón, you would hear mostly same words, forms, syntax, as in town.

Perhaps Neanderthals were handicapped for low vowels. Romanian câine has a diphthong between two high vowels in first syllable, where Latin canem had one long low vowel. Not saying Romanians have that handicap, obviously.

Perhaps a Pole projected back to Our Lord's time would have transscribed Szymon Bar Jona, but if transported back to Neanderthals would have written Szimun Byr Juny (supposing the pre-Flood language was more Aramaic than strictly Hebrew). But it would not have been like Jesuits going from Latin and Spanish to Guaraní as in these post-Babel times.

My point "against" Rahan (I obviously like the comic) is, if he had really lived 50 000 or 100 000 years after the first populations of Homo sapiens, arguably that unity would have been by his time already lost.

But my point "for" Rahan (apart from entertainment), and therefore against the 100 000 years, is, stone age archaeology supports travel and tool transport over large distances, and therefore something like "Rahan linguistics".

Tolkien, in The Hobbit, explored a scenario in which Numenoreans had spread Adûnaic thousands of years earlier : as a result, Westron varied from The Shire to Etten Moors, or from Rivendell and Thranduil's hall to Laketown. Bilbo Baggins had to adapt, a bit like an Englishman going from Bloemfontein to Birmingham, or from Yorkshire to West Midlands (Tolkien's own situation).

Meaning, Tolkien was a better linguist than Chéret. Not surprisingly, since he was into Anglo-Saxon, Early Middle English and (somewhat as an amateur) Medieval Welsh philologies.

Hans Georg Lundahl
All Hallows' Eve

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