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Difference between paleo-hebrew, moden-hebrew, and aramaic?

Discussion in 'Languages' started by Truthseeker313, May 25, 2010.

  1. Truthseeker313

    Truthseeker313 Believer as he Scriptures Hath Said

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    Whats the difference between paleo-Hebrew, modern-Hebrew, and Aramaic based on your research and sources if available?
     
  2. yonah_mishael

    yonah_mishael הֱיֵה קודם כל בן אדם

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    What's the difference between Shakespearean English, modern English and Finnish (the language of Finland, which is the most closely related language to English)?

    Paleo-Hebrew is basically like biblical Hebrew written with an older alphabet. It is the form of Hebrew found in inscriptions, on some coinage, and apparently how the Bible was originally written. As far as structure and language, it is essentially identical to biblical Hebrew - it just looks different.

    Modern Hebrew is simpler than biblical Hebrew, just as modern English is simpler than Shakespeare. Many complicated suffix patterns have been replaced with prepositions (שמרתיו shmartiv "I have watched him" is replaced with שמרתי אותו shamarti oto, and the like), a non-construct possessive has replaced many construct expressions (בית אהרן beit aharon "Aaron's house" is now הבית של אהרן ha-bayit shel aharon or ביתו של אהרן beito shel aharon), and modern vocabulary stock has been created for things such as televisions, airplanes, toaster ovens, recliners, etc. Clearly, ancient Hebrew didn't have such terms.

    As far as basic grammar and the most common vocabulary (except what has been pulled from Arabic), modern Hebrew is extremely close to biblical Hebrew. It's comparable to Shakespeare and our English. We can read Shakespeare, but we might need a dictionary to understand the older uses of words, and the feel of the language is a little stilted. Someone who speaks Israeli Hebrew can read the Bible, but they might need a dictionary for words that have different meanings, and they have to get used to a different word order (biblical Hebrew is generally verb-subject-object, whereas modern Hebrew is subject-verb-object [like European languages]).

    Aramaic is a sister language of Hebrew. It shares many vocabulary words and grammatical features. You can distinguish Aramaic by the fact that there are a ton of alephs (א) that appear at the end of words. This is because aleph was used as the definite article (מלך > מלכא "the king"; מלכה > מלכתא "the queen"; ארע > ארעא "the earth"; אלהין > אלהיא "God"). Someone who knows Hebrew very well can transition into Aramaic probably just by reading it a lot. It wouldn't take a whole new language course to get to the point of reading and understanding Aramaic.

    Religious Jews learn Aramaic because of the Gemara, the largest part of the Talmud, which is written in Aramaic. There are also a few chapters of the Bible written in Aramaic, mostly found in the book of Daniel. I have sat and read Daniel 7 in Aramaic and understood what was going on (probably because I've read it several times in English, too). The Aramaic was intelligible to me. We also have a few important prayers in Aramaic - most notably the Kaddish.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. SteveCaruso

    SteveCaruso Translator

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    Ancient Hebrew's closest relations are other Canaanite languages such as Phoenecian, Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite and the likes. Modern Hebrew has also had a lot of influence in pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar from various European languages and is a very different animal from Classical Hebrew as in many ways it had to be reconstructed.

    Aramaic is also not one monolithic language either, but rather a language family with hundreds of members (traditionally called "dialects"), many of which are not mutually intelligible or even written using the same alphabet.

    In a nutshell: Jewish Aramaic dialects, of course, are more intelligible to Hebrew speakers as vocabulary has been borrowed back and forth (for a quick example, "Bar Mitzvah" isn't Hebrew, it's Aramaic; if it were "100% Hebrew" it would have been "Ben Mitzvah") and this borrowing started back during the Exile to Babylon where the Jews were forced (as a matter of survival) to adopt Late Imperial Aramaic as their lingua franca.

    In later years, starting with the decline of the Persian Empire, Aramaic underwent a fracturing (much like Latin after the fall of Rome into romance languages) and each small pocket of dialects evolved separately from one-another. The split was even down religious lines as Jewish and Christian Aramaic dialects that grew up side-by-side in the same village became completely incomprehensible due to vocabulary and phonemic shifts in small increments over thousands of years.

    However, between Aramaic and Hebrew (despite seeing whether the text is written in Syriac, Mandaic, or Nabatean Aramaic scripts, for example) there are generally the following 'readily spotted' differences:

    - Use of the Particle די (di) "Of" - In Hebrew you'd find של (shel) or the Construct state employed to denote genitive relationships. In Aramaic די (di) (more often as a prefix ד (di-,de-,da-) or in older dialects spelled זי (di)) is used for a variety of things from denoting genitive relationships to possession to introducing direct speech.

    - The Emphatic form - How definite nouns are constructed. In Hebrew it's the prefix ה (ha-) where in Aramaic it's the suffix א (-a). In later Eastern dialects, the Emphatic form lost its definiteness and became the base form for words, definiteness usually denoted by a proleptic suffix plus די (di) (for example, טורה דמלכתא (turah d'malktha) "the queen's mountain" literally "her mountain, that of the queen"). In some modern dialects, such as Turoyo, they have re-invented a separate definite article and place it upon the Emphatic.

    - Plural Nouns - In Hebrew you generally get ים (-im) for the masculine and ות (-ot,-oth,-os) for the feminine endings. In Aramaic they are (depending on dialect) ין (-in) in the Absolute or יא (-aya) or א (-e) in the Emphatic for the masculine and ת (-ath) in the Absolute or תא (-ata,-atha) in the Emphatic for the Feminine.

    - Pronouns - In Hebrew we find אני (ani) "I", אנחנו/אנו (anahnu/anu) "we", אתם (atem) "you" [masc.], הם/הן (hem [masc.],hen [fem.]) "they." Where in Aramaic we see אנא/אנה (ana,ena,anah) "I", אנחנה/אנחנא/אנחנן/חנן/אנן (enahnah,enahna,enahnan,hnan,enan) "we", אתון (atun) "you" [masc.], הנון/הנין (henun [masc.], henen [fem.]). Posessive and demonstrative pronouns are also different.

    And where there are a heck of a lot more (like I said, these are the quickest to spot). :)
     
  4. yonah_mishael

    yonah_mishael הֱיֵה קודם כל בן אדם

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    Very nice, Steve. :)

    I'm not an Aramaic expert. In fact, I'd love to start studying Aramaic formally. My experience of Jewish Aramaic is really limited to the text of the Bible and to what bit of the Gemara I've ventured into Aramaic for. I study Gemara in English because of this limitation. Are there any textbooks that you'd suggest for Aramaic study? (Something that doesn't cost an arm and a leg?)

    Thanks,
    Yonah
     
  5. HighVoltage

    HighVoltage New Member

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    Forget modern Hebrew it's not that useful for Bible study.

    Best source for paleo-hebrew, and the even older pictographic ancient hebrew is Ancient Hebrew Research center.

    anicent-hebrew.org
     
  6. Beriah09

    Beriah09 Newbie

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    Paleo-Hebrew is basically like biblical Hebrew written with an older alphabet. It is the form of Hebrew found in inscriptions, on some coinage, and apparently how the Bible was originally written. As far as structure and language, it is essentially identical to biblical Hebrew - it just looks different.

    I'm just learning to read and write Hebrew and what I'm also reading in the very old prayers in the back of the book .. the prefixes and suffixes are completely different .. like in the "Barukh She amar."

    Here is another site discussing the same thing in detail.

    How Does Paleo-Hebrew Work? - In His Name - Yada Yahweh Forum
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2010
  7. yonah_mishael

    yonah_mishael הֱיֵה קודם כל בן אדם

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    Nonsense. Only someone who doesn't know modern Hebrew would tell you that it's not beneficial for Bible study. I studied biblical Hebrew formally in Bible college for three years. I now live in Israel and have studied modern Hebrew for several years. I can read the Bible much fluently and intelligently now (since I've internalized the language) than I ever could when I sat in a classroom in Bible college with other clueless students.

    Internalize the language. Learn modern Hebrew. The only difficulty you'll have is some different vocab and very few grammatical differences. Don't listen to those who say otherwise, since they can't look at both sides of the coin.
     
  8. yedida

    yedida Ruth Messianic, joining Israel, Na'aseh v'nishma!

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    Shalom y'all,
    There is a word that I cannot seem to find within the few dictionariess that I know of online. Can anyone help? The word is "yadati".
    Thanks in advance.
    P.S.
    Or looking at the link someone posted above, yada etc... do I just need to know the meaning of yada and the "ti" just personalizes it? (I would liken myself as a 3 yr old learning to read and understand Hebrew - the reading isn't so hard, it's the vocabulary giving me troubles.)

    I did check yada, it means know? Sorry, I always thought just "da" meant know. Silly me. So yadati should equate to "I know" or "my knowing"? And "ki ani yadati" = for I know?
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2010
  9. yonah_mishael

    yonah_mishael הֱיֵה קודם כל בן אדם

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    The word for "know" is yod-dalet-ayin י.ד.ע. The past tense form "he knew" is יָדַע yada. The personal ending for "I" (first-person singular) is -ti. Yadati יָדַעְתִּי means "I knew" or "I knew it!" It's also past tense.

    The imperative (command) for, by which you tell someone to "know!" something, is דַּע da. This is used in the Scriptures where it says that we should "know God". Technically, it doesn't mean "know" in the sense of a familiar knowing, as I know my friends. It means something more akin to "acknowledge". This is why the Proverbs say to "acknowledge (דַּע) Him* in all your ways, and he will direct your paths".

    Because the ־תִּי suffix is explicit, you don't need to have אֲנִי in your sentence. כִּי יָדַעְתִּי means "for I have known" (= "for I know"). In the present tense, the person isn't explicit, and you'd need to write כִּי אֲנִי יוֹדֵע.

    :)

    * Technically, the verse in Proverbs 3.6 reads:
    בְּכָל־דְּרָכֶיךָ דָעֵהוּ וְהוּא יְיַשֵּׁר אֹרְחֹתֶיךָ׃
    Here, the word דָעֵהוּ is the imperative דַּע ("know!") with the third-person objective ending ־ֵהוּ for "him".
    "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will straight your paths."
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2010
  10. yedida

    yedida Ruth Messianic, joining Israel, Na'aseh v'nishma!

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    Yonah, shalom
    Thank you for such a quick and informative reply.
    Ki Ani Yadati is a song and I understand the majority of it, but the title word "yadati" wasn't showing up in anything I had to use.
    I've found that a really fun way to learn Hebrew is to translate (I should say attempt to translate) Hebrew songs, at least as a way to build vocabulary, not for grammar.
     
  11. Nooj

    Nooj Senior Veteran

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    That's wrong. Finnish is a distant cousin of English.
     
  12. yonah_mishael

    yonah_mishael הֱיֵה קודם כל בן אדם

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    Yet, it's the closest language to English in terms of etymology and syntax. That's my point: Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew are the same language at different points of development. Aramaic is a sister/cousin language, which has similar syntax and lexical stock (though different grammatical features in many cases). You don't agree with this comparison?
     
  13. Nooj

    Nooj Senior Veteran

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    No and I don't know where you got that idea. The majority of English's words can be traced to French, Latin, Greek and Germanic roots.

    Finnish belongs to the Ugric family group, of which Estonian and a few others are the most notable languages, whereas English belongs to the Indo-European family. They're very different grammatically and syntactically, Finnish is an agglutinative language, English works totally differently. The closest language to English would be Scots and Frisian, but really, any Indo-European language you could name would be more similar in terms of relationship and how that language functions than Finnish.
     
  14. yonah_mishael

    yonah_mishael הֱיֵה קודם כל בן אדם

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    Well, I must confess to knowing nothing of Finnish. I got this impression from two things when I was in college - a language family tree diagram that I found online and some short reading material, also found online. I guess that was completely off.

    My purpose in calling this up, however, was to draw an analogy. Apparently the analogy was very weak. I spoke in ignorance, but hopefully the concept is carried over above - without the reference to Finnish.
     
  15. Nooj

    Nooj Senior Veteran

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    No biggy. I agree with what you're saying.
     
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