View Full Version : Language variations....
03-10-2003, 12:39 PM
"...it is estimated that the languages started to differentiate about 3000 BC"
It occured to me that this is more-or-less like the Bible story of the Tower of Babel.
John W. Kennedy
03-10-2003, 04:45 PM
Not really. The Tower of Babel is supposed to be about _all_ languages. But while the descendants of Proto-Indo-European are many, and (thanks to European colonialism and the current American cultural hegemony) spread over the world, they are not by any means all the languages of Earth. If there was only one original language, the evidence is that it existed 100,000-200,000 years ago.
03-10-2003, 04:53 PM
But aren't the Indo-European languages the ones the authors of the Bible would have been most familiar with? From their point-of-view, this would have been all languages. Thus, the story of Babel could be a folk tale explaining the divergence of Indo-European languages.
Of course, I could be mistaken. I'm not scholar enough to know what languages the Old Testament was written in, and whether or not they are part of the Indo-European family. Anyone?
John W. Kennedy
03-10-2003, 06:55 PM
The OT is in Hebrew, of course, which is in the Semitic family. If it has a common ancestor with Proto-Indo-European ("Nostratic" is the name usually given, and many linguists still doubt it ever existed), the two branches split apart over ten thousand years ago.
03-10-2003, 08:39 PM
This discussion makes no sense; the Babel story is a myth explaining the existence of mutually unintelligible (or only partly intelligible) languages. The divergence of related languages is a far cry from the sudden god-striking portrayed in the OT. It's not only not like the Babel story, it's the opposite of the Babel story (not to mention the fact that the languages in question were not Indo-European, nor even Proto-Indo-European, and the fact that by the time Genesis was written, Hebrew was a done deal).
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