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Re: orion Harrison on: Spoken DSS Hebrew.
According to tim:
> Excuse me for intruding on a subject I am not qualified to speak on. But
> actually I just have a few questions.
> Although the examples of modern multilingual Israel were interesting
> (really!), do these really apply to the DSS time period in question?
> Is the presence of "foreigners" in Israel today reasonably comparable to
> their presence in the DSS time period? Are we not talking about
> tourism/economic gain today vs. hostile occupation and elite
> (opportunistic?) classes associated with Greek (or Latin) then?
> Also doesn't modern communications, education systems, etc. come to play
> much more today for (?multilinguality?)?
> These are just some innocent ;^) questions from an innocent bystander.
They are terrific questions, and go to the problem of establishing the
applicability of any material used in analogy.
Since J. J. Hays had indicated that a multilingual environment for the DSS
in the two centuries bce would have to have been miraculously established,
and since he called for "direct" evidence only to dismiss such evidence as
was supplied, thereby discouraging any more discussion of evidence, it
seemed to me necessary to establish that many people have more than one
language, of all social stations. I sought to establish that possibility
through modern day anecdotal material; I do not know whether a
multilingual world existed in Syria-Palestine of 200 - 1 bce.
I am very willing to consider models which require that many people have
more than one language, where there is evidence that more than one
language was used in an area. Part of my openness to the idea is
What is unimaginable to a person can't be established even with terrific
evidence. So the first step is to establish that multilinguagl worlds can
be imagined. This is one of the uses of analogy.
The second theoretical step is specify how such a world might work, and
what evidences would indicate that a multilingual model was the best
explanation of the data, to work theoretically.
Alternatively, the second empirical step is to collect all of the evidence
from suitable places and times, and evaluate each bit of evidence as to
whether it forms a basis for inference that a multilingual world existed.
Shoring up this second step, one might use analagy to identify the kinds
and distribution of objective evidence that attend multilingualism. Where
many people are at least bi-lingual, if not tri-lingual, what language are
their books, what language are their inscriptions, what language are their
letters or their email? If we have a known multilingual society with such
features, then we may generalize (and see if the data fit) to the one
where there is a question of language use.
And, we could go back to square one and make sure that we had some
agreement on how to make the determination whether a certain society or
geographic region was monolingual or multilingual. That is, if all the
inscriptions, and all the documentary material, and all the literary
material about people in a specific place at a specific time are in a
single language, we may reliably infer that they only knew one language.
If we can disconfirm that picture, we can say that a strict monolingualism
is falsified. This doesn't prove multilingualism. It *does disprove
monolingualism, and open the way for exploration of how the different
languages were used.
> Tim Phillips
Thanks for your questions, Tim.
All the best,
Sigrid Peterson UPenn firstname.lastname@example.org