On God, Politeness, and the T-V Distinction

Sep 22, 2015 by

This is another post inspired by a question from (and discussion with) David Benkof, who asks about the following “intriguing conundrum for the High Holidays”, when (religious) Jews are thinking “about what our relationship with God...

read more

Why Are There So Many Arabic Varieties?—And Traces of Roman Heritage i...

Apr 27, 2015 by

One of the question that keeps coming up in my online “Languages of the World” course is why languages diversify. As Ferdinand de Saussure explains in his Course in General Linguistics, language diversification is produced by the...

read more

Dual in Old Church Slavonic—and in modern Hebrew

Jan 28, 2015 by

Unlike (modern) Russian and English, Old Church Slavonic (OCS) had not a two-way but a three-way grammatical number distinction: singular, dual, and plural. The dual was used for ‘two’, whereas the plural was used for ‘three or...

read more

The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Oct 7, 2011 by

In the previous posting, I discussed the discovery and significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls, five of which have recently been digitized and made available online. But the Dead Sea Scrolls are an important archaeological find not only...

read more

Modern Hebrew: old or new? (Part 4: Conclusion)

May 23, 2011 by

In a recent series of postings, I have considered the question of whether Modern Hebrew is a modified, modernized version of the “old”, Biblical Hebrew, or a newly constructed language based more on such Indo-European...

read more