/zh/ replacing /dzh/?

Alice Faber faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Thu Sep 26 18:08:50 UTC 2002

Anne Gilbert said:
>>  I've noticed the "Jews for Jesus" people call him something like
>>  Y'shua in their ads.  I suppose they're trying to make him look more
>>  authentically Jewish.  (And after all, how could a nice Jewish boy,
>>  or girl, reject a savior and messiah if he's just a nice Jewish boy
>>  named Y'shua?)
>  I've seen those Jews for Jesus ads too.  But aren't they forgetting
>something?  Wasn't what people spoke in that region at that time Aramaic?
>If that was the case, Jesus/Yeshua/Y'shua probably spoke it too.  And I
>think I've seen transliterations(presumaly from Aramaic)into Yasua or
>something similar.  But don't quote me on any of this.  It's *way* beyond my
>level of expertise. . . .

Well, sibilants in Semitic languages is my original academic
specialization. Aramaic, like Hebrew, indeed does have a /sh/
phoneme, and the correspondences are as follows:
                Hebrew  Aramaic
                sh      sh
                sh      t/th

There are some weirdnesses in some of the cross-transliterations of
names between Old Aramaic and Assyrian (late Akkadian), but these
seem to have to do with sound changes within Akkadian.

I believe the root for the name y'hoshua involves the first
correspondence above, not the second. If you saw a version of the
name with <s> rather than <sh>, it was probably mediated by Greek or
Latin transliterations.

Alice Faber                                             faber at haskins.yale.edu
Haskins Laboratories                                  tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
New Haven, CT 06511 USA                                     fax (203) 865-8963

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