[NDNAIM] Activists . . . Endangered Languages

"Alfred W. Tüting" ti at fa-kuan.muc.de
Mon Jul 7 09:54:24 UTC 2008

"Even Yiddish, certainly more clearly a Slavic language relexified  
with Germanic..."

Whereas I agree with that statement ref. to Hebrew, below, I'd rather  
claim that Yiddish is a mediaeval German relexified with Biblical  
Hebrew and - of course - Slavic words of different derivations! (Just  
one side note: both Yiddish and Transylvanian Saxon, a mediaeval  
German dialect, i.e. Mosel-Frankish, use the same everyday-word "keyn/ 
kein" for German "nach/gegen" - to/toward.)
Of course, characterizations of this kind seem to be quite futile, and  
depending on where one puts the point of reference in time (modern  
Hebrew is a relexified English... ;-) ).

This here, BTW, is a nice read about stuff like this:



Am 06.07.2008 um 21:43 schrieb rwd0002 at unt.edu:

>> --- On Sun, 7/6/08, Rankin, Robert L <rankin at ku.edu> wrote:
>> From: Rankin, Robert L <rankin at ku.edu>
>> Subject: RE: [NDNAIM] Activists . . . Endangered Languages
>> To: siouan at lists.Colorado.EDU
>> Date: Sunday, July 6, 2008, 8:21 AM
>> I'd add a third way.  Modern Hebrew has been seriously  
>> reconfigured, some
>> would say creolized.  Paul Wexler at Tel Aviv Univ. goes so far as  
>> to call it a
>> "Slavic language in search of a Semitic past."  His contention is  
>> that
>> it is relexified E. Slavic (he simply called it "Ukrainian" in a
>> lecture he gave at KU).  It was relexified with German vocabulary  
>> to form
>> Yiddish and with Hebrew vocabulary to form modern "Hebrew".  So
>> eastern European immigrants don't actually learn a Semitic language  
>> in
>> Israel -- just vocabulary.  To the extent that this may be true, it  
>> pretty much
>> erases the only really convincing case of revival.  Wexler's  
>> website has the
>> details if you're interested.
> (...)
>> Bob
> The Hebrew revival is indeed very different, we all agree on that.  
> Hebrew never died out as a religious language nor as a written  
> language.  However, I think it is a bit of an exaggeration to say  
> that Modern Hebrew is a relexified Slavic language.  At least one  
> morphological feature of Modern Hebrew, its typically Semitic  
> nonconcatenative morphology, is not Slavic and is still productive.   
> That cannot be explained through relexification of a Slavic language.
> The Jewish activists who revived Hebrew were extremely conscious of  
> the Semitic morphological features of Hebrew, (and heard Arabic, a  
> related Semitic language, spoken around them), so they did all they  
> could to make sure Hebrew retained, maybe not a fundamental, but at  
> least an strong indexical, Semitic character.  Even Yiddish,  
> certainly more clearly a Slavic language relexified with Germanic  
> than Modern Hebrew is, retains some uncannily Semitic morphological  
> features.
> To reconnect to Siouan, it is an interesting ideological issue,  
> relevant to all people interested in reviving an extinct language.   
> Suppose we wanted to revive an extinct Siouan language, in addition  
> to Siouan lexicon, what sorts of morphological features would we  
> wanna insist on to convince ourselves this is a genuine Siouan  
> language?  Split intransivity? instrumental prefixes?, locative  
> prefixes?
> Willem


Alfred W. Tüting
ti at fa-kuan.muc.de

More information about the Siouan mailing list