U guize u guize i found the gratest thing!!!11

To paraphrase the dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding: give me a word, any word, and I show you how the root of that word is… Hebrew?

Enter creationist linguistics. It hasn’t been a thing since Noah Webster in the 18th century, but it’s back, apparently. Here’s a site that lets you trace the root of a bunch of English words to Hebrew. They call it “Edenic,” and posit a biblical view of language development, as opposed to the one that has any evidence.

Sure, there are some English words that ultimately come from Hebrew, like “amen,” “hallelujah,” “kielbasa,” or maybe even “coral.” Most of those are religious or ethnic terms, so a Hebrew origin is the only explanation.

But according to this site, a word like “moron” comes from a Hebrew root meaning “young boy” (because morons are stupid like little boys, geddit?), and not from the Greek word moron, meaning “moron.”

In “Edenics,” “vacant” comes from vaQaQ meaning “valley,” while “vacancy” comes from BahQBOOQ–the same root as… “bucket”? Wait, what? How do I language?

The whole site is like this–random extrapolation with no consistency, and shows a fine example of creationist thinking. No rigor or regard for prior research, to the point that blatantly Native American word “skunk” allegedly comes from a root tsakhan, meaning “stinker.” If you want to see a real tsakhan, check out this site.

Apparently Japanese and Slavic are descended from Hebrew by way of Eskimo-Aleut and Celtic, respectively. Because the Proto-Eskimos made it all the way to Alaska before turning around and deciding to become samurai, and the Celts trekked all the way from the Middle East to the European periphery before deciding to turn around because they just hadn’t walked enough.

Also, this:

It was thought that Asians, Africans and Semites evolved from separate monkeys than did the Aryans, and so these foreign tongues could have no extensive relationship to that of the different (thus superior) Indo-Europeans who dominated from Ireland in the West to India in the East.

I guess actual linguistic theory is somehow racist because 19th century racial theories equated Indo-European with an Aryan master race. Yes, that was a dark chapter in linguistics, in anthropology, and in history in general, but what science gets wrong is what science later gets right, to the point that “Indo-Aryan” is these days a valid linguistic term without racial baggage used extensively by one of my Jewish professors.

I don’t even want to go into the site’s ideas about sound symbolism and how metathesis (changing the position of letters) and sound change are functionally equivalent and have no distinct distributions. There is so much wrong here I can’t even

Unfortunately for MBFGW fans, “kimono” is not one of the words that can be traced to Hebrew. Neither is “creationist loon.”

About nkrishna

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