Re: New contribution

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Tue May 04 2004 - 11:43:55 CDT

On 03/05/2004 19:03, Michael Everson wrote:

> At 10:25 -0700 2004-05-03, Peter Kirk wrote:
>>> It is not possible to take an encoded Genesis text which is pointed
>>> and cantillated, and blithly change the font to Moabite or Punic and
>>> expect anyone to even recognize it as Hebrew.
>> Michael, you assert this, but do you actually know it to be true?
> Yes. Yes, I do. Mark Shoulson did a test today with a group of
> well-educated young Hebrew-speaking computer programmers. They did not
> recognize it.

Thanks for the data. These are I suppose American Jews. A fairer test
might be among Israeli native speakers of Hebrew.

> ...
>> But this text would be easily recognisable and readable by anyone
>> familiar with both Hebrew and the Phoenician glyphs.
> I do not believe that any Yiddish speaker would accept a text in a
> "Phoenician" font as Yiddish.

Well, someone somewhere (in Edessa apparently, but I still don't know
which Edessa) accepted a Phoenician script text as Greek. And there are
people today who accept Samaritan script text as English. As any script
can be used for any language, we really can't try to decide for users
which scripts go with which languages.

> The field of application of Phoenician is so limited that the script
> just can't be mapped on to the rich typographic and font traditon of
> Square Hebrew with any sense at all.
> Wedding invitations are routinely set in Blackletter and Gaelic
> typefaces. I bet you 20 that if an ordinary Hebrew speaker sent out a
> wedding invitation in Palaeo-Hebrew no one would turn up on the day.

And I bet you 20 that is an ordinary English speaker sent out a wedding
invitation in Suetterlin no one would turn up on the day. Now we just
need some gullible couples to put our challenges to the test!

Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri May 07 2004 - 18:45:25 CDT