Re: New contribution

From: Mark E. Shoulson (
Date: Tue May 04 2004 - 18:43:30 CDT

Peter Kirk wrote:

> 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.

OK, then. That's what I did today. And to make sure that it wasn't my
faulty handwriting, I used an actual image from the Shiloam
inscription. They couldn't read it, they didn't know what it was. They
were turning it around trying to decide which way was up. They thought
they recognized some reversed letters (E and such, which were really
hes), and one definitely saw a tet (which was actually a lamed). These
are native speakers of Hebrew, mind, and they didn't know *which end of
the letters goes up*.

That ethnic group good enough for you?

>> 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!

Dunno about your bet, Peter, but Michael would definitely win his. You
might have a chance, especially if you did this outside of Germany. But
even I can recognize something in Suetterlin here and there, and would
likely be able at least to guess at what was going on.

13 Iyar 5764 05:49pm (horae temporales)

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