Q&A: What percentage of modern Hebrew vocabulary is native Semitic?

73.562.
Seriously, who’s measuring, and does it matter? What’s to say what’s “native Semitic”? Does that mean original Akkadian (the antecedent to Hebrew), or Northwestern Semitic/Canaanite which it became (and which itself had many foreign influences, from the Hittites and Sea Peoples as well as Egyptian)?

Do words such as Sanhedrin (from the Greek for “Council”), avir (air), cartis (card), téatron (theatre), itztadion (stadium)—all from Greek at least a thousand years before any modern European language began to emerge—count as “native”?.

Continue reading

Why does Greek have names for their letters such as alpha, beta, lamda?

The names of the Hebrew/Phoenician alphabet were given by the ingenious Canaanite slave(s) who first invented them some time in the 1800s BCE, possibly in Wadi El-Hol in Egypt:

wadi_el_hol-inscription-over

Detail of an inscription on a rock face in Wadi El-Hol, Egypt (near the Valley of the Kings)

Continue reading