"Tracing the Dispersion," ca. 1994
Terry M. Blodgett, Emeritus Professor of German, retired from Southern Utah University in 2010 after 37 years of teaching German language, German literature, linguistics, history of languages, and Hebrew. Education: Ph.D., U. of Utah.
Professor Blodgett has been a supporter of Brit-Am for some time. We do not necessary agree with every point made below but it is all pertinent to Brit-Am studies and of value.
This article has been slightly edited towards the end by Brit-Am.
Terry M. Blodgett, "Tracing the Dispersion," ca. 1994
What befell the Tribes of Israel's northern kingdom many centuries ago? That
question has been asked by students of the scriptures for generations. Like
any important historical topic, it is one that deserves careful and
Reconstructing ancient history, even religious history, can be compared to
putting together a large, complex puzzle with many of the pieces missing.
One must locate and assemble as many pieces as possible, then form as
accurate a picture of the past as the facts allow. In tracing Israel's
dispersion, therefore, many pieces may be considered: artifacts, vestiges of
ancient customs, archaeology, cultural anthropology, and scriptural and
historical accounts. This article explores only one such piece-that of
Every Language Evolves
Language is a dynamic cultural phenomenon. It changes and grows. In our day,
modern technology, the sciences, and the media have accelerated the
acquisition of new words but, at the same time, have standardized spelling
and pronunciation. In the past, languages acquired new words more slowly,
but they were more likely to experience spelling and pronunciation changes.
Some of these changes took only decades; others took centuries.
One of the major sources of language change occurs when two groups of
people, each speaking a different language, come in contact with one
another. Each language influences the other, becoming a catalyst for change
and eventually settling into patterns characteristic of the languages
prompting the changes. These patterns serve as clues to help a linguist
determine what the language was like before the changes took place and which
languages caused the changes.
The basic conclusion of linguistic study into this subject is that as large
groups of ancient Israelites left their homeland-first, following the
Assyrian captivity of northern Israel (about 700 B.C.) and the Babylonian
captivity of Judah in the south (about 600 B.C.), and second, following the
Roman conquest of Palestine (about A.D. 70) - their language influenced the
languages of some of the countries to which they migrated. This linguistic
evidence can help us determine where some of these Israelites went and
approximately when. Although ancient Israelites were eventually scattered
throughout the entire world (see Amos 9:9), at least one general geographical area contains significant linguistic evidence to suggest that Israelite migrations did in fact occur there. That area is Europe.
Linguistic Evidence in Europe
From the Old Testament and other historical sources such as the annals of
the Assyrian kings, we learn that the northern kingdom, after years of war
and deportation, fell to Assyrian invaders in 721 B.C. Jeremiah emphasized
the north countries as being these Israelites' eventual destination.
Jer. 23:7-8) and implied a western route (see Jer. 18:17; Hosea 12:1). Thus, a natural place
to look for what befell those remnants is to study the countries north and west of the Middle East.
It is of interest, therefore, to learn that in Europe, the centuries following 700 B.C. were marked by tremendous outside influence, and language
was profoundly affected. During the period between 700 and 400 B.C., numerous languages in Europe underwent major pronunciation changes and absorbed new vocabulary.2
This was particularly true of the Celtic languages, which were originally spoken
throughout Europe (700-300 B.C.) but gradually became more concentrated in
western Europe and Britain, and of the Germanic languages, which were spoken
in central and northern Europe and Scandinavia and eventually in England.
The gradual evolving of the sounds that make up words in a language,
particularly when two languages merge, is known by linguists as a sound
shift. The well-known pronunciation changes of the period of time between
700 and 400 B.C. have been called the Germanic Sound Shift, because they
were the most pronounced and systematic in the Germanic languages, which
include English, Dutch, German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Icelandic. 3
Also during this same time period, the total vocabulary in the Germanic languages
increased by as much as one-third. 4 Linguists have long pondered what caused this sound shift and the increase in vocabulary. 5
One theory is that the technologically advanced peoples who introduced iron to
Europe (seventh century B.C. in Austria; sixth century B.C. in Sweden) also
influenced the language changes. Linguistic research supports this idea, as
well as the idea that these advanced peoples came from the Middle East,
where iron was in use. The research shows that the changes in language
resulted from an influx of Hebrew-speaking people into Europe, particularly
into the Germanic- and Celtic-speaking areas.
The Germanic Sound Shift
Most of the languages of Europe belong to the Indo-European family of
languages; that is, they are part of the linguistically linked group of
languages spoken in Europe and spreading as far east as Iran and India. For
many years, the peculiarities in the Germanic languages kept linguists from
recognizing that the Germanic languages belonged to the Indo-European group.
However, early in the nineteenth century, two linguists - Rasmus Rask from
Denmark (1818) and Jakob Grimm from Germany (1819-22) - showed that the
Germanic languages were indeed part of the Indo-European family but that
their differences in pronunciation were caused by a systematic shift in the
sound of two groups of consonants - [p, t, k] and [b, d, g]. 6 At the time of the sound shift, the pronunciation of these six consonants
was changed to [ph, th, kh] and [bh, dh, gh], respectively. These new sounds
were usually represented in writing by the letters f, th, h (x or ch) and b (v), d (th), g (gh). For example, by applying the rules of the sound shift
to the Indo-European "te puk" - replacing the t, p, and k with th, f, and x - we recognize the English words "the fox." Now the relationship between the
Indo-European word "pater" and the English word "father" becomes more recognizable.
Linguists generally agree that these changes began taking place sometime
after 700 B.C., and that the influence causing the sound shift continued to
affect the Germanic dialects for several centuries, at least until 400 B.C.
and possibly as late as the Christian Era.7
Unfortunately, scholars have not been able to agree upon what caused these
changes or where the original homeland of the peoples may have been.
Scholars have traced them to the Black Sea area, and to the Caucasus
Mountains, but research did not trace them beyond there, because the
scholars did not know whether that had been the people's first homeland or
they had come from the east or south of that point. My research took me to
the Middle East, and it was there that I found a likely cause for the sound
shift-the Hebrew language.
The first thing I noticed was that Hebrew shifted the same six consonants
that were shifted in Germanic-[p, t, k] and [b, d, g]. In ancient Hebrew,
these consonants carried a dual pronunciation. Often, they did not shift,
but when they began a syllable that was preceded by a long vowel, or ended a
syllable, then [p, t, k] and [b, d, g] shifted to the sounds [ph, th, kh]
and [bh, dh, gh]. Thus, the Hebrew word for "Spain," 'separad,' was pronounced
'sepharadh,' and the word for "sign," spelled 'ot,' was pronounced 'oth.'
In 700 B.C., this sound shift was still functional in Hebrew and would have
been part of any impact that migrating Israelites would have had on other
languages. The fact that the same consonants were involved in similar sound
shifts in both Hebrew and Germanic dialects at about the same time is
significant. Yet even more significant is that the sounds [ph, th, kh] and
[bh, dh, gh], so prevalent in Hebrew, did not exist in Germanic before the
sound shift occurred. 8
A Comparison of Hebrew and Germanic
The case for a Hebrew influence on Germanic is further strengthened by a
close comparison of the two languages, and particularly of the changes that
developed in Germanic following the Assyrian captivity of Israel. The
changes fall generally into three categories: pronunciation, grammar, and
In addition to the similar sound shifts just described, there were other sounds common to both Hebrew and Germanic that did not
generally appear in the Indo-European languages. For example, when Hebrew
and Germanic consonants appeared between vowels, they normally doubled if
the preceding vowel was short. This doubling of consonants, referred to as
gemination, became a characteristic feature of Germanic but not of other
Indo-European languages. In this way, Indo-European media became Old English
middel and modern English middle.
Almost half of the Hebrew verb conjugations required doubling the consonant
and substituting a shortened vowel preceding the consonant. Compare Hebrew
shabar ("to break") and the related Hebrew form shibber ("to shatter").
Likewise, almost half of the Germanic verbs doubled the middle consonant and
substituted a shortened preceding vowel: Indo-European sad- and bad- became
settan ("set") and biddan ("bid") in Old English. 9
2. Grammar. At the time of the Germanic Sound Shift, the Germanic dialects
experienced a sharp reduction in their number of grammatical cases, making
Germanic more like Hebrew. As in English, the case (or form) of a noun,
pronoun, or adjective in a Germanic language indicated its grammatical
relation to other words in a sentence. At the time of the Germanic Sound
Shift, the Germanic dialects immediately reduced the number of possible
cases for a word from eight to four (as in modern German) and eventually to
three (as in English, Spanish, and French). These were the same three cases
(with possible remnants of a fourth) that Hebrew used before the Assyrian
and Babylonian captivities -nominative case (indicating a word is the subject
of a sentence), accusative case (indicating a word is the object of a verb
or preposition), and genitive case (used to indicate a word in the
possessive form). 10
Indo-European had six verb tenses. Hebrew, on the other hand, contained only
two tenses (or aspects), dealing with actions either completed or not
completed. Germanic, likewise, reduced its number of tenses to two-past and
present. The other tenses in modern Germanic languages have developed out of
combinations of these two original tenses.
Verb forms in the two language groups also contain similarities. The Hebrew
verb kom, kam, kum, yikom ("to arise, come forth"), for example, compares
favorably with modern English come and came, Old English 'cuman,' and German
'kommen,' 'kam,' 'gekommen' ("to come forth, arrive, arise").' 11
3. Vocabulary. Perhaps the most convincing similarity between Hebrew and
Germanic lies in their shared vocabularies. Linguists recognize that about
one-third of all Germanic vocabulary is not Indo-European in origin.12
These words can be traced back to the Proto-Germanic period of 700-100 B.C., but
not beyond. Significantly, these are the words that compare favorably in
both form and meaning with Hebrew vocabulary. Once a formula was developed
for comparing Germanic and Hebrew vocabulary, the number of similar words
identifiable in both languages quickly reached into the thousands.
According to this formula, words brought into Germanic after 700 B.C. had a
tendency to modify their spelling in three ways:
First, in most Germanic dialects, the words changed in spelling according to
the sound shift. Hebrew, on the other hand, changed only in pronunciation;
spelling remained the same. For example, Hebrew 'parah' ("to bear oneself
along swiftly, travel") remained parah when written, but was pronounced
[fara] if it was preceded by a closely associated long vowel. With that in
mind, it is easy to recognize the same word in Old Norse and Old Frisian (a
dialect in the Netherlands): 'fara' ("to travel, move swiftly").
[Editorial Note: Regarding the above-mentioned verb "parah" we do not know what explicit Hebrerw word the author is here referring to.]
Second, the vowels in the initial syllables were frequently dropped in
written Germanic forms because Hebrew words usually carried the accent on
the last syllable. Compare Hebrew 'daraq' and English 'drag.' Occasionally, if
the initial consonant was weak, the entire syllable dropped out, as in
Hebrew 'yelad' ("male offspring, son") and English 'lad,' and in Hebrew 'yi-fal'
("to fall") and English 'fall.'
Third, Hebrew used a tonal accent (a vocal emphasis featuring a tone or
sound in part of a word) rather than a stress accent (a vocal emphasis
featuring increased volume in speaking part of a word), but this changed to
a stress accent in the Germanic dialects. However, the effects of the Hebrew
tonal accent are evident in Germanic. The Hebrew tone, which usually
appeared in the final syllable, was often represented in written Germanic by
one of four tonal letters - l, m, n, or r. Compare Hebrew 'satat' ("to place,
found, base, begin") with English start (r represents the Hebrew tone), and
Hebrew 'parak' ("to be free, to liberate") with English 'frank' ("free; free
speech" - in which p was shifted to f, the unaccented 'a' [in "parak"] was deleted, and 'n' was
added for the Hebrew tone).
Similarities in Hebrew and English words point to their common roots.
Some Hebrew-English Cognates
New Germanic Words from Hebrew Word Roots
Biblical Hebrew contained relatively few root words-originally only a few
hundred-but from these roots, words were formed in great variety. Most of
these formations were made by exchanging vowels, adding prefixes or
suffixes, and doubling consonants according to certain rules. Literally
thousands of words similar to these roots, and to the multiple forms that
developed out of these roots, appeared in Germanic dialects between 700 and
400 B.C. One example is the Hebrew word 'dun' or 'don'. The root is 'dwn' and is
related to the root 'adan' ("to rule, to judge, to descend, to be low, area
ruled or judged, area of domain"). The proper name 'Dan' ("judge") is related
to this root. Out of this root also developed the Hebrew word 'adon' ("Lord,
Master"). These words remind us of the Anglo-Saxon word 'adun,' out of which
the English word 'down' (the noun form means "hill, upland") developed and the
area ruled was 'don,' or its modern counterpart town. It is also interesting
to note that the Hebrew word 'adon' ("Lord") and its root 'adan ("to rule,
judge") compare well with 'Odin' and 'Wodan,' two names from different dialects
for the highest Germanic god.
The High German Sound Shift
The influence of Hebrew on the Germanic languages does not end with the
Germanic Sound Shift of 700-400 B.C. About a thousand years after the first
sound shift, the Germanic dialects in northern Italy, Switzerland, Austria,
and southern Germany began a second phonetic change involving the same six
consonants.13 Beginning in the south about A.D. 450, this second sound shift,
referred to as the High German Sound Shift (since it originated in the
highlands of the Alps), spread northward into Switzerland and Austria. By
A.D. 750, it had spread to the dialects of southern Germany. This High
German dialect continued to grow in popularity (in the sixteenth century
Martin Luther used it in his translation of the Bible) until it eventually
became the standard form of German.
The major difference between the Germanic Sound Shift of 700-400 B.C. and
the High German Sound Shift of A.D. 450-750 was that [t], which shifted to [th] in the first sound shift, shifted consistently to
[s] in the second one. This caused the word 'water,' for example, to be
pronounced 'wasser,' and 'white' to be pronounced 'weiss.' This shift of [t] to
[s] is an important clue to the source of influence for this second sound
shift in southern Germanic territory. It leads us, once again, to the Middle
East-but this time to the Aramaic language.
The Aramaic Influence
When Persia conquered Babylon, Cyrus the Great freed the captive Jews and
allowed them to return to their homeland in Palestine. However, not all
wanted to leave the beautiful city of Babylon to return to their country,
which had been destroyed. Some stayed. Many from the tribes of both Judah
and Benjamin returned. Those who returned to Palestine found themselves
surrounded by Aramaic-speaking peoples, and they soon adopted Aramaic as
their everyday language. 14
As a consequence, the Jews were speaking Aramaic in A.D. 70 when the Romans
overran Jerusalem and sent thousands of Jews fleeing Palestine. During the
following years, many of these Aramaic-speaking Jews made their way
northward into Europe. The Christianized Jews, especially, sought the refuge
of the Italian Alps, and by A.D. 450, they had established a sizable
population there. During the following centuries they gradually spread
northward into Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. 15 Historians have documented these migrations well, but they have failed to
recognize the influence of these people's language on the languages they
encountered. Aramaic had originally employed a sound shift identical to the
Hebrew sound shift, but by 500 B.C. when the Jews learned it, the language
had made a small but significant change in its pronunciation. Aramaic began
shifting [t] to [s] rather than to [th], as both Hebrew and Aramaic had done
This is also the characteristic difference between the first Germanic Sound
Shift of 700-400 B.C. and the High German Sound Shift of A.D. 450-750. 17 For example, in comparing the Hebrew/Aramaic changes with the first and second
sound shifts, we note that the Jews at the time of their dispersion
pronounced, for example, the Hebrew words bayit ("house") as 'bayi's and 'gerit'
(from gerah "roughage, grits") as 'garis. 'By comparison, the German word for
grit ('griot,' "groats") made a similar change to 'grioz,' then to 'griess,'
during the High German Sound Shift. These changes suggest the influence of
Aramaic in the southern Germanic dialects. Additional Hebrew vocabulary was
added to the southern German, Austrian, and Swiss dialects during this later
period (compare Hebrew 'pered,' "beast of burden," with German 'Pferd,'
Two Hebraic Sound Shifts
Thus, what have come to be known as the Germanic Sound Shift and the High
German Sound Shift appear to have been a Hebraic sound shift and a closely
related Aramaic sound shift that influenced the Germanic dialects at two
separate periods of history. Research also shows that the linguistic mark of
the sound shifts, supported by other linguistic similarities, particularly
the vocabulary, can be used as a means of tracing Israelite groups
throughout the world. So far, the evidence seems to point to Europe as a
major destination, particularly to the Germanic- and Celtic-speaking
countries of Scandinavia, Britain and the European mainland.
The Gathering of Israel
The role that Abraham's descendants would play in the course of world
history was foreshadowed early in the biblical record. To Abraham the LORD
said, "I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee,
and kings shall come out of thee." Gen. 17:6.)
The LORD renewed this promise with Isaac (see
Gen. 26:4) and again with Jacob, saying that his descendants would "spread abroad to the west, and to the
east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall
all the families of the earth be blessed." (Gen. 28:14).
This spreading would come as Moses foretold: Israel would someday be
scattered "among the nations, and ... be left few in number among the
heathen, whither the Lord shall lead [them]." (Deut. 4:27.) This would be a
thorough dispersion. As the LORD said in Amos 9:9, he would "sift the house of
Israel among all nations." But he also promised that he would not forget
Israel. Eventually, the children of Israel would be gathered "out of the
lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the
south." Ps. 107:3.)
Although Israel would be scattered throughout the world, the countries north
of Israel were particularly singled out as lands from which Israel would be
gathered. Jeremiah wrote that "the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall
no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out
of the land of Egypt;
"But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land
of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them." (Jer. 16:14-15).
Changes in language provide only one kind of linguistic evidence we can use
to identify the dispersion of Israel. Other linguistic evidence can be found
in place names and in the names of various ancient peoples who lived north
of the Middle East following the captivity of Israel. Many of these people
migrated farther north and west into Russia, Scandinavia, Europe, and
The apocryphal book of 4 Ezra (a continuation of the book of Ezra in the Old
Testament) describes how Shalmaneser, King of Assyria, took northern Israel
captive. It also indicates, as Isaiah prophesied (see
Isa. 10:27), that at least some of the Israelites escaped their captors and fled north.
According to the account in 4 Ezra (referred to in some editions as 2 Esdras), the fleeing captives "entered into Euphrates by the narrow passages
of the river" and traveled a year and a half through a region called
"Arsareth." (4 Ezra 13:43-45.)
The narrow passage could refer to the Dariel Pass, also called the Caucasian
Pass, which begins near the headwaters of the Euphrates River and leads
north through the Caucasus Mountains. At the turn of the century, Russian
archaeologist Daniel Chwolson noted that a stone mountain ridge running
alongside this narrow passage bears the inscription 'Wrate Israila,' which he
interpreted to mean "The Gates of Israel." 18 These narrow passages lead through a region called 'Ararat' in Hebrew, and
'Urartu' in Assyrian. Chwolson writes that Arsareth, mentioned in 4 Ezra, was
another name for Ararat, a region extending to the northern shores of the Black Sea 19
A river at the northwest corner of the Black Sea was anciently named 'Sereth'l (now
Siret), possibly preserving part of the name Arsareth. Since 'ar' in Hebrew
meant "city," it is probable that Arsareth was a city - the city of
Sareth-located near the Sereth River northwest of the Black Sea.
A number of other geographical locations in the area of the Black Sea have
names that suggest Hebraic origins. For example, the names of the four major
rivers that empty into the Black Sea seem to have linguistic ties to the
tribal name of Dan. They are the Don (and its tributary the Don-jets), the
Dan-jester (now Dnestr), the Danube (or Donau), and the Dan-jeper (now
Dnieper). North of the Caspian Sea is a city called Samara (Samaria). There
is also a city of Ismail (Ishmael) on the Danube, and a little farther
upstream is a city called Isak (Isaac).
Chwolson and others of the Russian Archaeological Society found more than
seven hundred Hebraic inscriptions in the area north of the Black Sea.
According to Chwolson, one of these inscriptions refers to the Black Sea as
the "Sea of Israel." On the Crimean Peninsula was a place referred to as the "Valley of Jehoshaphat," a
Hebrew name, and another place was called "Israel's Fortress." 20 According to the Russian archaeologist Vsevolod Mueller, there was an
"Israelitish" synagogue at Kerch (a city on the Crimea) long before the Christian era. 22
It is difficult to date these inscriptions, but some of them contain
information relating to the fall and captivity of Israel. Others appear to
have been written about the time of Christ and even later, indicating that
the area north of the Black Sea contained an Israelite population for many
centuries. One of these inscriptions mentions three of the tribes of Israel
as well as Tiglath-pileser, the first Assyrian king to transport large
segments of the population of Israel to Assyria.
[Brit-am Editor's Note: It has since been proven that a portion (but not necessarily all) of these inscriptions were forged by the Karaiate scholar Abraham Firkovitch (1786-1874). "Chwolson alone defended him, but he also was forced to admit that in some cases Firkovich had resorted to forgery." He wished to present his own Karaite community as descended from the Ten Tribes and residents of the area before the death of the Christian Messiah. The Karaiates according to this would therefore not be culpable, as the Jews were claimed to be, for his death. Firkovitch was succesful in this in so far as the Russian authorities did not persecute the Karaites to the same degree as they did the Jews.]
The Russian archaeologists also found mounds, or heaps of earth, dotting the
landscape. These mounds, stretching across the entire region north of the Black Sea where the
Hebraic inscriptions were found, turned out to be elaborate burial chambers,
often containing a leader of the people with some of his possessions.
Although mound building was not a typical type of burial in the Middle East,
"high heaps" or "great heaps" are described as a means of burial in several
Old Testament passages. (See Josh.7:26, Josh. 8:29; 2 Sam. 18:17.) Furthermore, the
people of Ephraim were commanded in the Old Testament specifically to build
up "high heaps" as "waymarks" as they traveled. (See Jer. 31:21.)
The mounds stretch from the Black Sea northward through Russia to the top of the Scandinavian
Peninsula, then southward to southern Sweden - where thousands of mounds are
found. Similar burial mounds are also found in Britain and western Europe, indicating other
migrations in westerly and northwesterly directions.
Herodotus (6:126) identified the first of the mound builders in the Black Sea area
as Kimmerioi; The Romans referred to them as Cimmerii, from which we have the name Cimmerians.
They called themselves Khumri, which refers to "the Dynasty of King Omri."
Omri was king of northern Israel about 900 B.C. He founded Samaria and
established the capital of Israel there. His mode of government made him
popular throughout the Middle East, and northern Israel came to be known by
his name, politically, from that time on.
There are other peoples throughout Europe and Asia whose origins trace from
this area and whose names seem to have a Hebrew root. Among these are the
Galadi (the root word probably comes from the biblical Gilead, the region
east of the Jordan River, pronounced Galaad in that region and in Assyria
and the Celts (a Germanic pronunciation of Galadi); the Gallii (or Gali,
root word probably from the biblical Galilee), also called Gals, Gaels, and
Gauls; the Sacites, or Scythians (the word comes from Assyrian captives,
Esak-ska and Saka, comparable to the Hebrew Isaac); the Goths, or Getai (the
root probably from the Biblical Gad, pronounced Gath); the Jutes of Jutland
(from the Tribe of Judah); and the Parsi (from Hebrew 'Paras,' which means
"the dispersed ones"), who settled Paris and whose name in Germanic
territory sound - shifted to Frisians.
2. See John T. Waterman, A History of the German Language (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1966), p. 28; Heinz F. Wendt, ed., Sprachen in Das Fisher Lexikon (Frankfurt am Main: Fisher, 1977), p. 101; and R. Priebsch and Collinson, The German Language (London: Faber, 1966), p. 69; see also pp. 58-70.
3. For a detailed description of the Germanic Sound Shift, see Waterman, A History, p. 24; Priebsch and Collinson, The German Language, pp. 58-70; or Wendt, Sprachen, p. 101.
4. See W. B. Lockwood, Indo European Philology (London: Hutchinson, 1969), p. 123.
5. For a summary of these theories, see Waterman, A History, pp. 28-29, and Priebsch and Collinson, The German Language, p. 68.
6. This article follows the professional linguistic convention of placing groups of related sounds in brackets.
7. See Waterman, A History, p. 28; Wendt, Sprachen, p. 101; and Priebsch and Collinson, The German Language, p. 69.
8. These sounds were not found in the original Indo-European language. They entered Germanic, Armenian, Greek, Celtic, Persian, and, to a lesser extent, several other languages during this same time period.
9. Even the same exception to the rules for gemination appeared in both languages. The r (and guttural fricatives) did not double in either Hebrew or in Germanic; instead, the vowel preceding the r lengthened, as in Hebrew berakh ('to bless') and Old English heran ('to hear').
10. See William Chomsky, Hebrew: The Eternal Language (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1957), pp. 55-56. William Gesenius makes frequent reference to remnants of other cases in Hebrew. See his works, Geschichte der hebraischen Sprache und Schrift (Hildesheim: Olms, 1973) and Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures, trans. Samuel Tregeles (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1979).
A Hebrew influence even explains what has been considered an exception to the rules for the Germanic Sound Shift. Whenever one of the six consonants appeared in the middle of a Germanic word, following a consonant, it did not shift. This follows the Hebrew rule, which states that the shift does not occur when the letter is immediately preceded by a consonant. For example, Hebrew harkanah and English harken both contain an unshifted k.
11. For details, see Blodgett, 'Phonological Similarities,' pp. 73-76.
12. See Lockwood, Indo European Philology, p. 123.
13. For details of the differences, see Blodgett, 'Phonological Similarities,' pp. 58-72.
14. See 'Hebrew Language' The Jewish Encyclopedia (New York: KTAV, 1964), 7:308; also Neh. 13:24.
15. See Alexis Muston, Israel of the Alps: A Complete History of the Waldenses and Their Colonies, 2 vols. (New York: AMS Press, 1978).
16. See 'Aramaic,' Encyclopedia Judaica, 16 vols. (Jerusalem: Keter, 1971), 3:262-66.
17. See Chomsky, Hebrew, pp. 92, 112. Aramaic also began shifting [d] to [z] rather than to [dh], but Chomsky doesn't mention this, perhaps because the Jews didn't adopt this aspect of the shift as consistently.
18. Izvestia o Chozarach i Russkich, as quoted and translated by Joseph C. Littke in Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Jan. 1934, pp. 7-8.
22. Materialy dlia isoutchenia Evreiskago-Tatarskago yazyka (St. Petersburg: n.p., 1892), as quoted by Littke, in Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, p. 8. Chwolson, Pamiatniki drevnei pismennosti (St. Petersburg: n.p., 1892), as quoted by Littke, in Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, p. 9.
Terry Blodgett: Hebrew Component
Hebrew Sources of Northern Tongues
Karl Rodosi, "Hebrew English Origins"