Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy
How similar was the Phoenician language to the Hebrew language?
(13 March, 2018, 26 Adar, 5778)
Thus is not my field but over the years I took an interest. It is often asserted that Hebrew and Phoenician were dialects of the same tongue. A Midrash also implies the same with Phoenician being referred to as "Canaanite".
Â Nevertheless someone else pointed out that in practice a speaker of Hebrew as it is now understood might actually find Aramaic easier. The Tribes in Samaria and the north were influenced by Phoenician.Â
Â Those to the east (Gad, Reuben, and half-Manasseh), at least in the light of one long inscription, used a mixed Hebrew-Aramaic dialect. In Judah they spoke Hebrew as we understand it. In the Bible the terms "Yehudit" (i.e. Jewish) and Hebrew seem to be interchangeable.
Â 26 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah and Joah, said to Rabshakeh, â€˜Speak now to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it; and do not speak with us in Judean in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.â€™
The word translated above as "Judean" in the original Hebrew is "Yehudit" i.e. Jewish. In some translations it is rendered as "Hebrew."