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Thread: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

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    Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    I read about a supposed connection between Hebrew and Welsh. It looks like a myth from Christians, but when I listened to Gaelic, it very much reminded me of Hebrew, of which I know the sounds very well too. Certain things which were said, were said in a similar way as they were said in Hebrew. The thing is that Gaelic is an Indo-European languages and that Hebrew is an Afro-Semitic language. So, how could they even be related? Well, it's possible for languages to undergo such a big influence of other languages that their language group can change, a good example is Japanese, which is an isolated language. Where as it might possible have been part of the Altaic group at first, it might have merged with other languages in the area so much that it became an isolated language, which it officially is. Though, it's just a theory and linguists aren't sure if Japanese has been part of the Altaic group, some linguists even classify Japanese under the Altaic language group. The point is, Japanese became an isolated language, which shows that languages evolve.

    It might be possible that Gaelic and the other celtic languages were once part of the Afro-Semitic group, but underwent such a big influence of European languages that they became Indo-European, well, the Indo-European classification. Although you wouldn't expect it, there seems to be support for this theory. What I could find is the following, and it would be good if people here were able to verify this information. In the information, it is claimed that the Irish are one of the lost tribes of Israel, although I 'm interested in Hebrew because of it's special position as an Afro-Semitic language which is revived, I 'm agnostic and I don't know enough about christianity to say anything about this.

    Source: http://britam.org/language.html

    A writer who signed his name "Glas" submitted a list of Welsh words with Hebrew origins in 1832 . The writer remarked that, "But the best proof of the Eastern descent of the ancient British is the close resemblance and connection existing between the Welsh and Hebrew languages, even at this day. As a proof of this we have extracted the following vocabulary of words in both tongues, so closely resembling each other in sound and sense as to leave no doubt whatever on the subject.
    Many of these words, it will be found, have been transmitted from the Welsh, through the Anglo-Saxon into our modern English. It would be easy to swell their number..

    Some of the examples adduced by the above writer were:

    Aeth: He went, he is gone; hence = Athah
    Aml: Plentiful, ample = Hamale
    Ydom: the earth = Adamah
    Awye: air, sky = auor, or
    bu: it came to pass = bo boten, or potten : belly = beten.
    brith: bright = barud
    cas: hatred = caas (anger).
    dafnu: to drop, or distill by drops = nataph, taph.



    In 1675 Charles Edwards ("Hanes y Fydd") published A number of Welsh Cambro-Brittanic Hebraisms in which he shows that whole phrases in Welsh can be closely paralleled by whole phrases in Hebrew.

    From the list of Charles Edwards, L.G.A. Roberts (1919) made a selection and we have selected examples from Roberts after slightly modernising the Hebrew transliterations : It should be noted that when account is taken for likely and known dialectical changes of pronounciation the examples given in effect show identical Welsh parallel phrases for the Hebrew original.

    In Welsh: Gael hedd (Gen.31;47) meaning Geledd i.e. heap of testimony= in Hebrew : Galaed.

    In Welsh: Bagad meaning "A troop cometh ?" (Gen.30;11) = in Hebrew

    In Welsh : Anudon meaning "Without God" = in Hebrew: Aen Adon.

    In Welsh : Yni all sy dda meaning "I am the Almighty God" (Gen. 17;1) = in Hebrew: Ani El Saddai.

    In Welsh : Llai iachu yngwyddd achau ni meaning "Let him not live before our brethren" (Gen. 31;32) = in Hebrew Loa yichei neged acheinu (Gen.31;32).

    In Welsh Ochoren ballodddi hoc-dena meaning "After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure?" = in Hebrew : Acharei belothi hedenah (Gen.18;12).

    In Welsh Bebroch fra am beneu ach ef, dyfet Deborah mam ianceth Ribecah meaning "When he fled from the face of his brother . But Deborah Rebecca's nurse died" (Gen. 35;7-8) = in Hebrew : Beborcho mpnei achiv vetamath Deborah mayneceth Ribecah.

    In Welsh: Yngan Job yscoli yscoli cynghaws i (Job 6;1,2) meaning "Job answered, O that my grief were thoroughly weighed" = in Hebrew: Veya(g)n Eyub ....shocol yishocal ca(g)si

    In Welsh: Amelhau bytheu chwi a bythau holl ufyddau chwi meaning "And they shall fill your house and the houses of all your servants" (Gen. 10;6) = in Hebrew: Umalu bathechoh and bathei col avedochoh.

    In Welsh Iachadd ni meaning "Thou hast healed me" = in Hebrew: hechiyatni.

    In Welsh Nesa awyr peneu chwi meaning "Lif thou up the light of thy countenance" = in Hebrew: nasa aor panechoh.(Psalms 4;6.).

    In Welsh An annos meaning "None did compel" = in Hebrew: ain ones. (Esther 1;8).

    In Welsh As chwimwth meaning "an angry man" = in Hebrew: ish chamas (Psalms 140;12 Proverbs 16;29 meaning a wickedly-violent man).

    In Welsh Be heulo, luerferfo (Job 6;4) meaning "When his candle shined ..... and by his light.." = in Hebrew: behilo, leoroe.

    In Welsh Bwgythieu in gwarchaeni (Job 6;4) meaning "The terrors of God set themselves in array against me = in Hebrew: Biu(g)thi elohai ya-a(g)rchuni.

    In Welsh I far meaning "Shall be cursed" = Hebrew : Yu-ar, yuv-ar. (Numbers 22;6).

    In Welsh Am geryddo fo meaning "At his reproof" = in Hebrew :im ge-arato.



    Of course, I tried to verify this information. This is hard, because this is medieval Gaelic, but in the development from a medieval to a modern language, there are still words who are similar or remained

    Reproof = cerydd, in modern Welsh. This seems related to geryddo and this means that it might be possible that it isn't made up.

    Hast healed = iachaodd Medieval Welsh = Iachadd

    I used a dictionary to try and look and I did this just to look if this was nonsense or not, but now I wonder if there is any truth in this theory, because the grammar looks similar too.

    Is there anyone here who knows anything about this and is able to verify this, because this would shed a new light onto these languages.
    Last edited by berndf; 28th January 2013 at 10:03 PM. Reason: Added source (on behalf of OP)

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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    As far as I am aware, there is no linguistic proof whatever to support the contention that Hebrew and Welsh (or any other Celtic language) are directly related. Welsh is not ''medieval Gaelic'', it is from another branch of the Celtic languages entirely. Modern Scottish and Irish Gaelic are not intelligible to a Welsh speaker.
    There are a number of loons who claim that the ''British'', or ''Scots'' or even ''Ulster Protestants'' are one of the lost twelve tribes of Israel, but these people are usually harmless eccentrics, or locked firmly away in mental institutions.

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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro y La Torre View Post
    As far as I am aware, there is no linguistic proof whatever to support the contention that Hebrew and Welsh (or any other Celtic language) are directly related. Welsh is not ''medieval Gaelic'', it is from another branch of the Celtic languages entirely. Modern Scottish and Irish Gaelic are not intelligible to a Welsh speaker.
    There are a number of loons who claim that the ''British'', or ''Scots'' or even ''Ulster Protestants'' are one of the lost twelve tribes of Israel, but these people are usually harmless eccentrics, or locked firmly away in mental institutions.
    No, I am aware that there isn't any hard evidence for this, but when I looked through these sites and checked if the words were similar in Welsh, which actually surprises me is that some words are quite similar to what is written there. If it was all nonsense and made up, there should be like 1 match because of coincidence, but there can be more matches found and they still look a lot like the words written here. Besides, like I wrote earlier, I watched a Welsh documentary partly, and when I listened to the English it sounded much like the way Israelies talk, that's why I wonder if this might be true and not just a myth.

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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?


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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    After listening to eluviete singing in Gaelic, there's no connection as far as I see.
    Last edited by berndf; 28th January 2013 at 7:11 AM. Reason: Capitals
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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    Superficial similarities between unrelated languages are usually accidental. The Celtic languages have undergone tremendous phonetic and grammatical changes during the last 2000 years, becoming completely unrecognizable for an ancient speaker. To prove a relation you would have to show how the words evolved from an ancient form to present, fo instance which part in Anudon means 'god'. By the way 'adonai' in Hebrew means actually 'lord', not 'god'.

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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    No, it does also mean god.
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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    You can find such cases with around every pair of languages. Check this article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_cognate

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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roel~ View Post
    No, I am aware that there isn't any hard evidence for this, but when I looked through these sites and checked if the words were similar in Welsh, which actually surprises me is that some words are quite similar to what is written there. If it was all nonsense and made up, there should be like 1 match because of coincidence, but there can be more matches found and they still look a lot like the words written here. Besides, like I wrote earlier, I watched a Welsh documentary partly, and when I listened to the English it sounded much like the way Israelies talk, that's why I wonder if this might be true and not just a myth.
    Welsh sounds nothing like Hebrew (to me). The instances you have cited above look like mere coincidence; I'm sure I could find a similar list for almost any two Indo-European languages.
    Greek sounds very close to European Spanish to my ears, but the two languages have little or nothing in common.

    Appearances can be deceiving.

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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by arielipi View Post
    No, it does also mean god.
    It may be used to refer to god as a title, but the word itself means lord.

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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roel~ View Post
    and when I listened to the English it sounded much like the way Israelies talk, that's why I wonder if this might be true and not just a myth.
    Modern Israeli Hebrew is largely a revived language, and was revived by speakers of European languages. That's probably why it sounds very similar to some European languages. To me it sounds very French. If ancient Hebrew had in fact arrived in north western Europe, it would've sounded very different to the modern revived Hebrew.

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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    This is not some english language you provide titles. Hebrew is very dense, and adonay is another name for god just as many other names.
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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by arielipi View Post
    This is not some english language you provide titles. Hebrew is very dense, and adonay is another name for god just as many other names.
    Yes I'm well aware of the usage as a replacement for ha-shem, that doesn't change the meaning, which is still lord, and not just in Hebrew but in Ugaritic & Phoenician too.

    All languages are "dense", if by that you mean thick with various meanings and intricacies of usage, Hebrew is no more significant in this respect than any other language.

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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    Its meaning is lord that is true, but its not a title to god, its another word for god.
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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by arielipi View Post
    but its not a title to god, its another word for god.
    So you mean to say it's a word that has another meaning, but which is used to refer to god?

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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    Yes. 10 chars.
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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    Ok, thanks.

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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by arielipi View Post
    No, it does also mean god.
    Only in the way as 'Lord' or 'our Lord' in English means 'God' (see Wikipedia for Adonai).

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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro y La Torre View Post
    Welsh sounds nothing like Hebrew (to me). The instances you have cited above look like mere coincidence; I'm sure I could find a similar list for almost any two Indo-European languages.
    Greek sounds very close to European Spanish to my ears, but the two languages have little or nothing in common.

    Appearances can be deceiving.
    Let me put on this documentary again. When I listen to the rhythm of the Gaelic language, it's similar to the rhythm of Hebrew. Of course you are right, I know Spanish and I know some basic things of New-Greek, so I know that they are completely different languages. Though, they both were influenced by languages from the south, so this could be an explanation for the similar sounds, I don't know this though. Though, although similar words aren't a good method to find out if languages are familiar, because it could be coincidence, this is of course not the only reason in the case of Hebrew and Gaelic.

    The grammar is very similar and doesn't correspond to the grammar of most European languages, it has more similarities with the grammar of Afro-Asiatic languages. Besides, I know that there are theories that the Celts came from North-Africa and moved from Spain to the north. Actually, there can be still some Celtic culture found in Spain, so I don't think that it's impossible that the Celtic languages at least have had some connection with the Afro-Asiatic languages in the past and that they were so much influenced by Indo-European languages that they lost a lot of traits from Afro-Asiatic languages and adapted so much to the traits of Europeans languages that they became all Indo-European languages. The VSO word order corresponds to the Afro-Asiatic languages.

    One of the best supports for this theory seem to be writing from church fathers from the medieval times, in which they write that the Gaelic languages are very much like Hebrew. Those people knew Hebrew very well so they should be capable to judge this. The disadvantage though is that their faith may influence their opinions and make them do these claims because they want it to be true.

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    Re: Is the Hebrew-Welsh connection more than a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roel~
    If it was all nonsense and made up, there should be like 1 match because of coincidence, but there can be more matches found and they still look a lot like the words written here.
    Why just 1 match? What is the actual statistical probability of finding such coincidences? What if it were 25 matches?

    Also, if I chose to transliterate your Hebrew words and phrases above into Latin characters slightly differently, the 'similarities' would mostly disappear to maybe just 1 or 2. The transliteration method used seems a little strange to me - it looks as though it is trying to exaggerate similarities between the two. Also there's no correspondence between any of the phrases even though they look similar. For example:

    In Welsh Bebroch fra am beneu ach ef, dyfet Deborah mam ianceth Ribecah meaning "When he fled from the face of his brother . But Deborah Rebecca's nurse died" (Gen. 35;7-8) = in Hebrew : Beborcho mpnei achiv vetamath Deborah mayneceth Ribecah.
    In Hebrew this is:
    (in 35:7) בְּבָרְחוֹ, מִפְּנֵי אָחִיו bəvorkho mi-pnei akhiv
    (in 35:8) וַתָּמָת דְּבֹרָה מֵינֶקֶת רִבְקָה va-tamat dəvora meineket rivka

    Mind you this is using modern Hebrew pronunciation. Still there is poor concordance between words. For example, "dyfet" I assume is Welsh for "died". In Hebrew this is va-tamat (which entirely means "and she died"). Also, "akhiv" is Hebrew for "his brother" but this I assure you is not what "ach ef" means in Welsh. Actually, I don't see the Welsh word for brother (Brawd) but maybe a different word is being used. Still it all makes me suspicious. If I use Tiberian Hebrew pronunciation this further erodes similarities in pronunciation:

    (in 35:7) בְּבָרְחוֹ, מִפְּנֵי אָחִיו: bə-vɔrħo mɪ-pənei ɔħiw
    (in 35:8) וַתָּמָת דְּבֹרָה מֵינֶקֶת רִבְקָה: wa-tɔmɔθ dəvorɔ meinɛqɛθ rivqɔ

    Now I bothered to look up what the phrases are in the Welsh Bible because some folks will take whatever appears as truth without questioning. From the Welsh Bible:

    (in 35:7) Duw wedi ymddangos iddo pan oedd yn dianc oddi wrth ei frawd Esau.
    (in 35:8) A dyma Debora (sef y forwyn oedd wedi magu Rebeca pan oedd hi'n ferch fach) yn marw yno.

    I don't know Welsh, but this appears more modern and less literal as it is quite longer than the Hebrew. As you quote, dialects and pronunciations may have changed. An older version from 1588 looks closer to the Hebrew syntax and is probably what anyone in 1675 would have been consulting.

    (in 35:7) Duw iddo ef, pan ffoase efe o wydd ei frawd
    (in 35:8) A marwa a wnaeth Debora mammaeth Rebecca

    If you go back and double check every one of those verses in a Welsh bible, old or new, I bet most of them don't concord. Given this information, I can see no similarities. In short, it's a bunch of nonsense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roel~ View Post
    The grammar is very similar and doesn't correspond to the grammar of most European languages, it has more similarities with the grammar of Afro-Asiatic languages..
    How are the grammars of Welsh and Hebrew similar? How does the grammar of Welsh not correspond to the grammar of most European languages? A quick look on Wikipedia Welsh article and the articles on colloquial Welsh and literary Welsh morphology show some unique features and most of the rest run of the mill Indo-European features. -st for the second person? Check. TV distinction? Check. Verb to be in the present tense? Check.

    Instead of trying to show how similar Welsh is to Hebrew, how about we should how Indo-European it is and see which list is bigger?
    Last edited by clevermizo; 30th January 2013 at 2:08 PM. Reason: corrections

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