1. Representing the same original word or root.
2. denotes a reconstructed form, signifying a form does not exist in any written texts.
3. Pinker, S., The Language Instinct, Penguin, London, p. 239, 1995.
4. A single example that is an exception to the rule will suffice. Elam (Genesis 10: 22)
is listed as a son of Shem, but Elamite is a non-Semitic, isolate language.
5. Lewis, M.P, Simons, G.F., and Fennig C.D., Ethnologue, 18th edn, Languages of
Africa and Europe, SIL International, Dallas, TX, p. 7, 2015. Classifications may
be disputed with some languages no longer being spoken or more technically
classed as dialects—“subordinate varieties of a language with non-standard
6. Unless otherwise cited, figures for languages are based on Grimes, B.F.,
Ethnologue, 14th edn, SIL International, Dallas, TX, 2000.
7. Campbell, L., Historical Linguistics—Introduction, 3rd edn, Edinburgh
University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 166, 170, 2013; includes isolates now extinct
such as Sumerian. Basque, spoken in south-west France and northern Spain, is
an often quoted modern example.
8. Campbell, ref. 7, p. 168, which includes language families now extinct.
9. Some linguists however lump language families together to create macro
families such as Nostratic, proposed by Holger Pedersen in 1903, comprising
the Indo-European, Altaic, Uralic, Semito-Hamitic, and Eskimo families. This
and other proposed macro families are discussed by Pereltsvaig, A., Languages
of the World—an Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
pp. 218–229, 2012.
10. Traceable to Johann Gottfreid Herder (1744–1803) and August Ludwig von
Schlözer (1735–1809). Olender, M., The Languages of Paradise, Harvard
University Press, Cambridge, MA, p. 11, 1992.
11. Ezra 4:8–6: 18; 7: 12–26; and Daniel 2:4–7: 28.
12. Grimes, ref. 6, lists many Arabic dialects as separate languages.
13. Pereltsvaig, ref. 9, p. 12.
14. Thus linking with two of Noah’s sons, Ham and Shem.
15. Tevfik Esenç, the last speaker of Ubykh, died in Turkey in 1992. The language
is of considerable interest to linguists as it has 80 consonants.
16. Waltke, B. and O’Connor, M., An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax,
Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, IN, pp. 178, 356, 380, 1990.
17. Potter, S., Language in the Modern World, Penguin, London, pp. 120–121, 1960.
18. Traces of a vigesimal system are evident in the French ‘soixante-dix’ = ‘seventy’
and in the older English ‘three score and ten’.
19. ‘Potato’ can be traced to Taino, a Cariban language of Haiti, and ‘tomato’
to Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs of Mexico. Campbell, L., Historical
Linguistics—An introduction, 3rd edn, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh,
p. 57, 2013.
20. ‘Gold’ occurs too in Genesis 2: 11 too, but this is the more common word zāhāb.
21. Gamkrelidze, T.V. and Ivanov, V.V., Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans,
part 1, Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, p. 582, 1994. It is perhaps also cognate with
the Akkadian un tu which has a wide variety of meanings including ‘vessel’,
meaning ‘container’, not ‘ship’. Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, vol. 21, U/W,
Chicago University Press, p. 172a, 2010.
22. The most common word for ‘gold’ is zāhāb (Genesis 2: 12) and elsewhere, a less
common word is ketem (Job 18: 19) and elsewhere.
23. Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, ref. 21, p. 618.
24. Koehler, L. and Baumgartner, W., The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old
Testament, Brill, Leiden, p. 517a, 25, 2001.
25. Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, ref. 21, pp. 427–428.
26. Cansdale, G. Animals of Bible Lands, Paternoster, Exeter, p. 106, 1970.
27. Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, ref. 21, p. 463.
28. Pereltsvaig, A. and Lewis, M. W., The Indo-European Controversy, Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge, p. 170, 2015.
29. Hamp. E.P., The Indo-European horse; in: Markley, T.L. and Greppin, J.A.C.
(Eds.), When Worlds Collide—Indo-Europeans and pre-Indo-Europeans, Karoma,
Ann Arbor, MI, p. 212, 1990.
30. Colarusso, J., More Pontic: further etymologies between Indo-European and
Northwest Caucasian, Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 246: 41–60, 2003; pp.
44–45, but first proposed by Jasanoff, J.H., Review of Renfrew, Language 64:
31. Drower, M.S., The domestication of the horse; in: Ucko, P.J. and Dimbleby, G. W.
(Eds.), The Domestication and Exploitation of Plants and Animals, Duckworth,
London, p. 472, 1969. Incidentally it should be noted that an examination of
traditional chronology is beyond the remit of this article.
32. Van Selms, A., The etymology of yayin ‘wine’, J. Northwest Semitic Languages 3:
76–84, 1974; p. 76.
33. Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, ref. 21, p. 558.
34. Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, ref. 21, p. 560.
35. Seltman, C. T., Wine in the Ancient World, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London,
p. 15, 1957; Lang, D.M., Armenia Cradle of Civilisation, Allen and Unwin,
London, p. 67, 1970; Zohary, D., Hopf, M., and Weiss. E., Domestication of
Plants in the Old World, 4th edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 121a–126b,
2012. This is disputed by more modern writers e.g. Zohary, D., Domestication
of the Grape Vine Vitis vinfera L. in the Near East; in: McGovern, P.E., Fleming
S.J., and Katz, S.H. (Eds.), The Origins and Ancient History of Wine, Gordon
and Breach, Amsterdam, pp. 23–30, 1996; p. 29, who notes that pips showing
the morphology of cultivated forms only start to appear in Georgia in the 3rd
millennium BC; and Gorny, R.L., Viticulture and ancient Anatolia; in: McGovern,
P.E., Fleming S.J., and Katz S.H. (Eds.), The Origins and Ancient History of Wine,
Gordon and Breach, Amsterdam, pp. 133–174, 1996; p. 137, who suggests the
possibility of several different Anatolian sources.
36. Pereltsvaig, A. and Lewis, ref. 28, p. 194. Also cf. Armenian gini.
37. Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, ref. 21, p. 558, and Pereltsvaig, A. and Lewis, ref. 28,
p. 193 cite īnu as the Akkadian word for ‘wine’, but this exists only in a lexical
list and a connection with Hebrew yayin is explicitly denied; see Chicago
Assyrian Dictionary , vol. 8, I/J, p. 152b, 1960. For karānu see Chicago Assyrian
Dictionary, vol. 9, K, p. 202b, 1971.
38. Frisk, H., Griechisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch, 1, Winter, Heidelberg,
p. 493, 1960.
39. Grayson, A.K., Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia 3, University of Toronto Press,
Toronto, p. 150, 1996.
40. See further, Lawrence, P.J.N., Elephants in the Bible, Artifax 31: 13–14, 2016.
41. Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, vol. 13, P, p. 212a, 2005. The term parzillu is
attested from the Old Akkadian period (traditionally dated 2371–2230 BC)
42. Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, ref. 21, p. 615, n 21.
43. Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, vol. 7, Ḫ, p. 3a, 1956, used in the Amarna Letters
(14th century BC) only.
44. Millard, A.R., King Og’s bed and other ancient ironmongery; in: Ascribe to the
Lord—biblical and other studies in memory of P.C. Craigie, JSOT Supplement
Series 67, Sheffield, pp. 487–488, 1986.
45. Zohary, M., Plants of the Bible, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 70a,
46. Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, ref. 21, p. 552.
47. Bucaklişi, I., Uzunhasanoğlu, H., and Aleksiva, I., Büyük Lazca Sözlük—Didi
Lazuri Nenapuna, Chiviyazıları, Istanbul, p. 934b, 2007; Chicago Assyrian
Dictionary, vol. 7, Ḫ, p. 139b, 1956.
48. Gregor, D.B., Celtic—A comparative study, Oleander, Cambridge, p. 143, 1980.
49. Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, ref. 21, p. 550 and 550 n 44.
50. Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, vol. 6, G, p. 35b–36b, 1956—the two-humped
Bactrian camel is shown on the Black Obelisk of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser
III, dated to 841 BC.
51. Liddell, H.G. and Scott, R., A Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford University Press,
Oxford, p. 739b, 1940.
52. Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, vol. 21, U/W, p. 22a, 2010.
53. Cansdale, G., Animals of Bible Lands, Paternoster, Exeter, p. 66, 1970.
54. Renfrew, C., Archaeology and Language, Penguin, London, p. 201, 1987.
55. See further, Kitchen, K.A., On the Reliability of the Old Testament, Eerdmans,
Grand Rapids, MI, pp. 338–339, 2003; Lawrence, P.J.N., The Lion Atlas of Bible
History, Lion Hudson, Oxford, p. 26, 2006.
56. Von Rad, G., Genesis—A commentary, Revised edn, SCM, London, p. 90, 1972.
Paul J.N. Lawrence holds B.A. and Ph.D. degrees
in Hebrew and Akkadian from Liverpool University,
England. He is currently a translation consultant for
SIL (Eurasia area), having worked on several Bible
translation projects. He keeps up his interest in biblical
archaeology, authoring The Lion Atlas of Bible History
and The Books of Moses Revisited.