I am often asked how it is that the Israelites ceased to speak Afro-Asiatic languages and came to speak Indo-European languages. Language and ancestry are two different matters. It is very clear from genetic data from modern and ancient Indo-European speakers that the Indo-European languages were propagated to many relatively diverse ethnic groups who had various different tongues of their own before.
These people of course all generally belonged to the Adamic race, but within that spectrum there was considerable diversity that cannot all be attributed to a singular proto-Indo-European speaking population. Thus the constant search by scholars of Indo-European studies for the theoretical proto-Indo-European ‘Urheimat’ could never tell us where all modern Indo-European speakers originate.
There is a false notion which has prevailed among modern anthropologists and/or their racially and/or Scripturally concerned proponents: that Indo-European=Japhetic=White and that Afro-Asiatic=Shemitic or Hamitic=non-White.
There are seven Indo-European speaking nations mentioned directly in the Scriptures and acknowledged by mainstream biblical scholars: the Lydians, the Persians, the Ionians, the Medes, the Thracians, the Philistines and the Hittites. So who do the Scriptures say these Indo-European speaking nations descended from? The Lydians were descended from Lud, a Shemite. The Persians were descended from Elam, a Shemite. Only the Medes (Madai), the Thracians (Thiras) and the Ionians (Javan) were Japhetic.
The Philistines were descendants of the Hamite Casluhim. The Hittites were descended from the Hamite Heth, but, as the Scriptures record, his line mixed with non-Adamic tribes such as Rephaim, Kenites, Perizzites, and Kadmonites et al. at a very early time. Ancient depictions of these Indo-European speaking Hittites prove that they were non-Whites of a similar racial stock to today’s Jews, Levantine Arabs and Turks (Armenoid) with large drooping hooked noses, prognathic mid-faces, broad heads and slanted eyes. This should be expected as the Hittites were a branch of the Canaanites according to Scripture.
So two of the White Indo-European speaking tribes mentioned in the Scriptures (Lydians (Lud) and Persians (Elam)), were, according to the biblical record, (the very source for the names of these Noahitic patriarchs) Shemites! Not Japhethites! Equally contradictory to common perception, two of these Indo-European speaking nations were Hamitic. To even further contradict mainstream perceptions among racialists one of these Indo-European speaking peoples was non-White according to both the Scriptural record, and their own depictions of their race in art.
There is ample evidence for the linguistic transition of the Israelites out of the Afro-Asiatic speaking world and into the Indo-European world bringing considerable Semitic influence with them. The Israelites and their ancestors were in contact with Indo-European languages several times throughout their history. First their ancestors were at the tower of Babel when the Heavenly Host confounded the speech of the Adamites.
Biblical scholars have long generally agreed that the Shinar or Senaar of Genesis 11 where the Noahites all gathered after the flood is the Sumer of ancient Mesopotamia. This is supported by the similarity in the two Semitic names (Sumer is an Akkadian word), the matching geographical descriptions and the association with Babel, Akkad and Uruk. In Genesis 11 the Noahites all gathered in Sumer/Shinar and there they shared in the same speech and custom.
The Sumerian language is known today as a linguistic isolate, but was once thought to be the origin of the Indo-European languages. A comparison between Sumerian and Indo-European was made by Charles Autran already in 1925, finding many similar roots and even suffixes, like -ta for the origin (Skt. -tas), -bi for the instrumental (Skt. -bhis). Gordon Whittaker, since 1998, has identified so-called Euphratic, a substratum or superstratum in Sumerian, with an Indo-European language.
Particularly interesting is his analysis of the phonetic values, without meaning in Sumerian, of pictographic symbols, which in some cases can suggest an IE connection. The symbol for a fish is read peš, which recalls PIE *pisk/peisk- ‘fish’, perhaps from the Indo-European root pi- ‘to drink’ and the frequentative suffix -sk-. The symbol of a bird is read hu, and can be compared with PIE *hwi/hwai- ‘bird’ (notably Armenian hav meaning ‘chicken’). The logogram for ‘dog’, with an animal head, is read lik, and recalls PIE *wlkwa- ‘wolf’, especially Greek lykos.
The logogram for ‘fox’, with the symbol of a fox’s head with large ears, is read lib/lub, comparable to the PIE *wlpe- ‘fox’ (Latin vulpes, Greek alopex), which is apparently an offshoot or variant of the previous one (with kw > p). The phonetic values for ‘prince’ are nar/nara, as in the Sanskrit term for ‘man, hero’ (ner/nir).
In a publication of 2012, Whittaker has suggested laws of phonetic change from Euphratic to Sumerian, which is a necessary aspect in a scientific demonstration of the existence of this Indo-European language. In support he cites other examples of phonetic values, like sah/suh for the sign ‘thread+thread’, recalling Skt. sū-tra-‘thread’, from the root s(y)ū- ‘to sew’, corresponding to Latin su-ere. Also of note is semed for the sign ‘one’, comparable to the PIE root *sam-, found e.g. in English same and Latin semel ‘once’.
Aleksi Sahala, Assyriologist of the University of Helsinki, has between 2009 and 2013 proposed 30 Sumerian words with a possible common etymology with Indo-European. In 1927, the British explorer and scholar of Sanskrit, Laurence Waddell published a book with the title Aryan Origin of the Alphabet and Sumer-Aryan Dictionary.
Sumerian civilization was generally bilingual with the general populace being fluent in both Sumerian and Akkadian, the earliest attested Semitic language. Of course both languages used the same Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform. Linguists regard the relationship between Sumerian and Akkadian as a “sprachbund”; a group of closely related languages with profound influence on one another from lexical borrowing on a large scale, to syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence.
The Sumerian language is somewhat of a mystery to scholars. It is an isolate with no clear ancestors or descendants, but also with clear relationships with both Afro-Asiatic and Indo-European languages and potentially with other contemporary linguistic isolates such as Elamite. Thus I would identify Sumerian or its parent language as the the united tongue of the Noahites described in Genesis 11.1. This explains why it is a distinct isolate with such diverse affinities with many far-flung languages such as Uralic, Kartvellian, Basque, Sanskrit and Armenian as well as contemporary Akkadian.
Of course the events at Babel vastly predate the emergence of the Israelites but the Sumerian language is relevant to their history and that of the nations Israel would later be scattered among.
‘Sumer: the Civilization of Babel’
Next the Habiru/Hebrews in Anatolia and other northerly regions of the Fertile Crescent interacted with the Indo-European speaking Hittites. Many Habiru personal names have distinct Indo-European roots. Whether this is an adopted influence of the nomadic Habiru or a reflection of their original language is uncertain.
‘Habiru: Reavers of the Fertile Crescent’
The next major contact with Indo-European languages occurs in Canaan where the Israelites encountered Hittites, Ionian Greeks and Philistines. The Israelites traded extensively with the Ionians and intermarried to some extent with the Philistines. At this time the Israelites generally speak North-West Semitic languages.
Both the Philistines (often identified by biblical scholars with the Minoan culture) and the Ionians spoke variants of early Greek. This Hellenization certainly had a profound effect on the northern house of Israel.
There are numerous Semitic loan words in early forms of Greek and the Greek alphabet itself is derived from the Phoenician script. Phoenician was an early form of the Israelite script and paleo-Hebrew is widely known to be a form of Phoenician.
Many linguists acknowledge an Eastern Mediterranean sprachbund which facilitated trade and diplomacy in the ancient Eastern Mediterranean. North-West Semitic languages were a crucial part of this sprachbund and doubtless the Israelites both contributed to its development and were influenced by the contributions of early Greek speakers.
‘Dardan, Danaan and Dorian Origins: the Mediterranean Migrations of Ancient Israel’
An astounding affinity exists between the Northwest Semitic languages and the Celtic languages. Many scholars have noted this over the years including J. Courtenay James, Karel Jongeling, E. Raymond Capt, R. Govett, Beale Poste, Dr. Davies, Dr. Duncan McDougall, Samuel Lysons, Morris Jones, Theo Vennemann, Julius Pokorny, Heinrich Wagner, and Orin Gensler, to name just a few.
Both Celtic and Semitic languages are generally verb-subject-object in their default syntax. The two groups of languages feature extensive use of prepositions inflected for person and number. In both languages prepositions can be used to express obligation or possession. Celtic and Semitic languages both make use of resumptive pronouns in relative clauses.
Both families have a definite article but no indefinite article. Both use the construct state genitive in which two nouns are placed one after the other with the first noun modifying the second. Semitic and Celtic tongues both use the equivalent of “and” to subordinate one clause to the previous clause.
In 1675 Charles Edwards (“Hanes y Fydd”) documented what he termed Welsh Cambro-Brittanic Hebraisms which show that whole phrases in Welsh can be closely paralleled by whole phrases in Hebrew. 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 meaning “Geledd” i.e. “Heap of testimony” (Genesis 31.47) = in Hebrew: Galaed.
In Welsh: Bagad meaning “A troop cometh?” (Genesis 30.11) = in Hebrew: Ba gad.
In Welsh: Anudon meaning “Without God” = in Hebrew: Aen Adon.
In Welsh: Yni all sy dda meaning “I am the Almighty God” (Genesis 17.1) = in Hebrew: Ani El Saddai.
In Welsh: Llai iachu yngwyddd achau ni meaning “Let him not live before our brethren” (Genesis 31.32) = in Hebrew: Loa yichei neged acheinu.
In Welsh: Ochoren ballodddi hoc-dena meaning “After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure?” = in Hebrew: Acharei belothi hedenah (Genesis 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” (Genesis 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” (Genesis 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 “Lift thou up the light of thy countenance” = in Hebrew: Nasa aor panechoh (Psalms 4.6).
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.
The Jewish archaeological and linguistic authorities have greatly obfuscated the linguistic history of Canaan. What is commonly called “proto-Canaanite” is actually the language of the Israelites of the Exodus which I would call Terahitic after Terah the ancestor of Abraham and Haran the father of Lot. Its writing system is “proto-Sinaitic” whose parent system is Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Derivatives include “Biblical Hebrew”, “Edomite”, “Ammonite” and “Moabite”. This raises an interesting question? Why is it named “Canaanite” when none of these tribes are direct Canaanite descendants, but rather descend (paternally at least) from Shemites of the line of Terah?
The languages of the Canaanites of Scripture (not as misidentified by Jewish archaeologists) are “Amorite” (perhaps properly proto-Canaanite) and its child “Ugaritic” (perhaps Canaanite). Little is claimed by experts about “Amorite” beyond defining it as ancestral to “Ugaritic”. Neither language uses any of the “North-West Semitic” alphabets like “proto-Sinaitic”, “Canaanite”, “Phoenician” and “paleo-Hebrew” etc. Rather “Ugaritic” has its own cuneiform derived script.
From “proto-Canaanite” comes “Canaanite” and there are two further developments from “Canaanite” identifiable with the Israelites: “Phoenician” and “Biblical Hebrew”. The linguistic and alphabetical lineage from “proto-Canaanite” to “Canaanite” to “Phoenician” and “Biblical Hebrew” is properly the Israelite linguistic development. Of course if scholars understood this it would prompt a line of questioning which would ultimately descredit Jewry and Zionism.
The Phoenicians of Phoenicia’s maritime golden age were one and the same people as ancient Israel, and they were surely not kin of modern day Jews. Rather they established many important European tribes including Milesians, Carthaginians, Thebians and others.
‘The Israelite Origins of Europa: the Phoenicians in the West’
When the northern house of Israel went into the Assyrian captivity they were placed among the Medes and Persians as a buffer population on the fringes of the Assyrian empire. There they would have, by necessity, adopted the Iranic lingua franca of these Medo-Persian territories.
This aligns with the Irano-Semitic language hypothesis which proposes an intermediary Irano-Semitic, Indo-Semitic or Aryo-Semitic language group conjoining Afro-Asiatic and Indo-European language groups (Carleton T. Hodge 1998:318, Alan S. Kaye 1985:887, Adams and Mallory 2006:83, Cuny 1943:1). This represents the complete crossover of the house of Israel into the Indo-European cultural and linguistic world.
As these Scythians penetrated into Central Europe they encountered various Indo-European speaking Adamic tribes. While beyond the scope of this discussion it can be demonstrated that these Scythian tribes formed the foremost racial element of the Germanic tribes.
‘Scythian Origins: the Lost Tribes in Iran, the Steppe and Europe’
There are many proto-Germanic words with likely Hebrew cognates. This aligns with Theo Venneman’s work Germania Semitica where he demonstrates a Semitic superstratum in the Germanic languages. Here we will look at a small sampling of these cognates.
PG *bautaną (giving us English beat) meaning “to push” or “strike” from PIE *bʰewd- meaning “to hit” or “strike”. Compare to Hebrew baat (H1163) meaning “kick” from a primitive root meaning “to trample down”.
PG *ders- (giving us English dare) meaning “to be bold” or “have courage” from PIE root *dhers- meaning “bold”. Compare to Hebrew addir (H117) meaning “gallant”, “excellent” or “powerful”.
PG *beranan (giving us English bear) meaning “to bear” or “carry” from PIE root *bher- meaning “carry a burden”, “bring” or “give birth”. Compare to Hebrew abar (H5674) meaning “bring over”, “carry over” or “deliver”.
PG *leukhtam (giving us English light) meaning “light” or “brightness” from PIE root *leuk- also meaning “light” or “brightness”. Compare Hebrew lahat (H3857) meaning “flaming” from a primitive root meaning “to blaze”.
PG *grap- (giving us English grab, grasp and grapple) meaning “to grab” or “seize” from PIE *ghrebh- “to seize” or “reach”. Compare to Hebrew garaph (H1640) meaning “to sweep away” from a primitive root meaning “to bear off violently”.
PG *brennanan (giving us English burn) meaning “to set on fire” of uncertain derivation. Compare to Hebrew ba’ar (H1197) meaning likewise “burn”, “heat” or “kindle” from a primitive root meaning “set on fire”.
PG *ertho (giving us English earth) meaning “earth” or “soil” from an extended form of PIE root *er- meaning “earth” or “ground”. Compare to Hebrew erets (H776) meaning “earth” or “land”.
PG *askon (giving us English ash) meaning “ash” from PIE root *as- meaning “to burn” or “glow”. Compare to Hebrew esh (H784) meaning “burning”, “hot” or “fiery” and Hebrew ashan (H6225) from a primitive root meaning “to smoke”.
PG *buron (giving us English bore) meaning “to bore through” or “perforate” from PIE root *bhorh- meaning “hole”. Compare to Hebrew bowr (H953) meaning “pit”, “cistern” or “well”.
PG *dumbaz (giving us English dumb) meaning “dumb” or “dull” of uncertain derivation. Compare to Hebrew damah (H1820) meaning “to be brought to silence” from a primitive root meaning “to be dumb” or “silent”.
PG *bannan (giving us English ban) “to speak publicly”, “command” or “forbid” from a suffixed form of PIE root *bha- meaning “to speak”, “tell” or “say”. Compare to Hebrew bin (H995) meaning “direct” or “discern” from a primitive root meaning “inform” or “instruct”.
PG *gel- (giving us English yell) meaning “to yell” or “to resound” from PIE root *ghel- meaning “to call”. Compare to Hebrew yalal (H3213) meaning “be howling” from a primitive root meaning “to howl”.
PG *brekanan (giving us English break) meaning “to break apart” from PIE root *bhreg- meaning “to break”. Compare to Hebrew perek (H6531) meaning “fracture” from an unused root meaning “to break apart”.
PG *kall- (giving us English call) meaning “to cry out” from PIE root *gal- meaning “to call” or “shout”. Compare to Hebrew qol (H6963) meaning “cry out” or “noise” from an unused root meaning “to call aloud”.
There arises a great deal of confusion concerning the connections between the Afro-Asiatic and Indo-European languages. There is a wide range of dates proposed for the Irano-Semitic language and other scholars like Theo Vennemann point to Semitic stratum in Indo-European languages outside of the Iranic family such as Germanic and Celtic.
Whittaker proposed the Euphratic Indo-European language of Mesopotamia which he identifies as a substratum in Sumerian. Sumerian itself was once commonly thought to be an Indo-European language and Sumerian was also in a sprachbund with Akkadian, the eldest attested Semitic language. There is even the Nostratic hypothesis which proposes a broader Nostratic language group encompassing Sumerian, Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic among other languages generally belonging to Caucasoid peoples. All of this confusion concerning when Afro-Asiatic and Indo-European languages diverged and/or converged disappears in light of the Scriptural narrative.
There is a related question I often face and so I will take this opportunity to address it. If the Israelites are from Mesopotamia, how come most distinctive European DNA is commonly thought to come from the Pontic-Caspian Steppe?
According to Scripture the Israelite’s lineage was not native to Canaan or Mesopotamia but rather, like all the Adamic nations of Scripture, they originated very near the Pontic Caspian Steppe at Mount Ararat in modern day Armenia. From there the Adamites spread Eastward across the Steppe (Genesis 11.2). The Pontic-Caspian Steppe encompasses both the Scriptural origin point of all the Adamites and the heartland of the Israelites in classical antiquity from which they settled Europe.
‘Scythian Origins: the Lost Tribes in Iran, the Steppe and Europe’
Thus we should fully expect (according to Scripture) the Israelites to have a genetic origin traceable to the Pontic-Caspian Steppe and not the Levant or the Middle East.