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Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 8 years ago

Mormons, why don't the Uto-Aztecan languages work like Semitic ones?

I've studied the grammars of both language families. They don't seem remotely related. I'm curious how that squares with the apologetic idea that the former descended from the latter.

7 Answers

  • phrog
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    mostly this comes from brian stubbs (professional linguist) who points out the similarities between the uto-aztecan and the afro-asiatic languages. it is taken seriously due to the fact that he IS a linguist and therefore avoids the problem of recognizing surface similarities vs actual similarities of roots.

    here is a link to some of his work....

    the ties right now are "promising, but tentative" as I understand it

    dr. roger westcott, professor (emeritus) of anthropology and linguistics, drew university (non-LDS rhodes scholar) had this to say about stubb's research....

    "Perhaps the most surprising of all Eurasian-American linguistic connections, at least in geographic terms, is that proposed by Brian Stubbs: a strong link between the Uto-Aztecan and Afro-Asiatic (or Hamito-Semitic) languages. The Uto-Aztecan languages are, or have been, spoken in western North America from Idaho to El Salvador. One would expect that, if Semites or their linguistic kinsmen from northern Africa were to reach the New World by water, their route would be trans-Atlantic. Indeed, what graphonomic evidence there is indicates exactly that: Canaanite inscriptions are found in Georgia and Tennessee as well as in Brazil; and Mediterranean coins, some Hebrew and Moroccan Arabic, are found in Kentucky as well as Venezuela [citing Cyrus Gordon]. But we must follow the evidence wherever it leads. And lexically, at least, it points to the Pacific rather than the Atlantic coast. Stubbs finds Semitic and (more rarely) Egyptian vocabulary in about 20 of 25 extant Uto-Aztecan languages. Of the word-bases in these vernaculars, he finds about 40 percent to be derivable from nearly 500 triliteral Semitic stems. Despite this striking proportion, however, he does not regard Uto-Aztecan as a branch of Semitic or Afro-Asiatic. Indeed, he treats Uto-Aztecan Semitisms as borrowings. But, because these borrowings are at once so numerous and so well "nativized," he prefers to regard them as an example of linguistic creolization - that is, of massive lexical adaptation of one language group to another. (By way of analogy, . . . historical linguists regard the heavy importation of French vocabulary into Middle English as a process of creolization.).... Lest skeptics should attribute these correspondences to coincidence, however, Stubbs takes care to note that there are systematic sound-shifts, analogous to those covered in Indo-European by Grimm's Law, which recur consistently in loans from Afro-Asiatic to Uto-Aztecan. One of these is the unvoicing of voiced stops in the more southerly receiving languages. Another is the velarization of voiced labial stops and glides in the same languages." --Early Eurasian Linguistic Links with North America

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  • 4 years ago

    Uto-aztecan Language

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  • 8 years ago

    Are you talking about their written language, or their spoken language? I believe it is the spoken language that dominates the written language, and that the spoken language is probably descended from the Olmec or Jaredite civilization. I do believe that there has been cultural transfer between the Nephites and the Lamanites, and that the Uto-Aztecan language family has some Hebrew words. It is interesting that the Mayan had a glyph for "it came to pass" or "it happened". Apparently, it isn't too dissimilar from the Semitic.

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  • 8 years ago

    I don't claim to be extremely knowledgeable on the topic but in my non-archaeological experience it would be because you don't want them to.In a matter of minute Ross shared where there are similarities .

    What I do have experience with is "indian lore", what my real interest is in in their oral traditions and religious practices. It is there that I find similarities in several nations to the teachings and practices of the Church. I would not begin to suggest that all native nations are affiliated directly with the people of the Book of Mormon, that would be silly to assume, so don't. What I do see are threads running through many where they are similar but even this far away on the calendar I would have suspected that there would be more difference in them.

    If you know anything of the LDS rites I would suggest that you visit the sun dance and talk to the native american church leaders there, if they trust you, you will see.

    Oh, for reference, semetic languages were not widely used in Jerusalem at the time that Lehi lead his family away. The common languages included aramaic as well as variant forms of egyptian and greek among many others, The reformed egyptian as claimed, would maintain consistency of language with the records Nephi obtained from Laban. Think about why the Catholic church held mass in latin, it was for consistency by design. If you have a record to read and you know the language, why not continue it?

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  • 8 years ago

    They were corrupted by moving away from the holy land? lol

    If the difference in language structure is not enough to convince someone that this ''theory'' is crock, then surely the genetic evidence is enough? ;) Anyone would be cranky if they weren't allowed to have a cola or Starbucks every now and then.

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  • 8 years ago

    They do. You just have to wear magic spectacles to decipher them

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago


     12 And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven.

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