20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Interesting, but very questionable,
This review is from: The Word: The Dictionary That Reveals The Hebrew Source of English (Paperback)
The book is certainly interesting and worth reading, offering fresh insights into the English etymology. However, it's analysis is definitely not without flaws.
> Some imagination is required to find lip/nose images in Hebrew letters, corresponding to their pronounciation, although the suggestion is daring. Besides, old Phoenician Hebrew letters are quite different.
> If we consider possible wide substitutions, like R-L-N-(M) and work with three basic vowels (or even no vowels at all), add letters' reversal and omission, many three-letter roots are likely to coincide strictly by chance. The odds are only enhanced by the ambiguity of Latin transliteration and sometimes variant writing in Hebrew. Author also feels free to choose the suitable spelling either of modern or ancient English. Allow for the meaning to be not exactly the same, but related, and quite a lot of English words would find their equivalents in the much smaller Hebrew dictionary. Given such assumptions, it's overall plausible to find about a quarter of active English words related to Hebrew roots.
> Common linguistic approach is to analyze transformation of the groups of words, not of the single words. This book apparently lacks such analysis either for phonetical groups or those related by meaning. For example, it stresses the origin of giraffe and skunk words, but not of the animals comprehensively.
> Although the author traces similarities from Hebrew, this is not self-evident. Both Hebrew and English may inherit it from a source language, be it theoretical IE or actual bablit.
> Some very important hypothesis are not elaborated upon. Thus, the author asserts phonetical relation of Hebrew synonyms and antonyms. This is a bold assumption, and would take more than a single pair of words to convince a reasonable person.