This argument is useful to us in order to go into that of the build-up in time of linguistic roots. In the Hebrew concept roots consist of consonants. We see how stems can be constructed of consonants and vowels.





Our supposition is that consonantal roots in the Semitic language Hebrew originally frequently were composed of just two consonants :  C.. C


Roots of three consonants C . C . C were shaped and took "the upper hand" with the development of society and the need for more possible ways of expressing oneself clearly in words, "hand in hand" with the felt need of a "logical" build-up, which is typical for the Hebrew language.





Roots express basic or abstract concepts of actions, objects, situations or states. A number of such roots, with the in speech indispensable addition of one or more vowels, have been used to name the letters of the alphabet, probably right upon its creation. At the same time the written symbols of the sounds represented by those letters, were based on the signs for the objects ( all nouns ) the names of which were employed to indicate the letters.





One of the letters of the original alephbet or alphabet is the KAPH, comparable to Indo-European K or C . It also shares with these the fate of drastic changes in sound , that occur according to their position in a word. . This distinguishes them from the letter Q, that has the same basic sound, but never changes it.


KAPH expresses the concept of the palm of the human hand, and already in Biblical times, the hand itself. This though today in Hebrew the word YAD is normally used to express the concept of the human hand".





This Greek letter is important for us also on account of its name. Kappa as to Hebrew " Kaph".


The Greeks, when accepting the (Semitic) alphabet as their system of writing, made several adaptations.Those letters they had no use for because they represented sounds non-existent in Greek, were used for sounds, especially vowels, for which the Semitic alphabet had no letters.


Some examples : Aleph changed into alpha, heth into čta, ayin into ypsilon , shin into omega.


Then the Greeks gave their letters names, mostly the original Semitic name, extended with "a".
It is very interesting to note that the KAPH was named KAPPA and not KAPHA. This indicates how in that period of time the Semites still pronounced a P at the end of a word as P and not yet as PH.





One can suppose that the C .. C root KAF offered insufficient possibilities to represent the great number of concepts of actions of hands people needed to express. It would be insufficient to define everything done with the hands just with a verb like " to handle " . The resulting need for new roots to indicate those concepts, together with the general tendency towards using C .. C .. C roots, must have led to the creation of such roots. One has to raise the question of when and how.





As an intermezzo it seems useful to recall that it is commonly accepted that a common ancestor has existed of amongst other , Indo-European and Semitic languages. The ancestor is usually called Nostratic.


In referring to this kind of relationship we have reasons to look especially, but not exclusively, at Hebrew and the version of Western Low-German which is called Dutch. An invalid reason for this is that the writer's mother tongue is Dutch.


But there also are more valid ones :


    The alephbet : this fundamental development in writing in history, and certainly an important instrument of communication in the relatively fast and great progress of Western "civilization", has been invented by the people living in what today is Israel and Lebanon.
    Amongst them the seafaring Phoenicians and the studious Jews.


  1. The Bible : thanks to this Book the Hebrew language maintained much of its characteristics unchanged during millennia , before giving birth to the modernized version that is today spoken in Israel. Other languages underwent enormous changes in those same millennia.


  2. Dutch, the language of The Netherlands and the Flanders is based on the most north-western dialect of Low-German. A relative political independence through history, a certain limited isolation from the inland and the tendency to look overseas for economic, cultural and political development, must have contributed to maintaining a character of its own.


  3. Dutch has not undergone the drastic changes one sees in Scandinavian, English, High-German and even Low-German dialects. Kinship with many of the (hypothetical) roots of Indo-European is rather easily detectible. This notwithstanding the fact that the structural development of Dutch has gone very far towards the analytical.


  4. Hebrew and Dutch even have some particular characteristics in common.


This does not change the fact that there are of course found relationships, analogies, and non accidental similarities also between Hebrew and other European languages, and in particular Greek and Latin. Sometimes English, French or German words will appear nearer to the Hebrew root in question.





After this intermezzo we should go more specifically into the curiosities of KAPH. See for this the pages Kaph development and KAPH developments statistics





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: Thursday 10 January 2013 at 19.40.03