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The Tower of Babel Account: A Linguistic Consideration

The Tower of Babel Account: A Linguistic Consideration

Dallin D. Oaks


Department of Linguistics and English Language, 4064 JFSB, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602, USA.



The biblical account of the Tower of Babel has generally not been taken seriously by scholars in historical linguistics, but what are regarded by some as problematic aspects of the account may actually relate to claims that have been incorrectly attributed to the account. In fact, the account may not be reporting a sudden and immediate confusion of languages, or even a sequence in which a confusion of languages led to a scattering of the people. Indeed, a close examination of the account seems to allow an interpretation of events that is compatible with what linguists have observed about how languages can diversify, though some challenges may still remain in reconciling assumptions about the available post-Babel time frame versus the lengthy time frame that linguists have assumed to be necessary for the current diversification of languages.



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Science, Religion and Culture


Vol. 5, Sp. Iss. 1 Pages 1-82


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