No, the Lilliputians Didn't Speak Hebrew

It was widely reported this month that a professor in Texas had “decoded” the strange language spoken in Gulliver’s Travels. He did no such thing.

From The King of Brobdingnag and Gulliver by James Gillray. Wikipedia.

From The King of Brobdingnag and Gulliver by James Gillray. Wikipedia.

Observation
Aug. 26 2015
About the author

Philologos, the renowned Jewish-language columnist, appears twice a month in Mosaic. Questions for him may be sent to his email address by clicking here.


It’s been in the Guardian. It’s been in the Daily Mail. It’s been in the Times of Israel. It’s even been in Mosaic, which picked it up from the Jerusalem Post. “Did The Lilliputians Speak Hebrew?” was the headline. Elsewhere the story has been titled “Gulliver’s Travels Decoded,” “Scientist Deciphers Mystery Words from Gulliver’s Travels,” and “UH Linguist Explains Secret Language of Gulliver’s Travels.”

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More about: English literature, Hebrew, Jonathan Swift, Philologos