The Lilliputians in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels may have been speaking Hebrew

Long thought to have spoken "nonsense" languages, the Lilliputians and other creatures in "Gulliver’s Travels" may, in fact, have been speaking variations of Hebrew. This is the theory put forth by Irving N. Rothman, a professor of English literature and Jewish studies at the University of Houston.

According to Rothman’s research, published in the summer 2015 edition of Swift Studies, an annual review of scholarship on the work of novelist Jonathan Swift from the Ehrenpreis Center, it was author Jonathan Swift’s knowledge of Hebrew that sparked the language, commonly thought of as nonsense, in his famous book "Gulliver’s Travels."

The article, entitled "The ‘Hnea Yahoo’ of Gulliver’s Travels and Jonathan Swift’s Hebrew Neologisms," points out a number of clues that helped Rothman reach his conclusion, including the fact that Swift was an Anglican minister who had studied Hebrew at Trinity College in Dublin.


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