Babel, Babylonia...inarticulate, confused speech
A BABEL (confusion
of voices, tumult) of linguists take up the word BABBLE (inarticulate, confused
speech) and do not connect it back to BABEL. Dictionaries will cite Swedish babbein
(to prattle), Latin balbutire (to stammer) and Sanskrit balbuthah
(stammerer), with no mention of that monument to linguistic engineering the Tower of Babel. For the AHDs Indo-European root, see BOOBY.
The Oxford English Dictionary
prefers to give BABBLE an "origin unknown" designation. The OED
states that "no direct connection with Babel can be traced, though
association with that may have affected the senses." Were the Tower of Babel a Celtic or a Norse myth, the dictionaries might insist on a Babel-BABBLE
The scholars ignore the
connection to Genesis 11:9 בבל BaBHeL
(Babel), because the Lord did there בלל BahLahL or confound
the language of all the earth." One BL term doubles the L; the other the
B. Babel may mean bab (gate) el (of God) in Babylonian, but to
Bible readers Babel has always been associated with confused communication.
Those who have forgotten their Bible have forgotten that the English-speaking
world grew up on Scripture.
The built-in opposite of בלולה BiLOOLaH (mixed) is ברורה BaROORaH (pure) see PURE.
BeeLBaiL is to confuse; more at BALL. A list of
English words from Hebrew proper nouns is found at RUTHLESS. For
the BL link to BR terms of confusion like BARBARIC see GARBLE.
BAFFLE (origin unknown) has definitions (to perplex, to thwart) particularly
suited to the Biblical BABHEL or BAFEL. To jabber or mutter in Afrikaans is to brabbel.
To BOBBLE (fumble) may be another
form of Babel-babble confusion, rather than a movement word from bob.
Feffer] DISCOMBOBULATE (to confuse)
or to be DISCOMBOBULATED (in a state of confusion) has been in print
since the 1830s. The best theory as to its origin is a slang form of
discomposed. The reader of this entry is less confused as to where a BBL
term of confusion may come from. (Philip Silverman)
Genesis 11:9 על־כן קרא שׁמה בבל כי־שׁם בלל יהוה שׂפת כל־הארץ ומשׁם הפיצם יהוה על־פני כל־הארץ׃
Therefore was the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.