Saturday, September 24, 2005

Finding Syriac

More from the Wikipedia language page. Or further adventures of Suzanne in Wikipedialand.

This is, in fact, the reconstituted pieces of what was intended to be my initial post about BabelMap. I confidently perused the list of languages in Wikipedia and identified one which I was interested in - I thought it might be in Syriac, another script found on Quangzhou tombstones.

However, I wanted to confirm that this was indeed Syriac. The language code is 'arc' and the language is labeled in English as Aramaic.

I copied the language name, which I supposed to be Aramaic in the Syriac script, into BabelMap's main page edit buffer. I then clicked the mode button to convert the characters to NCR hex (numeric character reference, hexadecimal) and the edit buffer displayed the codes.
#x0715 #x0725 #x0712 #x072A #x0738 #x071D #x071B #x0020 (I had to remove the semi-colons to make sure that the codes would display here rather than the characters themselves.)

I then typed the first code number '0715' into the Go to Code Point window and there it was U+0715 Syriac letter daleth. It was definitely Syriac script.

So far no bells went off. However, I persisted and managed to transliterate this name as 'daleth e beth rish zlama yudh teth'. 'debrit' hmm. Maybe 'devrit'. This did not look good. I could not post this as Aramaic without further investigation.

However, Wikipedia is bountiful, pretty amazing actually, and I was able to identify Aramaya and Syriac below. By cross-checking with the codepoints I feel confident that these are accurate.

Aramaya ܐܪܡܝܐ
Suryaya ܣܘܪܝܝܐ

I confirmed that Aramaic is indeed called Aramaya here and here,

"Greeks had called Aramaic by a word they coined, 'Syriac', and this artificial term was used in the West, but never in the East, where it has always been known by its own name 'Lishana Aramaya' (the Aramaic language.) Paul Younan

So what does the Wikipedia page say? By reading the discussion page I find that Gareth Hughes has made a valiant attempt to figure out what the language name says. He suggests that it must be 'in Hebrew' misspelled. Gareth is one of the authors of the Syriac alphabet page.

D'ivrit? ܕܥܒܪܸܝܛ
‘Ivrit עברית That is Hebrew alright.

The language name in Syriac script does ideed look like a transliteration of the word Hebrew. So is Aramaic really Hebrew written in Syriac script? With respectful reference to the webpages cited above, I do believe that Aramaic is called Aramaya ܐܪܡܝܐ and that is what the Wikipedia language list ought to record.

However, some other unidentifed correspondent on the discussion page still labours under the misconception that it already does say Aramaic.

I originally thought that this would be an easy post leading back to ancient Chinese monuments but they will have to wait. For now, I am relieved that I did not simply copy and paste an unidentified word from Wikipedia into my blog without cross-checking in BabelMap. Thank you BabelMap.

If anyone has another explanation for what apears in Syriac script in the Wikipedia language list, I would be happy to hear it.

It also occurs to me that I now know how to find the author of a Wiki page and I could check that first and occasionally use a Wiki page with discretion.

Addendum: Authors names are few and far between in Wikipedia - I just hit it lucky with Gareth.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to make sure the codes display, you should remove the ampersands instead. Like this:

#x0715 #x0725 #x0712 #x072A #x0738 #x071D #x071B #x0020

(That's also possible with the semicolons, but the numbers are what is important here, as well as the x that signifies hexadecimal coding)

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. The ampersands were messing everything up and I have had to repost several times. I see what you did.


12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to add that #x0020 is the space character. (blank or word space)

1:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right. I took one space off the front but not off the end. However, I won't edit this out, although I have removed the ampersands.

I once made a sarcastic remark about inputting by codepoint and now it is all becoming quite addictive. I shall have to eat my words.


8:11 AM  
Blogger Bryce said...

This might also be a helpful resource:

ܐܪܡܝܐ wiki browser

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5:29 AM  

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