Thursday, November 24, 2005

Addenda and Errata II

I hope no one thinks that this is an encyclopedia; or that I shouldn't be posting if I make the occasional error. Especially when I copy something verbatim from somewhere else without checking the tiny details.

This one I found quite interesting so I'll blog about how I have checked this out.

First, Simon commented here,

I believe the transcription of title should be "Malkuno Zeuro", not "Malkuno Zcuro". It's hard to tell whether it's a "c" or an "e" in the script on the second image, and also the "kaph" and "e" are quite similar in the first image, but ܙܥܘܪܐ makes more sense as "little".

I have to say that it still looks like a 'c' to me but ... I then checked out Simon's blog. Right, he posts in Hebrew so maybe there is something to this.

I then got out Holladay's Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon. I am not sophisticated enough to find an online dictionary for Aramaic yet so this will have to do. It is just barely back on the shelf from checking out 'Emeth Hesed'. (Yes, it is an 'aleph' that was removed not an 'e' to turn 'emeth' into 'meth'. Another detail that I copied from someone else's story. Actually I knew it was an aleph but the story was being told in English so I went with it. Sloppy, sloppy!)

Anyway... in the Lexicon I found צעירו masculine singular for 'little' or 'small'. So 'zeuro' it is.

Next, to see how the confusion came about I checked the two possibilities that Simon mentioned in Syriac. They do indeed look somewhat similar.
ܙܟܘܪܐ zcuro (a non-existant word)
ܙܥܘܪܐ zeuro meaning little [Addenda: 'zcuro' would be the correct transliteration of this word since 'ayn is often tranliterated with a 'c']

Okay, 'zcuro' is an error, [Addenda: zcuro is correct] and now I can see how the error came about. Checking in BabelMap I easily found that the first is 'zain, kaph, waw, rish, alaph' and the other is 'zain, e, waw, rish, alaph.'
[Addenda: The 'e' is better labeled 'ayn' and is pronounced as a pharyngeal fricative, transliterated by 'c']

Really, no need to make that mistake, but I think the fact that it looked like a 'c' in English threw me off. [Addenda: Yes, it is a 'c'.]

No excuses though. One of the reasons I am blogging is in order to have this kind of give and take, and learn more. I found this little bit of research quite fun, and confirmation that one does not have to just let something go just because it is in another script and an image. Thanks, Simon. I assume that bloggers don't have to be infallible, do they?

I also have updates to these posts.
The Italic Ampersand
Vietnamese Revisited
'Qness' or the tradition of 'Q'
Greg Vilk

Now, where can one buy this book? Hmm. This is the info from Wolfgang Kuhl.

"Malkuno Zcuro" Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's "Le Petit Prince" (The Little Prince) in modern Aramaic language (Tur Abdin dialect) spoken in South East Turkey was printed in Germany and will be available in November 2005. The text is printed in Aramaic script (Syriac) with Latin transcription. The book also contains vocabularies in German, French, English, Turkish as well as in Swedish. BTW "Malkuno" means "prince".

You can find Wolfgang's original notice about this book on this webpage with his email address. Maybe the book is now available.

Endnote #1:

This comment from Lameen Souag has clarified that it is, in fact, zcuro. Thank you, Lameen.


This is etymologically correct; Proto-Semitic (and Arabic) s.aghiir > s.ghiir > zghiir by voicing assimilation > z`iir by regular sound shift. (Dunno why it's got -uu-.) However, it's not orthographically correct: that's a c, not an e, because Semitists often use a c to represent the pharyngeal `ayn.

Lameen also has a fascinating post today about Oldest African Dictionaries.

Endnote #2:

This is from Wofgang Kuhl, who sent me the information in the first place. My apologies for doubting the original orthography, Wolfgang.

Saint-Exupery's "Le Petit Prince" was translated by the "Circle of Aramaic Students" at Heidelberg University, Germany.

I contacted the professor who initiated the Aramaic translation. He assured me that "zcuro" is the correct translation for "little" as far as the Tur Abdin dialect is concerned. He assumes that the persons who came up with "zeuro" must have consulted a dictionary of the Old Aramaic language.

BTW a copy of "Malkuno Zcuro" (ISBN 3-937467-15-7) can be obtained from the following book company:

http://www.verlag-tintenfass.de/

info@verlag-tintenfass.de

Endnote #3:

Simon continues,

Though as a Unicode purist, I would myself prefer to write it as ʿyn, using U+02BF MODIFIER LETTER LEFT HALF RING

First, why is the 'ayn labeled Syriac letter e in Unicode?

[Paragraph removed to the comment section.]

Definitely Firefox is becoming increasingly necessary because these extra characters are not displaying well in IE especially in the comment section.

11 Comments:

Blogger Ben said...

There is one potential difficulty in your new reading, though: 'zeuro' starts with a zayin, whereas צעירו starts with a sadhe. Of course, there have been some fairly radical consonant shifts in Aramaic, so this could be one such shift. Indeed, sometimes Hebrew words with a tsadik in the root have Aramaic cognates with an ayin in that position. But this sadhe-zayin thing seems strange. If anything, I would expect the written consonant to remain the same, even if the pronunciation changed. But I know very little about Aramaic, so my point may be moot.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Lameen Souag said...

This is etymologically correct; Proto-Semitic (and Arabic) s.aghiir > s.ghiir > zghiir by voicing assimilation > z`iir by regular sound shift. (Dunno why it's got -uu-.) However, it's not orthographically correct: that's a c, not an e, because Semitists often use a c to represent the pharyngeal `ayn.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Suz said...

Lameen,

Thank you that explains the 'c'. It sure looks like a 'c' to me. I was thrown off again because Unicode lists Syriac 'ayn as "Syriac letter e"

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Suz said...

Ben,

I understand that Lameen says that the shift from tzade to zayin is correct.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suzanne:

Saint-Exupery's "Le Petit Prince" was translated by the "Circle of Aramaic Students" at Heidelberg University, Germany.

I contacted the professor who initiated the Aramaic translation. He assured me that "zcuro" is the correct translation for "little" as far as the Tur Abdin dialect is concerned. He assumes that the persons who came up with "zeuro" must have consulted a dictionary of the Old Aramaic language.

BTW a copy of "Malkuno Zcuro" (ISBN 3-937467-15-7) can be obtained from the following book company:

http://www.verlag-tintenfass.de/

info@verlag-tintenfass.de

Wolfgang Kuhl

3:56 AM  
Anonymous Simon said...

That's a c, not an e, because Semitists often use a c to represent the pharyngeal `ayn.

Ahhhhh, now I get it, as in http://www.bartleby.com/61/roots/S38.html. Though as a Unicode purist, I would myself prefer to write it as ʿyn, using U+02BF MODIFIER LETTER LEFT HALF RING

But this sadhe-zayin thing seems strange.

It seems to be the exception rather than the rule, but there are other cases: for example Hebrew צדיק is ܙܕܝܩܐ in Aramaic.

He assumes that the persons who came up with "zeuro" must have consulted a dictionary of the Old Aramaic language.

This is true in principle, except that I didn't consult a dictionary. The only Aramaic I know is from the Targumim and Peshitta and Rabbinic texts.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Suz said...

Thanks Wolfgang for this and my apologies for doubting your original orthography. This has been quite informative.

My remaining question is why the Syriac letter 'ayn has the name 'e' in Unicode.

U+0725 : SYRIAC LETTER E ܥ

Is it usually called 'ayn or 'e?

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Tim May said...

Simon, there is no modifier letter left half ring in the Estrangelo Edessa font so it could not be used for Syriac with that font in any case.

Well, it'is used in the transliteration, not in the Syriac text. There's no particular need for them to be in the same font. (If you did need both in the same font for some reason, U+02BF is provided by at least some of the Meltho Syriac fonts from Beth Mardutho.)

As to why more Windows fonts don't provide the spacing modifier letters, I don't know. AFAIK they're only used in scholarly trancription, not in the standard orthography of any language, so they're not going to be high priority. But I'm surprised you only have one. I have quite a few free fonts with them installed here.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Suz said...

Thanks TIm,

I am only learning as I go along. I have no idea what any of this is about except that I did study Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic once upon a time...I am a complete amateur in this area.

I have not downloaded many fonts yet since I wanted to test what was available in Windows first in order to find out how to customize computers in a public space like schools and libraries.

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Suz said...

Simon and Tim,

I get it now about the half ring modifier. Duh! It is used in the transcription of Syriac, instead of 'c' in dictionaries, etc. Right.

Oddly, in checking out Holladay's Lexicon there is no transcription provided. I'm not used to working with transcriptions much. And I didn't know about those spacing modifiers before.Thanks.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Suz said...

I have just downgraded this endnote to comment status. It is too confusing to correct it.

"Second - Simon, there is no modifier letter left half ring in the Estrangelo Edessa font so it could not be used for Syriac with that font in any case. The Estrangelo Edessa is the only Syriac font in Windows. I have found the left half ring here in Lucida Sans Unicode and that's it.

What am I missing? These spacing modifier letters only occur in Lucida Sans Unicode as far as I can see. How useful is that? Maybe no one is using them yet."

Eventually someone will drop me a hint about how to use the overstrike feature which I have not discovered yet.

7:15 PM  

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