Miscellaneous Diq-dooq from Chevras HamMis-dakdekim.
"Oh no! The diqueduque geeques are here! Run for the hills!"Godol Hador, 06.29.06 2:45 pm

Languages covered so far:
•Modern Hebrew
•Tok Pisin

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Yom Kippur Koton

YK kotn is called thus because it's only one. For the two days of regular YK are called "one day" two, I mean: too, yummu arichtah, so to make things clear, the biblically commanded fastday before RCh is called a yummu arichtah koton.

Monday, June 19, 2006


The etymology of parve is discussed here. Please add your critique and ideas.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Uncle Louis's Tar Gum

I [Steg]'ve been doing shnayim miqra’ ve’ehhad targum oldschool style lately, with Targum Unqelos itself. I plan on going through a different translation or interpretation along with the parsha each year, having started already from this year, so I decided to start with Unqelos himself.

So Aramaic and Unqelos have been on my brain lately.

Enter a song: "Hand of Hashem"

Seemingly based on some other song ("Touch of your Hand"? or something like that i think), this song, while cool and inspirational, is a bit... anthropomorphic, in a somewhat weird way.

See for yourselves:
When do we know we're not dreaming?
How do we know that it's true?
Refa’einu we ask for Your healing;
We can't shake this feeling,
ana’ shemor ‘aleinu.

You are the One who can heal us,
Prayer — it can bring us to You;
Do not decide to refuse us,
Bil‘adékha me anu we are calling to You.

When it appears from above,
It's the hand of Hashem!
When it appears from above,
It's the hand of Hashem!
It guards all our souls,
It's the hand of Hashem!
Ah, it's a feeling we all understand —
It's the Hand of Hashem.

How do we wait for an answer?
Sometimes it's so hard to be strong.
Yet we can never forget You,
We don't want to lose You,
We've been waiting so long.

When it appears from above,
It's the hand of Hashem!
When it appears from above,
It's the hand of Hashem!
It guards all our souls,
It's the hand of Hashem!
Ah, it's a feeling we all understand.
Whoa please don't go —
This is just the beginning!
Oh please don't go —
There are so many things that we all want to say!
Just want to know,
Will our prayers be answered again
By the hand of Hashem?
By the hand of Hashem?

When it appears from above,
It's the hand of Hashem!
When it appears from above,
It's the hand of Hashem!
When it appears from above,
It's the hand of Hashem!
When it appears from above,
It's the hand of Hashem!
When it appears from above!

So, Unqelos would definitely say that all this anthropomorphism is not good. So in 'translating' this song into Aramaic, we much remember to replace "hand of Hashem" with something less offensive.

So how about:

כד אתגלי מלעיל
איהו מימרא ד-ה


Anyone with more Aramaic skillz than me interested in contributing?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Glossary II

I thought it was useful to list rare or confusing words that some of use, but that aren't as idiolectic as these. (In other words, terms that existed before we made them up...)

Pfille = Sidder, Jewish "prayerbook". West Yiddish parallel form of tfille < Hebrew תפילה.

Tole, the = the character Christians regard to be the moshiach < Hebrew תלוי 'hanged, hung'. (Never mind he wasn't hanged. I mean, provided he lived at all.)

Here's to Chnucke!

Anyone f'r a Shnei Zeisem?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Important MS Found

An important early girso of a piyyut has been found. See here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


I have noticed that the "SLaM Kavvana Club" (Steg, Lipman, and Mar) has developed its own terminology for a number of things. This is to be a collaborative post, on which all members are encouraged to work.

Let me (Mar Gavriel) start it out with a few:

[NB: Red items are Steg's coinages; blue items are MarGavriel's coinages; green items are Lipman's coinages.]

Dickdook = grammar. (Note: this spelling is used only in sexual contexts.)
Dog-and-Pon(e)y Show = Qabbālath Shabbāth
Ohrrer-Forrer = præcentor (שליח ציבור)
Shnei Zeisim = a mixed drink, made with two olives (שני זיתים), and with some sugar or salt on top, to create the appearance of snow (Schnee). See recipe.
Tequila Gedolah = literally, a popular Mexican drink for Rōsh Hasshānā. However, it has a number of figurative connotations, as well, especially in certain fixed expressions. I'm not sure exactly what these are; perhaps Lipman can help.
Wierd = weird. The normal English spelling weird is also used, at least by Steg and Lipman, but must be preceded by an asterisk.

Hwat shall we do?

The Yiddish word kvatter, 'godfather' at the brismile in Western Y, and one of three honours at the bris in Eastern Y, is related to the MHG gevatter. If we graciously leave aside the minor details that the latter is a loan translation of the gallechishe compater, while the English godfather isn't only unrelated, but the god- is actually originally good-, we come the this dilemma:

The word *god is reduced to a mere ק, which we can hardly replace by a ק!

You think we can turn the tables? Only in parts of the world. In most parts of Iceland, as far as I know, hv represents /kv/ (in others /hf/), and frankly, I don't know so many other languages that have a considerable frequency of -hv- anyway. In fact, there's an Icelandic word hvattar, meaning something like "speed up!"

So hwat can we do? Nothing.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Brief intro to TOKPISIN

Tokpisin is a pidgin (though now a creole) spoken in Papua-New Guinea and nearby island groups, that developed as a lingua franca among natives who were in contact with English speakers, and whose native tongues were unintelligible to each other.

One of the remarkable characterisitics of the language is that it can be speedily learned, thus facilitating communication among a populus with over seven hundred native languages.

Bislama (from Beche le mer, a French term for trepang, if I'm not mistaken) is nearly the same as Tokpisin.

Both languages describe rather than invent new words, and in consequence have their own menmonic content, which is fairly transparent for the English speaker.

A few examples:
Asgras = Clothing (arse-grass).
Spakman = Drunkard (sparked person).
Wailpusi = Jungle feline (wild pussycat).
Abus = Wild animal ('bush').
Wantok = Person from the same linguistic group (one-talk).
Mipela yupela olpela (we the people).

My favourite Tokpisin demo-phrase is the not entirely hypothetical "E, yupela bosman bilong im dispela stoa, yu gatim wanpela bokis i gatim marasin bis i bilongim binatang i kaikai laplap na laplap i bagarap na binatang i dai pinis o nogat?"

Storekeeper, do you have mothballs?

[A very important question in a place with numerous insect pests.]

"Hey, you-fellow (counting word for humans and similar large things or creatures) boss-man that is connected with (bilong: general verb, to belong, connected to, related to) this particular unit of (this + fellow: counting word) store (stoa), do you have (gat+im: got him, have) a (one fellow) box which has (he got him) medicine (marasin) beads (bis) that relate to the insect (binatang) that eats cloth (he 'kai kai' 'laplap) and the cloth is destroyed (bagarap) and the insect subsequently dies (he die finish - because of the medicine beads), or not?

Pela is a general term for persons, creatures, things. Like many languages, Tokpisin functions best when numeral coefficients are used.

Bilong, bilong en, bilong im = Belong is a multi-purpose verb.

Bokis = Box, but also box-shaped things. Blakbox = A) Flying fox; B) Term for the feminine generative organ.

Marasin = Medicine, hence chemicals and chemical products, including items toxic to humans.

Binatang = Insect, from Malay animal or creature.

Kaikai = Te eat; from Malayo-Polynesian 'eat', duplicated verb form.

Laplap = Cloth; either from Dutch or German 'rag', or from Melanesian Lavalava (loin-wrap).

Bagarap = Destroyed, ruined (borrowed from the Australians).

Pinis = Completed tense post-fix (finish). Like 'stap' (stop), which indicates an ongoing action (yu mas sit stap = please remain seated. Baimbai balus i stap pinis = eventually the plane will stop moving).

They hold parlementary debates in this language (which should be a hoot to read the transcripts of; the local conservative party is aptly called the 'big-pela parti'), and the Bible has been translated into it - trust me, the Book of Revelations is over the top insanity in tokpisin.

I have to re-review the material, there is much I've grown rusty in.

Moa i kam lukim yu bihain (more later)