Tag Archives: book

The Three Little Pigs (And Other Stories) in Galilean Aramaic

Yep, I’m translating more children’s books! This, the Tale of Peter Rabbit, and a few others are going to be re-done and made available for Supporters on AramaicNT.org, and in PDF, ePub, and physical copies.

More info to follow in the coming weeks.


The Tale of Peter Rabbit – In Galilean Aramaic

Yep, it’s finally going somewhere, but with some AramaicNT.org style, available to all site Supporters.

The Online Storybook is going to be awesome. Where Version 1 is going to be fairly straightforward with text and audio (and a full glossary so you can look everything up) Version 2 is going to be all done in Popcorn.js like the upcoming Conversational Galilean (GAL101) class. Like other “talking storybooks” it will highlight what words are being spoken as they’re spoken in both English and in Galilean.

I’m also hoping to get the printed book orders ready by the 15th so that there is a chance of getting some delivered before Easter, but at this point I’m not sure if that’s doable. eBook formats are also being worked on, including an iBooks version that tries to incorporate all of the functionality of the Version 2 Online Storybook, but that’s last on the list of priorities.

Anyways, watch that page for more info.


The 500 Most Common Nouns in Galilean Aramaic

As a fun update, the very first portion of a project I’ve been working on-again-off-again for the past 4-5 years is about half way done.

The whole project (in the end) will become a topical dictionary of the most common words found in Galilean Aramaic; however, the first stage is the 500 (+ or -) most common Galilean nouns, fully categorized by various topics (food, social, family, work, etc.), and fully ‘declined’ (absolute, construct, emphatic, anything irregular, plus notes).

At this point about 250 are finished, which already includes all words that occur more than 25 times in the CAL corpus. 🙂

The full set (or volume) will eventually hold something along the lines of:

1) The 500 Most Common Nouns
2) The 400 Most Common Verbs (This one is going to take a while, inflecting them all.)
3) The 100 Most Common Adjectives
4) The 50 Most Common Adverbs
5) Common Odds & Ends (Conjunctions, Prepositions, Pronouns, Interjections and Cussing)
6) Common Phrases & Idioms

These 6 volumes (or so, depending on how they finally break up) I hope will represent a rather good foundation for anyone learning the dialect.


So Who’s Making Money on the Lead Codices?

So, just for fun I decided to search Amazon.com for David Elkington’s book on the Lead Codices; however, instead I came across what you can see in the image above.

In short, where there appears to be a strange and overly convenient hole in the Internet where one would expect his book to exist (i.e. a number of listings, but nowhere is it “in stock”), I found that anything else with Elkington’s name on it had a price that shot sky-high:

  • $176-$187 for his book “In the Name of the Gods.”
  • $300-$757 for a multimedia CD on Classical Civ.

Nearly 200 bucks? What?? I found that a signed first edition copy of “In the Name of the Gods,” went for 20 quid over at BooksAndRecords.

The second one I’m not even sure is the same Elkington, as it goes new for $300 from Oxford University Press.

In either case, it seems that anything that has his name on it has inflated considerably since the Codices broke to the press.

Perhaps the phantom book may yet show up somewhere? Unlikely. In the meantime, Elkington memorabilia is selling like hotcakes.


Why is Aramaic so Important?

So in forcing myself to work harder on writing that book, I’ve decided to do a bit of freestyle thinking aloud on The Aramaic Blog (which after all what else are blogs for?). The bulk of the book itself is about Aramaic in modern times, how it expresses itself in popular culture and why it is such an important family of languages to study. As such, I suppose I should ponder upon the weightiest of those three topics and dive right in:

Why *is* Aramaic so important?

Usually when people answer this question, they start out with something like, “Aramaic has a history that spans over 3000 years and is one of the oldest continually written languages we have on record, blah blah blah…” which is all nice and good, except that it is the kind of dross that 1) can put you to sleep before you can say “lelya tav” and 2) because of this, it appeals to a very small group of people (mainly nerdly and academic individuals such as myself).

What I *need* to do is find a way to make it relevant for a modern readership. Find topics that engage the average individual and give them a sense of ownership towards learning more about the language on their own (in essence, pique their interest so they *want* to learn).

Again, from *this* angle, the stock answer is to say “Well it’s the language of Jesus!” That tends to snap up the attention of at least ~2 billion people. But I want to interest more.

Say, “It was the tongue of the ancient rabbis and the language at the very foundation of Modern Judaism” and then you have another ~13.3 million interested.

But if you think about it, those two groups (i.e. adherents to Christianity and Judaism respectively) are the obvious ones. Every Christian has read the words “talitha koumi” or “eli eli lama sabachthani” and wondered, and every Jew has heard the Kaddish recited on various occasions. Who else can find Aramaic *important*?

Say, “Syriac Aramaic had an influence upon early Islam and Nabatean Aramaic’s script is the mother of modern Arabic calligraphy,” and you might make a handful of Arabic purists very upset, but you also might snag the attention of another ~1.5 billion people.

Then if you say, “Aramaic was one of the languages used to spread early Buddhism,” you’ll have piqued the curiosity of another ~500 million people.

Putting all of these numbers together, we can see that with our rough estimate, *~4.1 billion people* have some important connection to Aramaic that is related to their *faith* (something which is certainly of personal interest). Out of a world of roughly 6.5 billion people in total, that means that ~2/3rds of individuals upon the face of the earth have an Aramaic influence upon their religion.

This number also doesn’t include other vectors for Aramaic’s prominence (further writing system influences, the languages of empires that shaped the ancient world, etc.), as well as all of the minority faiths (Mandaism, Zoroastrianism, Kabalism) and even Aramaic’s fractured legacy today that rests upon ~2 million Neo-Aramaic speakers.

Because of this large interest, Aramaic has also been given recent attention in the media. Between horribly mistaken tattoos obtained by foolhardy celebrities to movies such as The Passion of the Christ and truly extraordinary claims about interpreting the Lord’s Prayer, and “true” meanings behind various Aramaic words, the language has developed a considerable amount of “folklore” in modern times.

But since there is so little reliable information about it which is available to the public, and the almost unbelievable disconnect and separation between Aramaic in the public sphere and the very scholars who study it, we see too many people riding upon the excitement, but failing to do their homework.

That is what I hope to influence in writing such a book. I want to bring Aramaic to the forefront so that the average layman amongst those ~4 billion people can walk away confidently with the tools they need to quench the thirst to learn more on their own.