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Motke: Wine and donkey and the darn short vowels

Reader comment on item: Poll: Israel Victory Gains Strength
in response to reader comment: dhimmi no more: about "Rising", etc

Submitted by dhimmi no more, Jun 2, 2019 at 14:35

Motke you wrote:

>I don't know, but the Talmud contains the following interesting story[2] (It's Aramaic, written in Hebrew letters, but I used an on-line tool to convert them to Syriac letters, as I guess you're more comfortable with them):
ܕܗܗܘܐ ܒܪ ܓܠܝܠܐ ܕܗܘܗ ܩܐܙܝܠ ܘܐܡܪ ܠܗܘ: ܐܡܪ ܠܡܐܢ, ܐܡܪ ܠܡܐܢ؟ ܐܡܪܘ ܠܝܗ: ܓܠܝܠܐ ܫܛܝܐ, ܚܡܪ ܠܡܝܪܟܒ ܐܘ ܚܡܪ ܠܡܫܬܝ , ܐܘ ܥܡܪ ܠܡܝܠܒܫ ܐܘ ܐܝܡܪ ܠܐܝܬܟܣܐܗ؟(Note: ܩܐܙܝܠ means ܩܐ ܐܙܝܠ, as explained above. And the ܝ in it signifies /e/ vowel.)Translation:A Galilean was walking and announcing: "Who has AMR? Who has AMR?". People replied: "You Galilean fool! Do you ask for حAMAR (donkey[3]) to ride or حAMAR (wine[4]) to drink? عAMAR (wool[5]) to wear or ءIMAR (goat[6]) to slaughter?"The Galileans (those living in the Galilee region, north Israel) are rebuked here for not pronouncing guttural sounds correctly (because of Greek influence, probably).E.g., they didn't distinguish ع from ء (and from ه‍).

What a great story. There is a similar story that comes from a papyrus from Egypt written in late antiquity and it is written in Greek by an Egyptian who is making fun of other Hellenized Egyptians and about their accent (?) when speaking Greek! It is wonderful

>But what about "donkey" and "wine"? These words are pronounced about the same (in Aramaic; we're not
speaking about Hebrew here

Well both words have similar ductus but the short vowels make all the difference

Donkey is: ܚܡܳܪܳܐ or Hma ra
Compare with Arabic حِمارْ

Wine is: ܚܰܡܳܪܳܐ Ha ma ra
Compare with Arabic خَمْرَة

Not unlike خليفة and حليف

And the short vowels make all the difference

Submitting....

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