So when trying to teach your children a dead language, issues of vocabulary come up more often than not, and today my eldest daughter asked me, "mahi meltha 'spider'?" (What's the word [for] 'spider'?").
(From Wikimedia Commons.)
I can tell you right away that it doesn't come up very often in my translation work (much like "monkey") so I immediately hit the books and came upon an interesting dilemma.
There appear to be several words that are used to express our eight-legged friends that are endemic to different dialects.
So then there is the question: Which of these to adopt into the "official" family vocabulary?
- ܓܘܓܝ (gwagai) in Syriac.
- Some permutation of עכב ("to hold back," formed as עכבי or עכובי etc.) in late Jewish dialects.
- And an obscure form ܟܘܟܝܗ in Christian Palestinian Aramaic (the only Western example) which seems to be a phonetically spelled loan from the Syriac form (g -> k).
As a matter of keeping the dialect as Western as I can, I'm trying to avoid Syriac vocabulary to fill the gaps, and in this case it would normally disqualify the CPA form (as where CPA is a Western dialect, it's most certainly from the Syriac); however, the late Jewish form is rather late and עכב is not attested in Galilean.
We'll see what a bit more digging will turn up later. :-)
Labels: aramaic, Galilean, vocabulary