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What do double dots (not skaapa) mean?

AssyrianBahra

New member
Hi again,

Another question I have is about double dots over certain letters. I ordered an Aramaic New Testament, and I'm trying to figure out why I'm seeing certain letters that have double dots over them, which aren't the "dots" for skapa.

Example:

2 Corinthians Chapter 1, Verse 3
Broorkha'ela (??) alaha ou baba dmaran eshou mskheekha babba d'rakhma ou alaha d'kuleh yawalta d'libba, ou d'kee yawilan liba b'kulhoun oolsaneh, d'oop akhnan masikh yawikh liba l'anee d'eena go oolsaneh.....

Anyway, the word "d'rakhma" has a resh that has the ptakha vowel sound, but two dots over the resh (instead of resh having the straight dash on top).  I also see the two dots over sheen and some other letters...what does this mean?
 

Tambur

New member
You're going a little too deep in grammar here lol, I have a Bible written in Estrangela so I did not know what you were talking about until I got my other Bible with vowels in, I'm reading the verse which you're pointing to and it says:

"Mbarekh hu Alaha aweh d maran Eshu' Msheekha, Awa d rakhmeh w Alaha d khul booya".

This is obviously lishana ateeqa, but I see the two dots you speak of on top of "Rakhmeh", I'm not sure what they stand for exactly but my guess is we're talking about deep grammatical meanings here.

Keep in mind that the vowels and all these dots and symbols were never there to begin with, but later on they were created to make reading easier for us.
 

Carlo

Active member
Bahra, it sounds to me like you're describing syame.

In Estrangela, the oldest form of the alphabet, there are no vowels. That could lead to some confusion in Assyrian when it comes to plurals, since often the way to change a word from singular to plural is by changing the vowel. For example:

*hand -> hands = eedha -> eedhe (without vowels, both look like ܐܝܕܐ)
*lip -> lips = siptha -> sipatha (again, both look like ܣܦܬܐ)

Before the vowel system was invented, the syame system was invented. Syame just acts as a plural marker: any word that has the marks means that its the plural form instead of the singular form:

ܐܝܕܐ=eedha (one hand, since there's no syame)
ܐܝܕ̈ܐ=eedhe (hands)
ܣܦܬܐ=siptha (lip)
ܣ̈ܦܬܐ=sipatha (lips)

The general rule is that the syame marks can be put on top of any letter in the word (usually the lowest one to make it more clear). When there's a resh or daleth in the word, though, syame is placed on that letter. If there are two or more resh or daleth in a word, then syame goes on the one closest to the end of the word.

With the invention of the vowel marking, you technically don't need syame anymore since you can see the vowel change that changes the singular to the plural:

ܐܝܼܕܼܵܐ (eedha, hand)
ܐܝܼܕܹܐ (eedhe, hands)
ܣܸܦܬܼܵܐ (siptha, lip)
ܣܸܦܵܬܼܵܐ (sipatha, lips)

Because of tradition, the syame marks are still left there.
 

Tambur

New member
Makes sense Carlo :)

So in the case of "Rakhmeh", it's there because it's not "Rakhma" right? So in our modern vowel case we would'nt really need them since we have vowels that do the trick.

 

Carlo

Active member
Tambur said:
Makes sense Carlo :)

So in the case of "Rakhmeh", it's there because it's not "Rakhma" right? So in our modern vowel case we would'nt really need them since we have vowels that do the trick.
Exactly right. We wouldn't need them, but it's still considered "incorrect" if you leave them out.

In another topic though, I would be careful how we transliterate words. When you write "raxmeh," it's kind of a different sense to "raxme."

raxma=friend
raxme=friends
raxmah=her friend
raxmeh=his friend

:)
 

AssyrianBahra

New member
Carlo---thanks for clarifying.  The dots caused me to stumble.  And I'm happy to know they're not called dots but syame. 

Also...since you brought up the word "raxma"...would I be able to hear the difference between raxma (friend) and (raxmah) her friend?  And between raxme (friends) and raxmeh (his friend)?  I'm guessing not?


raxma=friend
raxme=friends
raxmah=her friend
raxmeh=his friend
 

Tambur

New member
AssyrianBahra said:
Carlo---thanks for clarifying.  The dots caused me to stumble.  And I'm happy to know they're not called dots but syame. 

Also...since you brought up the word "raxma"...would I be able to hear the difference between raxma (friend) and (raxmah) her friend?  And between raxme (friends) and raxmeh (his friend)?  I'm guessing not?


raxma=friend
raxme=friends
raxmah=her friend
raxmeh=his friend
I guess you can't, although sometimes I noticed with some words such as the following:

Nahra = River
Nahren = Rivers

Yoma = Day
Yomen = Days

On the same page, they can be said as "Yomatha" or Nahrawatha" so not sure, but if you can apply the Nun on the end of each word for plurals, you can make a difference between the pronouncations, in our modern dialects you notice when we say Yoma for day, but Yoma(n)eh for days, Khora for friend, Khoraneh for friends, but I doubt this works for feminine words.
 

Carlo

Active member
AssyrianBahra said:
Carlo---thanks for clarifying.  The dots caused me to stumble.  And I'm happy to know they're not called dots but syame. 

Also...since you brought up the word "raxma"...would I be able to hear the difference between raxma (friend) and (raxmah) her friend?  And between raxme (friends) and raxmeh (his friend)?  I'm guessing not?


raxma=friend
raxme=friends
raxmah=her friend
raxmeh=his friend
For years (before I learned the alphabet), this always confused me. I thought somehow singular words were feminine (e.g. raxma=friend, raxmah=her friend) and plural words were masculine (raxme=friends, raxmeh=his friend).

The difference is spelling: Normally, the singular and plural words end in alaph (-a, -e). When you want to say "his" or "her," you change the alaph to a he and add the corresponding vowel (-eh=his, -ah=her).

You could originally hear the difference between alaph, which was originally a glottal stop (as in "button", or the hyphen in "uh-oh"), and he, which was silent at the end of a word. Nowadays in most dialects alaph is silent, so you can't hear the difference.

Anyway, in some cases there are more ways to form the plural:

yawma=day
yawme=some days (usually less than ten)
yawmatha=many days (usually more than ten)

This is only the "emphatic" state. There are other states where the plural looks like "yomeen," like Tambur said. 
 

khas

New member
those dots are called syameh and they are used only on plurals.

The rule is, they are placed on the second last letter of the word however if the word happens to have a "resh" in it, the syameh (dots) are placed on the "resh" even if it isn't the second last letter. 


thats what I've learnt anyway.  :)

 
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