Transcription and Text
Shay Lamora is written in Rabbinic Hebrew cursive script, and the
language is Algerian Judeo-Arabic. The following transcription of the Hebrew
alphabet is used:
a b g d h w z H + y k l m n s e p c q r $ t
Letters with a diacritic are handled as follows:
- g with a superscript dot is j. g with a subscript dot is G.
- k with a superscript dot is x.
- e with a superscript dot is E
- p with a superscript dot is f.
- c with a superscript dot is D. Classical Arabic sad and dad are
represented by this single emphatic.
- w is often used for u/o (these vowels are not phonemically distinct in this
dialect) and initial u/o is often represented by ww. (Journalists noted that
Iraqis appear to speak of "President Bosh.")
- y usually represents e or i
- k with a medial dot normally occurs only at the end of an Arabic word (in
its long final form) and is distinguished from Hebrew words which have no
diacritic in this position and represents x. k followed by · (a dot
a short distance above the baseline) represents
the final Arabic k. Final k sometimes has a shewa vowel, and this is
represented in transcription by a following : (colon.)
- $ represents shin in Arabic words, and shin or
sin in Hebrew words, with no visual distinction.
- + represents the emphatic t, Hebrew tet.
Sample Text and Translation
The text is taken from Shay Lamora Exodus, page 153b. It is part of
one of the book's numerous stories. Lingua Franca words are emphasized here,
but not in the original of course.
wswby+o qamw xrjw mn qwdam acwl+an wHyn wwcl alwwq+ dnhar
dy kanw fykcarw dljmwe e+a wwrdyn acwl+an
llxwja dyyalw wktb brawwt ljmye alpapazyn wljmye gdwly
hmlkwt dy flblad wzad gm kn ktb brawwt lrbnym wlkbar dlyhwd wqallhwm rany
n+lb mn fDlkm ba$ tHaDrw lywm qwdamy fsae lflanya prysyz mn
eyr tfry+ whayydk· car flmwmyn+w brwHw dy
fyqsarlhwm kanw kamlyn mjmweyn qwdamw.
And immediately they got up, went out from the Sultan's presence, and when
the time arrived on the day which they had fixed for the assembly, the
Sultan gave an order to his scribe, and he wrote letters to all the priests
and all the great ones of the kingdom who were in the country, and he also
wrote letters to the rabbis and chief men of the Jews. And he said to them:
I kindly request that you be present before me at such-and-such a time
precisely, without any negligence. And this took place in the very moment
which he fixed for them, they were all assembled before him.
- fixar is made into an Arabic pluperfect tense.
- The "great ones" is a Hebrew phrase.
- The "scribe" is literally a schoolmaster. The term is used also as a
polite form of address to non-muslims.
- precis is probably not the feminine form of
the French adjective, but rather the old masculine form where the s
was pronounced, and here is voiced.
View a graphic of the original text, with
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Alan D. Corré