Monday, February 11, 2008
Thanks to the kind and prolific Ideophone, I now have some new Nubian texts to compare to the mysterious inscription I have been writing about. Gerald M. Browne's "Old Nubian Grammar" is probably the most helpful work out there on Nubian, and Mark Dingemanse (the man behind the expressives) was kind enough to scan a dozen pages of it for me (before going off to catch the African Cup final, which once again was taken by a country which only considers itself African [at least socially] when it comes to sports ;), which included a couple of passages from Nubian translations of the Bible. A comparative analysis of the actual Nubian with the locally found inscription (well probably not local from Darfur, but brought from somewhere else in Sudan), reveals that the inscription could be Nubian, containing a lot of abbreviations, and possibly some letters used as numbers (accounting for the consonant strings). The strange vowel patterns which I commented on earlier were also consistent with some of the Nubian vowel groupings or diphthongs, but from what I could tell, there were not any identifiable Nubian words, nor were there any clearly Nubian letters, so I really couldn't discount the possibility of Coptic (since there are quite a few Coptic letters, and otherwise the letterforms are identical). I am leaning toward thinking the general text is not religious, since of all the Greek words only αναπαυσις is almost definitely religious in nature (signifying a certain type of prayer which requires standing up for a long time I believe), and it occurred to me that its use could be a prescription of prayer for someone who is sick perhaps the Πετρονος whom I had earlier been assuming was actually referring to the Biblical apostle Peter, but could just as well be someone simply named after him. In the next few weeks I will look for some Coptic texts online, and report on any findings of similarities there, but if you are able to pick out any common words between Browne's publication of the Nubian grammar, and the inscription, please let me know. I might even give a prize.