Wednesday, November 12, 2008

English lo'azim, qerobatz or qerovos?

An interesting book called שטרות Hebrew Deeds of English Jews Before 1290 was published in 1888 in conjunction with the Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition. (Read or browse through it here.)

The introduction contains a useful table of what amounts to English lo'azim:

3 w j i y g X с z ch ЗХ abbey 290 NT J K église 311BX attorney 232 KYX13B11BK e B13B ilBX 114 ВВЧЗВ11ВХ 250 or НПЗВ ПВ 97 appurtenances SBPS done 175 tm WK КЗЗ ВПХ КУЗВК Stephen В Э ЛПВ К 223 or 03 ЧвВ К sterling 54 BW3Ï3 Bovates 307 B BK3 James ЮВ113 Cautio 99 T BU or 1 вЬа Walter 245 B M 245 о 3 ГТО Э William DWtnVll Guie d Août 232 КВ1ПМ Gersuma KTBVl J 84 or N Bn Girofle ЛК1П Hugh Ш &от 114 В Ч 1В 2i6 by mistake in the text St Mathias All Saints N3 1B B Epiphany 78 КПибпЬ or bowlmaker 12 67 TIMWB Le Paumer 162 Michaelmas Pp V perhaps misspelling or mispronouncing of bp B КП ЗХО manor 169 В 1
שמיץ for "smith" strikes me as interesting. It appears to me that the reason why צ was used for "th" - however it was pronounced, either as /t/ or /th/ (thorn, theta) was because the צ sounded very much like an /s/ in the pronunciation, at least of the writer of that particular deed. This dovetails with my pet theory as to why the tav without dagesh is pronounced as an /s/ among Ashkenazim - /s/ being a Germanic form of /th/. In addition, this dovetails with a theory of R. Elijah Levita regarding the traditional - yet certainly mistaken - name for a type of liturgy, namely the kind that are traditionally called קרובץ. According to a traditional explanation, this word is a notarikon for קול רינה וישועה באהלי צדיקים (Psalm 118.15). Not convinced by this (as Artscroll machzorim are), Levita noted that the correct term ought to be קרובות. Where then did the spelling with the צ, which is no word, become traditional, and then the explanation? He theorized that it occurred under the influence of French Jews who had been expelled, winding up in German Ashkenazic lands. According to him, their pronunciation of the צ was very much like their pronunciation of the ת. This led to the confusion as to what the word proper was, and so on. Incidentally, in traditional German Ashkenazic, the צ does sound very much like an /s/.

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Sefer Tishbi, Pg. 215, Isny edition (thanks hebr.books.)

Also of interest: Richard is (of course) transliterated as ריקרד, instead of what one might erroneously expect based on how this name is now pronounced: רישרד.

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