Bonnie Franz has created a knitted jacket “in blue and white cotton with bands of stranded knitting with the word for ‘peace’ in as many languages as I could fit. (There are 98 to be exact!)” It’s a handsome garment, and needless to say I like the multilingual idea (scroll down on the page for the list of words); I hope Ms. Franz will take the following caveats in the helpful spirit that inspired them—they are meant not as complaints but as suggestions for a revised, more accurate product.
The first and most glaring problem is the alleged Romanian “piersica” (which should really be piersică, but diacritics are ignored throughout, presumably for easier knitting). This word does not mean ‘peace’ but ‘peach.’ The word for ‘peace’ is pace, just as in Italian (so the correct form is already on the sweater). I would suggest that the word be replaced on the sweater with (Mandarin) Chinese heping; the language with the greatest number of speakers should surely be represented.
Other problems: rahat is Turkish for ‘comfort, ease,’ not ‘peace’ (oddly, the correct word, barış, is also represented, though without the hook on the s which lets you know it’s pronounced /sh/ rather than /s/); the Icelandic should be friður, not fridur (it’s a different letter, pronounced like th in the); the Cambodian (Khmer) word is sante’phiap, (or santeqphiap, though using q for the glottal stop is misleading), not santekphep (which shows exactly how misleading that q can be); the Slovak word is mier, not miers; the Filipino/Tagalog word pasensiya (stress on the last syllable, by the way) means ‘patience, willingness to forgive’ (the correct word kapayapaan is also on the list); the Basque word is bake, not bakea. I’d quibble about Kurdish “ashti”—my dictionary gives hashiti and ashiti, among others, but no forms without the first i—but there’s no official form of Kurdish and the listed form probably represents one of the dialects, so I’ll let it go. Also, shulam represents
some sort of dialect version a common pronunciation of the Yiddish word normally rendered sholem; since the latter is far more widespread, I don’t see why the variant is used even though the -u- version is widespread, I’d think the “official” form would be preferable—though Hebrew lettering would be best of all (see below)!
A totally different quibble is the fact that everything but Greek and Hebrew is given in transcription; if you’re going to take the trouble to give those in the original alphabet (instead of irini and shalom), why not others? For instance, 和平would represent both Chinese and Japanese, and 평화 looks much nicer than pyoung-hwa. The Arabic سلام would represent other languages that use the Arabic alphabet. And of course Yiddish is normally written in Hebrew letters, so I’m not sure why the transliterated form is even there; the Hebrew could stand for both.
Incidentally, for longer ‘peace’ lists (though words are displayed without diacritics) see here and here.