Via Bulbul on Facebook.

A couple of items I found while scanning my FB feed this morning (I generally do so once a day, which my younger acquaintances find hilarious):

1) Malta’s own colourful 18th century expletives:

In the 17th and 18th century, people used to report their neighbours to the Inquisitor for any behaviour they deemed went against the Catholic religion. Blasphemy was among them. Witnesses would describe in detail any blasphemy they would have heard.

“It looks like back then blasphemies were not a mere short utterance but rather complex short stories. Even reading them today can make you wince, as they were really harsh,” he noted.

In 1797, there are records of a priest uttering: “laħrac ruħ il Caddis ta’ Liscof li ordnani” (may the soul of the saint of the bishop who ordained me burn in hell).

Blasphemies commonly featured the devil, the Catholic faith – including the Pope, saints, the Virgin Mary and God – as well as parents and relatives.

There are also examples of how people used to resort to euphemisms over the years instead of the actual word to avoid the tribunal. Sagrament (sacrament) became legremew; osjta (host) became ostra; qaddis (saint) became qattus; imniefaħ instead of imniegħel.

Very reminiscent of Quebec.

2) Can you identify these Near Eastern languages? I was more chuffed about my 10/10 score before I saw the brackets:

90-100% 855 people
80-89% 411 people
70-79% 483 people
60-69% 486 people
50-59% 342 people
0-49% 265 people

(Warning: There’s a ringer at the end.)

Comments

  1. David Eddyshaw says:

    The language-identification quiz is made very much easier by the added descriptions of the languages. (My ability to tell if a cuneiform text is in Sumerian or Akkadian at a glance is not high.)

    And I somehow doubt if I’d have managed Eteocypriot if it had just been presented “cold” as a subject for identification, rather than as the only multiple choice option left after you eliminate the ones that are obviously wrong.

    Now that you’ve posted this here, of course, the proportion of 90-100% will rise yet higher …

  2. And I somehow doubt if I’d have managed Eteocypriot if it had just been presented “cold” as a subject for identification, rather than as the only multiple choice option left after you eliminate the ones that are obviously wrong.

    I had the same reaction. And as Matthew Scarborough said on FB:

    In all fairness though if you actually wanted a challenging quiz, you could just put up some cuneiform text from Boğhazköy and have to answer Hittite, Akkadian, Hurrian, Hittite and Akkadian, Hurrian and Akkadian, All of the Above, None of the Above.

    And he left out Sumerian!

  3. I agree, it was much too easy. I got 100%; it should have been designed so that someone like me, with an interest in languages (and a rather antique degree in linguistics) but no expert knowledge of that region, would get, say, half marks rather than full marks.

  4. Yeah. Embarrassed to have missed any at all.
    Too many.
    Only one error can I attribute to my faulty command of the quiz process.
    Fun, anyway, and they leave you smiling. Because NOBODY misses the bonus question.

  5. I look at my Facebook page perhaps once every year or so.

  6. @John Cowan. You are way ahead of me.

  7. Is once a day considered hilariously often or hilariously seldom? My younger acquaintances (teenage children and their classmates) don’t check Facebook at all. Judging from my feed, a very small minority of adults use Facebook all the time and most people seem to check in at occasional intervals.

  8. And he left out Sumerian!

    Uh, what about Ugaritic?

  9. Do we have any Sumerian or Ugaritic at Boghazköy? I’m really curious.
    On FB: judging by my daughter (17 yo) and her peers, it’s basically that all social media feeds, including FB, are always on on their mobile devices. And not reacting in the course of 5 minutes is a major faux pas.

  10. Is once a day considered hilariously often or hilariously seldom? My younger acquaintances (teenage children and their classmates) don’t check Facebook at all.

    Hilariously seldom, but this was some years ago now, and those kids may well have given up on FB by now and moved to whatever the kids are using these days.

  11. Do we have any Sumerian or Ugaritic at Boghazköy?

    I was thinking of the Sumerian words that are part of any Hittite text. One of the annoying things about studying Hittite is having to figure out whether a given chunk of cuneiform is to be read as Sumerian, Akkadian, or (God save the mark) Hittite.

  12. I was thinking of the Sumerian words that are part of any Hittite text.
    Oh, yes, sorry, those I knew about. My question was more about entire documents in Sumerian (or Ugaritic).

  13. qaddis (saint) became qattus
    Just spotted this one. That’s cute!

  14. Michael Eochaidh says:

    It does appear that there are some Sumerian texts at Boghazköy, most of them preserved with Akkadian and/or Hittite translations. There are other examples, but for instance see this paper:

    http://dcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/catalogue/KUB44.MB.PER.xml

    I’d agree that the quiz was too easy; I probably wouldn’t have gotten the Nabatean or Eteocypriot questions without the description.

  15. Michael Eochaidh says:

    Damn it. This paper:

    http://www.jstor.org/stable/23342128

    The other link is obviously a catalog listing.

  16. Very interesting, thanks!

  17. I know almost nothing about ancient languages and I got 8 right (plus the bonus)!

    I’d never heard of Eteocypriot but the clue mentioned the Med and I figured, Cyprus, what the hell.

  18. marie-lucie says:

    Eteocypriot: That’s what I did too.

  19. David Marjanović says:

    those kids may well have given up on FB by now and moved to whatever the kids are using these days

    Nope, not happening. Fb has a monopoly.

    (Capitalism is over.)

  20. Capitalism, like socialism, has not yet begun!

  21. David Marjanović says:

    The English-speaking Internet is of course full of people who “argue” exactly that. They’re called libertarians.

  22. Well, some of them are called libertarians. I’m not.

  23. @Michael Eochaidh: Thanks!

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