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Cool word of the month, April 2005

ܟܐܦܐ [kepa, transliterated kephas] (Aramaic, noun) - great rock

(yahvah or anyone else: can you help me out with the Aramaic letters?
I also need the Arabic letters for last month's word.)

ETA, 11:15 CDT Tue 19 Apr 2005:
There is some etymological controversy over the Koine Greek translation πετρος (petros, masculine), in Christian tradition the name Jesus gave to the apostle Simon Peter. In Matthew 16:18, the translation "I tell you that you are Πετρος and on this πετρα I will build my church" implies some distinction.

Some exigeses such as this one (a Roman Catholic apologist site, whose etymological soundness I have not confirmed) equate the first use (Petros, masculine), with kevna, "pebble", "little rock", which was not actually used in the Aramaic. The cultural significance of this distinction is that the masculine proper noun (Πετρος) alone was appropriate as a nickname for Shimon Bar-Yona, whereas there is some theological debate as to whether Jesus was referring to Peter or himself with the second "rock". That in Aramaic it was ܟܐܦܐ (kepa/kephas) in both cases seems to clear it up.

Previous months' cool words:

March, 2005: mashin (Farsi, noun) - automobile
February, 2005: perkele (Finnish, noun) - devil (also an expletive)
January, 2005: kinu (Japanese, noun) - silk
December, 2004: krung (Thai, noun) - city, cf. krung thep (city of angels, old name of Bangkok)
November, 2004: tane (Archnin, noun) - blood (see tanelos)
October, 2004: izulu (Zulu, noun) - interplanetary space
September, 2004: phensem (Tibetan, noun) - an beneficent attitude towards others
August, 2004: si2 pu3 (Chinese, noun) - recipe (literally, "meal score")
July, 2004: entspannung (German, noun) - relaxation
June, 2004: anapauesthai (Koine Greek, verb) - to stand still
May, 2004: tvære (Norwegian, verb) - to stretch, especially a conversation or a farewell (definition provided by tamf)
April, 2004: ber-engro (Romany, noun) - lit. "ship's master", a mariner
March, 2004: calad (Sindarin, noun, "light")
February, 2004: su (Chinese, adjective/noun) - 1. flaky; 2. a baked good with a crisp or flaky consistency, such as a cookie
January, 2004: pizdarija (Croatian, noun; vulgar) - something messed-up, feeble, or ridiculous (definition provided by jereeza)
December, 2003: basherte (Hebrew, noun) - "apportioned one" (implication of predestined/ordained mate; courtesy of yahvah)
November, 2003: panmictic (English, adjective, "exhibiting random mating within a breeding population")
October, 2003: kreteno (Esperanto, slang noun, "idiot")
September, 2003: kawai (Japanese, adjective, "cute")
August, 2003: ser (Spanish, intransitive verb, "to be")
July, 2003: cordillera (Spanish, noun, "principal mountain system of a continent")
June, 2003: kallüsáráyam (Tamil, noun, "illicit liquor")
May, 2003: hoh (Singlish, particle, "connective expression of expected agreement")
April, 2003: tmesis (English, noun, "separation of the parts of a compound word for humorous effect")
March, 2003: nerazreshimost (Russian, noun, "undecidability")

massforge design has commenced.
zengeneral, Travis, and I worked out a rough class diagram today that I'll be posting in massforge.
I've extended invitations to all four of the initial animators, and of them, the three art students are all already on board.



( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 19th, 2005 04:03 pm (UTC)
This PDF has the letters (pronounced Keepa in the PDF), but copying them and then pasting them doesn't work with LJ for some unknown reason. I've never been able to get the Estrangela font to work with LJ, and that which I've put in my journal once before was pasted from this site.

I haven't looked through the Unicode page to try and see if I can get my Windows XP language bar to support the Estrangela font ... yet.
Apr. 19th, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC)
Here you go, I think I got it correct.

Apr. 19th, 2005 04:46 pm (UTC)
Many thanks!
It took some repeat readings for me to understand the exigesis, which I think I have right now, too.

I guess it's a hallmark of Western European patriarchic bias that makes it hard (for me, at least) to think of boulders as feminine and pebbles as masculine. :-)

Apr. 19th, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC)
It was my pleasure!

And thank you because that was a bit of a motivator to get me to concurrently further my knowledge of Hebrew and Aramaic.
Apr. 19th, 2005 05:54 pm (UTC)
Sigh, now I need to figger out how to see this on my Mac.
Apr. 19th, 2005 10:55 pm (UTC)
Figgered yet?
If you do, please let me know how (and particularly how it didn't display before). I am planning to put Tiger (MacOS 10.4) on my iMac G3-333, iMac G4-350, and dual G4-500.

Apr. 20th, 2005 05:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Figgered yet?
Not yet. I downloaded some fonts, but haven't had time to play with installing them. I don't have Tiger yet, but I assume it'll be a similar procedure. How it didn't display before was that there were four of the same symbols in a row. I'll comment again with a screenshot of both, later.
Apr. 19th, 2005 11:51 pm (UTC)
How do y'all like your Macs? I've been thinking about buying a Mac laptop for a while now but haven't done it because I'm afraid it will only sit around. It seems to me that I'd get the most use out of a Mac by taking it to wireless access points in the Austin area, or keeping it in the living room area since I keep my work laptop on the LAN with CAT5.

The truth is that what I could use most right now is an IBM F60 mid-range server to throw AIX 5.2 onto for work related purposes, but those can be a bit more expensive than a Mac, depending on what I can find on eBay.
Apr. 20th, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
Me, I love mine.
Apr. 20th, 2005 05:42 am (UTC)
Language learning
I'm actually tempted to make Hebrew (even Aramaic) my first Afro-Asiatic and next alphabetic langauge. At the least I'd like to look into Semitic statistical machine translation (MT). Arabic-to-English is getting well-saturated. Do you know of any particular difficulties with Hebrew translation? What about Aramaic (besides the dearth of training corpora)?

Bana Bar-Ranu
Apr. 20th, 2005 05:52 am (UTC)
Re: Language learning
Hebrew relies very heavily on context to determine what a word means (so I bet parsing it for NLU purposes is probably more difficult than English), but truthfully, my knowledge of Hebrew grammar is very skimpy, and my knowledge of Aramaic grammar is pretty much null. I've got this tutorial printed off, but I just haven't sat down to memorize the biggest hump, which is how verbs are conjugated. I think it would be exceedingly cool to work with you on Semitic statistical machine translation, though. :P
Apr. 20th, 2005 06:41 am (UTC)
Machine translation

I now have three students working on statistical MT:

Waleed Al-Jandal, Ph.D. student: relational graphical modes, discriminative models, information extraction; interlingual gist summarization; Arabic-to-English translation

Chris Meyer (masaga), M.S. student: statistical MT, phrase space methods, Bayesian learning; Japanese-to-English translation

Tejaswi Pydimarri, M.S. student: statistical MT, transformation-based learning (TBL); possibly Hindi-to-English translation

I'd be glad to add Hebrew or Aramaic to the mix and see how confused we can all get with the parallel corpora! :-D

I'm starting a mailing list tomorrow. Want me to add you to it?

(Deleted comment)
Apr. 20th, 2005 07:02 am (UTC)

goes to the above list of people, and me.


Apr. 20th, 2005 03:45 pm (UTC)
Re: mt-L@www.kddresearch.org
Can you recommend some mathematics texts that I'll need for the Hebrew-English Machine Translation project? I've been looking at university papers and bookmarked them, like this one in particular, but I'm definitely going to have to understand the mathematics before I can really move forward. I'd like to get the books ordered ASAP so I can get to crackin'. Your offering to supervise me on a project like this is an incredible opportunity for me for which thanks are insufficient!! And I don't want to piss it down the toilet...
Apr. 21st, 2005 02:45 am (UTC)
Re: mt-L@www.kddresearch.org
Heh, well, I've been reading more and always when I read these papers I find myself having to go find other papers to read in order to grasp the concepts being described. I came across the ExpectationMaximation algorithm, so I looked around and found this paper that uses Bayesian networks with that algorithm. Looking at the papers, I can see there's a helluva lot of math in it that I don't know, so maybe it would be best if I were a quiet observer until I can get the necessary mathematical foundation in school. ;)
Apr. 19th, 2005 08:12 pm (UTC)
theological implications
Pebbles on men and boulders on women. If I weren't so perverted...
Apr. 19th, 2005 09:14 pm (UTC)
The cure for memoryless fishiedom
Hey, and there's my mnemonic! Problem solved... ^^

Apr. 19th, 2005 05:25 pm (UTC)
Every time you post this list, I have to fight the urge to go "Cool! I'm gonna change my LJ name again!"
Apr. 20th, 2005 06:10 am (UTC)
Cool words as LJ nicknames?
How do you mean?
Which ones have you considered adopting before?

Apr. 20th, 2005 12:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Cool words as LJ nicknames?
I'd have to go back through my entries (I had a vote on this once) to get the whole list. Quidnunc was one, or a variant spelling thereof, I think there was a variant on gallimafrey as well. The one that was highest on my list was "nushu." (One of the objections to my using it was that I have no Chinese background at all; I'd be curious to get your reaction.)
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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