OT: Can anyone identify the language of this handwriting (Eph 6:10-12)?

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Jan 13 2019 10:43 PM

Someone in a group that I'm part of on Facebook posted this image looking for help identifying what language it is. He gave me permission to share the photo.

It looks like a right-to-left language, but a couple of people on that group who know Arabic have said it doesn't seem like Arabic to them.

Lots of other suggestions floating around (Urdu, Amharic, Persian/Farsi, Aramaic, etc.) but nobody is definitively sure. I'm pretty certain it's not Hebrew.

Tes, do you recognize it as Amharic? Any Urdu, Persion, or Aramaic speakers, or other right-to-left languages, that could recognize this?

Posts 20
Darrell Tan | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 13 2019 11:27 PM

It's beautiful. The letter forms are Arabic-based, but they are written less joined together than Arabic or Urdu. And there are few "diacritic"-type lines and dots. Doesn't look like Amharic. Yes, it looks like a right-to-left script. That's as much as I can tell.

Posts 20
Darrell Tan | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 14 2019 12:09 AM

It looks most like the diwani style letter forms

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Reuben Helmuth | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 14 2019 3:55 AM

Rosie Perera:
It looks like a right-to-left language

Or more technically an R-L script. This is an important distinction since it highlights that absolutely any language could be written in Arabic script. This is exactly what we'll be doing later this year with the African language I'm working with. We're stabilizing the orthography in Roman script and then we'll convert to Arabic script (same language, of course). I'm wondering whether your photo is an example of what I'm describing, especially in light of the fact that the reference is written in English. Just speculation, of course!

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Lane McKay | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 14 2019 6:02 AM

If you scan with Google Translate, it says Urdu.

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Josiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 14 2019 12:16 PM

Darrell Tan:

It looks most like the diwani style letter forms

It is definitely diwani (i.e. calligraphy).  Letters match this font set:

https://blogfonts.com/diwani-letter.font

while that font I link says "arabic", I wouldn't take that as an accurate identification.  whomever posted it there is probably under the false assumption that all such calligraphy is arabic, but it could just as easily be urdu or other languages in the same family.

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 14 2019 12:33 PM

Josiah:
It is definitely diwani (i.e. calligraphy).

OK, that's helpful. But what language is it then?

Posts 107
Josiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 14 2019 1:24 PM

I'm still not sure.  It's quite a puzzle.  Why are they writing all the letters as standalone letters?  Is there an arabic family language where people do that normally instead of joining them?  That might be a clue.

For example, look at this section:



I can type each of those letters on my computer if I put spaces between them (after installing the font I listed before):




But typically you would not, you would join the letters:

similarly, in standard arabic font it would look like this, separate:

together:

Posts 107
Josiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 14 2019 1:32 PM

Reuben Helmuth:

Rosie Perera:
It looks like a right-to-left language

Or more technically an R-L script. This is an important distinction since it highlights that absolutely any language could be written in Arabic script. This is exactly what we'll be doing later this year with the African language I'm working with. We're stabilizing the orthography in Roman script and then we'll convert to Arabic script (same language, of course). I'm wondering whether your photo is an example of what I'm describing, especially in light of the fact that the reference is written in English. Just speculation, of course!

Reuben might be on to something.  At this point I think chances are fairly high it's just a Caesar cipher, probably from English, not a "translation".

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 14 2019 2:47 PM

Josiah:

Reuben Helmuth:

Rosie Perera:
It looks like a right-to-left language

Or more technically an R-L script. This is an important distinction since it highlights that absolutely any language could be written in Arabic script. This is exactly what we'll be doing later this year with the African language I'm working with. We're stabilizing the orthography in Roman script and then we'll convert to Arabic script (same language, of course). I'm wondering whether your photo is an example of what I'm describing, especially in light of the fact that the reference is written in English. Just speculation, of course!

Reuben might be on to something.  At this point I think chances are fairly high it's just a Caesar cipher, probably from English, not a "translation".

That's a good thought. Given that the verse reference was written in English, it might just be someone who was a native English speaker who was practicing the script. I don't know the Arabic alphabet so I wouldn't be able to work it out.

Posts 107
Josiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 14 2019 10:39 PM

It is Urdu.  Sorry, a lot of the complication came from my word processor which was not handling right-left scripts correctly.  After I figured this out (and switched the orders of the letters before combining them into words), I was able to make sense of it in Urdu.

Here is the subheading so you can see for confirmation.  (Note: I wrote the "~" characters as "ہ" but it's the same character, unicode 06C1)

 

Posts 107
Josiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 14 2019 10:41 PM

Sorry, I wrote Courier where I meant Diwani.  Those are the individual letters of the subheading in your scan in the Diwani script, followed by Arabic equivalents and then the Urdu I posted into Google.  Technically I did take one Urdu course nearly 20 years ago, but I know next to nothing.

Posts 107
Josiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 14 2019 10:44 PM

Also, I still have my doubts if any person would actually write like that.  It would be like us writing P.U.T.O.N.T.H.E.F.U.L.L.A.R.M.O.R.O.F.G.O.D.  Possibly someone is using the verse to practice calligraphy and only using the first forms (dictionary forms) of the letters.

Posts 107
Josiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 14 2019 10:51 PM

Correction: my word processor is not having trouble.  Re-examing the text now that I solved the mystery, they are writing every word backwards.  Seems quite possible whoever wrote this was using some sort of computer assistance.  The header is more like T.U.P.N.O.E.H.T.L.L.U.F.R.O.M.R.A.F.O.D.O.G.  No wonder it took so long to figure this out.  Good riddance!

So in summary:

- it's Urdu

- the *SENTENCES* are written right to left, but the *LETTERS* within the words are written left to right

- only one letter form is used no matter where the letter occurs within the word, even though most letters in these languages have 3-4 forms depending on where they occur

- it's very unlikely anyone could look at this and read it easily, even native Urdu speakers

- fun puzzle

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 15 2019 2:07 AM

Josiah:
- fun puzzle

Congratulations!

Gold package, and original language material and ancient text material, SIL and UBS books, discourse Hebrew OT and Greek NT. PC with Windows 8.1

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 15 2019 10:07 AM

Josiah:

So in summary:

- it's Urdu

- the *SENTENCES* are written right to left, but the *LETTERS* within the words are written left to right

- only one letter form is used no matter where the letter occurs within the word, even though most letters in these languages have 3-4 forms depending on where they occur

- it's very unlikely anyone could look at this and read it easily, even native Urdu speakers

- fun puzzle

Wow! Congrats on your sleuthing skills, and thanks for taking the time to figure it out. I'll report back to the Facebook group where I saw this puzzle posted.

Posts 20
Darrell Tan | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 16 2019 12:21 AM

Brilliant!

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 16 2019 8:04 AM

Josiah:

Also, I still have my doubts if any person would actually write like that.  It would be like us writing P.U.T.O.N.T.H.E.F.U.L.L.A.R.M.O.R.O.F.G.O.D.  Possibly someone is using the verse to practice calligraphy and only using the first forms (dictionary forms) of the letters.

This reminds me of a story my seminary Greek professor told about a person who transliterated the Greek alphabet over the English translation of John 3:16 and had the verse TATTOOed over his entire back.

οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν ⸆ τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλʼ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον. was permanently put on his skin as φορ Γοδ σο λοςεδ τηε ωορλδ τηατ ηε γαςε ηισ ονλψ βεγοττεν σον… And this young man was surprised that a Greek professor couldn't read the "verse" on his back Big Smile
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Josiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 16 2019 8:45 AM

David Thomas:

This reminds me of a story my seminary Greek professor told about a person who transliterated the Greek alphabet over the English translation of John 3:16 and had the verse TATTOOed over his entire back.

οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν ⸆ τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλʼ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον. was permanently put on his skin as φορ Γοδ σο λοςεδ τηε ωορλδ τηατ ηε γαςε ηισ ονλψ βεγοττεν σον… And this young man was surprised that a Greek professor couldn't read the "verse" on his back Big Smile

Haha, yes, that's a good one.  Being fluent in Japanese, it's really quite amazing some of the things people will permanently tattoo on themselves without understanding.

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 16 2019 2:33 PM

Josiah:
Being fluent in Japanese, it's really quite amazing some of the things people will permanently tattoo on themselves without understanding.

Reminds me of the time on the Big Bang Theory Sheldon asks Penny why should has the world soup on her calf (don't remember the placement) and she says no no it's the word courage, to witch Sheldon responses I suppose it is courageous to show such devotion to soup to have it tattooed on yourself.

Caveat emptor, if you can't read it you may not get what you pay for. "I think i would love that adorable little chocolate ice cream on my arm" (I honestly did think that was what the "pooh" emoji was first time i saw it).

-dan 

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