Google Doodle

Without looking at the title of the blog post, who can guess what’s important about today?

I’ll give you a clue, in the form of the ABC TV Guide for today:

3:00 – New Zealand Dawn Service
4:00 – Sydney Dawn Service
5:00 – Canberra Dawn Service
5:30 – ABC New Breakfast ANZAC Day Special
8:30 – ABC News ANZAC Day Special
9:00 – ANZAC Day March Adelaide
12:30 – Gallipoli Dawn Service
1:30 – Villers-Bretonneux Dawn Service
2:30 – Australia Remembers: Gallipoli 100
4:30 – Gallipoli from Above: The Untold Story
5:20 – The Governor-General’s ANZAC Day Address
5:30 – Lone Pine Memorial Service
6:30 – Gardening Australia

If you still haven’t got it, it’s ANZAC Day. There has been a lot of ANZAC stuff around lately – it seems we’ve been more concerned with 100 Years Since Gallipoli than we were last year with 100 Year Since The Beginning Of WW1 – and we (or, at least, the media), seemed pretty concerned with that last year.

My sister says she’s sick of all the ANZAC stuff, every time we turn on the TV for the last few weeks, but to be honest, I don’t mind it – as long as it’s tastefully done. I was in K-Mart the other weeks, and they had posters up saying things like “Celebrating 100 Years of ANZAC Spirit” and “Join Us In A Night of Entertainment and Remembrance”.

That, in my opinion, is taking it too far. It’s just in poor taste. 5000 people died or were wounded during the initial landing at ANZAC Cove one hundred years ago (ANZACs and Turks alike) and to turn it into a “Celebration” and a “Night of Entertainment” is frankly disgusting.

My father observed this morning, after the Dawn Service, that for all Australians don’t care much about Australia Day, formalities, or patriotism, ANZAC Day is the one thing we hold sacred. You don’t mess with ANZAC Day. Full stop. The end.

For those non-Australia-New-Zealand people reading (does anyone read my blog not from Australia?), ANZAC Day is the anniversary of the landing at what is now called Anzac Cove, on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. The Ottoman Empire was an ally of Germany, and the objective was to capture Istanbul (then known as Constantinople). That never happened, but in December 1915, after eight months, the ANZACs withdrew, but not before forty thousand casualties on both sides.

There had been a miscommunication of some sort, and the Australia New Zealand Army Corps landed one mile north of where they were meant to, at a beach with steep cliffs, where they got confused and died in vast numbers. It’s amazing to think that 100 years ago, that sort of thing was happening, and today, we can stream the Dawn Service live from Gallipoli to our televisions.

But it seems that Australia and New Zealand have a fairly good relationship with Turkey; whether as a direct result of the whole Gallipoli campaign, I don’t know. I do know, however, that prisoners of war in Turkey in WW1 were treated remarkably well. They were set to hard work, of course, mostly building the train line from Berlin to Istanbul, but they were given nice accommodation, enough food, and the spare time to place cricket games.

We went this morning to the Dawn Service in the next town. We don’t normally go to the Dawn Service (my sister, as a Scout/Venturer, has for quite a few years, and she’ll be marching in the aforementioned parade later), but since this is the centenary, decided we’d regret it if we didn’t go. I was amazed at how many people were there! There must have been more than a thousand – I’m sure just about everyone in the Stirling, Aldgate and Districts area went.

After hearing rumours of a nationwide bugler shortage, I was pleased to hear the Last Post actually played on a bugle, rather than on pipes as I feared might happen – on Remembrance Day, the Last Post is very often played by a piper instead of a bugler. But in all, the Dawn Service went quite well – even if the enthusiasm in singing God Defend New Zealand was in stark contrast to Advance Australia Fair. I think I was the only one (not part of the combined primary schools choir) singing.

I’ll leave you today with the recipe for ANZAC Biscuits – and a dire warning not to refer to them as “ANZAC Cookies”!!

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
125g butter
2tbsp golden syrup
1tsp bi-carb soda
2tbsp boiling water

1 – Combined oats, flour, sugar, and coconut.
2 – Combined butter and golden syrup and stir over a gentle heat until melted.
3 – Mix bi-carb soda with boiling water and add to melted butter mixture.
4 – Stir into the dry ingredients and mix well.
5 – Place teaspoonfuls of the batter onto lightly-greased oven trays, leaving about 5cm in between to allow for spreading.
6 – Cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes (or until golden-brown.

9 Ways in which Hebrew is exactly like Gaelic

FlagOkay, this is a bit of a silly title. I had people tell me, “Don’t try listing all the ways languages are alike; you’ll get bogged down and won’t actually learn the language”. But the truth is, I didn’t set out to make this list.

I won’t do a list like “1001 ways in which Greek is exactly like German”, because that would be basically my entire textbook thus far. I wrote down these notes about Hebrew because the similarities surprised me. I’d expect similarities between Greek and German because they’re reasonably closely-related. They have familiar things like cases, and prepositions which mean slightly different things depending on the case of the following word.

But I wasn’t expecting many similarities between Hebrew and Gaelic, because they are very different languages. They come from different parts of the world. They look very different. At yet, I kept tripping across similarities. So, here they are, in the order I encountered them.

Nouns have singular, dual, and plural forms. These are the only two languages I’ve learnt which have dual forms of nouns, although I’m aware that Cornish, for example, has also. That isn’t to say I’ve actually learnt the dual forms for Gaelic at all.

There is no indefinite article. This isn’t terribly unusual; Greek doesn’t have an indefinite article either. For those who don’t know, in English, the definite article is the, while the indefinite article is a/n. But also, there is only one definite article. By this, I mean that the definite article doesn’t change based on case, number, and gender, as it does in German, Greek, and French. In Gaelic, the article is an, which can mutate to am or a’, depending on the sound which follows immediately after. In Hebrew, the article is הַ (ha), which can mutate to הָ (hā) or הֶ (he), depending on the sound which follows immediately after.

The verb comes first (VSO). Again, this isn’t anything particularly unusual, as there are a number of VSO languages out there. However, in English, the standard form is SVO (subject-verb-object), and this is the form used in French, German, Spanish, Greek, and other European languages except the Celtic ones.

There are different rules for labial consonants. This is pretty universal, again, because it’s easier to pronounce labial consonants if you have slightly different rules for them. However, saying “imprecise” rather than “inprecise” is so natural for English- (and French-, and Spanish-) speakers that we don’t think about it. Have you ever noticed that people say “Camberra” rather than “Canberra”? It’s just because it’s easier to say. However, in Gaelic and Hebrew, these changes for labial consonants (known as “Big Fat Monkey Paws” in Gaelic and “BuMP rules” in Hebrew) are taught as grammar.

Lenition of consonants. This is perhaps stretching for a similarity, but what lenition basically is is the change of a B sound to a V sound, or K to a glottal CH. In the Celtic languages, this mostly occurs at the beginning of words, following things like prepositions and possessives. In Hebrew, lenition can occur anywhere in the word, and is indicated by the use of the daghesh lene in the middle of the letter. For example,  בּ[B] rather than ב [V]. However, according to my teacher, the answer to “What does a daghesh lene do?” of “It shows whether a consonant is lenited” is not right, because “leniting” and “lenition” are not concepts used in English. I was just excited to realise that the word I learn for Gaelic looks exactly like the word “lene” used in Hebrew!

Pluralisation results in vowel changes earlier in the word. This isn’t unusual; changes to the end of the word very often result in changes earlier. For example, in English, compare the pronunciation “nation” to “national”. However, Hebrew and Gaelic take this a step further. In Gaelic, caraid (“friend”) becomes cairdean (“friends”). In Hebrew, נַעַר (na’ar, or “boy”) becomes נְעָרִים (n’āriym, or “boys”).

There are several sorts of guttural consonant sounds. Okay, this one I put in just to be perverse. I’m sick of people not pronouncing the guttural sounds. People in Greek (including the teacher) saying K rather than X. It’s not that hard a sound to make! Anyway, both Hebrew and Gaelic recognise several guttural sounds. In Hebrew, these include ה (kh, also known as the middle letter of my name) and כ (k, which, without the daghesh lene, is aspirated and rendered as kh), and ע (glottal stop). In Gaelic, these include such monster combinations as chd, dh, gh, and ch.

There is an unchanging “infinitive particle” with different positives and negatives. In Gaelic, this occurs with all verbs. However, for comparison:

Hebrew, Gaelic, and English

Hebrew, Gaelic, and English

Prepositional pronouns. I’m using the Gaelic terminology here, because in Hebrew, they’re called “inseparable prepositions with a pronominal suffix”. Personally, I think the Gaelic term is simpler. Although the official process and terminology is different, the end result is the same: what basically amounts to a conjugated preposition. Here is another comparative chart:

Hebrew, transliteration, Gaelic, and English

Hebrew, transliteration, Gaelic, and English

You can ignore the “yez”. That’s a bit of a joke. My Greek textbook actually tells me that, since modern English doesn’t distinguish between you-singular and you-plural, and translating the singular as “thee” is a little awkward, we can translate you-plural as “y’all”. What can you expect from a textbook out of Dallas Seminary? However, not only do I not want to say “y’all” because it’s an Americanism, but it feels awkward both in my mouth and on paper, I translate as “youse” or “yez”. Now, that’s something that I normally shudder about, because it’s considered something of an uneducated thing to say in Australia, but it feels a lot more normal in my mouth that “y’all”, and my (American) lecturer finds it amusing.

An Introduction to Koine Greek

You probably know it better as “New Testament Greek”.

With the first full week of classes at Bible College attended, I’ve been learning a lot. Most of it about the syllabus and when exams are and assignments are due, admittedly, but I’ve learnt a lot of other things, too.

For example, on Wednesday morning, I had my first Greek lesson!

Early Greek

The oldest form of Greek we know about comes from the “Linear B” writing found in southern Greece and Crete. Having looked through the Wikipedia page, I have to admit it looks nothing like Greek to me; then again, I haven’t learnt the language yet, just the alphabet, so perhaps what the writing actually says is quite Greek; I wouldn’t know.

Linear B fragment

Linear B fragment

The Linear B script was used to write Mycenaean Greek, which existed from the 16th to 12th centuries BC.

Classical Greek

“Classical Greek” is the name given to the sort of Greek which was used by people like Homer and Plato, who lived from the 8th to 4th centuries BC. According to my Greek textbook, Classical Greek was “a marvelous form of the language, capable of exact expression and subtle nuances” (Mounce, William D., 2009).

Classical Greek writing looks much more like the alphabet I am now familiar with. Unlike Linear B, which was syllabic (each “letter” represented a syllable, not a single sound), Classical Greek used an alphabet derived from Phoenician. Most of the world’s alphabets – those from in Europe, northern Africa, and the near east – are derived from Phoenician. Although there are quite noticeable differences between the European alphabets (Greek, Latin, Cyrillic) and the Afro-Asiatic ones (Hebrew and Arabic), there are also a number of similarities.

Classical Greek had a lot of dialects, but the three main ones are known as Doric, Aeolic, and Ionic. Attic Greek, which was spoken by Alexander the Great, was spoken in Athens, and when Alexander conquered most of what was considered the world at that time, Attic Greek was the language he spread.

Koine Greek

Another word for Koine Greek given to it by scholars is “Hellenistic Greek”, because it was the common trade language of the Mediterranean and Middle-East during the “Hellenistic Period”, which lasted for three hundred years from about 330-30BC, as well as the “Roman Period”, which lasted on for almost five hundred years after that. It’s also called “Alexandrian Greek”, because most evidence of it is centred around the city of Alexandria in Egypt.

The name “Koine” itself (κοινή) just means “common”, as in “Common Greek” (not the Classical “educated” form). Although it was most famously used in the New Testament, Koine Greek was also used by some scholars (such as Plutarch and Polybius), but also for other things like Alexandrian shopping lists, travel phrasebooks, and some scholarly grumblings about how the lower classes didn’t speak Greek properly (Phrynichus Arabius, 2nd century AD).

The Septuagint

Part of the Septuagint

Part of the Septuagint

The Septuagint is perhaps the first written source of Koine Greek, and was written in the 3rd century BC. Despite its fancy name, what the Septuagint really is is the Old Testament (plus the Apocrypha and some other bits).

After Alexander the Great’s death, a lot of Jews were moved from Jerusalem to Alexandria, and after some generations, began to speak Greek, rather than Hebrew, as their first language. According to the popular story, the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Koine Greek was sponsored by Ptolemy II (in much the same way King James sponsored the translation of the Bible into English).

The Septuagint is quote in the New Testament perhaps more than the original Hebrew version; perhaps because Koine Greek was the language people were speaking and writing in so as to be understood. Paul, in particular, quoted almost entirely from the Septuagint.

My Greek lecturer tells us, as part of his argument that Hebrew is unnecessary and we should devote all of our energies to his class (I’m pretty sure he’s joking), that Jesus used the Septuagint. I’m not entirely convinced, particularly because as He was dying He quoted the Psalms in Aramaic!

The New Testament

Part of the New Testament on Papyrus, dating to around 200AD.

Part of the New Testament on Papyrus, dating to around 200AD.

The original language of the New Testament was Koine Greek.

In Galatians, Paul says: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son” (4:4).

It is no coincidence that Jesus came right as, for the first time since Babel and the last time until the present, there was a near-universally understood language. Alexander conquered as far east as India, and by the time Jesus was born, Roman rule saw the expansion of Greek as a common language (the Romans were obsessed with Greece)

No matter where Jesus, the Apostles, or Paul travelled in their ministry, they were able to speak Koine Greek and be understood by everyone.

Whatever Did Reuben Do?

Or: “Jacob’s Last Words to his Sons (Genesis 49)” In chapel today, we heard about Jacob and his hard life (and Murphy’s Law). The principal preached, contrasting Jacob’s words to Pharaoh in Genesis 47:9:

.        “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years; few and painful have been the days of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage”

with his blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh in 48:15:

.        “God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day…”

My attention drifted, and I found myself reading from Chapter 49, where he calls his sons together and talks at them. It’s a bit of an amusing chapter, actually.

Reuben’s ‘words’ are mixed:

.        (3) “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power.”

Three isn’t so bad. Three is quite good. But four becomes a little insulting:

.        (4) “Unstable as water, you shall not excel, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it – He went up to my couch.”

Trying not to look like I wasn’t paying attention, I went, “What?! What have I missed?” Thankfully, I didn’t have to wonder for long, because my Bible provides a helpful cross-reference to Chapter 35 verse 22:

.        “And it happened, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah is father’s concubine; and Israel heard about it.”

Okay. This is something that wasn’t mention in the sermon, during the bit where we were hearing about Jacob’s dysfunctional family and all the things his unruly sons had done. But, then, what did Simeon and Levi do, to get such a horrible message from their father?

.        “(5) Simeon and Levi are brothers; instruments of cruelty [violence] are in their dwelling place. (6) Let not my soul enter their council; let not my honour be united to their assembly; for in their anger the slew a man, and in their self-will they hamstrung [lamed] an ox. (7) Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.”

Although I do have a helpful cross-reference for the “slaying a man” part (the Dinah incident in Chapter 34), one has to wonder about the “hamstringing an ox” incident.

Judah’s message is good. It seems Jacob liked Judah. I’d even go so far as to say that Judah was Jacob’s favourite son after Joseph. Judah gets five verses (8-12), mostly extolling him and promising him all manner of good things.

Zebulun’s message is mostly good, but short and succinct: he’s going to become a sea-port. I’m not sure what Issachar did to deserve his indictment, and my Bible doesn’t give me any helpful cross-references, either:

.        “(14) Isaachar is a strong donkey, lying down between two burdens; (15) he saw that rest was good, and that the land was pleasant; he bowed his shoulder to bear a burden, and became a band of slaves.

I can only assume this has something to do with all the years in Egypt, but surely this, then, should apply to all of the sons?

Dan’s message is good at the beginning, as Jacob tells him he’ll become one of the tribes of Israel, but verse 17 isn’t very good, either:

.        “Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider shall fall backward.”

Gad, also, has a short message, in verse 19:

.        “Gad, a troop shall tramp upon him, but he shall triumph at last.”

My Bible not-so-helpfully directs me to Deuteronomy 33:24, where Moses is blessing all the tribes. This seems to be the “triumphing” bit, but begs the question as to what happened to Gad in the meantime.

Asher, I think, was probably Jacob’s third-favourite son; or, at least, like Zebulun, he didn’t stir up too much trouble. Asher gets “rich bread” and “royal dainties”. (Whatever “royal dainties” are).

Naphtali’s words are a little confusing:

.        (21) “Naphtali is a deer let loose; he uses beautiful words.”

I have no useful cross-reference at all here, but I’m not sure this is a blessing. “He uses beautiful words” sounds a little too much like some of the Proverbs about Satan’s enticement to me.

Then there’s Joseph. Jacob loved Joseph, of course. Joseph gets five verses, like Judah, but his are much nicer. Every blessing you can imagine is given to Joseph.

Benjamin finishes the list, and his is another mixed blessing:

.       (27) “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.” It seems that Benjamin gets a bit of wealth for himself or something, but it’s not a very nice comparison.

I’m not sure what the point to this post was. I’m certainly not going to call it a “study”, because my Bible Study Methods lecturer would have a fit. I suppose it’s just a series of observations on Jacob’s last words to his sons, which I found slightly amusing. (Quotes taken from the New King James Version)

But Wait! I’m not Seventeen!

I’ve just realised that my description still reads “the life of a seventeen-year-old girl”. The thing is, haven’t been seventeen for more than a year. For a whole year, in fact, I was eighteen, and now I’m nineteen.

I can’t actually work out how to change the thing at the top, so it seems I’m going to be seventeen for the foreseeable future.

An Australian’s Guide to Talking About the Weather in Gaelic

One of the first things an Australian learns when discussing the weather in Gaelic is that one can’t always take the dictionary definition as a translation. For example, “tioram” doesn’t in fact mean “dry”, is means “not currently raining at this exact second”. Similarly, “teth” doesn’t mean hot, it means “I’m down to just one jumper”.

So, as something as a rant – and, if anyone from my class is reading this, take note – here is one Australian’s mental chart to describing the weather – because if we used the Scottish definitions, we’d have to invent several new words meaning things like “really too hot to be alive” and “why would any sane person decide to settle in a country with this weather?!!”.
Weather 1

Here are some other mental pictures, describing, in my opinion, the meaning of some weather descriptor words:

This is “tioram”
Weather 2
“Tioram” (dry) means it hasn’t rained for months. It’s very dry. There’s no water.

This is “fliuch”
Weather 3
“Fliuch” (raining) means you’re getting one or two drops, but it’s still warm enough to be outside in your bathers, and the small of petrichor is very strong.

This is “uisge ann”
Weather 4
“Uisge ann” (wet) means that, by some fluke of nature, a tropical Wet Season storm has made it all the way south to you, flooding your city.

Gaelic Placenames for ANZ

Astràilia (us-TRAA-li-a) – Australia

Astràilia-a-Deas (us-traa-lya uh jyuss) – South Australia

Astràilia-an-Iar (us-traa-lya un yar) – Western Australia

Baile Shidni (bullya hidny) – Sydney

Bhictoria – Victoria

Bris Beinn (brish beyn) – Brisbane

Cuan Sèimh (coo-un sheyv) – Pacific Ocean

Cuimrigh-a-Deas Nuadh (coomree uh jyuss noo-ag) – New South Wales

Dùn Èideann (doon ey-jun) – Dunedin

Eaglais na Crìosd (egg-lish na kreest) – Christchurch

Eilean Siùbhairt (ellen styoo-wisht) – Stewart Island

Eilean-a-Deas (ellen uh jyuss) – the South Island

Eilean-a-Tuath (ellen uh too-a) – the North Island

Meall Bùirn (myull boo-urn) – Melbourne

na Beanntan Gorm (na byowntan gorrum) – the Blue Mountains

na Beanntan Sneachdach (na byowntan shnuck-kuck) – the Snowy Mountains

Peairt (pyarsht) – Perth

Roinn-a-Tuath (rwine uh too-a) – the Northern Territory

Sealainn Nuadh (shelling noo-ug) – New Zealand

Talamh na Banrighinn (tallav na bun ree-un) – Queensland