Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

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RogerE
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Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Have you ever thought it would increase your enjoyment and understanding
of your stamps if only you could read the inscriptions written in languages
different from your own?


Image

Did you study any "foreign" language when you were a student? Many people
are exposed to at least one "foreign" language at school, but don't really get
to a point where they feel they have reached basic competence in it. If that is
your experience, perhaps you have now gravitated to a habit of not trying to
understand anything written in that "foreign" language.

Image

I'm here to encourage you to confront that attitude, and turn it around. You are
now an intelligent, experienced adult, with all kinds of skills and knowledge. If
others can reach high levels of proficiency in more than one language, surely
you can make a little effort and improve your ability to read stamp inscriptions
written in the "foreign" language that you once encountered in the classroom...
Or even tackle an entirely "new" language, and pleasantly surprise yourself by
being able to achieve some actual minor successes in understanding stamp
inscriptions in that language. Others can do it, why not you ‽

Image

From time to time I've been adding posts in various threads on Stampboards
that have looked at inscriptions in "foreign languages" on stamps, or messages
on postcards, and I've given information to convey a little language knowledge
as well as the translation. The idea is that, in future encounters with the language,
your additional language knowledge will help you engage with it more patiently,
and with improved ability to use available resources to help you understand it
— all by yourself!

Image

Recently I've been encouraged by others on Stampboards to start a new thread for
posts about languages on stamps (and related matters, such as various alphabets,
counting systems, and so on — perhaps even some cultural or sociological subjects).
I've finally decided the time has come. My next post will be a revisit of a recent post
that was initially made on a thread with no real focus on language matters at all, so
it will probably remain unnoticed by visitors to that original thread...

/RogerE :D

Source: I have illustrated this post with images of stamps currently being offered on eBay. I chose
them as illustrations of the principle that an ability to read their inscriptions would greatly help in
identifying them and understanding their purpose.


Image

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Eli posted, in the "Penguin" thread:

Image

This motivated a post by me. Here is a lightly edited version of my earlier post,
now more suitably located in the current thread than at
https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=45005&start=623
RogerE wrote:There are many ways in which we can take stamps as a starting point
for deepening our knowledge — geography and history are two of the
most obvious "areas of knowledge" supported/stimulated by stamp
collecting. Thematic/topical collectors come up with any number of
more specialised subject areas that they learn about in depth through
their stamp collecting.

I am not just talking about general knowledge, and I'm certainly not
thinking about "trivia". I am talking about significant knowledge-in-depth,
with which we can engage the world more deeply and with a heightened
understanding. This is a strong fact-based way in which you can argue
against the prejudiced and dismissive view that stamp collecting is "for
children". (In fact, of course, it's also a great way to stimulate children's
knowledge, as many of us know from early stamp collecting experiences!)

One "area of knowledge" readily supported by stamp collecting, but not so
widely recognised in that context, is languages. Look at not just the image
on a stamp, but also its inscription. Often that inscription is in a language
different from your (first) language — why not try to use the resources on
hand to engage with that inscription in the language in which it is written?

I don't mean just reading a catalogue translation of the stamp subject.
I do mean studying the script and the individual words, what each means,
how each is pronounced, how the inscription works grammatically, and so
on. Learning and practising and remembering (even making some notes in
a notebook!) will provide carry-over benefits when you come to study other
stamps (and covers and postcards) with inscriptions in the same language.
More importantly, you will better understand the culture and the world-view
of the users of that language. (Try thinking about the habit of ignoring the
actual inscription as a "blindspot", and thinking about engaging with the
language as a positive habit of treating others as equals, respecting their
culture, and working at getting better acquainted with it.)

For instance, look at this marginal strip of three Israeli stamps shown in this
thread by Eli. He selected it ... because it includes a penguin:
Eli wrote:... "Pingi the Penguin", a famous character of the Israeli children TV series
"Lovely Butterfly". The stamp was issued on June 22, 1999:
Image
May I use this strip to model the possibility for language study through stamps?
I hope Eli will correct any errors that I happen to make!

The Hebrew inscription, in "hand writing", clearly means Lovely Butterfly. But how
does it work? The hand written inscription is equivalent to the printed text
פרפר נחמד

which you can find using Google translate to pass from English to Hebrew, at
https://translate.google.com.au/#view=home&op=translate&sl=en&tl=iw

However, when you try "lovely butterfly" you get פרפר מקסים which only matches half
the target text. You have to try some other possibilities, and "nice butterfly" gives the
desired result. So this already shows that the English words "lovely" and "nice" only
mean approximately the same as the Hebrew word נחמד. And the Google translate
trials show the Hebrew words נחמד and מקסים have meanings which only approximate
the English word "lovely". Incidentally, Google translate puts its Hebrew text on the
right side of the translation panel, because Hebrew is written from right to left.

Printed Hebrew texts intended for experienced readers in fact use "simplified"
spelling, which essentially omits the vowels and leaves just the consonants in
place. In Hebrew the consonants are "big" letters, while the vowels are dots and
dashes added around the consonants — they make for much more complicated
type-setting, and require more spacing between lines. An experienced reader
perceives the "shape" of a word from its consonant pattern, and knows how the
word is pronounced, so doesn't need the vowels as a pronunciation aid. [This
phenomenon is paralleled in English by quickly scanning text such as
It is nxt dfifcilut tx raed xn Egnlsih snetecne wehn txe fnial ltetres axe crocret]

On the other hand, if you are a Hebrew-speaking child learning to read, or beginner
learning to speak (as well as read) Hebrew, then the vowels are an essential aid to
knowing how a word is pronounced.

Here, the text פרפר נחמד is in simplified spelling, omitting the vowels.
The full text, with vowels, including the adjective discovered unintentionally, is:
פַּרְפַּר נֶחְמָד
פַּרְפַּרparpar, butterfly
נֶחְמָדnekhmad, lovely, nice, beautiful, ...
מַקסִיםmaqsim, charming, enchanting, ...

Wikipedia has an article on the printed Hebrew alphabet, and another on the hand
written (cursive) version of the alphabet. The stamps shown have cursive inscriptions
so there is a need to compare the two styles.

First here is Wikipedia's table of the printed alphabet (arranged from left to right, for
learners used to reading from left to right!):

Image

= פרפר נחמד
פ – pe ["pay"];
ר – resh ["raysh"];
נ – nun ["noon", but with the vowel short, as in "look"];
ח – khet ["kh" = ch in Scottish "loch"];
מ – mem;
ד – dalet [like Dr Who's "dalek" with t replacing k].
When some consonants occur at the end of a word they are given a special (often
elongated) form; none of those occurs on Eli's stamps. However, a terminal mem
does occur in מַקסִים (which we encountered unintentionally).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_alphabet

Finally, here is Wikipedia's table of the hand-written alphabet (arranged from right to
left, suitable for readers who have developed facility with right-to-left reading):

Image

You can now see that the Lovely Butterfly stamps have the right-to-left cursive
inscription "pe-resh-pe-resh nun-het-mem-dalet"
:D

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cursive_Hebrew

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by steevh »

I can cope with many languages but one that I feel a keen lack of expertise in when dealing with stamps is Arabic.

One day I hope to find time to learn enough to get by. That's a big lot of countries at stake -- especially classic issues of Turkey and Iran/Persia.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by Eli »

Congratulations, Roger, for your new (and first?) thread about languages and related subjects.

I don't have a lot to contribute in this subject but for sure I have several stamps among my different collections and will post them here with time. To push this thread, here is a set about Vietnamese calligraphy I already posted in the Vietnam thread, but I think it is also good here. It was issued by the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) on May 5, 1972:

Image

Image

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by mobbor »

Any stamps with inscriptions in Latin? I had no choice but to take it at school. I have to admit that it did help with English, but otherwise...……….
mobbor

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by nigelc »

mobbor wrote:Any stamps with inscriptions in Latin? I had no choice but to take it at school. I have to admit that it did help with English, but otherwise...……….
Quite a few from Switzerland over the years.

The 1945 Peace set comes to mind.

I can't persuade my Imgur link to load so sorry I've no picture (and it's getting very late here).

I had five years of Latin at school many years ago. :)
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by Global Administrator »

mobbor wrote:Any stamps with inscriptions in Latin? I had no choice but to take it at school. I have to admit that it did help with English, but otherwise...……….
Can't imagine there are a lot around?

Added this rare pair to stock today actually -
Image
SWITZERLAND 1945 “PAX” Hi-Values. SG £620 for just $A250: Probably the very scarcest stamps post war from Europe. Inscribed simply “PAX” (Latin for “PEACE”) they were issued as the horrible turmoil of WW2 came to a final end. Back 75 years ago, this 15 Francs was a fortune. These were literally the £1 and £2 Roos of Switzerland, and only very heavy parcels used these top values, of the long PAX set. Many came to Australia due to high mail cost to here. Clean FU with correct cancels. SG 458/459 Cat 620=$A1,250. (Stock 397BR)
.
Click HERE to see superb, RARE and unusual stamps, at FIXED low nett prices, high rez photos, and NO buyer fees etc!

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Many thanks to early responders to this new thread —
steevh, Eli, mobbor, nigelc and also, while I was working on this reply, the elegant
Swiss 1945 Peace stamps shown by The Sheriff — thanks Glen!
My contribution is about that set, and their Latin inscription. :D

The beautifully engraved 3f high value
Switzerland 1945 Peace issue:

Image

Each stamp in the set has the Latin inscription
PAX HOMINIBUS BONAE VOLUNTATIS
Hector Serna wrote:From the Gloria of the Latin mass.
The full phrase in Latin is “"Et in terra pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis
This is often mistranslated as “"peace on earth and goodwill toward men”
The correct translation is “and peace on earth to men of goodwill
https://www.quora.com/What-does-pax-hominibus-bonae-voluntatis-mean

Let us just examine "hominibus" carefully, to understand it better...

Hominibus is a declined form of the noun Homo: Man, mankind, human

Main Forms: Homo, Hominis
Gender: Masculine
Declension: Third
Hominibus = dative ("to, for") plural ("men")
Image
https://latindictionary.wikidot.com/noun:homo

Image
Switzerland 1945 Peace set, SG 447-460, currently on eBay, high cv (£1200)

Don't forget that HELVETIA is also Latin, for Switzerland!
Here are some extracts from Wiktionary :—
Helvetia (proper noun):
(1) an ancient Celtic country in central Europe;
(2) (poetic) Switzerland; the national personification of Switzerland.
Pronunciation: (UK) IPA: /helˈviːʃə/, /helˈviːʃi.ə/ [IPA = International Phonetic Alphabet]
Image
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Helvetia

Why does Switzerland use Latin inscriptions on some of its stamps?
Because Latin is regarded as "universal" [a role which Esperanto was
created to fill in a modern, more accessible manner]. Switzerland has
no less than four national languages. Wikipedia says
The four national languages of Switzerland are German, French, Italian
and Romansh. All but Romansh maintain equal status as official
languages at the national level within the Federal Administration of the
Swiss Confederation.
/RogerE :D

[Happy Footnote: This is my Stampboards posting number 7000 :D ]

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by satsuma »

mobbor wrote:Any stamps with inscriptions in Latin? I had no choice but to take it at school. I have to admit that it did help with English, but otherwise...……….
Honi soit qui mal y pense
Du et mon droit

and other British heraldic mottos must appear on GB stamps from time to time.

Wow, it's hard to type in Latin with auto correct switched on

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by Eli »

Speaking about Latin phrases on stamps, I have a set issued by Italy shows the Aeneid epic poem written by Virgil. Each stamp has one Latin phrase from the poem. Here is example of one stamp:

"ET OPES NOBIS ET ADHVC INTACTA IVVENTVS"
We still have means, a manhood still unharmed:

Image

To see all stamps in the set, see this post and the subsequent posts about the Aeneid: Virgil's Aeneid

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by honza »

satsuma wrote:
mobbor wrote:Any stamps with inscriptions in Latin? I had no choice but to take it at school. I have to admit that it did help with English, but otherwise...……….
Honi soit qui mal y pense
Du et mon droit

and other British heraldic mottos must appear on GB stamps from time to time.

Wow, it's hard to type in Latin with auto correct switched on
Ahoj satsuma!

Honi soit qui mal y pense
Dieu et mon droit

are Norman French not Latin.

Vatican stamps have a lot of Latin.

Cheers,

Honza

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by satsuma »

honza wrote:
satsuma wrote:
mobbor wrote:Any stamps with inscriptions in Latin? I had no choice but to take it at school. I have to admit that it did help with English, but otherwise...……….
Honi soit qui mal y pense
Du et mon droit

and other British heraldic mottos must appear on GB stamps from time to time.

Wow, it's hard to type in Latin with auto correct switched on
Ahoj satsuma!

Honi soit qui mal y pense
Dieu et mon droit

are Norman French not Latin.

Vatican stamps have a lot of Latin.

Cheers,

Honza
Well there you go. I've learned something new today. As you can guess I didn't study Latin at school.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by Global Administrator »

satsuma wrote:
Well there you go. I've learned something new today. As you can guess I didn't study Latin at school.
Me too - I'd have bet it was Latin. :)

Brilliant trivia question - which FRENCH phrase has appeared on the cover of British Passports for many decades?
Image
"Honi soit qui mal y pense" are French words that you'll find on Britain's royal coat of arms, on the cover of British passports, in British courtrooms, and elsewhere of note.
Image
Arms of the Most Noble Order of the Garter
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Thanks to satsuma, and again to Eli, for the latest posts
on this new thread. Also honza and the Sheriff, who added
posts while I was composing the current post.

I hope to get back to adding follow-ups on earlier posts,
but in the meantime I've been having a few further thoughts
to follow up on my post about the Latin inscriptions on the
Swiss 1945 Peace set. Recall that the inscriptions are
[Et in terra ] pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis

Paxpeace
This Latin word has influenced word-formation in English
and other modern European languages:
Online Etymology Dictionary wrote: peace (n.)
mid-12th Century: pes, "freedom from civil disorder, internal
peace of a nation," from Anglo-French pes, Old French pais
"peace, reconciliation, silence, permission" (11th Century:
Modern French paix), from Latin pacem (nominative pax)
"compact, agreement, treaty of peace, tranquility, absence
of war" (source of Provençal patz, Spanish paz, Italian pace).

pacific (adj.)
1540s, "tending to make peace, conciliatory," from Middle French
pacifique, from Latin pacificus "peaceful, peace-making," from pax
(genitive pacis) "peace" + combining form of facere "to make" …

The Pacific Ocean (1660 in English) was famously so called in 1519
by Magellan when he sailed into it and found it calmer than the stormy
Atlantic, or at least calmer than he expected it to be. According to an
original account of the voyage by an Italian named Pigafetta, who was
among the adventurers, Magellan gave the entrance to what Pigafetta
calls "the South Sea" the Latin name Mare Pacificum.
https://www.etymonline.com/word/peace

• Some more familiar/significant occurrences of Latin Homo in common usage

Homoman [compare: Homo sapienssentient man ]
Hominem = accusative ("about, concerning, based on,
with reference to") singular ("a man")
Image
Hence argumentum ad hominemargument based on the man
Merriam-Webster wrote:Definition of ad hominem
1: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
— [usage example] an ad hominem argument
2: marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character
rather than by an answer to the contentions made
— [usage example] made an ad hominem personal attack on his rival
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ad%20hominem

Esperanto examples

I remarked that Switzerland has used Latin inscriptions on many of
its stamps because Switzerland has four official languages whereas
Latin is regarded as "universal" [a role which Esperanto was created
to fill in a modern, more accessible manner].

It is interesting to compare the Latin phrase
Pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis
with how it might be rendered in Esperanto:
Literally: Paco al homoj de bona volo
More colloquially: Paco al bonvolaj homoj
More eloquently: Paco al bonvoluloj

Latin classifies nouns into 3 genders, 5 declensions each comprising
12 forms (six cases, two numbers). It classifies adjectives in a similarly
extensive and complicated manner.

In contrast, the grammar of Esperanto is streamlined and simple. By design,
there are no implicit genders and no declensions. Addition of -o to any root
turns it into a singular noun, -oj turns it into a plural noun, -a turns it into an
adjective qualifying a singular noun, -aj turns it into an adjective qualifying a
plural noun. Many other affixes are available to build in specific meanings.
In particular, -ul attaches to a root to make it refer to a person with the root
characteristic. Because bon- is the root for good, vol- is the root for will, wish,
intention
, so the noun bonvolulo denotes a person of good will.

There are at least two other Stampboards threads with Esperanto themes:
https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=2316&p=6502315&hilit=Esperanto
https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=76919


/RogerE :D
Last edited by RogerE on 10 May 2020 23:15, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by The Pom »

Not so much from stamps, but I've picked up a fair few words from catalogues printed in languages other than English over the years.
Always on the lookout for Australian pre decimal First Day Covers.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Yes, thanks to The Pom for the latest post here — catalogues in languages
other than English are a great stimulus for learning some of their language.
I can attest to having benefitted in that way. :D

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Thanks to Honza for pointing out that Dieu et mon droit and
Honi soit qui mal y pense are French.
During the battle of Gisord in 1198 against Philippe Auguste,
King of France, Richard the Lionheart, King of England, said
God and my right” to indicate that he owed his crown to
only God and himself.
Why did Richard I = Richard the Lionheart (1157–1199) say his
famous motto Dieu et mon droit in French rather than English?
As the third son of King Henry II of England and Duchess Eleanor
of Aquitaine, ...
Wikipedia wrote:Richard probably spoke both French and Occitan. He was born in
England, where he spent his childhood; before becoming king,
however, he lived most of his adult life in the Duchy of Aquitaine,
in the southwest of France. Following his accession, he spent very
little time, perhaps as little as six months, in England. Most of his
life as king was spent on Crusade, in captivity, or actively defending
his lands in France.
Rather than regarding his kingdom as a responsibility requiring his
presence as ruler, he has been perceived as preferring to use it merely
as a source of revenue to support his armies.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_I_of_England

Honi soit qui mal y pense
Evil be to him who evil thinks... May bad things happen to anyone
who thinks evil things. (A curse against those who wish you harm.
This is the English version of the French Honi soit qui mal y pense,
the motto of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, a British order of
knighthood.)
Camille Chevalier-Karfis wrote:These words were first uttered by England's King Edward III in the
14th century. At that time, he reigned over a part of France. The
language spoken at the English court among the aristocracy and
clergy and in courts of law was Norman French, as it had been
since the time of William the Conqueror of Normandy, from 1066.
While the ruling classes spoke Norman French, the peasants (who
comprised the majority of the population) continued to speak
English. French eventually fell out of use for reasons of practicality.
By the middle of the 15th century, English again ascended to the
throne, so to speak, replacing French in British centres of power.

Around 1348, King Edward III founded the Chivalric Order of the
Garter, which today is the highest order of chivalry and the third
most prestigious honour awarded in Britain. It is not known with
certainty why this name was chosen for the order. According to
historian Elias Ashmole, the Garter is founded on the idea that as
King Edward III prepared for the Battle of Crécy during the Hundred
Years' War, he gave "forth his own garter as the signal." Thanks to
Edward's introduction of the deadly longbow, the well-equipped
British army proceeded to vanquish an army of thousands of knights
under French King Philip VI in this decisive battle in Normandy.

Another theory suggests a totally different and rather fun story:
King Edward III was dancing with Joan of Kent, his first cousin and
daughter-in-law. Her garter slipped down to her ankle, causing
people nearby to mock her. In an act of chivalry, Edward placed
the garter around his own leg saying, in Middle French, Honi soit
qui mal y pense. Tel qui s'en rit aujourd'hui, s'honorera de la
porter, car ce ruban sera mis en tel honneur que les railleurs
le chercheront avec empressement

Shame on him who thinks evil of it. Those who laugh at this
today will be proud to wear it tomorrow because this band will
be worn with such honour that those mocking now will be looking
for it with much eagerness.
https://www.thoughtco.com/honi-soit-qui-mal-y-pense-1368779

/RogerE :D
Last edited by RogerE on 11 May 2020 01:52, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by FairyFoot »

As a teenager, I was fascinated by the West German technology stamps - I was learning German (fast alles vergessen) but could have had a great technological vocab!
I am a Penpaller and Stamp User. I send therefore I receive. I blog here. I also have a snailmail forum.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

steevh wrote:I can cope with many languages but one that I feel a keen lack
of expertise in when dealing with stamps is Arabic.

One day I hope to find time to learn enough to get by.
That's a big lot of countries at stake -- especially classic
issues of Turkey and Iran/Persia.
Thanks steevh. Watch this space — I hope we will have some
helpful posts about Arabic.

I would like to make a brief remark for now. Keep in mind that
Arabic script is not only used to write the Arabic language.
It has also been used to write other languages, including Turkish
and Farsi/Persian. And let's not forget Urdu and Malay. In the
cases of Turkish and Malay, modern usage has adopted the Roman
alphabet
(suitably modified for Turkish), but as you know, earlier
stamps have inscriptions in Arabic script.

Here are three images of items (currently on eBay) including Arabic script
used for non-Arabic languages (and some text in other alphabets):

Image

Image

Image

/RogerE :D

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Re: Devnagari Inscriptions on Kishangarh 1896 4A K&M 103

Post by Joy Daschaudhuri »

RogerE wrote: I chose them as illustrations of the principle that an ability to read their inscriptions would greatly help in identifying them and understanding their purpose.

Image
This is Kishangarh 1896 4A Köppel and Manners type 10 vermilion stamp paper (K&M 103), uprated with two Kishangarh 1884 1A K&M type 11 air force blue typograph on vertical laid paper revenue and court fee stamps (K&M 121).
(Kishangarh was an Indian Feudatory State.)

The Devnagari inscriptions on Kishangarh 1896 4A K&M 103 are स्टामप राज कृष्णगढ़ (Stamp Rāj Kṛiṣhṇagaṛh) inside the annulus.
The denomination चार आना (Chār Ānā) i.e. Four Ana is at the center.

The Kishangarh 1884 1A K&M 121 stamps show the Devnagari inscriptions टिकट (Ticket) in the upper part of the elliptical annulus and राज कृष्णगढ़ in the lower part. The denomination एक आना (Ek Ānā) i.e. One Ana is at the center.

The name of the state was later spelt as किशनगढ़ (Kṛiṣhagaṛh).

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by nigelc »

Hi RogerE,

Your Eastern Rumelia stamp is a very nice example of a stamp with multiple languages and scripts with its text in:

- Ottoman Turkish
- French
- Bulgarian
- Greek
Image
Nigel

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by Somerset »

I started learning French last year and am arranging my collection by Y and T rather than SG.

RogerE - cu vi parolas la lingvo internacia? Sorry I can't do the diacratic over the c

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by Waffle »

Roger, you are spot on, as collecting stamps gives a marvelous insight into the history, geography, culture and language of the country being collected.

My Spanish vocabulary has increased many fold. When I get round to posting stamps from the yearbooks of italy-"Il quaderno de francobolli d' Italia," Portugal, "2011 em selos," Estonia and Latvia I hope to gain new vocabularies, from those countries, as well.

I won't bother with U.S.A., as to correct the spelling will take longer than to post the images. I may even attempt Sverige and Suomi, buy that will be in the distant future.
I prefer to collect UK, British Commonwealth esp Pacific area ( not excluding West Indies/Canada ) and Western Europe. At the bottom of my zone of interest is Eastern Europe and communist countries.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Thanks for the latest contributions to this thread by
Joy Daschaudhuri, nigelc and Somerset. And waffle has
joined in while I've been composing this post :D
I appreciate each of them. :D

The thread is receiving more attention than I had hope for,
which is excellent! It just shows that language matters. Or,
to turn a phrase, language matters matter to many of us. :D

A short comment on each of the first three posts:

Joy Daschaudhuri — the details you supplied are very helpful
— both the philatelic information and the linguistic information.
Am I correct in thinking that the language of the inscriptions is Hindi,
or is it actually a more local language in this case? (The denominations
are certainly Hindi, or else a more local language closely related to Hindi.)

I especially appreciate the transcription of the Devnagari inscriptions.
I am also pleased that you added the transliteration of the denominations,
as well as the translations. It would be nice to have the transliteration of
the other inscriptions, to bridge the link between the Devnagari transcriptions
and the English translations which you have so helpfully supplied. :D

nigelc — thanks for identifying the languages on the Eastern Rumelia stamp
that I chose. You have named them by their location on the stamp, but just to
be explicit I will add that information:
- Ottoman Turkish — top and centre (read from right to left);
- French — left side (read from top to bottom); also Emp[ire] Ottoman, and 1 [= un] piastre;
- Bulgarian — right side (read from bottom to top);
- Greek — bottom, below the crescent (read from left to right).

Somerset — yes, it's natural to use Y&T = Yvert et Tellier catalogues
for French stamps and stamp issues of other Francophone countries.
You will certainly find the catalogues stimulate your learning of French,
because they provide an "instant" reason for understanding what they
tell you about the stamps of interest to you.

You added a line of Esperanto, thank you!
Here is a slightly edited version of your question: Ĉu vi parolas la internacian lingvon?
As Esperanto is deliberately user-friendly, especially for speakers of European languages,
readers here will not be surprised that you ask: Do you speak the international language?

The alphabet for Esperanto uses a slightly modified Roman alphabet. You had a challenge
finding the letter ĉ in ĉu — as you no doubt know, it is pronounced like "ch" in English,
whereas c as in internacia is pronounced like "ts" in English (as in "bits").
The Google translate website includes translations each way between Esperanto and
English, and includes the modified Roman letters like ĉ, so you can copy text from
there to paste into other places, like Stampboards posts! :wink:
https://translate.google.com.au/#view=home&op=translate

Two more comments: Esperanto allows quite flexible word order, so to distinguish
subject ("doer") and object ("receiver") in a sentence the object is identified by -n
added to the noun (and any qualifying adjectives). Thus, "you speak Esperanto"
is "vi parolas Esperanton" because you = vi is the subject, and Esperanto is the
object.

The Esperanto question word ĉu (sometimes translated as "whether") turns a statement
into a question, and the subsequent subject-verb-object order stays the same, as in
Ĉu vi parolas Esperanton? – Do you speak Esperanto?
Ĉu is exactly like the Chinese [Mandarin] word ma 吗 which turns a statement into a
question when added immediately after the statement. Example: ni hao 你好 – you are
well [also "hello"] becomes ni hao ma 你好吗 – how are you?

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by cursus »

A most interesting thread! When I was a teenager, my love for British stamps was an incentive to improve my English command in the early 80's.

Reading the British Philatelic Bulletin (with those thrilling articles by James McKay) every month, fostered my desire to learn not just English but also to know more about the English-speaking peoples all around the world.

That lead me to spent a summer holiday in England and another one in Scotland. And, with the knowledge, came the understanding and the love. In 1986 I came to England (Reading) not just to learn English, but to take an MSc in Food Technology. That has been my life-long career. After that, I've been many times to the British Islands.

So, stamps, and the learning from them, have been crucial for my whole life.

Nowadays, I consider English my second language after my native Catalan.

Right now, I'm using stamps to improve my knowledge of German and other Germanic languages as I'm fluent in most Latin ones, that are very close to my own. Bilingual German/French) Zumstein Switzerland catalog is very useful for that.

I remember a talk in July 1992 to Mr John Coates of the Barcelona 1992 Australian Olympic Team. When I was introduced to him as one of their assistants, he asked me: "And...Do you speak Australian?" and I answered him "Well, Sir, it seems that you speak something like English", "Yes, something, like that" was his answer. During the Games, I had a very good relationship with John. A true gentleman and a proud Aussie.

As for Esperanto, it's not found very often on stamps, but you can see many Esperanto Cinderellas issued in the early XXth century.
I collect: Estonia 1990-1992 Postal History. Barcelona Postal History and postmarks. Catalan cinderellas. Botanical gardens. Ice creams on stamps. Used UK, Germany, Switzerland, Austria & Scandinavia.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Thank you cursus for your nice post — a real-life account of languages
and philately intertwined :!:
Your current collecting themes are a wonderful mix of topics.
Clearly you're an experienced and enthusiastic philatelist. :D

Yes, Esperanto is not often encountered in postage stamp inscriptions,
but as you know well, Catalonia has been a prolific source of cinderellas
with Esperanto inscriptions or Esperanto themes. Esperanto cinderellas
have also been widely issued in Europe, and elsewhere...

Another overlap of Esperanto with philately occurs in postal history.
Early Esperantists were particularly active in sending postcards to exotic
destinations, enjoying the ability to communicate without the barriers
presented by national languages. Many of those postcards survive, and
understanding the Esperanto messages on them is of postal history
interest... May I repeat the link to the Stampboards thread
https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=76919

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by FairyFoot »

Excellent post cursus. Isn't it amazing what little pieces of paper bring!?

Well, for me also as a teenager, they brought letters. My school offered penpals through the International Youth Service, and also through school exchange. In some letters to Germany, I'm sure I wrote, "Ich sammele Briefmarken." I still have those letters from 30 years ago, but I had taken the stamps off the envelopes...
I am a Penpaller and Stamp User. I send therefore I receive. I blog here. I also have a snailmail forum.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by Somerset »

Cursus - that someone from the Iberian penisula (notice clever avoidance of the politics of place) would come to the UK to learn about food would have been unthinkable when I was a young man.

Polish also has a word to change a sentence into a question. I think there is much more Polish in Esp than its supporters would like to admit.

It was a long time ago I learnt some Esp, so had forgotten the -n for a direct object

I like these threads that meander along, I pick up all sorts of random knowledge

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by Eli »

Do you all know a stamp that issued to encourage people to learn foreign languages?

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by cursus »

Well, Somerset, I went to England to learn about Food Technology (that is, the industrial production/process of food) and Reading University had, and (as far as I know) still has, a very good Food Technolgy and Science faculty. We're speaking about issues like: texture, colour, life, safety, health... Not a word on taste! As a teacher, once told us, you can produce a food that tastes horribly, no problem. The key issue is that it doesn't kill anyone.
Anyway, the ethnic food offer nowadays in UK is huge!

Being close to London with all its cultural offer (ah, the old King's St. Postal Museum!) and to Oxford, was something very important for someone coming from a very backwards corner of Europe.
I collect: Estonia 1990-1992 Postal History. Barcelona Postal History and postmarks. Catalan cinderellas. Botanical gardens. Ice creams on stamps. Used UK, Germany, Switzerland, Austria & Scandinavia.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by HalfpennyYellow »

Here in Malta, the native language is Maltese (Malti), but English is spoken as a second language by practically everyone due to our history as a British colony. Italian is also spoken (or understood) by a large percentage of the population due to our proximity to Italy and also our history (Italian was an official language here until the 1930s).

On stamps issued during the British colonial era, English was the sole language used on stamps and postal stationery etc with one exception: cigarette excise revenue stamps were bilingual in English and Maltese. After independence in 1964, English initially remained the only language on stamps, but Maltese began to be used in 1968 and it was the predominanant language for many years until English began to be used more prominently once again in recent years.

There are some stamps which are bilingual, for example these Airport Charge stamps from 1975 and 1988:
Image
First of all, note how the way the currency was expressed changed. In the 1975 stamp, it is shown as £M = Maltese pound. In the 1988 stamp it is LM = Lira Maltija, in Maltese.

The stamps are inscribed Ħlas ta' l-Ajruport in Maltese and Airport Charge in English. Ħlas is a word meaning "payment", ta' is a proposition meaning "of", l- is an article meaning "the", while Ajruport means "airport".

In 2008 the National Council for Maltese Language issued new rules which stated that propositions should be merged with articles, such that ta' l- is now spelt as tal-, ie. today, Ħlas ta' l-Ajruport should be spelt as Ħlas tal-Ajruport.

To non-Maltese, the language tends to appear quite unusual since it developed from the now-extinct Siculo-Arabic language in the medieval period (so it is a Semitic language), but it was also extensively influenced by other European languages including Italian, English and to a lesser degree French. Maltese is the only Semitic language written in the Latin script.

The simple phrase Ħlas ta' l-Ajruport shows these influences: ajruport is derived from the English airport, while ħlas has Semitic origins. Ta' and l- are similar to the Italian and Sicilian propositions such as di or da and articles like il.

A longer bilingual piece of text in Maltese and English can be seen on this registered envelope issued in 1988:
Image
The differing origin of some words is also evident here, for example: indirizz is derived from the Italian indirizzo (address), while jinkiteb is derived from the Semitic root k-t-b (to write, this is also the source of other words such as ktieb (book), kittieb (writer), kiteb (he wrote) etc).
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Shall we discuss Welsh for a while?

In the Happy Day thread Ubobo.R.O. has contributed a post featuring these
lovely British stamps (issued in 1989) featuring Industrial Archaeology.
In particular, look at the captions on the 35p stamps:
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Clwyd.
Ubobo.R.O. wrote:
Image

Image
One of the hurdles English speakers experience when encountering
Welsh is: "How do you pronounce those words‽"
The spelling of Welsh has significant differences from the spelling
of English, so the speakers of English need to come to terms with
some new rules...

How is Clwyd pronounced?
The "w" is a long vowel, sounding like "oo" in food.
The "y" is a short vowel, sounding like "i" in avid.
Thus Clwyd is pronounced like "clue id".
Also cwm is pronounced like "koom" (rhyming with "tomb");
cwm is Welsh for valley.

A more exact pronunciation guide is given by Wikipedia:
Wikipedia wrote:Clwyd, Welsh pronunciation: [ˈklʊɨd], is a preserved county of Wales,
situated in the north-east corner of the country;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clwyd

The pronunciation guide [ˈklʊɨd] is written in IPA = International Phonetic Alphabet
A key to IPA as it applies to Welsh includes this guidance:
ʊɨ — sounds like "oui" in Louie.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:IPA/Welsh

How is Pontcysyllte pronounced?
The "c" is a hard consonant, sounding like "c" in cat.
The "y" is a short vowel, sounding like "i" in avid.
The "ll" is a breathed consonant, sounding roughly like "thl" in northland .
The final "e" is a long vowel, sounding like "e" in café
Thus Pontcysyllte is pronounced like "pont-kiss-ithl-tay".

A more exact pronunciation guide is given by Wikipedia:
Wikipedia wrote:The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Welsh pronunciation: [ˌpɔntkəˈsəɬtɛ] ... is a
navigable aqueduct that carries the Llangollen Canal across the River Dee
in the Vale of Llangollen in north east Wales. The 18-arched stone and
cast iron structure is for use by narrowboats and was completed in 1805
having taken ten years to design and build. It is the longest aqueduct in
Great Britain and the highest canal aqueduct in the world.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontcysyllte_Aqueduct

The IPA pronunciation guide [ˌpɔntkəˈsəɬtɛ] applies to Welsh with this
guidance from the Wikipedia link given previously:
ɔ— sounds like "o" in off
k — sounds like "k" in sky, like "c" in cool
ə — sounds like "a" in about
ɬ — No equivalent in English; similar to the sound in hl (See below)
ɛ — sounds like "e" in well

On the pronunciation of "LL" in Welsh, here is a helpful discussion:
go4awalk wrote:LL is peculiarly Welsh and difficult to describe.
Form your lips and tongue to pronounce the letter L, but then
blow air gently around the sides of the tongue instead of saying
anything. The nearest you can get to this sound in English is an L
with a TH in front of it:
Welsh words: llan (thlan); llyn (thlin); llwyd (thlooid)
The website for this guidance is especially user-friendly. I recommend it:
https://www.go4awalk.com/fell-facts/welsh-language-pronunciation.php#ll

We now know Llangollen (Valley) is pronounced like "thlan-gothlen". :wink:

So much for pronunciation. Let's briefly look at meanings.
clwyd — gate, hurdle, roost
pont — arch, bridge
cysyllt-a, -i, -o, -u — connect, contact, join, link
pontcysyllte — aqueduct (!)
https://www.wordhippo.com/what-is/search-page/translations.html

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by cursus »

It's curious. "pont", bridge has the same meaning as is written quite exactly in most Latin languages: pont (in French and Catalan), ponte (in Italian and Portuguese), puente (in Spanish/Castilian). All, come from the Latin "pontus". The same root as "Pontifex" (the Pope) meaning "bridge builder".
I collect: Estonia 1990-1992 Postal History. Barcelona Postal History and postmarks. Catalan cinderellas. Botanical gardens. Ice creams on stamps. Used UK, Germany, Switzerland, Austria & Scandinavia.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Somerset wrote: Polish also has a word to change a sentence into a question.
I think there is much more Polish in Esp[eranto] than its supporters
would like to admit.
Yes, Somerset, you are correct about a question word in Polish.

Look at these two Polish sentences:
Czujesz się dobrzeYou are well
Czy czujesz się dobrze?Are you well?/How are you?

It is evident that czy turns the statement into a question, without a
need for change in the original word order. The Esperanto question
word ĉu clearly derives from czy.

This is no surprise. The creator/author of Esperanto, Dr L.L. Zamenhof,
was a Polish Jew who lived in Bialystok, Poland, when the Russians were
in control of the country. (He invented Esperanto because he saw it as a
solution to the way national languages divide people, and raised barriers
to communication and mutual understanding.)

I have not encountered unwillingness among Esperantists to recognise
any Polish ingredients in Esperanto. On the other hand, unlike you, my
feeling is that there is very little trace of Polish influence in it.

As an example, look at the Polish verb czućto feel (along with its
reflexive form czuć się). It conjugates in the present tense to include
czuję I feel;
on czujehe feels;
ona czujeshe feels;
oni czująthey feel;
czujemy sięwe feel;
czujesz sięyou feel.
Example:
Czy czujesz się dobrze?Are you well?

In Esperanto the verb fartito feel has the present tense
mi, li, ŝi, ili, ni, vi fartasI, he, she, they, we, you feel.
Example:
Ĉu vi fartas bone?Are you well?
Apart from ĉu, I would say there is no influence or similarity between
the Polish and Esperanto versions of these expressions.

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by Eli »

It’s amazing to see the 3000-year history of an old language on one small stamp!!! The following Israeli stamp from 2011 shows the history and the development of the Hebrew language, a language that was spoken in the Bible period, later, for centuries was used only in the holy scriptures and considered almost “dead” language and, in the last 120 years with the rise of Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel, was revived to be a live language spoken by millions of people:
Image
The center of the stamp features a plant whose leaves spell the word Ivrit (Hebrew). Its roots originated from several layers in four principal sources – the Bible, rabbinic literature, medieval writings, and Modern Hebrew.

Each seedling root comprises of Hebrew words developed in the different periods.

The seedling’s root originated from the Bible layer, represented by ancient Hebrew writing on stone, consists from the Biblical words such as: family, brotherhood, soul, spirit, throat, key etc.

The seedling’s root originated from the rabbinic literature layer, represented by the parchment, consists from Hebrew words as: keneset (assembly, parliament), tree, bridge, child, baby, customer etc.

The seedling’s roots originated from the Medieval Hebrew layer, represented by codices bound in typical bindings of that period, consists from Hebrew words as: quality, quantity, completeness, date, horizon, diameter etc.

The seedling’s roots originated from the Modern age layer, represented by key board, consists from Hebrew words as: experience, oxygen, text message, SMS, courtesy, taxi, computer, CD etc.

The phrase at the stamp tab reads: “An Ancient Language in Modern Time”, was coined by Professor Ze’ev Ben-Hayyim, a prominent Hebrew linguist and one of the founders of the Academy of the Hebrew Language. This phrase is taken from the title of his 1953 article, in which he discussed the special character of Modern Hebrew. According to Ben-Hayyim, “the unique characteristic of Hebrew is not changes in meanings of words (as is typical of every language)… but rather its uniqueness lies in the fact that nothing was lost… thus our language has… multiple layers alongside each another and not atop one another as in the case of other languages that have continued to exist over time”.

Information: The Hebrew Language Stamp

Edit: speaking about languages, please note that Israeli stamps written always in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic and English. Arabic is the second language of the State of Israel and used in all official documents and publications, road signs, banknotes etc.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Thanks to Stampboarders Halfpenny Yellow and cursus for new
posts on this thread, as well as Eli and FairyFoot for earlier posts
that I still hope to comment on. I am really enjoying everyone's
participation. :D

I'm also finding that it takes me some time to carefully research
and write some of my posts, and while I'm busy drafting one
there have often been a couple of new ones posted in the
meantime. I'm not ignoring the new posts, just finding I'm
like the snail in the well — slowly ascending three bricks up
the side of the well during the day, only to slide back past
two bricks while it slept at night! :wink:

And now, as if to fulfill my description, a new post be Eli has
been added while I'm finalising my current post. :D
cursus wrote:It's curious. "pont", bridge has the same meaning as is written
quite exactly in most Latin languages: pont (in French and Catalan),
ponte (in Italian and Portuguese), puente (in Spanish/Castilian).
All come from the Latin "pontus". The same root as "Pontifex"
(the Pope) meaning "bridge builder".
The Romans occupied much of Britain for almost four centuries,
so Latin naturally influenced the local languages during that
time. A nice discussion of the way Latin impacted on Welsh is
found at —
https://welearnwelsh.com/words/15-welsh-words-french-latin/
We Learn Welsh wrote:The Romans ruled Britain for close to 400 years, using Latin as
the official language of government and culture while allowing
Common Brythonic – the ancestral Celtic language from which
Welsh, Breton and Cornish are descended – to remain the
language of daily life.

During this time, several hundred Latin words entered the Common
Brythonic
vocabulary, either as a replacement for native terms (e.g.
pysgodfish from the Latin piscātus or piscis) or to describe concepts
that were previously unfamiliar to the British (e.g. eglwyschurch
from the Latin ecclesia).
That website lists fifteen Welsh words that are essentially
adaptations of Latin words. The final word listed on that
site is pontbridge, linked to Latin pōns or pōntis.

In many ways languages preserve the imprint of history.

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by FairyFoot »

The "y" is a short vowel, sounding like "i" in avid.
There are two sounds for the letter y. In the last syllable (of a more than one syllable word), it is like the i in avid. However, there is also a u (similar to the u in but) sound. Ysbyty (hospital).

I can get POST AWYR / PAR AVION labels from the main post office.

If interested, see if you can find the Welsh language version of the national anthem - Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Old Land of my Fathers) - it can sound a bit fishy...
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by Waffle »

Between Faros, Fare and leuchtturme, my lighhouse vocabulary is improving rapidly
I prefer to collect UK, British Commonwealth esp Pacific area ( not excluding West Indies/Canada ) and Western Europe. At the bottom of my zone of interest is Eastern Europe and communist countries.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by nigelc »

RogerE wrote: Have you ever thought it would increase your enjoyment and understanding of your stamps if only you could read the inscriptions written in languages
different from your own?

Image
Hello RogerE,

Thank you for creating this thread and to everyone for their input.

I've enjoyed the posts so far immensely as it brings together two of main interests (stamps and languages).

I look forward to reading many more posts!

That's a very nice Borisoglebsk zemstvo stamp in your original post. :D
Nigel

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Again, thanks to those who have added new posts to this growing thread.
I'm so happy it has struck a chord with so many fellow Stampboarders.

Yes, nigelc, I try to select illustrative examples which not only have
appropriate inscriptions, but also have eye-appeal. That zemstvo
[Russian local stamp] certainly fits the bill.

Thanks FairyFoot for adding your first-hand knowledge of Welsh to this thread.
I tried to keep my pronunciation guidance fairly narrowly focussed on how the
few words under discussion are pronounced, without going into additional notes
about different pronunciations in other words.

But you are quite right to helpfully add the information that 'y' in Welsh has
two different pronunciations, depending on where it appears in a word. Would
you care to confirm (or correct) this follow-up: the word ysbytyhospital
is pronounced "us-bitty".
(Perhaps you can tell us if it is really more like "us-bə-tə" where ə is the
"indefinite vowel" in English wooden="wood-ən".) It is clear that ysbyty
is derived from the English word hospital.

It's a pity we can't hear you singing Men of Harlech :D
The Welsh choral tradition is wonderful!

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by OldDuffer1 »

I have stupidly been collecting German stamps without knowing any German but have become familiar with philatelic words such as:

Printed Matter (“Drucksache”)
Business Mail (“Geschäftlich”)
Postcard (“Karte”)
Letter (“Brief”)
Registered (“Einschreiben”)
Express (“Eilboten”)
Cash on Delivery (“Nachnahme”)
etc.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by FairyFoot »

It is "usbutty" here but have heard it said as "usbitty"

One word for 20, ugain, "igine" to rhyme with mine, in some parts, they switch the a and i around for it to sound like ig + Ian

dau = 2
deu is a form of 2 I think within longer words.
naw = 9
deunaw = 18
deg = 10
deuddeg = 12
dauddeg (or dau ddeg) = 20

Confused?
I am a Penpaller and Stamp User. I send therefore I receive. I blog here. I also have a snailmail forum.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

FairyFoot has posted more about the Welsh ysbytyhospital — thanks!

I find the pronunciation guide "usbutty" somewhat helpful, but not clear enough
to give me confidence that I can pronounce it properly. Google translate has a
"voice" button, so I've listened to ysbyty being pronounced by a Welsh speaker.
That clarifies everything! :D https://translate.google.com/

Using the IPA = International Phonetic Alphabet symbols for the vowel sounds,
with ɜː as in English fur = ["fɜː"] or nurse = ["nɜːs"] (without any rolling 'r'), and
with ɪ as in English fit = ["fɪt"] or sit = ["sɪt"], I would represent the pronunciation:

.......... ysbyty = ["ɜːs-bɜː-tɪ"] ..........

FairyFoot indicates that ysbyty is pronounced "usbutty" ["ɜːs-bɜː-tɪ"] in his part
of Wales, but in some parts it is pronounced "usbitty" ["ɜːs-bɪ-tɪ"]. In other words,
Welsh has regional pronunciations, just as English has regional pronunciations! :wink:

We can get some further Welsh "y" pronunciation practice by knowing that it
serves in Welsh as "the" (the definite article).

Recall the words
cwm ["kuːm"] - valley, with as in English food =["fuːd"]
pont ["pɒnt"] – bridge, with ɒ as in English hot =["hɒt"]
ysbyty ["ɜːs-bɜː-tɪ"\ – hospital.

With "y" we have:
y cwm ["ɜː kuːm"] — the valley;
y bont ["ɜː bɒnt"] — the bridge;
yr ysbyty ["ɜːr ɜːs-bɜː-tɪ"] — the hospital.

It turns out that pont changes pronunciation to bont when preceded by y,
and y changes to yr to aid pronunciation when the next word begins with
a vowel (here, another y). A similar thing happens in English, but the spelling
doesn't change to accurately reflect the pronunciation change: compare how
"the" is pronounced in "the valley" and "the apple". :!:

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Shall we look at Braille?

Of course, Braille is not a language, it's an alphabet (plus further
signs, including numerals and punctuation) and in principle it can
give written form to any language with a Roman script.
Waffle wrote:
Image
2009. Stamps of Spain, Personajes-Famous People, all born in 1809,
Charles Darwin, Claudio Moyana and Louis Braille.
Thanks to Waffle for showing these stamps in his Spanish and Andorran stamps thread:
https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&p=6516414#p6516414

I will just refer to the Louis Braille stamp. You might guess what
the printed Braille text says, from its position on the stamp. It is
unlikely to be legible to a blind or vision-impaired person though.
The same text in proper raised-dot Braille runs diagonally across
the stamp, from top left to bottom right.
⠠⠃⠗⠁⠊⠇⠇⠑
Yes, it is the name of the inventor/author/creator, Braille.

There is a special Braille Translator website where you can enter
English text to get the Braille equivalent.
https://lingojam.com/BrailleTranslator

For example, Stampboards is
⠠⠎⠞⠁⠍⠏⠃⠕⠁⠗⠙⠎

As usual, Wikipedia is a great resource. Its article on Braille is the source
of the next three screenshots.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braille

The basic grid for Braille symbols is a 3x2 matrix (three rows, two columns),
just like a "six tile" in dominos. This allows for 2^6 = 64 possible patterns.
The patterns actually chosen for common use combine simplicity and
dissimilarity, to make for efficient representation of characters.

The Braille alphabet for English text

Image

Louis Braille was French, and his original alphabet was designed to represent
written French, which lacks the letter 'w'. The Braille symbols for representing
written English added a symbol for 'w', explaining its location at the lower right.

To indicate special fonts (capitals or numerals) there are special characters which
precede the text that is to be in the indicated font.
[Compare this "action on what follows" with the question words in Polish (czy)
and Esperanto (ĉu) and the "action on what has preceded" of the Chinese question
word (ma), discussed in an earlier post.]

Image

Braille also uses punctuation marks, preserving the full power of "plain text".

Image

Note that is the "open quote" marker when used before a word,
and is the "question mark" when used after a word.

It's easy enough for us to learn and understand the Braille alphabet, but it
clearly needs quite a bit of practice to sight read it. I can only imagine how
much patient effort must be invested by a vision-impaired person to use
fingertip tracing to read Braille text fluently. :D

Next time you're in a lift/elevator, look for Braille numbers beside the buttons,
and practice reading them!

The Wikipedia article has much more information about Braille.

/RogerE :D ⠠⠗⠕⠛⠑⠗⠠⠑ :⠠⠙

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Thank you HalfpennyYellow for your very nice post on MalteseMalti.

I would like to follow up a little on the Semitic dimension of Maltese.
(Please correct any mistakes I make — you have first-hand knowledge!)

HalfpennyYellow said that Maltese is a Semitic language that developed
from the now-extinct Siculo-Arabic language in the medieval period. It is
the only Semitic language currently written in the Roman [= Latin] alphabet.
Wikipedia wrote:Siculo-Arabic (or Sicilian Arabic) is the term used for varieties of Arabic
that were spoken in the Emirate of Sicily (which included Malta) from the
9th century, persisting under subsequent Norman rule until the 13th century.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siculo-Arabic

HalfpennyYellow showed a registered envelope and commented on several
words in its Maltese text. One of those words is jinkitebis written. The
Maltese consonant 'j' is pronounced like 'y' in English "you".

Lightly edited,
HalfpennyYellow wrote:... jinkiteb is derived from the Semitic root k-t-b to write. This is also the
source of other words such as ktiebbook, kittiebwriter, kiteb - he wrote, ...
The nature of Semitic languages is discussed in a Wikipedia article, with
some parallel examples from Arabic.
Wikipedia wrote:The Semitic languages are notable for their nonconcatenative morphology.
That is, word roots are not themselves syllables or words, but instead are
isolated sets of consonants (usually three, making a so-called triliteral root).
Words are composed out of roots not so much by adding prefixes or suffixes,
but rather by filling in the vowels between the root consonants (although
prefixes and suffixes are often added as well). For example, in Arabic, the
root meaning "write" has the form k-t-b. From this root, words are formed
by filling in the vowels and sometimes adding additional consonants, e.g.
كتاب kitābbook,
كتب kutubbooks,
كاتب kātibwriter,
كتّاب kuttābwriters,
كتب kataba — he wrote,
يكتب yaktubu — he writes, ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic_languages

Hebrew is another Semitic language. It includes the following striking
parallels to the previous examples: The Hebrew root meaning "write"
also has the form k-t-b = kaf-tav-bet. Although the last letter of the
triple is bet ב, it is here pronounced in the soft form 'v' rather than
the hard form 'b'.
From this root, words are formed by filling in the vowels and sometimes
adding additional consonants, e.g.
כָּתוּב katuvwritten,
מִכְתָב miktavletter,
כּוֹתֵב kotevauthor,
כּוֹתבים kotvim — authors,
כְּתִיבָה k'tivah — writing,
כְּתוֹבֶת k'tovet — address,
לִכתוֹב liktovto write, ...

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Eli has already made several nice posts on this thread, and I am behind
in posting responses to them — my apologies!

May I take this opportunity to respond his latest post? He discusses the
Israeli stamp (issued on 7 Feb 2011) celebrating three millennia of Hebrew
language "growth": the plant is an appropriate metaphor.
Image
Let's take a closer look at the tab:
Image
Eli wrote: The phrase on the stamp tab, reading “An Ancient Language in Modern Times”, was
coined by Professor Ze’ev Ben-Hayyim, a prominent Hebrew linguist and one of the
founders of the Academy of the Hebrew Language...

Edit: speaking about languages, please note that Israeli stamp inscriptions are always written
in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic and English.
Arabic is the second language of the State of Israel and used in all official documents and
publications, road signs, banknotes etc.
• The Hebrew inscription on the tab is —

לשון עתיקה במציאות חדשה

lashon atikah b'mitsiut khadashah —
an ancient tongue in a new reality

לָשׁוֹן [lashon] – language, tongue
עַתִיקה [atikah] – ancient
ב [b'] – in
מְצִיאוּת [mitsiut, short 'u' like 'oo' in 'boot'] – existence, reality
חָדָשׁה [khadashah, 'kh' like 'ch' is Scottish "loch"] – new
במציאות חדשה – in a new reality

• The Arabic inscription on the tab is —

لغة قديمة في واقع جديد

lugha qadima fi waqie jadid —
an ancient language in modern times

لغة [lugha] – language
قديمة [qadima] – ancient
في [fi] – in
واقع [waqie] – existence, times
جديد [jadid] – new

• On the stamp itself, the Hebrew inscription on the blue patch
just below the leaves of the plant is —

העת החדשה

ha-ayt ha-khadashah —
the modern era (represented by the computer keyboard).

[ha] – the
עֵת [ayt] – period, era
חָדָשׁה [khadashah, 'kh' like 'ch' is Scottish "loch"] – new

I have tried to do justice to both languages here, but I confess that
my knowledge of Arabic is quite minimal, so readers with actual
expertise are encouraged to comment and/or post corrections. My
knowledge of Hebrew is a bit better, but well-informed comments
and/or corrections are also welcome.
:D

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by Eli »

Thanks, Roger, for the extra information about the Israeli stamp about the development of the Hebrew language. The Arabic information you have written is excellent.

Thanks also for the post about the Braille writing. Here is one from Israel issued on December 11, 2001 to commemorate century of the Institute for the Blind in my city, Jerusalem. It is the only Israeli stamp with embossed Braille writing. I will let the readers to find out what the writing reads...
Image

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Thanks Eli for your latest post to this thread, showing us another Braille stamp. :D

I learnt a lot from the challenge to read its Braille stamp. inscription :o
As usual, Wikipedia has very helpful information:
Wikipedia wrote:Hebrew Braille (Hebrew: ברייל עברי‎) is the Braille alphabet for Hebrew.
The International Hebrew Braille Code is widely used. It was devised in
the 1930s and completed in 1944. It is based on international norms,
with additional letters devised to accommodate differences between
English Braille and the Hebrew alphabet. Unlike Hebrew, but in keeping
with other Braille alphabets, Hebrew Braille is read from left to right
instead of right to left, and unlike English Braille, it is an Abjad [a list
of symbols consisting of] all consonants.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_Braille

From the Wikipedia article I have the Hebrew Braille alphabet:

Image

The Wikipedia article includes additional tables of Hebrew Braille symbols
for the vowels, the digits ("numbers") and punctuation. If you're interested
to know about those symbols, please use the link included above.

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by mbg1248 »

RogerE wrote:Eli has already made several nice posts on this thread, and I am behind
in posting responses to them — my apologies!

May I take this opportunity to respond his latest post? He discusses the
Israeli stamp (issued on 7 Feb 2011) celebrating three millennia of Hebrew
language "growth": the plant is an appropriate metaphor.
Image
Let's take a closer look at the tab:
Image
Eli wrote: The phrase on the stamp tab, reading “An Ancient Language in Modern Times”, was
coined by Professor Ze’ev Ben-Hayyim, a prominent Hebrew linguist and one of the
founders of the Academy of the Hebrew Language...

Edit: speaking about languages, please note that Israeli stamp inscriptions are always written
in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic and English.
Arabic is the second language of the State of Israel and used in all official documents and
publications, road signs, banknotes etc.
• The Hebrew inscription on the tab is —

לשון עתיקה במציאות חדשה

lashon atikah b'mitsiut khadashah —
an ancient tongue in a new reality

לָשׁוֹן [lashon] – language, tongue
עַתִיקה [atikah] – ancient
ב [b'] – in
מְצִיאוּת [mitsiut, short 'u' like 'oo' in 'boot'] – existence, reality
חָדָשׁה [khadashah, 'kh' like 'ch' is Scottish "loch"] – new
במציאות חדשה – in a new reality

• The Arabic inscription on the tab is —

لغة قديمة في واقع جديد

lugha qadima fi waqie jadid —
an ancient language in modern times

لغة [lugha] – language
قديمة [qadima] – ancient
في [fi] – in
واقع [waqie] – existence, times
جديد [jadid] – new

• On the stamp itself, the Hebrew inscription on the blue patch
just below the leaves of the plant is —

העת החדשה

ha-ayt ha-khadashah —
the modern era (represented by the computer keyboard).

[ha] – the
עֵת [ayt] – period, era
חָדָשׁה [khadashah, 'kh' like 'ch' is Scottish "loch"] – new

I have tried to do justice to both languages here, but I confess that
my knowledge of Arabic is quite minimal, so readers with actual
expertise are encouraged to comment and/or post corrections. My
knowledge of Hebrew is a bit better, but well-informed comments
and/or corrections are also welcome.
:D

/RogerE :D
This could also be a play on words: "העט החדשה" = 'the new pen' (pronounced the same as העת החדשה) is very appropriate placed on a computer keyboard. :idea:

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Ahhh, nice comment, thanks mbg1248 :!:

The Hebrew words
עֵט [ayt] – pen (the writing implement)
עֵת [ayt] – period, era
are homophones [= words with the same pronunciation but different spelling].
The letters ט, tet, and ת, tav, are both pronounced like the English 't'.
Historically they were distinguished — tet as a soft 't', tav as a hard 't[h]'.
Roman alphabet transliterations of Hebrew often use 'th' to represent tav.
The Ashkenasi pronunciation of tav resembles 's', while the Yemenite
pronunciation resembles 'th' as in 'thin'.

There are many examples in English of different letters having the same
sound. Just listen to 's' in "days" and 'z' in "daze" — these are homophones,
and we need context to distinguish them in spoken language, while the
spelling is a clear distinction in the written language.

I close by mentioning a little more Hebrew vocabulary motivated by "pen".
Here are some writing instruments:
עֵט [ayt] – pen
עִפָּרוֹן [ee-pa-ron] – pencil
עֵט כַּדוּרִי [ayt ka-door-ee, 'oo' as in 'look'] - ballpoint pen
This incorporates
כַּדוּר [ka-door, 'oo' as in 'look'] – ball, sphere, pill

/RogerE :D

P.S. You might notice that I use the term "Roman alphabet" as my preferred alternative
to "Latin alphabet". After all, we happily speak of "Roman numerals". :wink:

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