28: Decipher Text 5 - Gospel of Matthew

A few days ago, a private collector contacted me to identify for him the text on some vellum folios he acquired from Ethiopia. The pages are from a classical Ethiopic translation of the gospels - a bound codex at some point. Here’s an image from one of the folios -- the text is Matthew 17:1-3. The scribal hand is quite clear, but for greater clarity, I’ve transliterated and transcribed it below:



məʿərāf ((17)) waʾəmdəḫ-
-ra šellus mewāʿəl nešʾomu agziʾ
iyasus lapērosṭros lapeṭros wa-
-layaʿqob walayoḥannəs ʾəḫuhu waʾaʿra-
-gomu wasta dəbr nawāḫ ʾənta baḥəti-
-tomu watawallaṭa rāʿyu baqdumeho-
-mu waʾabraha gaṣṣu kama ḍaḥay waʾal-
-basihuni kona ḍaʿāy kama bərhān wa-
-nāhu ʾastarʾaywomu muse waʾe-
-lyās laʾənza yətnāgaru məslehu
ምዕራፍ ፲፯ ወእምድኅ
ሠሉስ መዋዕል ነሥኦሙ አግዚእ
ኢየሱስ ለጴሮስጥሮስ ለጴጥሮስ
ለያዕቆብ ወለዮሐንስ እኁሁ ወአዕረ
ጎሙ ወስተ ደብር ነዊኅ እንተ በሕቲ
ቶሙ ወተወለጠ ራዕዩ በቅዱሜሆ
ወአብርሀ ገጹ ከመ ፀሐይ ወአል
ባሲሁኒ ኮነ ፀዓይ ከመ ፡ብርሃን
ናሁ አስተርአይዎሙ ሙሴ ፡ወኤ
ልያስ ለእንዘ ይትናገሩ ምስሌሁ

27: Indicating Existence and Possession (Contd.)


27.1: The Preposition «ba-» (by, with, in) has several important functions. Much like the preposition «la-» (of, to, for) [see: 12.6], this preposition has a distinct set of pronominal suffixes:


Singular
Plural
3rd m.
bo
bomu
botu

3rd f.
bon
bāti
ቦቶ
boton
ቦን
bontu

2nd m.
bəki
ብክ
bəkəmu

2nd f.
bəka
ብክ
bəkən

1st c.
ብየ
bəya
ብነ
bəna


27.2: The negative particle with this preposition is the enclitic አል «al-»,  thus forming: አልቦሙ (albomu = not in them) አልብነ (albəna = not in us) etc.

27.3: The most important function of this preposition is that (with the 3rd m. sing. suffix) it indicates existence (there is…, there are…), just like the particle yeš in Hebrew, īt in Aramaic and thamma in Arabic. The following noun may sometimes decline in the accusative.

ቦ፡ቤት፡በዘሀገር።
bo bet ba-za-hagar
There is a house in this city.

አልቦ፡አብያት፡በዘሀገር።
al-bo abyāt ba-za-hagar
There are no houses in this city.

ቦቱ፡ከዋክብት፡በስመይ።
botu kawākəbt ba-smay
There are stars in the sky.

አልቦቱ፡ኮከበ፡በስመይ።
al-botu kokaba ba-smay
There is no star in the sky.

27.4: Also, note these examples:

ዘረከበኒ፡ወባሕቱ፡ኢዜነወ፡ሊተ፡ስሞ።
bo za-rakabani wabāḥəttu i-zenawa lita semo
There is someone who found me but he did not tell me his name.

አልቦ፡ዘሰምዐ፡ቃላቶሙ፡አመ፡ቦኡ፡ሀገረ።
albo za-samʿa qālātomu ama boʾu hagara
There was no one who heard their voices when they entered the city.

ቦ፡ዘጐዩ፡እምቤት፡ኀበ፡ደበዩ።
bo za-gʷayyu əm-bet xaba dabayu
There were those who fled from the house where they were hiding.

27.5: Another very common function of this preposition is that it indicates possession. The possessed object is usually declined in the accusative case, like the object of a verb.

ብነ፡ቤተ፡ዲበ፡ድብር።
bəna beta diba dəbr     
We have a house on the mountain.

ብየ፡ማየ፡ወአልብከ፡ማየ።
bəya māya wa-albəka māya.
I have water and you have no water.

ንግሥት፡አልባ፡አግብርተ፡በጽርሓ።
nəgəšt albā agbərta ba-ṣərḥā.
The queen has no servants in her chamber.

ቦቱ፡ካህን፡ክርታሳኖ።
botu kāhən kərtāsāno.
The priest has his scrolls.

አልቦሙ፡አራሚያን፡ሃይማኖተ።
albomu arāmiyān hāymānota.
The infidels have no faith.

26: Verbs: The Causative Form


26.1: Most verbs take on a causative sense when the suffix <<  >> (a-) is added to them. This sense includes causing directly, ordering, permitting, suggesting etc.  This suffix can give a causative sense to any of the verbal bases, producing Bc, Dc, Lc, Qc.

BASE
CAUSATIVE
B
ሞተ
to die
Bc
ሞተ
to put to death
ሐዘነ
to be sad
ዘነ
to sadden
ሐየወ
to live
ሕየወ
to restore to life
ነበረ
to reside
ንበረ
to deposit
ሮጸ
to run
ሮጸ
to cause to run
ርእየ
to see
ርአየ
to show
ሰምዐ
to hear
ስምዐ
to announce
ነደ
to burn
ንደደ
to set aflame

Note in the Bc construction the medial vowel disappears, so: ወደቀ (wadaqa – he fell) becomes ውደቀ (awdaqa– he cast down).

BASE
CAUSATIVE

D
ሠነየ
to be beautiful
Dc
ነየ
to decorate
ገበረ
to pay taxes
ገበረ
to impose tribute
ነሰሐ
to repent
ሰሐ
to lead to repentance
L
ማሰነ
to perish
Lc
ማሰነ
to destroy
ቤዘወ
to redeem
ቤዘወ
to have someone redeemed
Q
ደንገፀ
to be disturbed
Qc
ደንገፀ
to disturb


26.2: Note the slight phonetic change in the negation of causative verbs from “iʾa” to “iya”:

የት፡ቤቶ።         :         ኢየሠነየት፡ቤቶ።
ašannayat beto                               iyašannayat beto
She decorated his house             She didn’t decorate his house.

ርአይክዎ፡ሎቱ።     :         ኢየርአይክዎ፡ሎቱ።
arʾaykəwwo lotu                              iyarʾaykəwwo lotu
I showed it to him                            I did not show it to him


26.3: Consider the following sentences that use causative verbs:

አሕዘነት፡ሞቱ፡ነገዶ፡ወአቅበርዎ፡ኀበ፡ሞተ።
aḥzanat motu nagado wa-aqbarəwwo xaba mota

His death saddened his family and they had him buried where he died.


አማሰነ፡ንጉሥ፡ሀገረ፡ወአቅተሎሙ፡ለንቡራን፡ወአገበረ፡በምድር፡ዘሞዐ።
amāsana nəguš hagara wa-aqtala nəburānā wa-agabbara ba-mdər za-moʿa.

The king destroyed the city and ordered all its inhabitants killed, and he imposed a tax on the land he conquered.


አንበረ፡እግዚእነ፡አብርሃምሃ፡ውስተ፡ግብጽ፡ወአርከቦ፡ብዙኀ፡እጓለ፡ወብዕለ።
anbara əgzi’əna abrəhāmha wəsta gəbṣ wa-arkabo bəzuxa əgʷala wa-bʿəla

Our Lord settled Abraham in Egypt and he caused him to acquire great progeny and wealth.


አስምዕኩ፡ቃላተ፡ነቢይነ፡ለንቡራነ፡ሀገርየ፡ወባሔቱ፡ኢየብከይዎሙ።
asməʿku qālāta nabiyna la-nəburāna hagar wa-bāḥəttu iyabkayewwomu.

I announced the words of our prophet to the residents of the city but they did not move them to tears.


አንደደ፡ኵሎሙ፡ተርጐምያተ፡ዋንጌል፡እለ፡አጽሕፎሙ።
andadna kʷəllomu targʷamyāta wāngel əlla aṣḥafomu.

All the translations that he has ordered written, we set on fire.


25: Relative Clauses


25.1 Relative clauses are formed with the following relative pronouns (i.e. who, which etc):


M
F
Sng.
-
እንተ
za-
ənta
Pl.
እለ
əlla

ሞተንጉሥ፡ሐነጸ፡ሀገረ
mota nəguš za-hanaṣa hagara.
The king who built the city died

ሞተት፡ንግሥት፡እንተ፡ሐነጸት፡ሀገረ
motat nəgəšt ənta hanaṣat hagara.
The queen who built the city died.

ቱ፡ንጉሥ፡ወንግሥት፡እለ፡ሐነጹ፡ሀገረ፡።
motu nəguš wa-nəgəšt əlla hanaṣu hagara.
The king and queen who built the city died.

You’ll notice that the masculine singular relative pronoun is written as a proclitic. It is used frequently like a preposition marking a genitive relationship, especially in cases where a construct cannot be made due to an adjective, suffix or proper names.

ስም፡ቅዱስ፡ነቢይነ፡ዮሐንስ።
səm qəddus za-nabiyna yoḥannəs.
The holy name of our prophet is John.

ዴገንዎ፡እምጋሊላ፡አሕዛብ።
deganəwwo əm-gālilā za-aḥzāb.
They chased out of the Galilee of the Gentiles.

ተወለደበቤተልሔም፡
tawalada ba-betalḥem za-yhudā.
He was born in the Bethlehem of Judah.


25.2: Similar to Arabic, when the relative pronoun marks a direct object, the verb (usually) takes on a resumptive pronoun. The same is true for when a relative pronoun is in a prepositional relationship i.e. whose, to whom, of which etc.

ነቢይ፡ቀተል፡ተነበየ፡በሀገርየ።
nabiy zaqataləwwo tanabbaya ba-hagarya.
The prophet whom they killed prophesied in my city.

ብእሲት፡እንተ፡ርእ፡ሞተት።
bə’sit ənta rə’yā motat.
The woman whom he saw died.

ካህናት፡እለ፡ስሞሙ፡ቅድመክሙ፡ህየ፡ውእቱ።
kāhnāt əlla səmomu qədmakəmu həyya wə’ətu.
The priests whose names are before you are here.

ስመ፡ሀገር፡ሐነጹ፡ወስቴ፡ሀይከሎሙ፡ኢየሩሳሌም፡ይእቲ።
səma hagar zahanaṣu waste haykalomu iyarusālem yə’əti.
The name of the city in which they built their temple is Jerusalem.


25.3: Relative clauses frequently appear as nominal units.

ዘቀተለ፡ተሠቀየ።
za-qatala tašaqqaya.
The-one –who-killed (i.e. the killer) suffered.

ስመእንተሰበሕዋ፡አርዳሚስ፡ይእቲ
səma ənta sebbeḥəwwā ardāmis yə’əti.
The name of the-one-whom they-worshipped-her (i.e. their goddess) is Artemis.

ዴገኑ፡እለነበሩ፡በምድር።
Deganu əlla nabaru ba-mdər
They persecuted the-ones-who-lived (i.e. the locals) in the land.


25.4: Relative pronouns can also function as absolute nouns on their own and form the first part of a construct.

ርእዩ፡እንተ፡ዮሐንስ፡በቤታ።
rə’yu ənta yoḥannəs ba-baytā
They saw she-of John (i.e. John’s wife) in her house.

እለ፡አጋንንት፡መጽኡ፡ለቤተ ክርስቲያን።
əlla agānənt maṣ’u la-beta krstiyān
They-of demons (i.e. the possessed) came to the church.

ዝብእሲ፡ሰገል፡ውእቱ።
za-bəəsi za-sagal wəətu
This man is he-of divination (i.e. a diviner)


25.5: The relative pronoun of time is “አመ” (ama) i.e. “when” in the non-interrogative sense. It can appear as a preposition, a conjunction or a relative adverb.  The relative pronoun of place is “ኀበ” (xaba) i.e. “where” in the non-interrogative sense.

አመ፡ቦእክሙ፡ቤት፡ኀበ፡ነበረ፡ኢረከብክምዎ።
ama bo’əkəmu beta xaba nabara irakabkəməwwo?
 When you entered the house where he lived, you did not find him?

ጐየት፡እምኀበ፡ዴገንዋ፡ወሮጸት፡እስከ፡አመ፡በልሐክዋ።
gʷayyat əm-xaba deganəwwā wa-roṣat əska ama balḥakəwwā.
She fled from where the persecuted her and she ran until the-time-when I saved her.

ዝመካን፡ይእቲ፡ኀበ፡መሀርነ፡ቶማ፡ዋንጌል፡ዘእግዚእነ፡አመ፡ሀለውነ፡ደቅ።
ze-makān yə’əti xaba maharna tomā wāngel za-əgzi’əna ama hallawna daqq.
This is the location where Thomas taught us the gospel of our Lord when we were children.

24: Decipher Text 4 - Book of Psalms

Here's another image of a folio from the Lerman family codex, with the Archdiocese of Toronto. The hand is pretty clear but I've provided a transcription below to help you along, in case you need it. The orthography is mostly regular with some exceptions that I've glossed below, along with the meanings of new terms without transparent cognates. These lines are a translation of Psalm 81:1-4 (LXX) / 82:1-4 (MT). 


1. መዝሙር ዘዳዊት።
mazmura za-dāwit

2. እግዚአብሔር ቆመ ውስተ ማኅበረ አማል[ክት]
әgziʾabḥer qoma wәsta māxbara ʾamāl[әkt]
ማኅበ= congregation, assembly

3. ወይኴንን በማከለ* አማልክት
wa-yәkʷenәn ba-māʿkala ʾamālәkt
ከለ > ማእከለ / ማከለ = prep. among
ይኴንን = imp. 3p masc. sing. of  ኰነነ:  to rule over, to judge

4. እስከ ዕዚኑ* ትኴንኑ ዐማፃ*
әska māʿzinu tәkʷenәnu ʿamāḍā
ዕዚኑ > እዜኑ = when
ዐማፃ > መፃ = unjustly

5. ወታደልዉ ለገጸ ኃጥአን
wa-tādalwu la-gaṣṣa* xāṭәʾan
አድለወ ለገጸ = to show favor

6. ፍትሑ ለነዳይ ወለእጓለ ማውታ
fәtḥu la-nadāy wa-la-әgʷāla māwtā
ማውታ = lit. offspring of the dead i.e. orphan

7. ወአጽድቁ ግፉዓ* ወምስኪነ
wa-ʾaṣdәqu gәfuʿā wa-mәskina
ግፉዓ > ግፋ = sing. acc. One who is unjustly / violently treated

8. ወአድኅኑ ባሕታ[] ወፅኑሰ*
wa-ʾadxәnu bāḥtā[we] wa-ḍnusa
ፅኑሰ > ጽኑሰ = sing. acc. One who is in misery

9. ወአንግፍዎሙ እምእደ ኃጥአን
wa-ʾangәfwomu ʾәm-ʾәda xātәʾan

23: Decipher Texts 3 - Book of Psalms

An archivist from the Archdiocese of Toronto contacted me recently to help her identify a codex, having (correctly) posited that its language is Gэ'эz. The exact provenance of the codex is unknown, but it was acquired (either as a gift, or bought) by a French military officer serving in Africa in the 1950s. The officer later brought the codex to Canada and it is now part of the Lerman family estate. The director at the archive has kindly allowed me to put up an image. Here are the opening lines on the first page:




As some of you might have been able to figure out, the codex is an Ethiopic rendition of the Book of Psalms. The hand is quite clear although there are some orthographic peculiarities. The opening lines in the image are Psalm 1:1-2 with a thematic incipit. I've notated and transliterated them here to help you decipher them:


1:
ፍካሬ፡ዘጻድቃን፡ወዘኃጥኣን።
5:
ወዘኢነበረ፡ውስተ፡መንበረ፡
fэkkāre za-żādqān wa-za-xāŧ’ān
wa-za-’inabara wэsta manbara




2:
መዝሙር፡ዘዳዊት፡ሀሌሉያ
6:
መሥተሣልቃን
mazmur za-dāwit halleluyā
mašta šālqān*




3:
ብፁዕ፡ብእሲ፡ዘኢሖረ፡በምክረ፡ረሲዓ
7:
ዘዳሙ፡ሕገ፡እግዚአብሔ[][]
đu'  bээsi za-’iħora ba-mkэra rasi'ā*
za-dā'эmu* ħэgga эgzi’abħe[] šэ[…]*




4:
ወዘኢቆመ፡ውስተ፡ፍኖተ፡ኃጥኣን
8:
ወዘሕጎ፡ያነብብ፡መለተ፡ወሌ[…]
wa-za-’iqoma wэsta fэnota xāŧ’ān
wa-za-ħэggo yānabэb ma'ālata* wa-le[…]*

NOTES:
 ረሲዓ (rasi'ā) = missing a letter;  ረሲዓን (rasi'ān) i.e. the evildoers.
መሥተሣልቃን (mašta šālqān) = unusual spelling for መስተሳልቃን (mastasālqān) i.e. the scornful (pl.)
ሙ (da'эmū) = unusual spelling for ዳእሙ  (da’эmu) i.e. verily.
 ሥምረቱ эmэrtu) i.e. they observe
ለተ (ma'ālata) = unusual spelling for መዕልተ (ma'эlta) or perhaps መዓልተ (ma'ālta) i.e. through the day
ሌሊተ (lelit) i.e. night 



22: Decipher Texts 2 - Gospel of Mark

I’ve transcribed these excerpts from Rochus Zuurmond’s text-critical edition for the Synoptic Gospels, Part II: The Gospel of Mark - [Zuurmond, Rochus. Novum Testamentum Aethiopice: The Synoptic Gospels. Stuttgart: F. Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden, 1989.]
In order to facilitate this process of deciphering these texts (and help you review), I’ve color coded my transliteration --> blue indicates roots that appear in the verb glossary [17] and are either in a verbal [10, 14 – 16], nominal [5] or adjectival [19] form; orange indicates prepositions [9] and yellow indicates important prefixes and suffixes: the construct state [8], the accusative marker [11], possession [12] and the medio-passive ta-prefix [21]. What’s left are, for the most part, easily recognizable cognates and proper nouns. I’ve glossed a few important terms below each text. Good luck!

                                                                                                                  
I. MARK 1: 1-5

ቀዳሚሁ፡ለወንጌል፡ኢየሱስ፡ክርስቶስ፡ወልደ፡እግዚአ፡ብሔር፡በከመ፡ጽሑፍ፡ውስተ፡መጽሐፈ፡ነቢያት፡ናሁ፡አነ፡እፌኑ፡መልአክየ፡ቅድመ፡ገጽከ፡ዘይጸይሕ፡ፍኖተከ።

ቃለ፡አዋዲ፡ዘይሰብክ፡በገዳም፡ጺሑአ፡ፍኖቶ፡ለእግዚአ፡ብሔር፡ወዐርዩ፡ወጽያሕቶ።

ወሀሎ፡ዩሐንስ፡ያጠምቅ፡በገዳም፡ወይሰብክ፡ጥምቀተ፡ከመ፡ይነስሑ፡ወየትኀደግ፡ሎሙ፡ኀጢአቶሙ።

ወየሐውሩ፡ኀቤሁ፡ኵሉ፡ሰብአ፡ይሁዳ፡ወኢየሩሳሌም፡ወያጥምቆሙ፡ለኵሎሙ፡በፈለገ፡ዩርዳኖስ፡ወይትአመኑ፡ኀጢአቶሙ።
qadāmihu lawangel iyesus krəstos walda əgziʾabḥer bakama ṣəḥuf wəsta maṣḥafa nabiyāt – nāhu, ana əfenu* malʾakya qədma gaṣṣka* zaṣayḥ* fənotaka //


qāla awādi zasbək* bagadām ṣiḥūʾ fənoto laʾəgziʾabḥer waʿaryu* waṣəyāḥto //


wahalo* yuḥanəs yāṭaməq* bagadām wayəsbək təmqata kamansəḥu* wayatxadag* lomu xaṭiʾatomu //


wayaḥawru* xabehu kʷəlu sabʾa yəhuda waʾiyarusalem waṭməqomu lakʷəlomu bafalaga* yurdanos watʾammanu* xaṭiʾatomu //

ፈነወ (D) = to send
ገጽ = face, appearance, front
ጼሐ (B) to pave a road
ዐረየ (B) = to straighten / to level
ሰበከ (D) = to preach / to announce
ሀለወ (D) = ሀሎ + imperfect verb à past imperfect
()ጥመቀ (Ba) = to baptize / to immerse
ነጽሐ (B) = to be purified
()ኀድገ (Bt) = to cease / to let go
ሖረ (B) = to go forth
ፈለግ = river valley
()አምነ (Bt) = to confess

21: Verbs: The Passive Voice etc.

21.1: Most active verbs assume the passive voice when the prefix << >> (ta-) is added to them. This prefix also sometimes produces a reflexive or a reciprocal meaning. The ta-prefix be added to any of the four types of verbs, making Bt, Dt, Lt and Qt.

ACTIVE
PASSIVE
B
ሐነጸ
to build
Bt
to be built
ገብረ
to do
ገብረ
to be done
to be made
ረከበ
to find
ረክበ
to be found
to exist
ነገረ
to speak
ነግረ
to be said
to be proclaimed
ወሀበ
to give
ህበ
to be given

Note that oftentimes, in Bt, the medial vowel disappears, so: (sagada – he worshipped) becomes ተሰደ (tasagda – he was worshipped.) Also, not every Bt, Dt, Lt and Qt form verb has a corresponding “active” form.

ACTIVE
PASSIVE
D
ገሠጸ
to instruct
Dt
ገሠጸ
to be admonished
ፈነወ
to send
ፈነወ
to be sent
ፈወሰ
To cure
ፈወሰ
to be healed
L
ሣቀየ
to torment
Lt
ሣቀየ
to suffer
ባረከ
to bless
ባረከ
to receive benediction
ቤዘወ
to redeem
ቤዘወ
to be redeemed
Q
ተርጐመ
to translate
Qt
ጐመ
to be translated
to be interpreted


21.2: Dt verbs, especially those derived from stative verbs, can also have the meaning of “to show / regard oneself as something”, so:

ጸደቀ
To be righteous
Dt
ተጸደቀ
(taṣaddaqa)
to feign righteousness
ብየ
to be powerful
ዐበየ
(taʿabbaya)
to be arrogant
ሀይመነ
to be a believer
ተሀይመነ
(tahaymana*)
to portray oneself
as a believer
*not Dt, but same idea

21.3: Lt verbs that are derived from B verbs often denote reciprocal, repeated or iterated actions, so:

D
ነጸረ
to see
Lt
ተናጸረ
(tanāṣara)
to look at each other
ነገረ
to say
ተናገረ
(tanāgara)
to converse
ወለደ
to bear
ተዋለደ
(tawālada)
to procreate
ጸብአ
to make war
ተጻብ
(taṣābʿa)
to fight one another

21.4: Some nouns appear verbalized in Dt form, so:

Noun
ነቢይ
a prophet
Dt
ተነበየ
(tanabbaya)
to prophesy
ሰብእ
a man
ተሰብ
(tasabbəʾ)
to become a man
ምስጢር
a secret
ተመስጠረ
(tamasṭara*)
to be kept secret
*not Dt, but same idea.

21.5: Bt, Dt, Lt, Qt verbs take direct and indirect objects. In verbs that take both, figuring out the subject can be a little tricky:

ተመሀረት፡ሕጋግ
vs.
ተመሀረት፡ሕጋ
tamahharat ḥəgāg
tamahharat ḥəgāga
The laws were taught.
She was taught the laws.




20: Object Suffixes

In Gəʿəz, pronominal suffixes on transitive verbs typically denote a direct object, i.e. a noun in the accusative case. To review the direct object, have another look at the entry on the accusative case. [If have difficulty viewing the Gəʿəz script on your browser, you may view this blog entry by clicking here.] 

ሐነጸ፡ንጉሥ፡ሀገረ à ሐነ፡ንጉሥ።
ḥanaṣa nəguš hagara // à hanaṣo nəguš //
The king built a city. à The king built it.

ዴገነት፡ወለታ፡ሊቃነ፡ዘመድ à ዴገነቶሙ፡ወለታ።
deganat walattā liqāna zamad // à deganatomu walattā //
Her daughter pursued the tribe’s elders. à Her daughter pursued them.

These same suffixes however may also denote indirect objects, particularly when affixed to verbs of speaking (addressing, telling, asking etc), verbs of giving (surrendering, depriving etc) and verbs of motion (going, befalling etc), so:

መጠወ፡ጳጳስ፡ሀገረነለአፍርንጅà መጠዎሙ፡ጳጳስ፡ሀገረነ
maṭṭawa pāppās hagarana laʾafrənj // à maṭṭawomu pāppās hagarana //
The bishop surrendered our city to the Romans. à The bishop surrendered our city to them.

ነገረ፡ዘንተስመለካህንà ነገዘንተ
nagara zanta səma lakāhən// à nagaro zanta //
He told this name to the priest. à He told this to him.

Oftentimes, as in Aramaic / Syriac, these suffixes will anticipate an object which appears later in the sentence, prefixed with the la- preposition. Lambdin terms this the “qatalo la-nəguš construction.” This type of anticipatory-suffix infuses the object with greater specificity and definiteness. Note that, in this construction, the object affixed with the la- is not marked in the accusative case.

ሐነጸ፡ንጉሥ፡ሀገረ à ሐነ፡ንጉሥ፡ሀገር
ḥanaṣa nəguš hagara // à hanaṣo nəguš lahagar//
The king built a city. à The king built [it,] the city.

ተርጐሙ፡ዛተጻሕፍተ à ተርጐምዛቲመጻሕፍት
targʷamu zāta maṣāhəfta // à targʷaməwwā lazāti maṣāḥəft //
They translated these books. à They translated [them,] these books.

The pronominal suffixes are, for the most part, fairly easy to spot and decipher. Here’s a general overview of how they appear


singular
plural
3rd masc.
-o
-
-omu
-ኦሙ
3rd fem.
-
-on
-ኦን
2nd masc.
-ka
-
-kəmu
-ክሙ
2nd fem.
-ki
-
-kən
-ክን
1st com.
-ni
-
-na
-

Some predictable phonetic changes occur to accommodate the 3rd person suffixes. Importantly, a helping “-h-” appears if they are affixed to stems ending in –ā. If they are affixed to stems ending in –u or -ə, they appear beginning with -əww and -əyy, respectively, so:

ቀተላ፡አነስት፡አርዌምድር à ቀተላ
qatalā ʾanast ʾarwe-mədr // à qatalāhu //
The women killed a snake. à They killed it.

ነጸሩ፡ዕብራዊያን፡መልእክተ à ነጸርዎሙ
naṣṣaru ʿəbrāwiyān malāʾəkta // à naṣṣarəwwomu //  
The Hebrews saw angels à They saw them.

19: Adjectives

The majority of adjectives in Gəʿəz, as in other Semitic languages, are verbal participles. A smaller number are denominal. They appear in a few different patterns and I’ve explained these patterns further below. Adjectives always reflect the number, gender and case of the nouns they modify and all the patterns follow, more or less, the following scheme:


M
F
Sng.
- / -
- / -t
Pl.
-ኣን / -ān
-ኣት /- āt

[If have difficulty viewing the Gəʿəz script on your browser, you may view this blog entry by clicking here.]

As in other Semitic languages, adjectives usually adjectives appear after the noun(s) they modify, so:

ሐነጹ፡ንጉሥ፡ምሁር፡ወአግብርቱ፡ጠበብት፡ሀገረ፡ሠናይተ፡ለካህናት፡ጻድቃን
ḥeneṣu nəguš məhur waʾagbərtu ṭababt hagara šannāyta lakāhnāt ṣādəqān //
The learned king, and his skilled servants, built a beautiful city for the pious priests.

ዴገነት፡ንግሥትነ፡ክብርት፡ሊቃነ፡ዕልዋነ፡ወእሙንቱ፡ጐዩ፡ብሔረ፡ባዕደ
deganat nəgəštna kəbərt liqāna ʿələwāna waʾəmuntu gʷayyu bḥera bāʿəda //
Our mighty queen pursued the rebellious elders and they fled to another land.

Similarly, cardinal / ordinal numbers and some quantifying adjectives generally precede the noun(s) they modify.

ቀለመ፡ብዙኃነ፡መጻሐፍተ፡ወተርጐመ፡ጸሓፊሁ፡ክታቦ፡ቅዱሰ፡ለካልእተ፡ልሳነ።
qalama bəzuxāna maṣāḥəfta watargʷama ṣaḥāfihu kətābo qəddūsa lakālʾəta ləsāna //
He authored many books and his scribe translated his sacred writing into another language.

And, as you would expect, adjectives are also fully functioning nouns. They can thus appear as predicates or in the construct state:

ራትዕ፡ነቢይክሙ።ራትዓን፡አንትሙ።እኩያነ፡ለብ፡ወነዳያነ፡መንፈስ፡አንትሙ።
rātʿə nabiykəmu // ʾirātʿān ʾantəmu // ʾəkuyāna ləbb wanaddāyāna manfas antəmu //
Your prophet is righteous. You all are not righteous. You all are evil of heart and poor of spirit.

ADJECTIVAL PATTERNS

1. The most frequently appearing adjectival pattern is characterized by an /-u/ on the second radical, so: ቱል (qətul) from B-verbs; ቅቱል (qəttul) from D-verbs and ቁቱል (qutul) from L verbs. Note that the –u is absent in the feminine singular inflection:

መሀረ mahara = to teach :
ምሁር məhur = educated / learned


M
F
Sng.
ምሁር
ምህር
məhur
məhərt
Pl.
ራን
məhurān
məhurāt

ነጸሐ naṣaḥa = to be pure :
ንጹሕ nəṣuḥ = pure / innocent / sincere


M
F
Sng.
ንጹሕ
ንጽሕ
nəṣuḥ
nəṣəḥt
Pl.
ንጹሓን
nəṣuḥān
nəṣuḥāt

ሰበሐ sabbaḥ = to praise :
ስቡሕ səbbuḥ = honorable / glorious / praised


M
F
Sng.
ስቡሕ
ስብሕ
səbbuḥ
səbbəḥt
Pl.
ስቡሓን
ስቡሓት
səbbuḥān
sebbuḥāt

Slight phonetic change accommodates roots that end with a -የ or a -ወ, so:

ሠነየ šannaya = to be beautiful :
ሥኑይ šannuy = adorned / decorated


M
F
Sng.
ሥኑይ
šannuy
šannit

ለበወ labbawa = to understand :
ልብው ləbbəw = wise / prudent


M
F
Sng.
ልብው
ləbbəw
ləbbut

2. Another adjectival pattern is characterized by an /-ā/ on the first radical, so: ቃትል (
qātəl). The ordinal numbers appear in this pattern (ኃምስ xāməs = fifth), which inflects quite simply:

ረትዐ ratʿa = to be righteous :
ራትዕ rātəʿ = righteous / just


M
F
Sng.
ራትዕ
ራትዕት
rātəʿ
rātəʿt
Pl.
ራትዓ
ራትዓት
rātəʿān
rātəʿāt

ብዕለ bəʿla = to be / become wealthy :
ባዕል bāʿəl = rich / wealthy


M
F
Sng.
ባዕል
ዕልት
bāʿəl
bāʿəlt
Pl.
ባዕላን
ባዕላት
bāʿəlān
bāʿəlāt

3. The third adjectival pattern includes few, albeit important, adjectives and is characterized by a /-i/ on the second radical, so: ቀቲል (qatil) from B-verbs and ቀቲል (qattil) for D-verbs. Note that the feminine form does not contain a /-t/ and that there is a common plural form:

ሐደሰ ḥaddasa = to restore :
ሐዲስ ḥadis = new


M
F
Sng.
ሐዲስ
ሐዳስ
ḥadis
ḥadās
Pl.
ሐደስት
ḥadast

ዐብየ ʿabya = to enlarge :
ዐቢይ ʿabiy = large


M
F
Sng.
ዐቢይ
ዐባይ
ʿabiy
ʿabāy
Pl.
ዐበይት
ʿabayt

4. The fourth adjectival pattern contains a characteristic doubling and elongation of the second radical, so: ቀታል (qattāl). Note that this form resembles the f. sing. form in the previous pattern.

ኄረወ xerawa = to be good :
ኄር xer = good


M
F
Sng.
ኄር
ኄርት
xer
xert
Pl.
ኄራ
ኄራት
xerān
xerāt

ሠነየ šannaya = to be beautiful :
ናይ šannāy = beautiful


M
F
sng.
ሠናይ
ሠናይት
šannāy
šannāyt
pl.
ሠናያ
ሠናያት
šannāyān
šannāyāt

5. Gəʿəz also derives adjectives from nouns. Whereas a few denominal adjectives have idiosyncratic patterns, e.g. ዐብድ ʿabd = ignorant, from ዐብድ ʿabd  = a fool, most denominal adjectives are formed with the suffix –āwi or –āy.

ዓለም ʿālam = the world :
ዓለማዊ ʿālamāwi = worldly


M
F
Sng.
ዓለማዊ
ዓለማዊት
ʿālamāwi
ʿālamāwit
Pl.
ዓለማዊያን
ዓለማዊያት
ʿālamāwiyān
ʿālamāwiyāt

መንፈስ manfas = the spirit / the essence :
መንፈሳዊ manfasāwi = spiritual


M
F
Sng.
መንፈሳዊ
መንፈሳዊት
manfasāwi
manfasāwit
Pl.
መንፈሳዊያን
መንፈሳዊያት
manfasāwiyān
manfasāwiyāt

18: Decipher Texts 1 - Gospel of Matthew


I’ve transcribed these excerpts from Rochus Zuurmond’s text-critical edition for the Gospel of Matthew, part of the Novum Testamentum Aethiopice series (Stuttgrat: F. Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden, 2001). I’ve selected passages from the A-text which, in Zuurmond’s estimation, is “the earliest retrievable Ge’ez Gospel text. It must have originated between the fourth and the sixth century as a translation of the Greek.” (p.7)

[If you have caught up with the other blog entries, these excerpts should now be fairly easy to decipher. In order to facilitate this process (and help you review), I’ve color coded my transliteration --> green indicates roots that appear in the verb glossary [blog entry 17]; orange indicates major prefixes and prepositions [9] and red indicates important suffixes i.e. the construct state [8], the accusative marker [11] and possession [12]. What’s left are, for the most part, easily recognizable cognates and proper nouns. I’ve glossed a few important terms below each text. Good luck!]

[NOTE: If you have trouble viewing the Fidel script, you can download this blog-entry in PDF format, here.]

I. MATTHEW 2:1-4

ወተወሊዶ፡ኢየሱስ፡በቤተ፡ልሔም፡ዘይሁዳ፡በመዋዕለ፡ሄሮድስ፡ንጉሥ፡ወናሁ፡መጽኡ፡ሰብአ፡ሰገል፡እምብሔረ፡ጽባሕ፡ውስተ፡ኢየሩሳሌም።
ወይቤሉ፡አይቴ፡ዘተወልደ፡ንጉሥ፡እስመ፡ርኢነ፡ኮከቦ፡በሠርቅ፡ወመጻእነ፡ንስግድ፡ሎቱ።
ወሰሚዖ፡ሄሮድስ፡ንጉሥ፡ተሀውከ፡ወኵላ፡ኢየሩሳሌም፡ምስሌሁ፡ወአስተጋብኦሙ፡ለኵሎሙ፡ሊቃናተ፡ካህናት[...]በአይቴ፡ይትወለድ፡ክርስቶስ።
watawalido ʾiyasus babeta ləḥm zayəhuda bamawāʿəla herodəs nəguš wanāhu1 meṣʾu sabʾa sagal2 ʾəmbḥera ṣbaḥ3 wəsta
ʾiyarusalem //
wabelu ʾayte4 zatawalda nəguš
ʾəsma rəʾina kokabo bašarq5 wamaṣoʾnasgəd lotu //
wasamiʿo herodəs nəguš tahawka wakʷəla ʾiyarusalem məslehu waastagābʾomu lakʷəlomu
liqanata kahənat […] baʾayte yətwalad krəstos //


1. ወናሁ = and-behold!
2. ሰብአ፡ሰገል = lit. men of divination i.e. the magi
3. ጽባሕ = the morning i.e. the east
4. አይቴ = where?
5. ሠርቅ = the east


II. MATTHEW 2:13-15

ወ[...]ናሁ፡መልአከ፡እግዚአብሔር፡አስተርአዩ፡ለዩሴፍ፡በሕልም፡ወይቤሎ፡ተንሥእ፡[...]
ወነሥኦ፡ለሕፃን፡ወለእሙ፡በሌሊት፡ወሖረ፡ብሔረ፡ግብጽ። ወነበረ፡
ህየ፡እስከ፡ሞተ፡ሄሮድስ።
wa[…]nāhu malʾaka ʾəgziabḥer
ʾastarʾayu layusef baḥləm
waybelo tanšəʾa […]

wanašʾo laḥḍān1 walaʾəmu balelit
waḥora bḥera gəbṣ2 // wanabara həyya ʾəska mota herodəs //


1. ሕፃን = the new-born / the infant
2. ግብጽ = Egypt


III. MATTHEW 4:25 – 5:1-2

ወተለውዎ፡ብዙኃን፡አሕዛብ፡እምገሊላ፡ወእምዓሠርቱ፡አህጉር፡ወእምኢየሩሳሌም፡ወይሁዳ፡ወሐይቀ፡ዮርዳኖስ።

ወሶበ፡ርእየ፡ብዙኀ፡አሕዛበ፡ዐርገ፡ውስተ፡ደብር፡ወነበረ፡ወመጽኡ፡አርዳኢሁ፡ወቀርቡ፡ኃቤሁ።ወከሠተ፡አፋሁ፡ወመሀሮሙ
watalawwo bəzxān ʾaḥzāb
ʾəmgalilā waʾəmʿaššartu1 ʾahgur
waʾəmiyarusalem wayəhuda
waḥayqa2 yordanos //

wasoba3 rəʾya bəzxa ʾaḥzāba ʿarga wəsta dabr wanabara wamaṣ’u ʾardāʾihu waqarbu xabehu wakašata ʾafhu wamaharomu //


1. ዓሠርቱ = ten
2. ሐይቅ = riverbank
3. ሶበ = qualifier of time i.e. when


17: Glossary of Roots

As with any Semitic language, Ge'ez verbs are the key to its repertoire of triliteral roots (i.e. השורש or الجذر.) I've compiled a glossary of verbs that contain frequently appearing roots, as an quick and easy reference for people starting out. You can scroll through the glossary here or you can download and print it, by clicking here: Roots Glossary. I have arranged the list in the traditional order of the Ethiopic alphabet, and included verb form, pronunciation, and Semitic cognates. To review the four forms of verbs (B - D - L - Q) and conjugations in the perfective (i.e. past tense), please refer to blog entries 10, 14 - 16. Please let me know of any edits / additions / subtractions / corrections!

16: Verbs: Quadriliterals - Perfective


The fourth category of verbs are those which have four (quadriliteral) or sometimes five (quinquiliteral) root consonants. These are fairly common in Ge’ez and the form itself has no particular meaning / effect. Quadriliteral verbs often emerge from borrowed terms from other languages. For instance, the verb መንኰሰ (menkʷese) "to become a monk, to retreat into asceticism" probably came from the Greek term μοναχός (monakhos) "solitary".


መንኰሰ [menkʷese = to become a monk] – Q-stem, Perfect

SINGULAR
PLURAL
1st Person
መንኰስ
menkʷesku
መንኰስክነ
menkʷeskne
2nd Person
መንኰስ
menkʷesk(m.)
መንኰስክሙ
menkʷeskəmu (m.)
መንኰስ
menkʷeski (f.)
መንኰስክን
menkʷeskə(f.)
3rd Person
መንኰ
menkʷese(m.)
መንኰ
menkʷesu (m.)
መንኰሰት
menkʷeset(f.)
መንኰ
menkʷesa (f.)

15: Verbs: Frequentative - Perfective


The third type of stem is the frequentative stem, also called the called the “L-stem. It correlates to Form-III in Arabic (فاعل). It’s characterized by a lengthening of the first radical in the root. This stem typically carries a frequentative meaning. For example, the simple verb ቀተለ (qetele) means "to kill" – the frequentative form, ተለ (qatele), means "to continuously kill, to persist in killing.”

ባረከ [bareke = to bless] – L-stem, Perfect


SINGULAR
PLURAL
1st Person
ባረ
barekku

ባረክ
barekne
2nd Person
ባረ
barekke (m.)

ባረክሙ
barekkəmu (m.)
ባረ
barekki (f.)

ባረክን
barekkə(f.)
3rd Person
ባረከ
bareke(m.)

ባረኩ
barek(m.)
ባረከት
bareket(f.)

ባረካ
barek(f.)







14: Verbs: Intensive - Perfective


The Intensive verb form, also called the “D-stem”, correlates to the D-stem in Aramaic (קִטֵּל), the Pi’el in Hebrew (פִעֵל) and the Form-II in Arabic (فعّل). It’s characterized by a doubling of the second radical in the root. Unlike these other scripts however, the Ethiopic script does not mark doubled sound (with a dagesh or shadda) which can cause some ambiguity. The intensive form of the verb typically denotes some kind of intensity, but this is not always the case. For example, the simple verb ቀተለ (qetele) means "to kill" -- the intensive form, ተለ (qettele), means "to annihilate, to kill off completely" etc.

ገሠጸ [geššeşe = to teach] – D-stem, Perfect

SINGULAR
PLURAL
1st Person
ገሠጽኩ
geššeşku
ገሠጽነ
geššeşne
2nd Person
ገሠጽከ
geššeşke (m.)
ገሠጽክሙ
geššeşkəmu (m.)
ገሠጽኪ
geššeşki (f.)
ገሠጽክን
geššeşkən (f.)
3rd Person
ገሠ
geššeşe(m.)
ገሠ
geššeşu (m.)
ገሠጸት
geššeşet(f.)
ገሠ
geššeşa (f.)










Here’s a list of some oft-appearing D-stem verbs to get started with. From now on, I’ll put [D] next to new verbs that occur in this stem.
ነጸረ
neşşere
to look, to watch

ነጸርኩ፡ሀገረ፡እምዲበ፡ድብር።
I looked at the city from the hill.
ነስሐ
nesseḥe
to repent

ነሰሐ፡እምነ፡ኀጢአቱ።
He repented for his sin.
ፈነወ
fennewe
to send

ፈነወት፡ንግሥትነ፡ማየ፡ለአግበርታ።
Our queen sent the water to her servants.
ሀለወ
hellewe
to exist

ሀለወት፡ሀገር፡ህየ።
There was a town here.
ጸውዐ
şewwəºe
to call, to proclaim

ጸውዑ፡ሰብአ፡ደቂቆሙ።
The men called their children.





























13: Quick Review

I thought I should pause here to review what's been covered so far. These seven sentences are based on the grammatical structures and vocabulary put up in the blog entries up to this point. I hope things are starting to look more transparent now!


ቅድመ፡ፍልሰተ፡ባቢሎን፡ሐነጹ፡ድቂቀ፡እስራኤል፡ቤተ፡መቅደስ፡ዲበ፡ደብር፡ወዐቀቡ፡ሕጋገ፡ነቢያትሆሙ፡በዛምድር።
qədme fəlsete babilon ḥeneşu dəqiqe əsraēl bēte meqdes dibe debr
weºeqebu ḥəgage nebiyathomu bezamədr.
Before the-exile-[cnst.] Babylon [they]-built children-[cnst.] Israel house-[acc.] holy atop the-mount
and [they]-kept the-laws-[cnst.] their-prophets in-this-land.
Before the Babylonian Exile, the Children of Israel built the Temple on the mount and they observed the laws of their prophets in this land.

ወረደ፡ኢየሱስ፡ወልደ፡እጓለ፡እመሕያው፡ኢየሩሳሌመ፡ወሰበከ፡ውስተ፡ዛሀገር።
werede iyesus welde əgʷale əmmeḥeyaw iyerusalēme wesebeke weste zaheger
[He]-descended Jesus son-[csnt.] seed-[cnst.] Eve Jerusalem-[loc.] and [he]-preached in that-city.
Jesus, the son of man, came down to Jerusalem and he preached in that city.

ዝንቱ፡ቤትየ፡ይእቲ፡ወአንተ፡ወካህንከ፡ወወሉደ፡እኁከ፡በቤትየ፡አንተሙ።
zentu bētye yə’əti we’ente wekahənke wewelude əxuke bebētye entəmu
This my-house [she]-is and-you and-your-priest and-sons-[cnst.] your-lord in-my-house [you]-are
This is my house and you, your priest and your nephews are in my house.

ሖረ፡ነቢይከ፡እምሀገር፡ወረከብኩ፡ዛነቢየ፡በአድባረ፡ዛምድር።
ḥore nebiyke emheger werekebku zanebiye be’edbare zamedr.
[He]-went your-prophet from-city and [I]-found this-prophet-[acc.] in hills-[cnst.] that-land.
Your prophet went out of the city and I found this prophet in the hills of that land.

ወረዱ፡መላአክተ፡ሰማይ፡ውስተ፡ሀገርየ፡ወሰአሉ፡ነቢየነ።
Weredu mela’ekte semay wəste hegerye wese’elu nebiyene.
[They]-descended angels-[cnst.] the-sky into my-city and-[they]-questioned our-prophet-[acc.].
The angels of the sky descended into my city and they questioned our prophet.

ወፅዕነ፡እምቤተ፡ወሉደ፡ነጉሥ፡ወረአየነ፡አብያተ፡ክርስቲያን።
weðºene embēte welude nəguš were’yene ebyate krəstiyan.
[We]-departed from-houses-[cnst.] sons-[cnst.] king and-[we]-saw houses-[cnst.] christians.
We departed from the houses of the princes and we saw churches.

ገብረት፡ንግሥትነ፡ዛዕጸደ፡ወነበሩ፡ጸሓፊሃ፡ወአግበርታ፡በአብያትሆሙ።
gebret nəgəštne zaºəşede wenebere şeḥafiha we’egberta be’ebyathome.
[She]-made our-queen this-village-[acc.] and-[he]-lives her-scribe and-her-slaves in-their-houses
Our queen made this village, and her scribe and slaves live in their houses.

12: Possession


As in other Semitic languages, possession in Ge’ez is typically indicated through a set of pronominal suffixes added directly on to the noun:
12.1: Here are all the possessive pronominal suffixes. Some of them have accusative forms which are indicated in the parenthesis: <X>
ቤትየ
betya
my house
<ቤተነ>
betna
<betana>
our house
ቤትከ
<ቤተከ>
betka
<betaka>
your (m.) house
ቤትክሙ
<ቤተክሙ>
betkəmu
<betakəmu>
your (m. pl.) house
ትኪ
<ቤተኪ>
betki
<betaki>
your (f.) house
<ቤተክን>
betkən
<betakən>
your (f. pl.) house
<ቤቶ>
Betu
<beto>
his house
ቤቶ
betomu
their (m.) house
ቤታ
betā
her house
ቤቶ
beton
their (f.) house






















12.2: Nouns that end in a vowel take a helping consonant -h- in all the 3rd person possessions. For instance, with the word “ምንዳቤ” (məndābe =  anguish, suffering, affliction.) There are no distinct accusative forms for nouns that end in vowels:
ምንዳቤ
məndābehu
His anguish
ምንዳቤ
məndābehomu
Their (m.) anguish
ምንዳቤ
məndābeha
Her anguish
ምንዳቤ
məndābehon
Their (f.) anguish









12.3: The only exceptions are nouns that end in the vowel –i. In 2nd person possessions, the accusative form replaces the -i with an -e:
ዝንቱ፡ጸሓፊከ፡ውእቱ።
Zəntu şaḥāfika wə’ətu
This is your scribe.
à
ረከብኩ፡ጸሓከ።
rakabku  şaḥāfeka
I found your scribe.


12.4: All plurals, both regular and broken, take the vowel –i(h)- before for all pronomial suffixes above (12.1). They have no distinct accusative forms:
ሊቃኒየ
liqāniya
my elders
ሊቃኒነ
liqānina
our elders
ነቢያቲከ
nabiyātika
your (m.) prophets
nabiyātikəmu
your (m. pl.) prophets
አህጉሪሃ
ahgurihā
her cities
አህጉሪ
ahgurihon
their (f. pl.) cities














12.5: Most biconsonantal nouns take the vowel –u(h)- before the pronominal suffixes above (12.1). In the accusative form, they vowel changes to –a(h)-.
የ፡በቤትየ፡ውእቱ።
abuya babetya wə’ətu
My father is in my house.
à
ረእየኩ፡አየ።
ra'yaku abaya
I saw my father.
በጽሐ፡እሁ።
başḥa əxuhu
His brother arrived.
à
መርሐ፡እኁየ፡እሁ።
marḥa əxuye  əxʷahu
My brother led his brother.

12.6: The preposition “la-” has a distinct set of pronominal suffixes:

ሎቱ
lotu
to him
lomu
to them (m.)
lāti
to her
lon
to them (f.)
ለከ
laka
to you (m.)
ለክ
lakəmu
to you all (m.)
laki
to you (f.)
ለክ
lakən
to you all (f.)
lita
to me
ለነ
lana
to us (m.)