Over at his blog Panchronica, Guillaume Jacques expresses his delight about The Jesus Film, that product of some American Protestant sect that has now been translated into an enormous amount of languages, even ones for which written material is extremely scanty. It has certainly been of great help to me as I’ve learned Ossetian, and the existence of separate Albanian translations for Kosovo and the Republic of Albania will help foreign learners feel comfortable with both the Gheg and Tosk variants of that language.
While there is probably no other film so widely translated as The Jesus Film, for my own particular purposes I’ve been pleased to find something else, and where the story is less likely to be familiar to the viewer: the Soviet cartoon Трое из Простоквашино (“The Trio from Prostokvashino”) has been dubbed into a number of languages, mainly from Southern Russia and the Caucasus, for example:
- Karachay-Balkar (I was very surprised by how difficult this language is to understand, I thought I would be able to follow it pretty easily after learning Kipchak languages from further east);
- Tatar (under the translated title Простоквашинодан өчәү)
Clicking the links in the sidebar, one can find one’s way to other cartoons in various languages of the former USSR. There’s even an entire playlist of Ossetian-dubbed cartoons.
The following table of 203 Ossetian verbs with their principal parts and transitivity is derived from F. M. Takazov’s textbook Самоучитель осетинского языка (Владикавказ, «Респект», 2012). Continue reading Ossetian verbs: a table and flashcard set
J. L. Cheung’s Studies in the Historical Development of the Ossetic Vocalism (Wiesbaden, Reichert Verlag, 2002), which goes well beyond what its title suggests, is in many respects an updating or refinement of Abaev’s Ossetian etymological dictionary. Cheung’s monograph also has an index for each of the languages, Iranian or otherwise, drawn on in the work. Unlike Abaev’s enormous, and mostly wrong, use of Mari, Cheung limits his etymologies to just four Mari words: βerɣe ‘kidney’, kutkə̑ž ‘eagle’, ož(o) ‘stallion’ and pire ‘wolf’.
Thus we are on much firmer ground than in Abaev’s dictionary, although Cheung again misrepresents the Mari word for ‘wolf’ as
pirägy, and that is probably a borrowing from Tatar anyway.
V. I. Abaev’s Историко-этимологический словарь осетинского языка (published in four volumes in 1958–1989) is quite famous and I was happy to discover a PDF on everyone’s favourite filesharing community for linguistics books. You can also order a paper version from some Russian online bookstores as print-on-demand. However, it wasn’t until I browsed the Helsinki library shelves that I discovered there was an index for it as well. The Указатель volume was published in Moscow in 1995.
(Furthermore, Abaev also published 22 pages of addenda and corrections to the dictionary as his contribution to the Festschrift for Ladislav Zgusta Historical, Indo-European and Lexicographical Studies ed. Hans H. Hock, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1997.)
The index contains sections for all the various languages Abaev dealt with, including individual Finno-Ugrian languages. As I am very interested in late East Iranian loanwords in Mari, I looked at what Mari words Abaev had mentioned. Below I present a list, with Abaev’s representation of the Mari (a jumble of transcriptions and dialect forms) replaced by the Tscheremissisches Wörterbuch headwords. Unfortunately, most of these can be treated as Chuvash or Tatar loanwords, inherited Uralic vocabulary or coincidential resemblances, and certainly not as the result of direct Iranian–Mari contact. Clearly the field has moved on since Abaev’s heyday.
||Not in TschWb, but if Mari it would be < Chuvash
||gän id., kättag ‘cloth’
||I 513, I 590
||k’ozä ‘conifer shoot’
||< PU *kose
||< PU *mïrja
|rüzem ‘to shake (trans.)’
||rizyn ‘to shake (intrans.)’
|šu ‘bristle, fishbone’
|tomaša ‘strange thing; commotion’
||< Chuvash or Tatar
||< Cv. tăvăl or Tat. tawïl
|tə̑rke ‘young pine’
||< PU *wosa, borrowed from PIE
|[eŋer-]βaze ‘fishing rod’
||wis ‘rod, pole’
It’s worth mentioning that Abaev’s supposed Mari word for ‘wolf’ is
pirägy, clearly from MariE pire but in itself clearly erroneous. Abaev’s ghost word was later perpetuated in J. L. Cheung’s Studies in the Historical Development of the Ossetic Vocalism, p. 173, about which more later.