Name that language

This week we have a quiz question from TJ. Can you identify this language and provide a translation?

Abán hav lan lahhamá d’sunqan yawman

Clues: this language acted as a lingua franca in a large region for about 1000 years, and is still spoken by a few small communities in that region. It was also the mother tongue of a famous carpenter. The above sentence refers to a type of food.

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This entry was posted in Language, Quiz questions.

15 Responses to Name that language

  1. TJ says:

    aaaaaa ………………….. can I answer this? :)

  2. Dvid says:

    Is it a persian/italian language called sabir?

  3. David says:

    I found that one of the words mean to do with water or a god. Can water count as a type of food???

  4. Simon says:

    David – water is not mentioned in the sentence.

    Dvid – It isn’t sabir.

  5. David says:

    Simon it was me that said it was sabir also, i accidently spelt my name wrong.

  6. David says:

    Is the language part of the Romance Languages?

  7. David says:

    Is it spoken around the middle-east?

  8. Somedude says:

    Is it Aramaic?

  9. Simon says:

    David – it isn’t a Romance language but it is spoken in parts of the Middle East.

    Somedude has got it – it is indeed Aramaic. Well done!

    It comes from the bible (Luke) and is part of a well-known prayer.

  10. I’m gonna take a wild guess here…the line wouldn’t be “Give us this day our daily bread,” would it?

    I don’t speak any languages in this family, but the “food” reference makes me suspect it.

  11. Simon says:

    Minstrel – you’ve got it! Would you like to come up with a question for next week’s quiz? If so, please send it to me by email.

    Here’s what the sentence looks like in the Syriac/Aramaic alphabet:

    Give us this day our daily bread in Aramaic

    Source: http://www.peshitta.org

  12. Podolsky says:

    There is a small mistake in the transcription. It should be:
    hav lan lahhma de-sunqanan kulyom.
    yawman is Arabic for today;
    kulyom is Syriac ‘every day’.

  13. I got here too late to guess before the answer was given, but I did think “Aramaic” before I scrolled down to see the comments! I must admit, however, I would’ve been stumped if it were not for the clues. A good one!

  14. TJ says:

    Podolsky: actually the “-an” suffix is the same as “-na” suffix in arabic which refer to “us” or “ours”
    the word originally in aramaic is “yawm” or “yoom” (as in hebrew) and when you say “our day” it would be “yawmAN” or “yoomAn”

    in Arabic “our day” would be “yawmana” (not yoomana)
    and “yawman” in Arabic means “a day” (no definitive article)
    The “an” suffix comes in arabic for words that have no definitive article (of course not in all grammatical situations however) ! :)

    Minstrel: please tell me also the question and the answer ^+_+^ eh eh eh

  15. Simon: Sent the question. Hope it works! If not, you’re free to come up with a better one. :-)