What language is this?

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What language is this?

Postby Paul » Sun 06 Sep 2009 1:16 pm

I recently acquired several documents from White House news reporter Wauhillau La Hay's estate. They are mostly invitations to formal meals with many different foreign diplomats. Laid into one of the invitations was this sheet of paper. It has her name at the top and something else repeated twice below. It was laid into an invitation to a dinner with Singapore PM Lee Kuan Yew in 1973. But it does not look like Chinese to me. It could have been with the wrong invitation.

I assume it is either the name of a foreign diplomat in their native language (an autograph) or perhaps Wauhillau La Hay's name in a foreign language.

Can anyone tell me what language it is? And what it says?

Thanks, Paul
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Re: What language is this?

Postby Aeetlrcreejl » Sun 06 Sep 2009 2:37 pm

It's in the Arabic script. Could be Malay written in the Arabic script.
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Re: What language is this?

Postby linguoboy » Sun 06 Sep 2009 4:03 pm

It says "Wauhillau La Hay", first without diacritics (i.e. shadda for the double 'l' and vowel points) and then with them.
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Re: What language is this?

Postby Talib » Sun 06 Sep 2009 10:00 pm

Which appears to be an error because it says wauhayllau.

I'm not sure what sound <au> is supposed to represent.

Anyway, I second Aeercreetjl's guess of Malay written in Arabic script.
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Re: What language is this?

Postby Aeetlrcreejl » Tue 08 Sep 2009 2:53 am

Talib wrote:Aeercreetjl's

Aeetlrcreejl. It's okay though, nobody every gets it.

And I too thought the fatħa was weirdly placed there.
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Re: What language is this?

Postby Talib » Tue 08 Sep 2009 3:45 am

It's supposed to be a kasra, that's why.
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Re: What language is this?

Postby linguoboy » Tue 08 Sep 2009 3:51 am

Talib wrote:Which appears to be an error because it says wauhayllau.

I've got no idea how the name Wauhillau is pronounced but /ai/ for i wouldn't be unheard of despite the following doubled consonant. Lords knows I've seen even more eccentric pronunciations of given names.
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Re: What language is this?

Postby Talib » Tue 08 Sep 2009 4:11 am

I thought that might be it, actually. Apparently au represents something like [aː] based on the spelling. Perhaps it was based on English orthography.
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Re: What language is this?

Postby Paul » Tue 08 Sep 2009 9:11 pm

Thanks to everyone for the discussion and the translation. For what it is worth Wauhillau La Hay was a Cherokee Indian but I do not know how her first name was pronounced either.

A Cherokee name in the Malay launguage in Arabic script.

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Re: What language is this?

Postby Neqitan » Tue 08 Sep 2009 10:31 pm

We only supposed it was a transcription in Malay. Now that you menntion that, maybe it was Cherokee converted to Islam, or somebody that knew Arabic but not Cherokee and wrote his name based on English, or who knows what. :)
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