QUESTIONS ARISING FROM 80th. MEETING – 7/7/17 (the record of earlier meetings can be downloaded from the main Circulus page as can the version of Ciceronis Filius with illustrations added. The illustrated text of Genesis is available on the Genesis page)
Stella mentioned that this year was the 20th anniversary not only of the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR but also of the publication of the first novel in the Harry Potter series, which Stella herself had celebrated by purchasing the Latin version: Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis. The translator, Peter Needham, who confessed to not having read any of the books before he got the job, had previously taught Latin at Eton College. Needham later translated the second novel, Harrius Potter et Camerra Secretorum. There is in fact a well-established tradition of producing Latin versions of classic children’s stories, examples including Winnie Ille Pu and Alicia in Terra Mirabili and J.K. Rawlins, who herself studied the language up to the end of her first year of university, was keen to have some of her own work similarly treated. John mentioned that the first Harry Potter book has also been brought out in Ancient Greek but confessed that, though he had had this on his shelves for many years, he was yet to read it through.
There was a question about the Latin translation of the Harry Potter spells. John explained that many of these are in Latin to start with so don’t need any change – for example acciō (`I send for’ – the summoning charm), cruciātus (`torture’ – one of the three `Unforgivable Curses’) and expectō patrōnum (`I await my patron’ – the spell that brings a magical protector – in Harry’s case a stag - out of the end of a wand. We were not sure, without consulting the texts themselves, whether any non-standard linguistic features in other spells were `corrected’ in Needham’s Latin translation.
Mention was also made of the 10th anniversary of the invention of the i-phone, whose advent was announced by Steve Jobs in 2007 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_iPhone). This led to brief discussion of `Moore’s Law’, the observation made by Gordon Moore in 1965 that the number of transistors that could be packed into a single integrated circuit (and thus the speed of the chip) was doubling every year. There is some controversy at the moment over whether this `Law’ still holds (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law) and Moore himself has acknowledged that it cannot continue to do so indefinitely. Still on the electronic front, it was noted that YouTube had been an independent company later acquired by Google.
Zhng Wei was continuing to follow Swarthmore College’s on-line reading of Abelard’s Historia Calamitatum, a text he said was interesting but quite difficult. For details, see the record of our June meeting.
Jeanne mentoned Neville Sarony, a barrister and former professor of law at City University, who is married to a Nepali (the younger sister of his first wife who died some years ago) and is the author of one autobiographical volume (Counsel in the Clouds), focussing on Nepal in the 1960s, and two thrillers set in Nepal – The Dharma Expedient and Devlin’s Chakra. The second novel was recently launched in Hong Kong (see https://www.ticketflap.com/neville-sarony). He is in addition a trustee of the Nepal Umbrella Foundation, an NGO that helps protect Nepalese children from traffickers (see http://umbrellanepal.org/) John corresponded with him briefly in 2015 but they have not yet menaged to meet up.
We also touched on theories about the afterlife, including the Chinese concept of `Hell number 18’, the place where the worst offenders end up. This would correspond to the pit at the centre of Hell in Dante’s inferno, where, in line with medieval Christianity’s decidedly politically incorrect notions, Mohammed is continually cleft in two.
John learned that, when drumming his fingers on the table to acknowledge somebody’s pouring tea (or wine) for him, he should keep all the fingers together rather than tapping them separately! The practise, as is well-known, is said to have originated from an incognito journey to southern China by an empror, whose accompanying courtiers, unable to bow properly and thus reveal his identity, had instead to kowtow with their fingers.
There was another brief discussion on the enormous number of mainlanders visiting HK annully – now aroud 43 million – and on the effect on the property market of mainland money.
Ths led to the topic of linguistic differences within China and the fact that Putonghua could be regarded as Beijing dialect, shorn of the peculiarities of the latter (particularly the notorious `r’) which make it difficult for people from other provinces to pronounce. Jeanne remembered how her father, claimed never to speak `Putonghua’, but only the Kuomintang’s guoyu (Cantonese `Gwokyu’ – the term employed at Kiangsu-Chekiang College in Kwai Chung when John taught there in the 1980s). In fact the two were virtually the same thing, and also little different from guanhua (`official language’, i.e. `Mandarin’), the pan-Chinese lingua franca employed before the 1911 Revolution. Twenty years ago, John wrote a now-partly out-dated essay on the evolving relationship between Cantonese and the national language – `The Future of Cantonese: Current Trends’, which can be downloaded from http://hkjo.lib.hku.hk/archive/files/4f2b75239ff867ce521ae391d01eacb9.pdf
We compared the origins of Putonghua with that of Hindi and Urdu, national languages of India and Pakistani,which were also based on the speech variety found near the centre of political power – in the South Asian case, Delhi and the region to the west of it. Hindi and Urdu are virtually identical at the colloquial level but diverge in thir more literary registers because the former borrows from classical Sanskrit and the latter from Arabic and Persian.In written form they appear totally different because Hindi, like Nepali, is written in the Devanagari syllabary and Urdu in the Persi-Arabic script. The name `Hindustani’ is often felt to have colonial overtones but it is still useful as a neutral label for the common core of the two national languages. This is sufficiently close to the major regional languages of north India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan to be very easily acquired by their speakers, a feature which helps explain the popularity of `Bollywood’ (Hindi movies) throughout this wider area.
Relationship between Hindi and Urdu ( a limitation in the browser results in the Urdu script being written left-to-right rather than the correct right-to-left)
HINDI URDU ENGLISH Informal (spoken) _____ aapkaa naam kyaa hai? ________ What is your name? (written) आपका नाम क्या है? ہے؟ یا ک نام کا آپ
Formal (spoken) aapkaa shubha nam kyaa hai?aapka izm-i-sheruf kyaa hai? What is your good name?
Approximate locations of major Indo-Aryan language/dialects
We considered the tendency in Hong Kong, south Asia and many other places for those with some knowledge of English to pepper their own langage with phrses taken from it. John recalled overhearing two Chinese hikers discussing what route to take and one of them saying `Mouh dahk biht(冇特別) preference.’ (`I have no special preference’). Similarly, Nepalis frequently use an English loan word rather than the formal terms found in literary Nepali. Thus a newspaper might use the Sanskrit word prahari for `police’ but in colloquial Nepali it would almost invariably be polis.
The text of Genesis chapters 7 and 8, shich we read aloud and answered questions on, is given below
GENESIS Chapter 7
1.Dīxitque dominus ad eum: Ingredere tū et omnis domus tua in arcam: tē enim vīdī And-said lord to him go you and all house your into ark you for I-have-seen iūstum cōram mē in generātiōne hāc. just before me in generation this 2.Ex omnibus animantibus mundīs tolle septēna et septēna, masculum et fēminam: dē Out-of all animals clean take seven-each and seven-each male and female from animantibus vērō immundīs duo et duo, masculum et fēminam. animals indeed unclean two and two male and female 3.Sed dē volātilibus caelī septēna et septēna, masculum et fēminam; ut salvētur sēmen But from flying-things of-sky seven-each and seven-each male and female that may-be-saved seed super faciem ūniversae terrae. upon face of-whole earth 4.Adhūc enim, et post diēs septem ego pluam super terram quadrāgintā diēbus et still for and after days seven I will-rain upon earth for-forty days and quadrāgintā noctibus: et dēlēbō omnem substantiam, quam fēcī, dē superficiē terræ. forty nights and-I-will-destroy every entity which I-have-made from surface of-earth 5.Fēcit ergō Noë omnia quæ mandāverat eī Dominus. made therefore Noah all-things that had-commanded to-him the-lord 6. Eratque sexcentōrum annōrum quandō dīluviī aquæ inundāvērunt super terram. and-he-was of-six-hundred years when of-flood waters over-flowed upon the-earth 7. Et ingressus est Noë et filiī ejus, uxor ejus et uxōrēs filiōrum ejus cum eō in arcam and entered [is] Noah and sons his wife his and wives of daughters his with him into ark propter aquās dīluviī. because-of waters of-flood 8. Dē animantibus quoque mundīs et immundīs, et dē volucribus, et ex omnī quod From animals also clean and unclean and from flying-things and from everything which movētur super terram, moves upon earth 9. duo et duo ingressa sunt ad Noë in arcam, masculus et fēmina, sīcut præcēperat two and two entered [are] to Noah into ark male and female as had-instructed Dominus Noë. the-lord Noah 10. Cumque trānsīssent septem diēs, aquæ dīluviī inundāvērunt super terram. And-when had-passed seven days waters of-flood over-flowed upon the-earth NOTES  Seven of each clean species were apparently selected to provide three breeding pairs plus one animal to be sacrificed to God. The `clean’ category included animals with cleft hooves which chewed the cud (e.g. cows), fish with scales and most birds except scavengers. There is an illustrated account at https://tben.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/the-shadow-of-the-old-testament-part-5-clean-and-unclean-meat/ Diēbus…noctibus: ablative plural for duration of time which would be expressed by the accusative in classical Latin trānsīssent: contraction of trānsīvissent
11. Annō sexcentēsimō vītæ Noë, mēnse secundō, septimōdecimō diē mēnsis, ruptī in-year six-hundedth of-life of-Noah in-month second 17th on-day of-month ruptured sunt omnēs fontēs abyssī magnæ, et cataractæ cælī apertæ sunt: were all springs of-abyss great and cataracts of-heaven opened-were 12. et facta est pluvia super terram quadrāgintā diēbus et quadrāgintā noctibus. and made was rain upon earth for-forty days and forty nights 13.In articulō diēī illīus ingressus est Noë, et Sem, et Cham, et Japheth fīliī ejus; uxor in moment of-day that entered [was] Noah and Sem and Cham and Japheth sons his wife illīus, et trēs uxōrēs fīliōrum ejus cum eīs in arcam: of-him and three wives of-sons of-him with those into ark 14. ipsī et omne animal secundum genus suum, ūniversaque jūmenta in genere suō, et themselves and every animal according-to kind its and-all beasts-of-burden in kind own and omne quod movētur super terram in genere suō, cūnctumque volātile secundum everything which move \upon earth in kind its and-every flying-thing according-to genus suum, ūniversæ avēs, omnēsque volucrēs, kind its all birds and-all flying-creatures 15. ingressæ sunt ad Noë in arcam, bīna et bīna ex omnī carne, in quā erat spīritus entered [were] to Noah into ark two-each and two-each from all flesh in which was breath vītæ. of-life 16. Et quæ ingressa sunt, masculus et fēmina ex omnī carne introiērunt, sīcut and things-which entered [are] male and female from all flesh they-went-in as præcēperat eī Deus: et inclūsit eum Dominus dēforīs. had-commanded to-him God and shut-in him Lord from-outside 17. Factumque est dīluvium quadrāgintā diēbus super terram: et multiplicātæ sunt and-made was flood forty for-days upon the-earth and multiplied were aquæ, et ēlevāverūnt arcam in sublīme ā terrā. waters and they-raised the-ark into a-height from earth 18. Vehementer enim inundāvērunt, et omnia replēvērunt in superficiē terræ: porrō With-force for they-overflowed and all-things filled-up on surface of-earth moreover arca ferēbātur super aquās. the-arc was-carried upon waters 19. Et aquæ prævaluērunt nimis super terram: opertīque sunt omnēs montēs excelsī and waters prevailed too-much upon earth and-covered were all mountains lofty sub ūniversō cælō. under whole sky 20. Quīndecim cubitīs altior fuit aqua super montēs, quōs operuerat. Fifteen cubits higher was water above mountains which it-had-covered 21. Cōnsūmptaque est omnis carō quæ movēbātur super terram, volucrum, And-consumed was all flesh which moved upon earth of-birds animantium, bēstiarum, omniumque reptilium, quæ reptant super terram: ūniversī of-animals of-beasts and-of-all reptiles which creep upon earth all hominēs, men 22. et cūncta, in quibus spīrāculum vītæ est in terrā, mortua sunt. And all-things in which breath of-life is on earth dead are 23. Et dēlēvit omnem substantiam quæ erat super terram, ab homine usque ad pecus, and he-destroyed every entity which was upon earth from man right-up to cattle tam reptile quam volucrēs cælī: et dēlēta sunt dē terrā. Remānsit autem sōlus Noë, et both reptiles and birds of-sky and eliminated they-were from earth remained however alone Noah and quī cum eō erant in arcā. those-who with him were in ark 24. Obtinuēruntque aquæ terram centum quinquāgintā diēbus. And-prevailed-over waters the-earth hundred fifty for-days
NOTES  The Hebrew ramesh usually means `creeping’ or `crawling’ and the Septuagint’s herpeton something slow-moving, so the reference is presumably to reptiles so KJV (`creeping thing’) is accurate and Jerome’s omne quod movēbātur too general. ūniversae avēs, omnēsque volucrēs: Jerome uses to words for `birds’whereas the Hebrew is literally `birds of every sort’
1 Recordātus autem Deus Noë, cūnctōrumque animantium, et omnium jūmentōrum, Remembered however God Noah and-all animals and all beasts-of-burden quæ erant cum eō in arcā, addūxit spīritum super terram, et imminūtæ sunt aquæ. which were with him in ark brought (his) spirit/breath over earth and lessened were waters 2 Et clausī sunt fontēs abyssī, et cataractæ cælī: et prohibitæ sunt pluviæ dē cælō. and closed were springs of-abyss and cataracts of-heaven and barred were rains from sky 3.Reversæque sunt aquæ dē terrā euntēs et redeuntēs: et cœpērunt minuī post centum and-reversed were waters from earth going and returning and began to-be-reduced after 100 quīnquagintā diēs. 100 50 days 4.Requiēvitque arca mēnse septimō, vīgēsimō septimō diē mēnsis, super montēs and-rested ark in-month seventh on-twentieth seventh day of-month above mountains Armeniæ. of-Armenia 5. At vērō aquæ ībant et dēcrēscēbant usque ad decimum mēnsem: decimō enim mēnse, But indeed the-waters were-going and decreasing up to tenth month in-tenth for month prīmō diē mēnsis, apparuērunt cacūmina montium. on-first day of-month appeared summits of-mountains 6. Cumque trānsīssent quadrāgintā diēs, aperiēns Noë fenestram arcæ, quam fēcerat, And-when had-passed forty days opening Noah window of-ark which he-had-made dīmīsit corvum, sent-off raven 7. quī ēgrediēbātur, et nōn revertēbātur, dōnec siccārentur aquæ super terram. which was-going-out and not returning until should-dry-up waters upon earth 8. Ēmīsit quoque columbam post eum, ut vidēret sī jam cessāssent aquæ super He-sent-out also dove after it so-that it-might-see if now had-receded waters over faciem terræ. face of-earth 9 Quæ cum nōn invēnisset ubi requiēsceret pēs ejus, reversa est ad eum in arcam: which when not had-found place-where it-might-rest foot its returned [is] to him into ark aquæ enim erant super ūniversam terram: extenditque manum, et apprehēnsam intulit waters for were over entire earth and-he-extended hand and having-been-caught brought in arcam. into ark 10 Expectātīs autem ultrā septem diēbus aliīs, rūrsum dīmīsit columbam ex arcā. Having-been-awaited but further seven days other again he-sent-off dove out-of ark 11 At illa vēnit ad eum ad vesperam, portāns rāmum olivæ virentibus foliīs in ōre suō: But that came to him towards evening carrying branch of-olive with-green leaves in mouth its intellēxit ergō Noë quod cessāssent aquæ super terram. inderstood therefore Noah that had-receded waters upon earth
NOTES recordor (1), like meminī and oblīvīscor, normally takes a genitive object.  KJV, as usual more faithful to the original Hebrew, says the waters `returned continually’. Jerome’s euntēs et redeuntēs perhaps refers to rain’s normal feature of stopping and starting again, or to the waters flowing this way and that as they receded.  The Hebrew and Vulgate have `Ararat’ (corresponding to the the Assyrian Uratu), which referred to the whole region between the Araxes River and Lake Van (the kingdom of Urartu covered a wider area – see the map). Mt Ararat (16, 254 feet), which is in modern Turkey, is the highest of the area’s many peaks.  The subjunctive siccārentur is used as the reference is to the purpose or expectation in the bord’s (or Noah’s) mind. Whether the bird eventually returned is left open. cessāssent: contraction of pluperfect subjunctive cessāvissent. The normal meaning of cessō (1) is `cease’, `stop’.  The very common classical idion of using a passive perefect particple instead of a finite verb for the first of two actions done to the same object: [columbam] apprehēnsam intulit = apprehendit et intulit.  Ablative absolute (literally `with another further seven days having been further waited for’)
12 Expectāvitque nihilōminus septem aliōs diēs: et ēmīsit columbam, quæ nōn est And-he-waited nevertheless seven other days and sent-out dove which not [is] reversa ultrā ad eum. returned any-more to him 13 Igitur sexcentesimō prīmō annō, prīmō mēnse, prīmā diē mēnsis, imminūtæ sunt Therefore in 600th first year in-first month on-first day of-month lessened were aquæ super terram: et aperiēns Noë tēctum arcæ, aspexit, vīditque quod exsiccāta waters upon earth and opening Noah mouth of-ark he-looked and-saw that dried-out esset superficiēs terræ. was surface of-earth 14 Mēnse secundō, septimō et vīgēsimō diē mēnsis ārefacta est terra. In-month second on-seventh and twentieth day of-month made-dry was earth 15 Locūtus est autem Deus ad Noë, dīcēns: Spoke [is] moreover God to Noah saying 16 Ēgredere dē arcā, tū et uxor tua, fīliī tuī et uxōrēs fīliōrum tuōrum tēcum. Go-out from ark you and wife your sons your and wives of-sons your with-you 17 Cūncta animantia, quæ sunt apud tē, ex omnī carne, tam in volātilibus quam in All animals which are with you out-of all flesh both in flying-things and in bēstiīs et ūniversīs reptilibus, quæ reptant super terram, ēdūc tēcum, et ingrediminī beasts and all reptiles which creep upon earth lead-out with-you and enter super terram: crēscite et multiplicāminī super eam. upon earth grow and multiply upon it 18 Ēgressus est ergō Noë, et fīliī ejus: uxor illīus, et uxōrēs fīliōrum ejus cum eō. Went-out [is] therefore Noah and sons his wife his and wives of-sons his with him 19 Sed et omnia animantia, jūmenta, et reptilia quæ reptant super terram, secundum But also all animals beasts-of-burden and reptiles which crawl over earth according-to genus suum, ēgressa sunt dē arcā. kind own went-out [are] from ark 20 Ædificāvit autem Noë altāre Dominō: et tollēns de cūnctīs pecoribus et Built moreover Noah altar for-the-Lord and taking from all cattle and volucribus mundīs, obtulit holocausta super altāre. birds clean he-offered burnt-sacrifices upon altar 21 Odōrātusque est Dominus odōrem suāvitātis, et ait: Nēquāquam ultrā maledīcam And-smelled [is] Lord smell of-sweetness and said In-no-way further I-will-curse terræ propter hominēs: sēnsus enim et cogitātiō hūmānī cordis in malum prōna sunt ab the-earth because-of men feeling for and thinking of-human heart to evil inclined are from adolēscentiā suā: nōn igitur ultrā percutiam omnem animam vīventem sīcut fēcī. adolescence his not therefore further I-will-strike every soul living as I-did 22 Cūnctīs diēbus terræ, sēmentis et messis, frīgus et æstus, æstās et hiems, nox et For-all days of-earth sowing and harvesting cold and heat summer and winter night and diēs non requiēscent. day not shall-cease
NOTES  The imperative ingrediminī mistranslates the Hebrew saw-ratsu, which means`in order to breed abundantly’ (see the KJV) not `go into!’ altar(e) (-is, n) and altārium(-ī n) are found in singular forms only in post-classical Latin. Earlier there was only the plural altāria, -ium n..