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therrien.joel
12-06-2018, 08:02 PM
I found these two pendants that belonged to my grandmother. On one side is English, spelling her name. On the other side, shown in the picture below, are characters that appear to be Arabic, but not exactly. I have had one person say that it's Urdu but I'd like to see what anyone else thinks. And out of curiosity, what is the giveaway that it belongs to a specific language?

Thanks for any input!

27551

khanabadoshi
12-07-2018, 01:43 AM
It's Arabic letters, written individually.
On the left: M-A-R-J-A-R-H(A/T) -- Marjarah? The letters are this written together: مار جاره
On the right: M-A-D(R)-I-DZ(or N)-A-Y(E)-N -- Madizayn or Marinayn or ending could be -een insteand of ayn. I can't tell if the 3rd letter is D or R, because it depends on the script, but most likely it's D. The other one is likely a DZ/Z but could be N. So مادیذاین or مادیناین

Not sure if these are Arabic words or phonetic spellings of things in other languages. ie. the 2nd word could be a phonetic spelling of the name/word, "Madison" ie. madizhaen and the first word could be phonetic spelling of the name/word, "Margaret" ie. maargarit; if the language is Arabic, and they pronounce J as G, and the last letter is a taa marbuta. But that might be stretching it. I'd guess Margaret Madison is a possibility of the two pendants combined. If that means anything. In that case, the pendants were written by an Arab probably, in terms of pronunciation. I don't think that would make sense in Persian or Urdu.

In Urdu the left hand side could be maar jaara ie. going to hit; going to kill; beating; hitting; beatdown. That doesn't make much sense though, because the last word isn't spelled correctly in Urdu. In Persian the maar part could mean "snake"?

Maybe the part I am reading as "A" are actually dashes, because in Urdu and Persian that could be the period/fullstop sign. It could be initials?

EDIT: I didn't even read the part where you said her name is on the other side... LOL... so I am going to guess its her name if those sounds/letters correspond to her name.

khanabadoshi
12-07-2018, 03:03 AM
We can tell it's one of some languages from the script. Like you can tell right now I'm writing in a certain script, so it could be German or Spanish or English. Just like in these languages the order of the letters gives away a language sometimes. like in Arabic there are a lot of words that start with the letters alif (A) and laam (L); 'al-', so that's a give away. Most Urdu sentences end with the letter noon (N). Also, letters have variations specific to each language, like 'e' vs. ' 'or 'n' vs. '' in English vs. Spanish. Another big clue is script, Arabic prefers the Naskh or Ruq'ah script while Urdu and Persian prefer Nasta'liq. They look different when written. The biggest clue is just like when you see Spanish or German, the letters are mostly the same, but you just know that the language is different than English, because the order of the letters don't make sense in English immediately. If I see a bunch "-ing" triplets at the end of a word I know I'm not reading Spanish. If I see a lot of "-o/-a" letters at the end of a word, I know I'm not reading English. Same deal in languages of the Persian-Arabic script.


https://thatmaldivesblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/nastaliq.jpg?w=616



None of these really applies to your pendants though, because none of the letters were unique to a language in particular, and the script wasn't obvious because the letters were written one-by-one and not connected or joined as is typical.

therrien.joel
12-07-2018, 03:21 PM
It's Arabic letters, written individually.
On the left: M-A-R-J-A-R-H(A/T) -- Marjarah? The letters are this written together: مار جاره
On the right: M-A-D(R)-I-DZ(or N)-A-Y(E)-N -- Madizayn or Marinayn or ending could be -een insteand of ayn. I can't tell if the 3rd letter is D or R, because it depends on the script, but most likely it's D. The other one is likely a DZ/Z but could be N. So مادیذاین or مادیناین

Not sure if these are Arabic words or phonetic spellings of things in other languages. ie. the 2nd word could be a phonetic spelling of the name/word, "Madison" ie. madizhaen and the first word could be phonetic spelling of the name/word, "Margaret" ie. maargarit; if the language is Arabic, and they pronounce J as G, and the last letter is a taa marbuta. But that might be stretching it. I'd guess Margaret Madison is a possibility of the two pendants combined. If that means anything. In that case, the pendants were written by an Arab probably, in terms of pronunciation. I don't think that would make sense in Persian or Urdu.

In Urdu the left hand side could be maar jaara ie. going to hit; going to kill; beating; hitting; beatdown. That doesn't make much sense though, because the last word isn't spelled correctly in Urdu. In Persian the maar part could mean "snake"?

Maybe the part I am reading as "A" are actually dashes, because in Urdu and Persian that could be the period/fullstop sign. It could be initials?

EDIT: I didn't even read the part where you said her name is on the other side... LOL... so I am going to guess its her name if those sounds/letters correspond to her name.


Yep, her name is Margaret. :biggrin1:

I'm sure the phonetic spelling removes a lot of the clues you might otherwise be able to use. The other person thought it was Urdu because some of the characters were closer to those used than Arabic... but clearly I'm not the one to say! Now I have to figure out where she got it from.

khanabadoshi
12-07-2018, 06:42 PM
Yep, her name is Margaret. :biggrin1:

I'm sure the phonetic spelling removes a lot of the clues you might otherwise be able to use. The other person thought it was Urdu because some of the characters were closer to those used than Arabic... but clearly I'm not the one to say! Now I have to figure out where she got it from.

So the big clue here that isn't Urdu or Persian is that these languages have a letter for "G" called gaaf (which isn't used here). Arabic doesn't, and they just use the letter for 'J' as 'G' -- which is what happened here. To confuse you even more, in some dialects of Arabic, like Egyptian, they use the 'G' sound for the 'J' letter and don't have (or use very often) the 'J' sound in speech.

Now I'm guessing whomever told you the characters might be Urdu are thinking so because they are looking for 2 dots on top of the last letter of the left pendant and 2 dots on the bottom of 2 letters of the right pendant; as Arabic usually always includes the dots there. However, the elephant in the room is that Urdu would never use the 'J' letter for the 'G' sound.

DMXX
12-07-2018, 07:20 PM
It's Arabic. Khana's gone through the reasons perfectly. I can read the Arabic and Perso-Arabic alphabets as well.

One point I'll add - In some stylised forms of Arabic, the two dots are replaced with a straight line (as is the case with the last character in the first pendant, which is a "T" to me).

That stylisation isn't common in Arabic calligraphy, but it is found in some established types (e.g. Diwani, but not all variants):

https://image.shutterstock.com/z/stock-vector-arabic-calligraphy-our-good-days-diwani-font-303080114.jpg

The characters on the right aren't as obvious as the first (I can't tell if it says "Magaynayt" or the variants Khana posted).

It looks like the inscriber over-stylised the font, like they're trying to "Cuneiformize" Arabic... They probably didn't anticipate a foreigner would try and decode the words through an international anthropology forum. :lol:

I'm going to guess the pendant was acquired in Egypt or Iraq based on the above.

khanabadoshi
12-07-2018, 08:30 PM
It's Arabic. Khana's gone through the reasons perfectly. I can read the Arabic and Perso-Arabic alphabets as well.

One point I'll add - In some stylised forms of Arabic, the two dots are replaced with a straight line (as is the case with the last character in the first pendant, which is a "T" to me).

That stylisation isn't common in Arabic calligraphy, but it is found in some established types (e.g. Diwani, but not all variants):



The characters on the right aren't as obvious as the first (I can't tell if it says "Magaynayt" or the variants Khana posted).

It looks like the inscriber over-stylised the font, like they're trying to "Cuneiformize" Arabic... They probably didn't anticipate a foreigner would try and decode the words through an international anthropology forum. :lol:

I'm going to guess the pendant was acquired in Egypt or Iraq based on the above.

Oh snap... the bottom letter is taa. I see the 2 dots now. It's all squished, I thought it was ہ but it's ت.

DMXX
12-07-2018, 09:21 PM
Oh snap... the bottom letter is taa. I see the 2 dots now. It's all squished, I thought it was ہ but it's ت.

Yeah, I thought the same at first glance.

It took zooming in, bringing my face 20cm from the screen and squinting like I'm staring down Mike Tyson to make the distinction myself.

Reza
12-07-2018, 09:25 PM
Ah I had thought the last letter on the left hand image was a 'ha' too. But a squashed version. Though Marjorie as a name wouldn't quite fit phonetically.

The right hand image I thought was a 'meem' 'alif' 'ra' 'ya' 'kaf vs stylised noon' 'alif' 'ya' 'ta'. So M-A-R-Y-K/N-A-Y-T. Is that the surname? Can't work that one out.

It's odd to have the letters unconnected like that. Makes me think of an attempt at imitating an ancient Egyptian inscription but replacing the hieroglyphs with stand alone Arabic characters.

The pronunciation of the Jeem as G as standard would fit with Egypt.

khanabadoshi
12-08-2018, 01:02 AM
Ah I had thought the last letter on the left hand image was a 'ha' too. But a squashed version. Though Marjorie as a name wouldn't quite fit phonetically.


The right hand image I thought was a 'meem' 'alif' 'ra' 'ya' 'kaf vs stylised noon' 'alif' 'ya' 'ta'. So M-A-R-Y-K/N-A-Y-T. Is that the surname? Can't work that one out.

It's odd to have the letters unconnected like that. Makes me think of an attempt at imitating an ancient Egyptian inscription but replacing the hieroglyphs with stand alone Arabic characters.

The pronunciation of the Jeem as G as standard would fit with Egypt.



The 3rd letter is either a raa or a daal (I think more likely daal, because the bottom stroke at such a 90 degree angle to the top stroke). That one letter in the middle is either a noon or a dhaal or kaaf (but I don't see a kaaf; I think it's most likely dhaal because of how the top right stroke is higher up than the left hand stroke to differentiate it from noon) -- and now I see the last letter is either a noon or a taa. (When zoomed in, it looks like 2 dots, not one).

So let's say it's raa for the first letter, middle is kaaf (even though I can't see it LOL) and the last letter is a taa. Then the word is Mary Kate.

parasar
12-08-2018, 01:32 AM
Ah I had thought the last letter on the left hand image was a 'ha' too. But a squashed version. Though Marjorie as a name wouldn't quite fit phonetically.

The right hand image I thought was a 'meem' 'alif' 'ra' 'ya' 'kaf vs stylised noon' 'alif' 'ya' 'ta'. So M-A-R-Y-K/N-A-Y-T. Is that the surname? Can't work that one out.

It's odd to have the letters unconnected like that. Makes me think of an attempt at imitating an ancient Egyptian inscription but replacing the hieroglyphs with stand alone Arabic characters.

The pronunciation of the Jeem as G as standard would fit with Egypt.

I think the first is m a r g a r t
The second I think is m a r g n a r t

therrien.joel
12-10-2018, 03:00 AM
Makes me think of an attempt at imitating an ancient Egyptian inscription but replacing the hieroglyphs with stand alone Arabic characters. The pronunciation of the Jeem as G as standard would fit with Egypt.

That probably nails it. Her second husband was a Shriner and I'll bet it's from that. Otherwise, nobody I can think of related to her would have been in that region. Nice sleuthing everyone. Thanks for clearing this up for me.

Reza
12-10-2018, 01:16 PM
But you can't leave us hanging...

Does the second inscription have any resemblance to his name or surname?

therrien.joel
12-15-2018, 12:16 PM
But you can't leave us hanging...

Does the second inscription have any resemblance to his name or surname?

No, I believe they both should be her given name, Margaret. that's what is in english on the other side. Unless that somehow translates to Welker or Beaudoin. :biggrin1: