This week’s translation!fail

Posted: January 20, 2010 in akkadian, dead languages
Tags: , , ,

Hurr hurr hurr!

A guy from my Akkadian seminar translated “furious storms” as “furious mothers”, hurr hurr de hurr.

It’s true that Akkadian words for “mother” (ummu) and “storm, day” (ūmu) are quite similar, but then:

1. The word ūmu was written with a logogram that means ūmu(1).

2. Both words are sort of, I don’t know, basic.

3. The context was the list of terrifying demons and monsters that Tiamat created in order to defeat Marduk in Enūma eliš (don’t read the Wiki article. It’s as inaccurate and obsolete as it gets. Also, the Biblical account of creation is not based directly on Ee, FFS). So, in the end, it looked sort of like that:

The terrifying Scorpion-Man, the Bison-Man, the furious mothers

It was a v. gleeful moment.

(1) It’s a bit more complicated than that, because the character U4 + MU can be read as a) logogram U4 = ūmu + phonetic complement “mu” or b) syllabogram “u4”  + syllabogram “mu”, but still.


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