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HANUKKAH

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HANUKKAH

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:27 pm

• Hanukkah •


Pronunciation: hah-nê-kê • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, proper

Meaning: The season of Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights. It celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Greeks of Syria, who had captured Jerusalem, and the rededication of the second Temple of Jerusalem (164 BC). The Syrian Greeks had defiled the Temple and left only one bottle of holy oil. That oil, however, miraculously lasted for eight days. So, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days by lighting one candle in the menorah (a nine-branched candelabra) each evening.

Notes: Today's Good Word is also spelled Chanukah (among other ways) but, however you spell it, you can find out more about it by clicking here.

In Play: This year Hanukkah begins before Christmas, but we can still wish our Jewish friends, "Happy Hanukkah!" as we wish our Christian friends, "Merry Christmas". Remember, Hanukkah is not a day but an 8-day season, much like English Christmastide, another holiday Good Word.

Word History: Today's very Good Word is the English rendition of Hebrew khanukkah "consecration" from hanakh "he trained, dedicated". This verb comes from the noun hekh "palate", which gave the verb the original meaning of "he rubbed the palate of a child with chewed dates", something that was done long ago during the instruction of children. The past participle, hanoch "dedicated", was also used as a name, Hanoch, which the Greeks and Romans interpreted as Enoch. (We wish all our Jewish friends the happiest of Hanukkah seasons, especially those in Israel, where we hope the Festival of the Lights will illuminate a brighter and more peaceful future.)
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Re: HANUKKAH

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:48 pm

The different ways to spell some words in English from Hebrew and Arabic relate to the different consonants and sounds in the languages. We don't have a hard H or soft K. In Hebrew (and,I think, Arabic) there is such a sound. You pronounce it by forming your glottis to say K, but you don't voice it, rather letting air flow through. That letter, heth, is translitterated variously as H, K, Q, or Kh. So we see Qadaffi or Kadaffi, or Khadaffi, to give recent news examples. Likewise, Koran, Quran, et al.
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Re: HANUKKAH

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:59 pm

Perry,
do you know what the " ' " (apostrophe) is used for in
Arabic, for instance, Q'uran?
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Re: HANUKKAH

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:47 pm

Quran, Qur'an, Q'uran, Koran and others are simply an attempt to write the name of the book Islam holds sacred in Roman letters with some hope of conveying the sound of the word. Perry’s description of the glottal sound of K is right. I am not sure a glottal sound should be called a hard sound, but I yield to Hebrew scholar Perry if it is. I know many Muslims believe the very attempt to write their holy book in anything other than Arabic is a sin. Since I maintain we do not need the letter Q in the alphabet, I vote for Koran. Note the “a” is as “a” in the American pronunciation of father.

As to where the apostrophes come from, I have no idea. I am pretty sure they don't come from the Arabic. They make no sense in English. Most of my Muslim friends prefer, if we are to write the word at all, Quran. This probably is from an association with disrespect some people who spell it Koran have for the book. I am open to be corrected, but that is my take on it.
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Re: HANUKKAH

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:23 pm

Can't give a definitive answer for Q'uran, as I don't do Arabic. I have noted commonalities with Hebrew when the two are transliterated.

In Hebrew, ', is the letter yodh. (Note the dh, a soft D at the end and in the middle of words unless it has a dot "in its bosom.") Yodh is like the English Y, both a consonant and a vowel. It has the irritating habit of disappearing and re-appearing along with three or four other letters, giving one a devil of a time deciding what the root of the final form was, and thus what it means. Compare translations of the last half of proverbs, and you can't at all figure out why they vary so much. Often it's because scholars debate the roots.
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Re: HANUKKAH

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:28 pm

I am appreciative to you both, thanks.
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