The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Aside from the brouhaha generated over The Passion of the Christ, director Mel Gibson's decision to make the film mostly in Aramaic has inspired hope among the world's dwindling native Aramaic speakers that the film could revive interest in the formerly widespread language.

Let the record show that GQ magazine is doing its part to spread the word. Much in the spirit of the movie, the new March issue includes some key Aramaic* phrases you can use when discussing Mr. Gibson's opus:

HAVE YOU SEEN THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST? >> Ha-hazeita yat Mityasrei di Mashiha?

I THOUGHT IT WAS QUITE GOOD. >> Sivreit ana di sirta d'na havah sagi tav.

JESUS CHRIST, THIS MOVIE IS BAD! >> Scheiss, sirta d'na hu b'ish ve-mitmall'ei dreck!

MEL GIBSON SHOULD HAVE "CALLED IT A DAY" AFTER WHAT WOMEN WANT. >> Levay di la mafsiq Mel Gibson leme'bad sirtin aharei Ra'avata di Nashayya.

*Keep in mind that this is a very tongue-in-cheek piece, and therefore any resemblance between this and actual Aramaic may be iffy. "Scheiss", for instance, is obviously not Aramaic at all, but rather the German word for "shit". Based on my general facility for languages, I think the rest of the translation here is definitely Semetic, so it's mostly at least a good try at Aramaic (although I wouldn't be surprised to find out it's a polyglot of Hebrew, Arabic and other languages).