It was about one and a half years ago that I finally I arrived where I had always wanted to be and do what I had always wanted-- teach students, support small language communities and conduct research on African languages on my doorstep. The University of Cape Town and my new colleagues welcomed my efforts to establish the Centre for African Language Diversity-- CALDi as well as The African Language Archive-- TALA and I was recently appointed the Mellon Research Chair: African Language Diversity this initiative. The main aim of CALDi is to train young African scholars in descriptive linguistics and open up space for research into African languages at UCT with the hopes of countering the dominance of African linguistics outside the continent. It has been a great challenge for which my whole career has been a form of preparation...Read more
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Berakhyah Ben Natronai ha-Nakdan, Sefer Ko’aḥ ha-Avanim (On the Virtue of the Stones).
With a Lexicological Analysis of the Romance Terminology and Source Study
The lore of the supposed magic and medical virtue of stones goes back to the
Babylonians and peaks out in the lapidary literature of the Middle Ages. The
famous work of Marbode of Rennes, which made lapidaries a very popular type
of medieval scientific literature, was translated into numerous vernacular
languages. The Jewish tradition, missing a particular lapidary literature of its
own, absorbed non-Jewish works like that of Marbode. Several Anglo-Norman
Marbode translations could be identified as the main source of the present
edited Hebrew lapidary Ko’aḥ ha-Avanim, written by Berakhyah Ben Natronai ha-
Nakdan around 1300. The edition is accompanied by an English translation, a
source study, and a linguistic analysis of the Romance, mostly Anglo-Norman,
terms featuring within the text in Hebrew spelling.