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Remembered Today:

"Arabic" Script on Bayonet


JMB1943
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Arabic P.1888 (480x480).jpg

This photo of a P.1888 bayonet shows an "Arabic-looking" inscription on the tang.

I have been told that is not Arabic, but is possibly Urdu or Farsi; also, possibly shows initials.

Can anyone confirm/deny this, and provide a translation ?

Regards,

JMB

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JMB,

I noticed a British 1903 pattern bayonet for sale recently with script/writing/inscription in the same place as the bayonet in your photo.  It was described as Afghan script.

I have no idea if that is correct but it might give you a starting point.

Regards,

Michael.

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Michael,

Thanks for that tip.

I wonder if there is a single written language in Afghanistan, as that would make things easier.

Regards,

JMB

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Afghanistan is certainly possible... I passed the photograph on to one of my Pakistani post-grads for her opinion but it is a public holiday here and she hasn't replied yet... It certainly looks like Urdu, though, and if not then one of the 'Asian' languages, using a Persian-based script: if Urdu, then the first letter perhaps being 'kāf', the next a 'ghain', etc..

 

Julian

Edited by trajan
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JMB,

I expect Julian will come up with the answer as I certainly cannot.  However, if you have an hour or two to spare as a starting point you might type into your computer "Wikipedia Afghan Script" as that certainly brings up some information which may or may not help.

Michael.

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Well, my student Rida did reply - after she came back from her break in Cappadocia!

 

She wrote:  "I read the inscription, but the letters together do not make up a word. It may be a specific number given to this bayonet perhaps. Its definitely Urdu though, and what confirms it is that although the letters make no sense, the numerals are certainly Urdu. It reads 'Laak 2 5B 116.3' "

 

I imagine 'Laak' is a name, but will check with her tomorrow, and the rest is some kind of serial number... I'll post if she can get some more out of it!

 

Julian

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Trajan,

Excellent !

Now to decipher the meaning......

Many thanks to your grad student, Rida.

Regards,

JMB

 

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Hi JMB,

 

Rida has a relative who is an ex-Brig.Gen., and so she'll pass it on to him to see if he can elaborate...

 

Trajan

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Urdu and Arabic characters are very similar.

 

What I see is "La'ak" with a small figure 2  in a superimposed position, then something obscured by corrosion, then a figure 5, and "ba'a" or possibly "ba'at" followed by a figure 3, then "R" finishing off with a number "1160"

 

 

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Trajan,

Thanks for the further update; Brig. Gen. should be able to tease out any military significance.

S Drill,

Many thanks for working on this. Interesting that your transcription is somewhat different from Rida's.

Does the inscription strike you as "officialese" or "colloquial" (in the sense of put on by a soldier as a personal thing ?)

In Arabic/Urdu, does the apostrophe in La'ak & ba'a signify a missing letter, or is it purely an indicator of pronunciation?

Regards,

JMB

 

 

 

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Whilst the experts are gathered --- any insight on this one10-31-13.jpg

 

10-31-12.jpg

 

Chris

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16 hours ago, JMB1943 said:

Trajan,

Thanks for the further update; Brig. Gen. should be able to tease out any military significance.

S Drill,

Many thanks for working on this. Interesting that your transcription is somewhat different from Rida's.

Does the inscription strike you as "officialese" or "colloquial" (in the sense of put on by a soldier as a personal thing ?)

In Arabic/Urdu, does the apostrophe in La'ak & ba'a signify a missing letter, or is it purely an indicator of pronunciation?

Regards,

JMB

 

 

 

Rida's eyes may be better than mine ! There are some marks which may be blemishes - that which I call letter "raa" is similar to a comma in Roman script for example, and the figure "0" that I see is no more than a dot, like a decimal point. I think that there may also be something under another bit of corrosion.

 

The inscription strikes me as almost certainly official, a regimental/company/armoury mark, similar to what is seen on German weapons.

 

The apostrophes are pronunciation indicators, an attempt to show a sort of glottal stop which does not exist in English.

 

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I'll get back to Rida on these things! Her thesis will be (I think) on museology, and these are museum specimens and so a good excuse to nag her...!

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  • 2 weeks later...

"O Rida, Rida, wherefore art thou, Rida ?"

Trajan, you do know where this is going don't you? If she expects her thesis to be accepted......I'm just saying.

Regards,

JMB

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1 hour ago, JMB1943 said:

"O Rida, Rida, wherefore art thou, Rida ?"

 

When I next spot her I'll do a nag... There is another one like yours from GBF that I need her to check on also. Oh, and yes, I know I have some reading yet to do on smiling cats and will do so while in Oxenford on a week research break back in blighty - starting next Wednesday...

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Welcome to the GWF and thanks for the comments! Needs some thinking on but an interesting idea. 

 

Trajan

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7 hours ago, Slamsector said:

 

The inscription on the hilt is also some kind of code or serial number, but I don't have any idea about this one. It's a long series of letters and numbers. It contains a letter (second from right) that has no equivalent in English, so it is doubtful that it is a code directed transcribed from English.

 

 

 

Slamstick,

Welcome to the forum and thank you for your very informative post.

Would you care to comment on whether the hilt-inscription is in Arabic or in Urdu, as suggested in posts 6 & 9.

Regards,

JMB

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2 hours ago, JMB1943 said:

 

Slamsector,

Welcome to the forum and thank you for your very informative post.

Would you care to comment on whether the hilt-inscription is in Arabic or in Urdu, as suggested in posts 6 & 9.

Regards,

JMB

Yes, two different bayonets.

 

Regards,

JMB

 

Edited by JMB1943
Typo
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Still in UK and I'll check with Rida when I get back. On balance, I suspect Urdu is more likely as these are P.1888's (if I remember aright!), and so could easily be 'Indian' issue, whereas to the best of my knowledge the Egyptians or other Arabic-speaking countries never used these bayonets.

 

Julian 

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