What does this symbol mean?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by ThaWalrus, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. ThaWalrus Registered Member

    It's on one of my picks my dad brought me from a country in the Middle East, I'm not exactly sure which country, I don't really pay attention. Roughly copied from pick to MS Paint. It looks Arabic, but it's not part of the Arabic alphabet.

    [Never mind, can't PM either. Sciforums, you're ridiculous.]

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  2. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    It's an anti-spam measure. Perfectly sensible - not ridiculous.

    You need 20 posts before you can post links or images.
  3. draqon Banned Banned

    looks like reversed Ghayan
  4. draqon Banned Banned

    Also it looks a lot like an Om sign
  5. ThaWalrus Registered Member

    Edit button ftw!
    Also, what language would 'Om' be from? Is that Arabic? I know Ghayan is the 'g' in Arabic script, would Om be an 'o'?
    It's possible it's not a symbol from any language's script, but merely a symbol put in place to entice users to think it's authentic Arabic.

    That's agreeable, I definitely see where you're coming from.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  6. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Looks like someones butt with a anal probe of some sort going into it! :eek:
  7. tablariddim forexU2 Valued Senior Member

    Spot on it's the Arabic word for Yowww
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    That symbol is called the pranava in Sanskrit. It represents the syllable Aum, or as it's called more commonly in Western countries, Om. Om is a sacred syllable in the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religions. It's placed at the beginning of most Hindu texts and is generally the first syllable in prayers, mantras and sacred rituals. You've undoubtedly seen or heard people chanting Om in the learning or actual practice of yoga and other Indian spiritual activities. Om mani padme om was a ubiquitous chant in the USA back in the 1960s, when everyone was trying to keep up with the Beatles' dabbling in Hindu mysticism.

    The pranava is simply the letters used to write the spoken syllable Aum/Om. The crude version you drew with the limited graphic functionality of this website looks like the well-known rendition of Aum in the Devanagari script, the one most often used in modern times for writing Sanskrit in India and Tibet. Sanskrit is the ancient language of Indian culture, their counterpart to Latin, Biblical Hebrew, Classical Arabic, or Ancient Chinese in the cultures with which we Westerners are slightly more familiar. Virtually all educated people in India can read and write Sanskrit (in addition to Hindi, English and their native regional language), but unlike Latin, it is never spoken. Sanskrit is the language of the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain religious texts.

    Many languages are spoken in India, Tibet and the surrounding regions with shared or overlapping cultures, and there are quite a few different alphabets in use there. This Wikipedia article goes into quite a bit of detail on the spoken syllable Aum/Om, its written renditions in various alphabets, and its religious and cultural significance. The top of the article shows the Devanagari version of Aum, which is undoubtedly the one you have there, as well as its transcription in a few other major writing systems.
    Absolutely not. The roots of the religions of India go back almost four thousand years, into its Bronze Age civilization. Islam was two thousand years in the future, the proto-Arab tribes had not coalesced into a cultural, political or religious force, and the Arabic language that was standardized in the early days of Islam and is now the lingua franca of the diverse Arab peoples had not yet developed from its earlier Semitic ancestor.

    The meaning of the word "Aum" is not easy to explain briefly because it has too many mystical connotations. See the Wikipedia article I cited for some heavy reading. Basically it's a name for the deity of which all Hindu gods are said to be facets, and as near as I can tell it appears to have been cleverly made up by scholars for reasons I don't quite understand even after reading the article. Google will yield millions of sources for information on this word if you're interested--and those are just the ones in English.:)

    If we had to answer the question, "What language is the source of the word Aum?" it would be Sanskrit, an ancient Eastern Indo-European language from which the languages of northern and western India are descended, closely related to the Persian and Balto-Slavic languages.
  9. ThaWalrus Registered Member

    Thank you for your very in depth answer! I read the Wikipedia article, and plan to do some reading on it later. I suppose it was a bit naive of me to attempt to just link it to a certain script. I understand it's a very /commercialized/ symbol now, especially in India, interpreted as a symbol for Hindu theology in general. Although I'm sure there's much more to it. Again, thank you for your response!
  10. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

    M*W: Patience, my child! I'm pretty sure it's a symbol for Popeye. He was a sailor man you know. He toured a lot in warn torn countries while fighting his own personal terrorist, Bluto, the big galoot. The symbol of one eye on this drawing represents Popeye, because he lost an eye in the war (the big one). Rumor has it that Popeye wasn't the bio dad of Swee' Pea, because Popeye shipped out a year before Swee' Pea was born. Unfortunately, this was before DNA and paternity testing, so I guess we'll never know.

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