Sunday, August 19, 2012



I just came across a word new to me in Massimo Mandolini Pesaresi, "Canto XXXI: the Giants: Majesty and Terror," in Allen Mandelbaum et al., edd., Lectura Dantis: Inferno. A Canto-By-Canto Commentary (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), pp. 406-412 (at 410, footnote omitted):
On this ground, we might easily concur with Dronke (and Virgil) that Raphèl mai amècche zabì almi has no meaning and thus rule out all attempts at ascribing these words to a particular language. The interpretation of the giant's cry as a gramelot—a glossolalic invention—of "dazed proto-Semitic" with inevitable comic effects, leaves unexplained the Arabic resonance of Nimrod's words.
Apparently gramelot is more usually spelled grammelot. On possible origins of the word, see a series of posts at Language Log:
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