Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Pokemon Color Names, Tolkien and Hebrew word play

As a long time Pokemon fan, I've often thought of writing as a fanfic my own adaptions of the first generation games, maybe the second also.  One more faithful then any of the Anime or Manga we've had thus far.  But with some details that homage other adaptations.

The thing that bugs me is what to do with the names of the characters the player names.  I don't want to repeat the main Anime's names, but the idea of literally naming characters Red, Green and Blue is too weird.

Then one day it hit me, as a Christian who likes studying The Bible including the Greek and Hebrew, "what about the Hebrew words for those colors?"  And it so happens that the Hebrew words for Red and Green are grammatically masculine while Blue is feminine, fitting how those characters are named in Japan's Manga.

Red is strong number 119, and the names Adam and Edom are both forms of it.

Green is Yereq, strong number 3418.  Based on how other Hebrew words get transliterated when they become names, I could see that becoming Jerek.  Which could serve as a pun on Jerk, which fits for the rival.

Blue is strong number 8508, Tkeleth or Tekaleth or Tekhelet.  Blue/Leaf is of course my personal favorite playable character.

Gold is Zahab (2091) or Dhab in Aramaic (1722).  Also grammatically masculine.

Silver is Keceph or Kehsef, strong number 3701.  Also masculine.

Crystal appears in the KJV twice, different words in the Hebrew, neither is probably identical to what we mean when we say Crystal.  The word in Ezekiel 1:22 is actually a word for Ice/Frost.  Job 28:17 uses Strong number 2137, Zekukith, which is feminine.

And after that the characters stopped being named after the games themselves.  Still it's interesting to note that the titles of the third generation games can probably all be correlated to the stones on the breastplate of the High Priest, in Exodus 28:17-20.  Same with the names of the for Shitennou of Sailor Moon.

After that the gender correlations stop anyway.  Dawn for example I already know from important past studies of mine is masculine in Hebrew.  I could make a feminine version of a male name easily (just add a Heh or Teth at the end) but I'd rather if I did something like that use words the Masoretic Text actually used.

On the subject of combining my Nerdiness with my love of Hebrew.  Let's take a look at Tolkien's unfinished The Lost Road.

The premise involved several father-son pairs who's names all had the same meaning.  The father being Bliss-Friend (though the word for Bliss often being a name for a mythological paradise) and the son being Elf-Friend.  Culminating in Amandil and Elendil of the Akallabeth.  The thought naturally entered my mind of what the Hebrew versions of those would be.

For "friend" I could use Rea, strong number 7462, (or Reah, 7464, it's feminine form if I wanted to change the gender roles).  Or Merea, strong number 4828, which comes from Rea.  Reu is a Hebrew name that comes from Rea, he was the son of Peleg and ancestor of Abraham.  And also the name Reuel/Raguel which means "friend of God", the equivalent to the Greek Theophilos.

For the father's name I'd use Eden, Eden does mean "delight" and "pleasure", and Tolkien clearly intended Aman to be the Eden of his cosmology in a sense.  In fact I don't think it's a coincidence Aman has the same meaning as Eden, Tolkien probably knew what Eden meant.

Thing is there is no Hebrew word for Elf, of course Elf is transliterated rather then translated in all the names used in The Lost Road.  But in Hebrew Elf will inevitably look like a theophoric name.  But there are other words that begin with Aleph-Lamed, like the Hebrew words for Oak.  Or you could begin it with Ayin rather then Aleph, like with Eden and Elown.

The precedent of Reuel also tells me which root goes first would be switched.  Which would make Reueden for the father's name, and Reuelf, Reualf or Realf for the son.

For the sake of reference I'll state that the Greek names wold be Makarphilos (from Makaron Nesoi, the Isles of the Blessed in Hesiod) and Ælphilos, Alphilos or Elphilos.

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