ERRORS WITH AND WITHOUT PURPOSE: A. MARDKOWICZ'S TRANSCRIPTION OF LUCK-KARAIM LETTERS IN HEBREW SCRIPT
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In the sixth volume of the Karaim journal 'Karaj Awazy' Aleksander Mardkowicz (1875-1944) prepared a six page long article containing reminiscences of the loft in 'kenesa' in Luck (Mardkowicz 1933b) and a transcription of seven letters found there (Mardkowicz 1933a). Detailed comparison of five of those manuscripts with their transcriptions (we do not know what happened to the remaining two manuscripts) shows that Mardkowicz's readings are not free from certain shortcomings and errors. Besides a few obvious printing errors, one can find not only erroneous readings, but also a considerable number of changes that had been made intentionally, fragments that had been passed over, translations of Hebrew fragments that had not been noted, and words that exhibited evident Troki or Crimean Karaim phonetic features but which had been transcribed in such a way as though they had been written in Luck Karaim. The reason for these intentional amendments to the text of the original manuscripts can probably be ascribed to the fact that Mardkowicz - who played a vital role in the Karaim language purism movement - tended to use 'normative Karaim' in his journal, even at the price of modifying the content of the letters. The examples of these misrepresentations have been grouped into the following categories: 1) intentional amendments concerning phonetic, morphologic and phonotactic features and dialectal affiliation of the word forms; 2) erroneous readings of Karaim words and Hebrew abbreviations and, finally, 3) translating Hebrew fragments without noting it. The article does not deliver a full critical edition of the manuscripts, as this is going to be the subject of another, much more comprehensive, study, where the facsimiles of the letters will also be published.
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