Gift of the Amritas
Marc Miyake, is a Hawaiian linguist now based In New Jersey. His website, Amaravati: Abode of the Amritas, focuses on the extinct Tangut tongue, and through it offers insights into the written word that a simplified literal approach cannot often satisfy. Marc is also an avid comic book connoisseur and a talented artist in his own right, who doesn’t shy from laying a bridge between the study of linguistics and the visual comics medium.
I first discovered Marc on one of these bridges when he reviewed The New Comic Book of Life website and Neal Adams’ Growing Earth Theory at Amaravati. Understandably, both these instances raised a lot of eyebrows in the comics periphery during their early days. Marc and I made some contact over the next few years, especially when writing about certain subjects, such as our shared understanding of the history and nature of Islam, among other issues.
A few yeas ago we connected on Facebook and have become the best of friends. It turns out that some of my earliest work at DC was also Marc’s first exposure to comics, which later drew him further into the culture. As is with his analysis of the subtleties of languages, and also with his keen socio-political orientation, Marc’s insight into the comics medium is always thought provoking in the depth it reaches for. Of late, he’s been instrumental in getting Jim Shooter and myself together over the well known Rom the Robot cover incident.
A few days ago Marc posted a link to a birthday greeting, among many others on Facebook. The articles’s title, ME KEU NE TSIR E MY VI NY, is Tangut for Happy Birthday Michael Netzer. In it, he dissects the letters and their range of meanings to arrive at an uplifting metaphor of my name (above image) in the lost Tangut tongue: “Earthly king of the high eye”.
I often wonder about the earliest forms of communication when at the dawn of human intelligence, our ancestors scribbled simple shapes into the dust of the ground with a twig in order to share ideas with each other. It’s almost unfathomable how such beginnings have yielded the sophisticated and complicated scripts such as in the image above. It’s fascinating to consider how much linguistics have contributed to our ability to meld minds and exponentially multiply our abilities in individual and collective achievement. It’s nearly beyond measure how much we seem to take it all for granted. Marc is one of the few people who hasn’t lost that youthful wonder. He writes and talks about it every day, and the fruit of his mind is always sweet on the heart.
Many thanks good friend. Here’s Amritas in the modern Aramaic/Hebrew letters with the oldest ancient version below it.