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[personal profile] pearl
In one of those moments of "why didn't I notice this before," here is an extract from:
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. 1717. "Signa Secundum Ordinem Cisterciensem" In: Collectanea etymologica (Hanover); pp. 384–408

According to page 70 of Wilhelm Wundt's The Language of Gesture, (Walter de Gruyter):

"Leibniz left us two volumes cataloguing the Cistercian gestures: a Latin one with no indication of its origin, and a Low German one from the former monastery of Lockum (Loccum, in Lower Saxony, founded in 1163). The Latin register counts 143 examples, the Lockum one 145 examples of gestures."

I've never tried to translate Low German before, so we'll see how I go... I think the answer is 'not very well' - if anyone can suggest resources I could refer to, it'd be appreciated!

Updated, now with extra [personal profile] catsidhe-added goodness!

Original Translation
Hierauf folgen die Zeichen zu Teutſch, die alhie im Cloſter Lockum feynd vormahls im gebrauche geweſen, und noch bei meiner zeit, als ich noch novitius vvahr, als im Jahre 1577. und 1578. bey feel. Herrn Johann Heimans zeiten des Abts: aber, ſo bald der ſtarb, iſts im abgang ge-kommen.

1. Wihſe mit dem indice up dat Oge, und Verhefe ihne mit dem Geſichte, ſo teken-ſtu Chriſtum an.
2. Sette fieff finger up den Kop, betekend einen Könink.
3. Schleiſtu mit dem indice up den Kop, be-düdet bardbeit. [arbeit?]
4. Legge den indicem up den orth des Vorhövedes, dat bedüdet einen Præpoſitum.
5. Höldeſtu dasülveſt 2 finger, dat is ein Abt.
6. Leſtu ſe averſt langes herdaal glieden de dünningen, bedüdet einen Capellan.
7. Schleiſtu van der dünningen mit der flacken hand, dat bedüdet Oldt.
8. Sette den dumen an de dünningen, und rö-ge de hand, betecket einen Eſell.
9. Höldeſtu da de flacke hand, betekend ſchla-pen.
10.Wihſe mit dem indice up dat Oge, bedü-det ſehen.
11.Wihſe up dat ohr, bedüdet hören
12.Makeſtu dann [daen, daſelbſt] einen Krink, dat bedüdet einem Mönik, Pape und Schöler.
13.Gript he dat Ohr van achter tho, dat is ein Schap.
14.Man ſchleit he uth thorügge, dat is ein hund.
15.Schleit de index up de Wangen, dat be-düdet Kranckheit. vid. num 109.
16.Maket he dann einen Krink, dat bedüdet [forte einen Medicum: ſed vide num. 84.]
17.Strickſtu aver de Wangen, dat is Wyht.
18.Taſteſtu mit 5 fingern aver de Ogen vor dath antſchlath, bedüdet einem Magiſter.
19.Legſtu de Hände tho hope und dheiſt ſe up und tho, dat bedüdet eine taffel. vid. num. 127.
20.Schere mit dem indice up der Keneba-cken, dat is Scheren.
21.Legge den indicem vorn up de Neſen, und ſchuffehne up dat hoved, bedüdet eine Jungfrauen
22.Houml;lſtu ehne dar ſtille, dat is ein Hoff.
23.Thuſtu den indicem dar twers voraver her, dat is ein Wyff.
24.Houml;lſtu den top mit den indice und duh-men, betekend ein Perd
25.Schleiſtu mit der Fuſt vor den Kop, dat be-düdet ein Schwyn
26.Dheiſtu beyde ogen tho mit 2 fingeren, dat betekend blind.
Here follows the signs in German, all of which had been in use in the monastery (cloister) of Loccum, and still were used at the time I was a novitius [novice] there, in 1577 and 1578. Mr. Johann Heiman was the abbot at the time, but he shortly died, and so came to leave.

1. Show/point [wiese?] with the index finger to the eye, and point at your face, so you signify Christian.
2. Place five fingers atop the head, means a king.
3. Closing in/moving atop your head with your index finger, means hardness.
4. Lay the index finger up to the forehead, that means a provost.
5. Hold [daselbst] thereat 2 fingers, that is an abbot
6. Show the back of the hand in a long descending glide from the temples, means a Church/chapel.
7. Rub the temple with the flat of the hand, that means old
8. Set the thumbs on the temples, and roll the hand [make a fist?], means an apple.
9. Hold out a flat hand, means slipper?
10. Point with the index finger to the eye, means to see
11. Point to the ear, means to hear


The only hint I've found for Dünningen comes from the 1650 Lettisches und Teutsches Wörterbuch, which has die Schläffe, dünningen., which may be schlaff of saggy, loose, limp, flaccid... or die Schläfen, the temples (on the head). I think it's temple.

Date: 2012-06-10 12:51 pm (UTC)
catsidhe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] catsidhe
1. Verhefe = "raise"
so tekenstu = "so signifiest thou"?

4. orth = "point, edge / point, place"

5. dasülvest = against themselves?

6. Lestu = Show? (Looks like Imper.pl. of Nl lessen.)
averst = averse, backwards?
langes = long
herdaal = descending
glieden = glide?
Dünningen seems important, it's in the next few as well. "slender finger" < "dun"? Although it's also a district in Germany. i don't think that's relevent.
That would make it something like "Show the back of the [dünningen] in a long descending glide..."

7. Schleistu = "rub, abrade thou". "Rub with the [dünningen] against the flat of the hand..."

9. Höldestu = "Hold thou"
da = "there?"


Date: 2012-06-10 01:14 pm (UTC)
celestial_tapir: (Default)
From: [personal profile] celestial_tapir
"Schlapen" I think is "sleep"

"Esell" might also be "donkey", which could mean the rolling was an actual sort of reining motion, like miming riding a donkey, but that's supposition, as that word seems more similar to the modern German for donkey (I guess it makes sense in the context of Jesus?)

(Cecilia here, btw)

Date: 2012-06-12 02:34 am (UTC)
catsidhe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] catsidhe
12. Make you then a circle, that means a Monk, Father and Scholar.
13. Grips he that Ear from behind, that is a Sheep.
14. A man rubs [uth?] spine, that is a dog. (As if petting the back of a dog?)
15. Rub the index finger on the cheeks, that means Disease (see #109)
16. Makes he then a circle, that means [perhaps a Medical Doctor: but see #84]
17. You [knit?] over the cheeks, that is Weight
18. Touch you with five fingers over the eyes before [uncovering?], means a Master (as in teaching? as in Magistrate?)
19. Lay you the hand [down hovering and hoist ("D'Heist"?) it up and down?], that means a Table. (As in patting a tabletop?)
20. Scissor with the index finger against the ["hub" (middle) finger? (naba = OHG "hub", qv Eng. "nub")], that is Scissors.
21. Lay the index fingers beside the nose, and work up the head, means a Girlchild.
22. Hold you [there still/unmoving?], that is a Court/Garden {> Hof}
23. Make you the index fingers [twirl?] there however, that is a Woman.
24. Hold you the [top] with the index and thumbs, means a Horse.
25. Rub you with the fist upon the head, that means a Pig.
26. Hoist you both ("beide")) eyes down with two fingers, that means Blind. (As in closing your eyes with your fingers)


A couple of these are order dependent, referring to the previous sign and giving variants thereof for new meanings. Most clearly is 15 & 16: rub the index finger on the cheeks: illness. Make a circle on the cheeks: Doctor.

For #9, given that it's amongst other verbs, I think is more likely "schlafen" 'to sleep'. (Fits with being cognate with Nl "slaap" as well.)

Date: 2012-06-15 05:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eithni.livejournal.com
You know about the Anglo-Saxon one, right? (The Anglo-Saxon Monastic Sign Language, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (1996))

Date: 2012-06-15 05:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eithni.livejournal.com
Sorry, the whole title should be Monasteriales Indicia:The Anglo-Saxon Monastic Sign Language

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