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orion-list Considering 'consider', diction, & Translations (4-1/2 screens)
George, you wrote,
>For example, if I ask you
>to "CONSIDER" my point, does that mean I'm asking you to "Look To
>the Stars" [Anglo Saxon "CON" joined to the Latin word SIDERA for
>Stars] while you read this, or have I and my audience COMPLETELY
>forgotten the old sense of the phrase and now read it as a single
Consider is hardly an English word tacked onto a Latin root. The first
use of 'consider' (considere) in English dates to 1375, and is an import
from French. English 'con' is a normally formed derivative of OE 'cunnan',
to know'. English 'con', "know," has nothing whatsoever to do with Latin
'con', which is simply the Latin prefix meaning 'with' or 'together'.
The verb 'considero' is a perfectly ordinary, properly formed Latin word
dating back to the 1st BCE, at the very least. While Festus, doing an
etymology bit, says that 'sidero' is derived from 'sidus' or 'sider-',
'star' or 'constellation', which would possibly indicate use in augury or
astrology, such a use is unknown among Latin writers at any date from BCE
onwards. As far as can be determined, the basic meaning has always been to
'view' or 'contemplate' or 'examine' attentively - and to do so "together'.
Extended meanings all carry this basic meaning along with them - and this
includes the extended metaphorical use of payment for (personal) services,
"in consideration of." 'Sidero' _may_ derive from Gr. 'sidera', iron, of
which the earliest sense is 'magnet', that is, collect, bring together.
However, with words this old, we will never know its ultimate origin.
To get to the next "problem":
>I think I should leave it to you to provide the
>CORRECT translations for "ripped off" (a fabric or sheet of
>material being torn from an object?) and "gun shy" (unusual
>reticence with fire arms?).
You are being quite facetious; however, these are prime examples of what
is meant by understanding diction. A statement about "hidden meanings" is
a clear indication that someone is having problems with the diction.
>It is hard to believe there could be ANY
>ancient texts with MORE nuances packed in.
Oh, there most certainly are. The Hebrew Biblical texts are among the
densest, semantically loaded, multilayered, multivocal writings in the
history of any literature. While there are archaic words whose meanings
were already obscure by the last centuries BCE, there are no "hidden
meanings." Everything depends upon an understanding of the diction. The
DSS, while not nearly as dense or polished as the HB, follow the tradition
of the "Biblical Style." There are no "hidden meanings" there either; but
it does mean that one must understand the diction, or one cannot understand
Because of this density, to understand any given *portion* of a text
written in this style, one must first search out the basic *denotative*
meaning and strip out all accruals. The next step is to collect the
extended and metaphorical (connotative) senses. All this is then placed
on a componentional analysis matrix, word-by-word, semantic unit-by-
semantic unit. This type of translation matrix allows one to map movement
between domains as well as to map denotations, connotations, metaphorical
extensions, etc, and, sometimes, even to determine the age of a given
metaphor or extended meaning. The "lost nuances" stand out bright and
clear, easy to read and to understand.
The technique requires a great deal of research and a lot of work for
each small portion of a document; however, it seems to be the only way
it can be done with such dense material. Dense or semantically loaded,
multivocal or multilayered or not, once placed on a componential analysis
matrix, these texts are then semantically transparent (and delightful),
but one must first understand the diction.
Biblical texts are too dense to use on-line as an example of the problem
of understanding diction. Instead, we will look at a univocal, simple
ditty, lacking any density or even semantic questions. It makes the point
quite adequately. (Woodmen and lions will understand; I'm not too sure
Are you sleeping, brother John?
Morning bells are ringing,
ding ding, ding ding.
\ dong/ \dong/
What could be simpler than the words to "Brother John"? Right? WRONG!
Dead and completely wrong! The whole point of the original French song
is that the bells are NOT ringing! 'Sonnez" is an imperative. Well,
what does the original say?
Frere Jacques, dormez vous? Friar Jack, sleeping are you?
Sonnez les matins! [Get up and] Ring the Matins!
din, din , din, din, din, din, , din, din,
\dong/ \dong/. \dong/ \dong/.
Note that even the bell sequence has been changed. The French original
uses the Roman bell sequence for matins; the English version has changed
the bells to the Anglican sequence.
Now, if one does all one's work on 'Frere Jacques' from the translation,
one is boxing with shadows and wasting forests... and assuredly mis-
understanding both diction and text.
>Thus the scholarly platform of DSS research is weak, eh?
You are the one who said it. If the shoe fits, wear it!
>If you unload to much, at that easily occurs, nothing useful will
>remain. A correct translation in the WYSIWYG form creates problems
>instead of making the text more transparent.
This statement is wishful thinking and a sign that one is doing theology
instead of research. Real research into these documents requires a great
deal of etymologial, grammatical, and contextual work - and all from the
original documents. Nothing useful will come out of citing facile, glib,
inaccurate, biased, received translations and editions. See 'Brother John'
>> Okay, I'll bite... what's s.o.???
>O, nothing at all. I like woman who put the breastplate on from
>time to time.
I presume you are referring to the AEGIS ATHENAION... which in this
particular case seems singularly appropriate.
PS; George, quite a few people on ANSAX-L list collect folk etymologies.
I hope you don't mind if I forward your example.
Dr. Rochelle I. Altman, co-coordinator IOUDAIOS-L firstname.lastname@example.org
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