Friday, July 8, 2011

Ze chase of ze goose wild

I am sure all you linguists out there and Hebraic experts know how much of a chase of goose wild I have been on.  The simple many English gloss to one Hebrew is easy, but the reverse - no English gloss to be ambiguous on reverse translation - is very difficult. The simple reason is that the Hebrew 'conjugations' to borrow a Latin term, change the meaning of the stem in more ways than English or Latin conjugations do.  Here is an example taken from my current random walk through the Psalter as I revise my tool-set. But I will continue.

Now on my tiny netbook, I can watch TV, interact with guests, eat supper, and change my glosses without getting lost. I have combined the input of verse in English, gloss, a query that tells me when the gloss does not occur exactly in the verse, a query that tells me where the significant word or English root in this gloss occurs elsewhere in the Psalter, and a query that tells me where I think the Hebrew stem occurs. It's all very clickable and compact - has to be because there is a very small amount of screen 'real estate'.  The image below shows the problem with the gloss 'shine'.  I don't use it very often, but I will have to find a way of distinguishing these three Hebrew verbs that have something to do with 'shine'.

The left panel below lets me
  • pick a psalm, 
  • filter for glosses that are not in the text of the verse - these may be legitimate word order changes, or I may have changed the gloss and not the text
  • filter for similar glosses I have used elsewhere in the Psalter
  • update gloss, text, verse number, or root (my own numbering and transcription coding)
  • see all the other verses where I think the Hebrew stem occurs
  • see which things I have changed recently
  • and compare two verses closely - this is particularly helpful for seeing differences in psalms that repeat but are not exactly the same
In this example, I think it will be important to examine the sense of each of the three Hebrew stems and how it relates to the other places it is used - so the praise, interpreted as shine because of binyan might reflect the original meaning of Judah and its reflection in Romans where the shining comes from the praise from God for the individual. (This does not have to be a 'Christian' or 'Pauline' interpretation, by the way.)

I have omitted most of the column headings to save space, the numbers are (upper left)  position in the English text, or middle right (days since I have changed this verse). Some of them are very old. You can see the image on a wide screen or use the scroll bar at the bottom.