Monday, November 23, 2015

Scaffolding - fitting and unfitting

repairing the clerestory ceiling
And a thought came to me. You cannot move from one language to another without adequate scaffolding. My scaffolding is the hierarchy of semantic domains I am building. Some stems span domains and some do not. Why? Just a fact of life. That's the uncertainty of language. But in our traditions, some stems span so many domains that if you were clever, you could write a whole chapter with one or two stems and a handful of prepositions. That is simply reckless abandon of any sense of concordance.

A year ago we had a leak and we replaced all the clerestory windows. Today we are finally getting around to patching the drywall. My semantic domain analysis is as awkward as this scaffolding but it is necessary. I also need the history of criticism that I am a part of and more linguistic analysis than I can muster. It absolutely will not do to memorize the King James Version and think you are thereby 'saved'.

Such fearful industry is skewed by the culture that led to that rendering and the controls on meaning imposed consciously or not by the scholars of that day, brilliant though they were. It is skewed too by philosophical, social, and political assumptions that are still hard to articulate. It is a form of brainwashing and it may not wash you very clean.

If you need deliverance, and who doesn't, listen to the heart of tenderness that is trying to speak in the midst of the noise of our culture. Let that heart be your prayer and care for others. Frame it certainly within your tradition and pray for the power to love, to will the good of others. A friend of mine once summarized Jesus teaching in two words: "Follow me." The rest is commentary, he said.

Here's an image of my scaffolding. This effort may bury me. See how the stem קוצ fits into 6 different domains. I will have to be shrewd to find ways of dealing with this simple 2-level hierarchy with creative programming.
Semantic domain analysis
So from the top left: list of the current highest level and pie chart of the same. Selected domain is creation - details top middle, and pie chart top right. Selected item קוצ, list of details bottom right with update frame and buttons for global changes. Subdomains for this word are the middle small pie. The bottom large doughnut chart is the subdomain of Time of which קוצ is a part, in that it includes a possible reference to summer.

When my contractor brought in the scaffolding, the pieces he had brought were unable to be fit together. That's how I feel about translation sometimes. Nothing fits and I have to go back to the store and find out why.



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