Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Notes on recent changes

Some time ago in the last 6 months, I noticed confusion between אישׁ and אנושׁ in the various dictionaries I use. The Hebrew Latin concordance clearly distinguishes the plural of the first as אנשׁים. Some online resources confuse this with a plural of אנושׁ, a form that never occurs in the Latin concordance. Both these are in the domain of the Creation-Human.

What is this man? This is a difficult problem and I found it awkward in almost every instance over the past 10 years. I was confused by the limitations of language structures related to he / she / it as well as the desire to be gender inclusive where feasible and where appropriate (whatever that means). I said, 'I will use man / men wherever it is obvious that there is a man intended', but this is impossible in some cases. So I have various other nouns that fit the bill, and avoid the distinction of gender. So e.g.
אישׁ --, adult, another, any, anyone, each, everyone, hero, man, men, one, other, person, personal, representative, rider, soldier, someone, spouse, such,
אנושׁ Enosh, mortal, mortality. This word is related to אנשׁ incurable. And it never occurs in the plural. The plural form if it is there is like sheep in English, both singular and plural.

But it is traditional to translate both אישׁ and אנושׁ as man / men.

As you can see, I have avoided this. But I had confused the two Hebrew roots and yesterday with a dozen or two changes to work already done, I removed the confusion. (Yes, I also changed the published blog posts. I may give up on this but some posts also have formatting issues and they don't show the musical features that are sometimes useful to see, so I am gradually changing them anyway, and any secondary excuse makes it worthwhile cleaning up the past, even if insignificant.)

You can also see that I have sometimes just not translated the word (--). In all these cases the word is implied by the following word like man of war may become warrior.

The word mortal, is turns out, is only used once in the KJV OT. I was surprised at this. I use it quite frequently. (And there are 49 occurrences in the data.)

Interesting that my work is both mortal and soulless! Perhaps I will throw one soul in at the end. Now some will say that soul is not נפשׁ anyway, but נשׁמה, and this is related to the breath-bearing of Psalm 150 and the process of breathing in giving birth to a new breathing person. Well, I don't use soul here either. At the moment, נשׁם is breath, breath-bearing, and swan.

In this work, I must face my confusion. In all design work, the point of weakness must be noted and dealt with. How much more such weakness can I bear?

The Latin rendering of the Hebrew for these words bears witness to the origin of the confusion in Hebrew-English glossaries.
אישׁ vir, maritus, mas virilis aetatis, homo, quisque, comites, sectatores, milites
man, husband, man 's age, virility, man, each one, companions, followers, soldiers,
אנושׁ homo!

(note there is no need for confusion with אדם)
אדם Adam, debris of the ground, dust-bowls, dyed red, earthling, ground, human, humanity, humus, ruddy.

note also the absence of husband (בעל) in my list for אישׁ.

אדם is never man in my work but it is often so in traditional translations.

I can't take any credit for this move. I am a product of many stimuli and I can scarcely identify them. A major one is growing up with the words of Scripture in the King James translation in both reading and musical training, in an era that questioned the dominance of the male and the divine right of kings. I hope the music took over the bias of the reading. Another is having a Latin and music teacher (and priest) who was severely abusive. That should have driven me to drink, but that it didn't is no justification for the incurable man, אישׁ אנשׁ or perhaps just mortal אנושׁ.

I welcome feedback. I know there are things I cannot see or do not hear at present.

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