Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Stems that refuse to be bound by my rules

There are (besides prepositions and conjunctions) several common words that refused to allow me a 1 to 1 or 1 to many mapping from Hebrew to English.

I rendered Psalm 95:1 this way.
Walk! Let us shout aloud to Yahweh.

Isn't that a bit odd? I left it that way to illustrate the problem of common verbs describing motion, go, come, walk, bring and variations. I have allowed some overlap between English glosses and Hebrew stems for this class of common words. Otherwise everything would tend to a little too much foreignness in the English reading. (I do think some foreignness is necessary to avoid the problem of too much familiarity.)

One such pair is שׁית set (51) impose (15) put (9) and a few others and שׂום set (238) set up (119) put (106) set place (38) render (30) define (26) and so on. You can see the overlap in set and put and imagine the lack of English synonyms to get around this.

Another much more extensive set of these is the words related to going and coming. Some of them are distinguishable with a preposition (come or go or bring out of יצא, up עלה, down ירד, before קדם, through or across עבר). One I noted I had distinguished with an active rather than a passive helping verb like let go רפה.

As I looked at these, I wondered if some of them like רפה couldn't be tightened up. Every time I do this exercise, I see other possibilities. So I changed רפה and replaced the weak let go everywhere with slacken or desist.

Occasionally for literary reasons (I should have some of these), I have let English glosses map to multiple Hebrew stems, especially when I was imitating the childhood game of alphabetic acrostics.

More to come still on some specific difficult to translate words.

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