Why can't anything be 100% clearly translated?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by science man, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Or Czech even.
    I made another mistake on this, which resulted in the odd third quote.
    I misremembered that it was Hardy who used a striking use of the word lad in a poem, but I couldn't find a single use of the word lad in all his works.
    It was actually Wilfred Owen, where the word lad is the hinge of the metaphor.

    Parable of the Old Man and the Young

    So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
    And took the fire with him, and a knife.
    And as they sojourned both of them together,
    Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
    Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
    But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
    Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
    and builded parapets and trenches there,
    And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
    When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
    Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
    Neither do anything to him. Behold,
    A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
    Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
    But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
    And half the seed of Europe, one by one.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
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  3. superstring01 Moderator

    Castillian is a bit much for me. Ceceo annoys me. I learned my Spanish in Tenerife, so my usage is more Caribbean/Venezuelan/Colombian.

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  5. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    That's right-- forgot that you traveled.


    Anyway, love the way that little neckbreather iceaura hasn't shown back up to substantiate his claims of Pinker knowing less about language than, of all people, those middle classed nobodies we call Grade School Teachers.

    *pokes iceaura*

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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Where did you find that in my post? Or does such ornate invention just come so naturally to you that you read it everywhere, holistically, with the saccade of your eyeballs?
    She would have first hand dealings with the children involved. That trumps ivory tower, pending further info. If Pinker wanted to learn about the Hopi conception of time, he would do well to consult - in his investigation - the teachers of Hopi children, or spend considerable time in Hopi classrooms among those children of all ages.

    All of the difference in meaning in those examples comes from the preposition - it's the only difference in a two word phrase, each time.

    Nor are they strictly or universally "idiomatic" - the separate meanings of the words contribute a great deal, and major progress toward a reasonable translation is often possible by stringing the word by word literal translations together.
    Tech writing, obviously.

    And even in such restricted and deliberately simplified circumstances, you get by only because they are embedded in redundant sources of inference, and competent speakers can make allowances - much as they can for problems with number and gender and first/second/third person confusions. Isolated errors of almost any kind can be handled without confusion in slack, simplified, "business" communication - a kind of prose designed to exclude complexity of reference.
    In your world, maybe - I doubt it, but it's possible.

    Change a preposition in a Shakespearean sonnet or a Jane Austen novel, screw around with them in one of O Henry's or Mark Twain's or David Foster Wallace's stories, or even change "for" to "from" in a short command memo, and see what happens.
  8. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    These children are being taught English, genius.

    That's why there's a menagerie of poorly funded organization with the express purpose of preserving dying cultures.

    You do realize that not only does Pinker-- personally-- consult with anthropologists and philologists and ethnolinguists like Malotki-- who's not only exhausted the entire spectrum of the Hopi language, but has created foundations to preserve the entire culture as well, he also collaborates with philosophers and linguists like Chomsky, who also teaches at MIT, and Hoffstader, another language wizard, but has ALSO sat, and eaten, and spoken with NOT Hopi children but adults as well?

    Where is this "ivory tower" but in the pristine walls of your chamber echoing the sound of you posting intellectually arrogant excrement?

    Want me to quote you to you?

    Do you or do you not state the average grade school teacher knows more about the Hopis than Pinker?
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    How amusing. Some prepositions are so utterly useless that we don't even notice them. Here's your paragraph, with the highlighting corrected:

    A car bomb near a Shiite mosque in a village north of Baghdad exploded among crowds of people on Wednesday, killing at least 13 and wounding 24 others, the police said.

    The three instances of of are just placeholders, and the at is a meaningless component of an idiomatic expression.

    Now bear in mind that this paragraph is A) writing, not speech, and B) written by a professional writer, not a citizen of average communication ability. The sentences you hear at the bus stop are not so well crafted.
    I just happened to come across this letter in yesterday's newspaper, which speaks directly to this point:
    Almost everything about religion annoys me, but some of it makes me downright angry, and this is an example. You give an imaginary supernatural creature the credit for something that we human beings did for ourselves! Something people fought and died for! Something they have been working on for more than 200 years, still trying to get it right!

    That is an insult to all humans and as a representative of this species I demand an apology. You should be ashamed of yourself for posting this religious crap in a place of science and scholarship. You are neither a scientist nor a scholar and you don't belong here.
  10. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I have wondered how to respond to you posts. Your way of talking is so political and so emotional, that I think the most fitting way to describe it is "linguistic agitation and propaganda".
    I quit.
  11. Hipparchia Registered Senior Member

    I really don't need to tolerate your patronising tone directed at anyone on this forum who has the temerity to disagree with you. I understand that since you are a moderator I am unable to put you on ignore, but there are other ways of achieving the same objective.

    Your points were accurate: I missed some of the prepositions. If you had restricted your post to that observation we could have continued the discussion. You might even have convinced me of your thesis.

    Instead, your snide little remark demonstrates that you are here not to educate, inform and discuss, but to brandish your intellect and your alleged academic qualifications. You had me fooled for a time. Thank you for showing your true colours. I'll leave you to play your little boy games.
  12. IamJoseph Banned Banned

    I know of these links. The Phoenecian were older than the Hebrew, and lasted for a 1000 years after the Hebrew emerged - where are their alphabetical books? All that your link shows is a small stone ethching of a few words, which contain no dates or verifiable historical references, and we are told this is a pre-Hebrew alphabetical writing. Further, if you examine the charts, the Phoenecian and Canaanite possess no 'V' - while the Hebrew does. The margin of datings here are so small, centuries only, which cannot be reliable which came first. I would gladly accept those references if they were backed by at least a similar display of writings as the Hebrew - but this is not the case. Europe has a doctrinal and historical track record for negating all that is Hebrew - so one should thread with caution here.

    So how do you account for the total vacuum of alphabetical books in comparison to the Hebrew ancient archives, from nations far older, and which have never been subject to dispersals? Don't you see hard copy proof as more superior proof to such opinions?

    The Phoenecians were allys of the Israelites, employed in the building of the
    1st temple, and worked for King's Solomon's navy: where are their alphabetical books?

    Yes, this was perhaps the best forerunner to math - but this was at a later well developed time.

    I agree the zero had no real mathematical significance in Arabia - it just stood for nothingness or none. It became a legitimate math factor later, in Europe.

    Math developed as time evolved. But for its time, the Cencus of 3 million, with cross-checking ability, is a remarkable thing. This was 3,500 years ago, when there were no alphabetical books. It also shows that the numbers and calculation systems in the Hebrew were not wanting - not necessarilly as advanced math - but well advanced for its time.

    What we have from this period is only bits of commercial reciepts of sales and transactions - which cannot be deemed alphabetical. Here, we also have an ancient book which claims, incidently, that they were written by the Hebrews [Moses] before re-entering Canaan. What reason do we have to disregard this - there is no proof to contradict it - canan was not Monotheistic?

    The Greeks never had alphabetical writings before 300 BCE, the date of the first trabnslation of the Hebrew bible. This took 70 years, and the Josephus docs says they got their alpha beta from the Hebrew. You win if you can produce a Greek alphabetical writings before 300 BCE - bit I cannot accept opeinions made 100's and 1000's of years later, with no proof at all.

    I'm not sure what you mean by early civilizations, but let's just regard the period 3ooo years ago - here, we find a host of Hebrew books issued every 100 years - what is the problem with other civilizations of this period? I conclude there is none now because there was none at any time then.

    Contemporary with Rome does not mean much. How do you know this is even true - they are stated by writings from about 1,500 CE.

    The article 'says' so - but it does not offer any proofs.

    My position on the Japanese is limited to the alphabets being some 90% the same as the Hebrew with regard their design. With regard the Indian writings, there is a similar equivalence in ancient word 'meanings'.

    I studied Hebrew and Indian. The Hebrew does not need seperate vowels - this occured by the Greeks. The ancient Hebrew did not have seperate vowels or numerals, and this is not required today. Here, the english discarded the Greek/latin mode and adopted the ancient Hebrew mode - where the vowels are alphabets again. Otherwise the english would have a seperate list of the vowels, which have to be attached to the alphabets to result in a sound. Now it is placed adjacent to the alphabets - same as the ancient Hebrew. Like, A and Alef are vowels and alphabets in the Hebrew and the English, while in the Greek - the A was a seperate letter, like a symbol [a dash -] which is imposed on the alphabet.

    This was to negate any reason for the vacuum of Egyptian alphabetical books as a possible reason. I stand by it.

    Anyone who does not follow the Gospels or Quran is a heretic. Why would you determine European Christian views the right source for explaining anything of a book they at no time observed, cannot read, and which predates the Gospels by 1000's of years? That is a good way to go astray: Europe does a stratch job of anything it cannot connect to the Gospels.

    Names are the primal factor for determining their datings. All of the names listed in the Noah genealogies are regarded authentic.
  13. IamJoseph Banned Banned

    I've no idea with your confusion. There are sober, historical reasons why it took till 1775 to come to fruition in America. This was close to medevial Europe at its worst, when Popes ruled by dogma and a total suppression [fullfilling away] whatever never suited it. At this time, the majestic Hebrew laws were flaunted. America emerged when Columbus got lost, and these were a mix of Christians, Jews, Blacks, Chinese and other peoples. It was established as a Christian country - which did the reverse of Europe - it took the laws embedded in the Hebrew bible for its constitution.

    There is nothing in the Gospels that can apply to the Constitution - no equal rights for all, no Liberty, no inaleianble human rights. Medevial Europe claimed anyone who does not sign the dotted line of the Gospels is damned to a very hot place for a very long time. Europe did not accept, ONLY THE SOUL THAT SINS WILL PAY. America rebuffed medevial Europe - and this kool battle persists today. America won - Europe followed suit later with a grudge.
  14. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    That's some claim. I'm beginning to enjoy this thread.
    Do you agree with this Fraggle?
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
  15. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    No, I did not.

    That puts him close to the same level as a grade school teacher, as far as personal info, and much better than "ivory tower"

    about which, note, I did leave myself a side hatch - "pending further info".

    So I will no longer simply assume Pinker is much less well informed than said teacher, and admit the possibility he may be almost on an equal footing regarding the Hopi sense of time.
    One of its lesser turrets is at MIT. As you well know.
    Uh, probably - your point?
    No, I didn't. That's your third or fourth try at restating what I posted, and it's the closest one yet - you've almost got it.
    Try quoting me to you - maybe that will get you over the hump.
    The "of" in "north of Baghdad" is meaningful - north of Baghdad is a different place than north Baghdad. The "at" in "at least" is solidly meaningful - in the idiom, "the" has been dropped, but "at" is necessary, as it is in "at the end" and "at the top" and "at the most", which are not idiomatic. There is no third "of". So that's two out of three for your additions (not "of" your additions, which would be different), and overall 5/7 necessary for the meaning, one merely helpful, and one useless (the "on" should have been omitted).
    Significantly, well, and necessarily employable by the best writers (and speakers) of a language is not the same thing as superfluous.

    "Average ability" is a moving target - remove capabilities inherent in the language, and the "average" may well approach more closely the high end abilities, in actual performance, at the differential expense of both - compressing the range. That does not make those capabilities superfluous in human communication within that language. Human culture may have as much use for superior language capabilities as it does for superior tool use, no?
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010

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