The Linguist

The Linguist 55,3

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Page 28 of 35 JUNE/JULY 2016 The Linguist 29 OPINION & COMMENT 'Teacher' query Jeanette Sakel's article ('Linguistic Puzzles', TL55,2) was interesting, but I query her use of the word 'teacher', albeit modified by quotation marks. Teaching is a profession in its own right. The untrained native speaker is more accurately described as an informant. This distinction matters because it combats the all-too-common assumption that anyone who possesses a skill is capable of imparting it. Try asking a random gathering about the structure of their mother-tongue English and see what you get! David Leighton MCIL Email with your views Interpreting the Gospel truth There is always food for thought in the articles you choose to publish. I hope I have not over- reacted to Andrew Díaz Russell's interesting article, 'The Gospel Truth?' (TL55,2), but his text has been nagging away at me. The situation in France regarding the threats to freedom of expression and religious groups is alarming. There is talk of a law against blasphemy which would be so broad in its application as to prevent any criticism – logical, historical or literary – of any religious texts. I think it is vitally important that stakeholders should speak up whenever we feel that our right to free expression is being threatened. It's not so much what Mr Díaz said as what he seems to have avoided saying. Intellectual fuzziness has led many people to suppose that respect for a person's RIGHT to believe in a god entails respect of WHAT the person believes: "You must respect my religion". This is a non sequitur. I can recognise a person's right to believe in the orange hippopotamus without my respecting the orange hippopotamus, in which I do not believe myself. How can one respect what one does not accept as real? The words Star letter For a chance to win your choice of BBC Active Talk Complete self-taught course (French, Italian, German or Spanish), share your views via generally attributed to Burke come to mind: All it will take for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing. On the rare occasion I get in touch, it is a pleasure to thank the team for producing The Linguist, which is a delight to read and is often thought-provoking… as you can see! Michael Mould MCIL Andrew Díaz Russell's article threw up a number of curiosities. Firstly, you have printed all the Hebrew words back-to-front. Secondly, the entire article appears to have been backwards-engineered. If one looks at Isaiah 30:33, to which the author refers, the tophet is a furnace prepared with 'much wood'. The concept of the lake of fire after Judgment Day comes from the book of Revelations and is a much later invention of a people with a different religious persuasion. As far as Psalm 19:1 is concerned, I would argue that this is simply two sentences reinforcing the same idea, rather than a repetition at either end of a train of thought. I'm not convinced about the 'evil eye' metaphor pertaining to generosity. The 'evil Correction We would like to apologise for the misprinting of the Hebrew text in 'The Gospel Truth?' (TL55,2, p.28). The text should have read לוֹ אש and תוכוס. Andrew Días Russell replies My original article was much more extensive, and there were many things I could not mention due to the word limit. Any reader who would like to see the original article, or discuss the issues further, can email me at eye' in Jewish tradition very much has to do with sight and specifically 'looking'. The superstitious wear a Hamsa to ward it off. Finally, I am intrigued to hear Succoth described as 'the festival of lights'. The only Jewish festival of lights I know of is Chanukah. Succoth is to do with booths in the open air. Surely it is more likely that Jesus refers here to a long tradition in the Hebrew Bible which refers to G-d as light? This was an interesting article because it demonstrated how Bible translation may well rely on which direction, and which religious perspective, you are coming at it from. Victoria Bentata Azaz MCIL Start your day with a smile I found the comments by English-to- Mandarin translator Ching-Hsi Perng uplifting ('The Bard in Chinese', TL55,1). I feel his perspective that quality translations represent "gains for the target language, having explored and expanded its vocabulary and thought" is representative of an attitude that every translator and interpreter can apply to their daily work. No matter whether it is Shakespeare, a business letter or a police interview, thinking of ourselves as conveyors of tiny snippets of new information across languages, to produce 'knowledge gains' for individuals and different aspects of society, must surely give us all a reason to start our working days with a smile. Gwenydd Jones MCIL STAR LETTER

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