The Linguist

The Linguist 55,4

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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30 The Linguist Vol/55 No/4 2016 OPINION & COMMENT Email with your views I was interested to read Andrew Díaz Russell's article (TL55,2, 'The Gospel Truth') and the responses to it (TL55,3, 'Letters'). My basic problem is that I still do not know what point the writer is trying to make. Like other types of translation, Biblical translation raises a number of challenges. As the Bible is a collection of ancient writings of different types and styles which originated in a cultural setting that is very different from that in which readers live today, a key consideration is how to make the texts linguistically and conceptually comprehensible. Some concepts in the original may not even exist in the target culture. The need to bridge this cultural gap is fundamental to the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators. Mr Díaz quotes solely from the King James Version (KJV), although outside certain church circles, the KJV is probably not the most widely used English translation. Why not? Because most people do not readily understand its outdated idiom. Providing revisions of various editions of the Bible is an ongoing task. The need for this is borne out not only by the range of modern English translations currently available but also, for example, by the publication this year of a completely revised version of Luther's German translation. Books are, after all, meant to be read (and enjoyed)! On the matter of readability, standard Bibles are thankfully not peppered with footnotes, although words are used that people will probably never encounter in a non-Christian context. Is this any different from any other 'specialist' text with 'new words' to be learnt? We should perhaps recall that the Bible is still the best-selling book in the world. There has to be a reason! Glynis Thompson MCIL Biblical concerns Assuming that the mastery of vocabulary depends on context, the sense of lexical items can be viewed as memorable if they are embedded in a context that involves a sonic sequence, as in a poem or song. This can explain why readily recalled foreign songs' words need not be understood. In fact, Jennifer Walshe (recently speaking on BBC4 Radio) has composed works wherein sounds do not belong to any particular language. It is also suggested that cross-linking of languages may be a useful learning strategy. In this case, I offer a rendering of Daisy Bell that aims to reproduce both the 3/4 rhythm and mood of the original: Le Tandem Conjugal Marguerite Dis-moi le mot que je veux. Mon coeur bat vite Pour tes charmes amoureux. Au lieu de noces vraiment chic, Un tandem nous épargne du fric, Car tu es belle, Assise sur la selle, D'une bicyclette faite pour deux. The title evokes the bond of marriage, as in le joug conjugal; cf. 'yoke', 'yoga' ('bond' or 'union' in Sanskrit). In line 3, the succession of stressed syllables in the English text is retained. The use of chic and fric contrasts, amusingly, a modest union with the stylishness of 'a horse and carriage' (voiture à cheval). The increased interest in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) suggests dissatisfaction with the stress on form at the expense of function. The roles of cognition, affect and etymology deserve recognition. Paul J Cannon FCIL Sorry to be a bore but I raised an eyebrow in slight bemusement when I read the otherwise interesting article on the comparable cognitive benefits of bi/multilingualism and bi/multi-dialectism (TL55,3, 'The Benefits of Slang'). Having read the title, I had been expecting an article about slang. Although linguists quibble over the precise meaning or range of admissible definitions of what a dialect is, it is certainly not the same as slang. However one chooses to define a dialect, the definition applies to a language in its entirety, whereas slang is a matter of lexical choice by certain members within a community of dialect/language speakers. Unlike jargon, there is always a more widespread alternative term for any given slang term within a specific dialect/language community. It is possible that a speaker may choose to use a word from a closely related dialect/language as a slang term, but the source dialect/language cannot be regarded as a slang version of the target language. Steven Jefferson MCIL Slang, dialects – and why the right terms matter Learning songs STAR LETTER IMAGES: © SHUTTERSTOCK

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