[B-Greek] Shine: Can this song be translated into Greek?

Louis Sorenson llsorenson at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 26 23:05:09 EDT 2010


Hello all,
(Pardon my tongue-in-cheek)

I have been quietly reading all the posts about modern linguistics and Greek, translation methodologies, frameworks, modern liguistics, 20th century Bible translation methodologies, κτλ. Twenty-five years ago, it was my desire to go down this road. I did not go down that road, for various reasons. 

I have great respect for those who have spent a lot of time and effort into developing a technical language and methodology for categorizing and classifying structures, discourse frameworks, scenarios, and any other such elements. I think that many of these "elements" or "entities" are creations of linguists and grammatical analysts to turn the language of the New Testament into "machine language". This is not a bad or incorrect methodology or approach, in itself,  to understanding the language of the New Testament. 

It is, however, a methodology, which is counter-intuitive (in many aspects) to a natural understanding of "natural language". I do not seek to insult any person. I am right along with those who wish to deconstruct any given foreign language into an understandable, disseminable, parsible format (analysis, analysis, analysis - yes, that is what is needed). But those who go down this road really need to ask themselves if the end justifies the means. 

Would those on the list have preferred Polycarp, John Chrysostom, Eusebius, Ireneus and all the other NT fathers to use their (modern 20th century linguistic)  terminology when discussing the NT texts? I guess those writers did "not have the tools" to properly discuss the texts which they understood better than all of us. If only they understood Greek Verbal Aspect.... 

So my focus has changed from deconstructing the Greek language, to understanding what I read. Read, read, read. But how do you internalize a dead language?....Write, write, write. (Has anyone mentioned schole.ning.com (http://schole.ning.com)?

Randall Buth's and Christophe Rico's works have helped my greatly. When has anyone but them said, "Listen to the NT being read". "Hear what they are saying". When you go to sleep, do you hear their GREEK words in your head?" 

So thanks Elizabeth, Yancy, and everyone else who has contributed to the many threads the last few weeks. I learn so much from all of you (truly, I appreciate all your insights and contributions). But I see that my greatest need is to understand the Greek I read. I need to read with understanding. 

So how did I improve in reading the last year?  I did improve. I improved by writing, speaking, hearing and reading. Not reading grammars, but reading lexicons, and more so Greek texts. A year ago the Gospel of Luke and Acts was somewhat difficult to pick up and read, I just got through reading through Acts 9.1-12.1with ease. I noticed a difference in my understanding. Can I attribute it to my reading more Greek grammars (Wallace, Blass-deBrunner, Nigil Turner, AT Robertson)? No. I attribute it to reading Greek texts. and even more, writing and composing songs in Greek. I.e. Using active language methods to learn Greek better (in other words, I tried to communicate in Greek).

How did I do this?
Over the last year I have been translating about 40-50 modern praise hymns/songs into Greek. (I've also been teaching some High school students biblical Greek using a spoken teaching methodology). I've also translated a number of classic rock songs (the 60's-70's songs had melody, harmony, prosody, story, rhythm; most modern songs lack this). Translating these songs has really helped me learn and understand Greek. (You can find many, not all, of them at http://www.letsreadgreek.com/songs/.)

So thank you all for your contributions. Keep them up. I'm open to all of your suggestions and ideas. But in the meantime I will read, read, read and write, write, write, and of course, sing, sing, sing.

Oh, and the songs. Well help me out. How would you translate the following song into Koine-Klingon? What is the framework of this Song? What was the author trying to communicate? To whom was he talking? What was his audience? What social class was he in? What nationality was he a member of? What language did he speak? What language did he grow up speaking? In what year was he born? Did he grow up in Alaska? (If I don't know the answers to these questions, I cannot determine what he is really saying).

http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Shine-lyrics-Newsboys/1170E6D94B28380948256DEA002F3217
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cUQe3xs3eY

There are some songs that easily cross the language barrier, and some that really stretch the boundaries. In this song, there is "dictator", origami", "Eskimo", "vegetarian", "barbecue hamster", "bored", "Deadhead", "Schizophrenic", "Oprah", "science", "rational", "bouncer", "bored", "crayons", "shaker", "plate", "ballet",  "Karma", "fire the army", "What's my Line?".  Do you have Greek words for these English words?

This is truly a 21st century song. οιμοι· How can it be done? Do we rely on 21st century modern biblical translation methodologies (Nida)?  But if you listen to this song, the tune sticks in your head. Don't you wish you hear Greek rather than English?

"Dull as Dirt --  You can't assert...."

Louis Sorenson

---------------Song Text follows---------------------

Dull as dirt
you can´t assert the kind of light
that might persuade
a strict dictator to retire
fire the army
teach the poor origami
the truth is in
the proof is when
you hear your heart start asking,
"What´s my motivation?"


and try as you may, there isn´t a way
to explain the kind of change
that would make an Eskimo renounce fur
that would make a vegetarian barbecue hamster
unless you can trace this about-face
to a certain sign...

Chorus
shine
make ´em wonder what you´ve got
make ´em wish that they were not
on the outside looking bored
shine
let it shine before all men
let´em see good works, and then
let ´em glorify the Lord

out of the shaker and onto the plate
it isn´t Karma
it sure ain´t fate
that would make a Deadhead sell his van
that would make a schizophrenic turn in his crayons
Oprah freaks
and science seeks a rationale
that shall excuse
this strange behavior

when you let it shine
you will inspire
the kind of entire turnaround
that would make a bouncer take ballet
(even bouncers who aren't happy)
but out of the glare
with nowhere to turn
you ain´t gonna learn it on "What´s My Line?"

shine
make ´em wonder what you´ve got
make ´em wish that they were not
on the outside looking bored
shine
let it shine before all men
let´em see good works, and then
let ´em glorify the Lord

shine

shine

shine
make ´em wonder what you´ve got
make ´em wish that they were not
on the outside looking bored
shine
let it shine before all men
let´em see good works, and then
let ´em glorify the Lord

shine
make ´em wonder what you´ve got
make ´em wish that they were not
on the outside looking bored
shine
let it shine before all men
let´em see good works, and then
let ´em glorify the Lord

shine

Lyrics: Steve Taylor / Music: Peter Furler
© 1994 Ariose Music (a division of Star Song Communications, admin. by Gaither Copyright Management), Warner Alliance Music & Soylent Tunes

 		 	   		  
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