[b-hebrew] Re: nephesh mot

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon Aug 25 11:59:00 EDT 2003


On 25/08/2003 07:54, furuli at online.no wrote:

> Dear Peter,
>
> I note that you do not entirely agree with the saying that a word has 
> no meaning without a context. But you did not answer my questions 
> regarding the three Hebrew words I mentioned. Such an answer could 
> reveal the degree of your agreement/disagreement with the mentioned 
> saying. 

I did answer your question, at least implicitly. No words, including the 
three you asked about, are entirely meaningless out of context, though 
the sense in which a grammatical particle can be said to have a meaning 
out of context is debatable. Well, you make things easier below by 
restricting this to substantives (nouns).

>
>
> In many posts the concept "meaning" is in focus, and if it is not 
> focused upon it is lurking in the background. In 1923 Samuel Ogden 
> wrote the book "The Meaning of Meaning", and after him others have 
> discussed the subject.  If we use the word *meaning* without having a 
> definite definition in mind, it may be time to study this subject in 
> depth.
>
> Please look at the four propositions below (I use "substantive" 
> instead of "word" to restrict the issue a little):
>
> 1) A substantive has no meaning without a context.
> 2) A substantive has no reference without a context.
>
> 3) NEPE$ has no meaning without a context.
> 4) NEPE$ has no reference without a context.
>
> I can hardly think that any linguist would equate "meaning" and 
> "reference. So my question is: Do 1) and 2) say the same thing or is 
> there a difference? And I ask the same question regarding 3) and 4). 

No, in the context of these sentences "meaning" and "reference" have 
different meanings.

>
>
> Jo Sprinkle gave a list of  how the NASB has rendered NEPE$:
> any 1, anyone 2, anyone* 1, appetite 7, being 1, beings 3,
> body 1, breath 1, corpse 2, creature 6, creatures 3, dead 1, dead 
> person 2,
> deadly 1, death 1, defenseless* 1, desire 12, desire* 2, discontented* 1,
> endure* 1, feelings 1, fierce* 2, greedy* 1, heart 5, heart's 2, 
> herself 12,
> Himself 4, himself 19, human 1, human being 1, hunger 1, life 146, 
> life* 1,
> lifeblood* 2, lives 34, living creature 1, longing* 1, man 4, man's 1, 
> men*
> 2, mind 2, Myself 3, myself 2, number 1, ones 1, others 1, ourselves 
> 3, own
> 1, passion* 1, people 2, people* 1, perfume* 1, person 68, person* 1,
> persons 19, slave 1, some 1, soul 238, soul's 1, souls 12, strength 1,
> themselves 6, thirst 1, throat 2, will 1, wish 1, wishes 1, yourself 11,
> yourselves 13
>
> Do these renderings indicate that NEPE$ has different *meanings*, or 
> are most of them just *references*?  So again, what actually is 
> *meaning* inside the frame of lexical semantics? Which place do the 
> mental lexicon play in relation to *meaning*? I think these questions 
> are extremely important, because *meaning* i relation to Hebrew words 
> so often is discussed, whereas many writers are not conscious about 
> the meaning of meaning. 

These renderings indicate that NASB has quite correctly translated the 
meanings of sentences and perhaps larger units rather than individual 
words. Indeed it has probably not gone far enough in this direction. The 
methodological problem is that of whoever extracted this information 
from NASB in assuming that each Hebrew word is represented in NASB by a 
word or a short phrase in NASB. In a general translation there is no 
such one-to-one correspondence.

>
>
>
> Best regards
>
> Rolf Furuli
>
>

-- 
Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
http://www.qaya.org/





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