[b-hebrew] VERBS

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Thu Jul 28 08:52:17 EDT 2005

On 28/07/2005 07:27, Rolf Furuli wrote:

>In my curriculum, when I studied applied linguistics at the University of
>Oslo, was the following book of Peter Newmark (1988) (who had spent several
>decades as atranslator) "A Textbook of Translation". (Newmark`s book was
>awarded the British Association of Applied Linguitics prize in 1988.).  He
>writes (p. 2) "... The SL (source language) texts consist of words, that is all
>that is there, on the page." ...

Even the best qualified and praised writers can sometimes speak 
nonsense, or they can be quoted out of context. Yes, the text consists 
of words. It also consists of letters. It also consists of sentences. It 
also consists of paragraphs. At a rather more abstract level it can be 
considered to consist of morphemes and of phrases and clauses, maybe 
other kinds of discourse unit. Yes, all that is on the page is words. 
But equally, all that is on the page is sentences, and all that is on 
the page is letters. It just depends how you choose to divide things up. 
So this argument is not at all helpful in deciding whether the basic 
unit of translation (if such a concept is meaningful) is the word, or 
some other unit.

The concept of a word is anyway a rather artificial one. When two Hebrew 
words are connected by maqqef, does that make one word or two? If you 
say that there are still two words, is the preposition MIN still a 
separate word when it is written in the prefixed form ME-? Or perhaps 
you claim that the prefixed prepositions and conjunction are separate 
words. Well, on what theoretical basis? After all, there is no word 
division in the text in such a case.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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