[b-hebrew] etymology opinion question for the list

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Thu Jul 28 20:43:01 EDT 2005

Agreed.  I often get questions via my web page from people who are wrestling 
with this question of "How should I pronounce it?" because some folks on the 
web are making a big deal of it.  I make a habit of pointing out that the 
name "John" in English is Johann in German, Jean in French, Juan in Spanish, 
Ivan in Russian, and so on.  An excellent example comes from one of Tom 
Clancy's books, in which the Soviet premier (that certainly dates the book!) 
is reflecting on Jack Ryan, the main character.  He notes, in his thoughts, 
that "Jack" is a slang for "John," which in Russian is Ivan.  Russian names 
don't use a middle name but a patronymic; Ryan's father was named Emmet, so 
his patronymic would be Emmetovich.  Out loud, he calls Jack "Ivan 
Emmetovich."  Ryan is flattered that the premier respects him enough to 
render his name into his own language this way.

I usually conclude by telling the questioner this: how you pronounce the name 
really isn't important.  What matters is the person referred to.  Someone can 
call me David, Dave, Dah-VEED in several languages, or "hey you, the 
funny-looking one" and if I know they're speaking of me, I'll reply.  Names 
are most always a special case.  

On Thursday 28 July 2005 18:26, Kevin Riley wrote:
>  Names are often treated differently.  Usually they are simply
> transliterated with any adjustments for inflectional endings being made.  I
> don't think they are usually translated in the sense of retaining the
> original meaning.  Even in the original language the meaning of a name may
> not be prominent - many English speakers see no real meaning in names, even
> those that do obviuosly have meanings like, Grace, Charity, Miller, Baker,
> etc.
> Kevin Riley
> -------Original Message-------
> From: Gene Gardner
> Date: 07/29/05 10:16:15
> As an example, the way that the English name Jesus was
> derived from the semitic Yeshua. Starting in Hebrew or
> Aramaic, to Greek, to Latin, and then to English. It
> is stated that the original meaning ends up with the
> name Jesus through all of these language processes.
> Would the list members consider this the norm?
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Dave Washburn
"Well, if I'd wanted a safe life, I guess I wouldn't have 
married a man who studies rocks." - Betty Armstrong (Fay Masterson)

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