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Re: Digest Number 540

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  • Eli Bishop
    ... But people look at cards more than they talk about them - the changed connotations make sense if you think of them as independent attempts to describe the
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 23, 2003
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      --- In delany-list@yahoogroups.com, David Filippi <dfilippi@n...> wrote:
      >
      > Translation is such a tricky business. People (perhaps most recently
      > that Sting song on 'Ten Summoner's Tales') talk much about the
      > different connotations of the suits - diamonds meaning wealth, spades
      > representing labor, clubs being war or the warlike impulse; when I
      > hear that I always wonder how these connotations managed to shift so
      > much between Italian and English. Or are people fighting wars with
      > poison flowers now; like the avern fights in Gene Wolfe's 'Shadow of
      > the Torturer'?

      But people look at cards more than they talk about them - the changed
      connotations make sense if you think of them as independent attempts
      to describe the visual symbols, rather than "translations" from
      Italian or whatever. Also, the names *and* appearances of the suits
      have changed over time in different languages and versions of the
      deck. In many Tarot decks the equivalent to "diamonds" is called
      either pentacles or coins (with a specific connotation of wealth), and
      clubs or "wands" are wooden sticks which are sometimes still bearing
      buds/flowers. For more details I defer to someone who knows more
      about Tarot history than I do...
    • tennlt62000
      ... Just as an aside we could never get away with calling diamonds in the modern deck rhombuses! It just wouldn t work!!! (and that is technically what
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 24, 2003
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        --- In delany-list@yahoogroups.com, "Eli Bishop" <kibitz@g...> wrote:
        > --- In delany-list@yahoogroups.com, David Filippi <dfilippi@n...> wrote:
        > >
        > > Translation is such a tricky business. People (perhaps most recently
        > > that Sting song on 'Ten Summoner's Tales') talk much about the
        > > different connotations of the suits - diamonds meaning wealth, spades
        > > representing labor, clubs being war or the warlike impulse; when I
        > > hear that I always wonder how these connotations managed to shift so
        > > much between Italian and English. Or are people fighting wars with
        > > poison flowers now; like the avern fights in Gene Wolfe's 'Shadow of
        > > the Torturer'?
        >
        > But people look at cards more than they talk about them - the changed
        > connotations make sense if you think of them as independent attempts
        > to describe the visual symbols, rather than "translations" from
        > Italian or whatever. Also, the names *and* appearances of the suits
        > have changed over time in different languages and versions of the
        > deck. In many Tarot decks the equivalent to "diamonds" is called
        > either pentacles or coins (with a specific connotation of wealth), and
        > clubs or "wands" are wooden sticks which are sometimes still bearing
        > buds/flowers. For more details I defer to someone who knows more
        > about Tarot history than I do...

        Just as an "aside" we could never get away with calling "diamonds" in the modern deck "rhombuses!" It just wouldn't work!!! (and that is technically what they are--nothing whatsoever to do with gems, except in the mind of the interpreter!) They are "diamond" shaped, or rhombic, equal sided, non-square two-dimensional polygons, with opposite angles equal.
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