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Re: [GTh] Logion 68 (B)

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  • jmgcormier
    ... have been originally written in Greek? ... Greek. The use of Greek loan-words was simply a feature of the Coptic language at the time - due no doubt to the
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 2, 2003
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      --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@c...>
      wrote:
      > > Does the existence of Greek loan words indicate that Thomas might
      have been originally written in Greek?
      >
      > No. Nor does it indicate that the Coptic GTh was translated from
      Greek. The use of Greek loan-words was simply a feature of the Coptic
      language at the time - due no doubt to the enormous influence of Greek
      throughout the region. By way of comparison, English borrows words
      from all over the place - thereby adding 'burro' (Spanish) and
      'bureau' (French) to what I believe is our native 'burrow'. We don't
      normally think much of it, but it's not clear to me that the average
      literate Copt of the time would have been so blind as we are to the
      existence of foreign words that creep into the native language. The
      situation may be more like the French - who seem to be quite cognizant
      of English words that enter into their vocabulary.

      But this is just my impression; perhaps Maurice or another
      French-speaker can correct me there.
      >
      > Mike Grondin
      > Mt. Clemens, MI

      -----------------------------

      I would say that this is a pretty fair appraisal, Mike. As you
      know, in the English speaking world, the dictionary publishers seem to
      be the true guardians of the language ... enforcing this "role" by way
      of what they thus allow to creep into "accepted use". It seems that
      "usage" is the principal criterion for inclusion ("arm candy" for
      example to describe a young "lady" hanging onto the arm of a "sugar
      daddy" ... I just love that one ...).

      In the French language, however, life is not so simple. It is not the
      dictionary publishers who decide which words will creep into the
      language and which ones will not, but rather it is the "Academie
      Francaise" which historically has does the official deciding. This
      body of learned linguists allows and rejects words based on a bit more
      than mere usage, and often carry out painstaking work and study before
      accepting or rejecting words be they French or "creeper in" words
      from other languages. For example, the closest one can come to the
      word "marketing" in French is the word "commercialization". Soooo ...
      because "marketing" (in English) is more than mere
      "commercialization", the Academie allows for "marketing" to be of
      correct usage in French. In contrast, the French word "entreprenneur"
      has no equivalency in English (except prehaps for the word "promotor")
      so "entreprenneur" simply becomes an o.k. word for the Dictionary
      publishers and thus becomes "accepted" for usage.

      My own bias is that usage will ultimately decide which words we use,
      but in fairness to the French system, if nobody (or no "body") is
      watching for word creepage into a language, pretty soon (not sure at
      which point) the language in question loses much of its authenticity.

      As for Copt and Greek, I am not sure how hostile the Copts might have
      been to "word creepage". As you know, Greek became very widespread
      after Alexander's conquests and as a minimum, I expect neighbouring
      languages made use of it "as required" ... especially in the case of
      technical words where their might not have been equivalencies. In
      fact, western languages still do this now (e.g. "Pyromaniac" is
      widespread in both English and French usage, although the "pyro" part
      comes to us from Alexandrian/Greek origins. However, as a follow-up,
      the English more readily uses "fire bug" to describe a "pyromaniac"
      because (I think) it better describes the idea (an arson
      "enthusiast") and is mor colorful. Don't hold out on the Academie
      following suit with some "fire bug" equivalent word, however ... well,
      at least not in the near future I suspect.


      Maurice Cormier
    • David C. Hindley
      ... use, but in fairness to the French system, if nobody (or no body ) is watching for word creepage into a language, pretty soon (not sure at which point)
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 5, 2003
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        --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "jmgcormier" <cobby@n...> wrote:

        >>My own bias is that usage will ultimately decide which words we
        use, but in fairness to the French system, if nobody (or no "body")
        is watching for word creepage into a language, pretty soon (not sure
        at which point) the language in question loses much of its
        authenticity.<<

        "Language is what language does," as the movie character Forrest Gump
        might say. The koine of the 1st century CE was quite different than
        the Attic of classical Greek times (slightly simpler grammer, full of
        new words created from a variety of sources - not all of which were
        of "pure" Greek origin).

        The upper classes were quite aware of this, as they were tutored in
        Attic literature and spoke that form of the language among
        themselves. I cannot recall the source off hand (I am on vacation in
        Texas) but one critic quotes (in English translation) a writer from
        around the 1st century who was very critical of other elites who
        stooped to speak or make use of elements of the Greek koine dialect.

        Of course, that kind of attitude among the elite classes does not
        stop his baker or lower level retainer or slave from using the
        somewhat simpler and more "colorful" koine for everyday business.

        Dave Hindley
        Cleveland, Ohio USA
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