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3887Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: Reply to Fr. Whiteford/Fr. David Moser

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  • Rev. John R. Shaw
    Feb 5, 2001
      On Sun, 4 Feb 2001, Kiril Bart wrote:

      > Dear in Christ, Fr. David, I'm sorry about tone of
      > your e-mail, you probably didn't read e-mail that I've
      > been replying to. I did refer to that event as
      > illustration for attitude towards ecumenism by our
      > ierarchs after Anathema to ecumenism. In my mind it
      > proves that we weren't in communion with Serbs at that
      > time, not that we were ecumenists all way long. Am I
      > wrong?
      > Subdeacon Kirill

      There--now please don't be offended, but here it is not the "tone"
      that tells us something, but the language. The above passage shows the
      Slavic (except for Bulgarian/Macedonian and Czech) form of speech which
      knows no articles--no "the" and no "a".

      This is understandable enough for those of us who speak Russian,
      Serbian, &c., but it also can mean that the person who reads English texts
      with the Slavic habit of ignoring the "little words" can at times
      seriously misunderstand something. And that can have more impact on an
      exchange like this than one might suppose.

      Thus for example:

      1) The boy did not eat the egg.

      2) The boy did not eat an egg.

      3) The boy did not eat egg.

      Do those all sound like the same thing? In reality, they all have
      a different meaning. In the first sentence, there was a particular egg in
      mind--*the* egg, the egg that had been spoken of, and who knows, it may
      even have been a poisoned egg! The boy did not eat it, and therefore he
      evade the poison.

      Sentence 2: *an* egg. Here he did not eat an egg, but it is not
      specified which one--simply that he did not include any eggs in his meal,
      or that he did not eat any of the eggs that were before him.

      Sentence 3: *egg*. This means that he never ate eggs at all, and
      not just on one occasion.

      So the difference here is as much as in Russian between "ya shol",
      "ya poshol", and "ya khodil". On the other hand, to an English speaker
      these three Russian forms would all be "I walked", even though one was at
      the same time as something else that happened, one was a specific single
      incident (and means that I also got there!) and the third means "I used to
      go".

      All of this points to the fact that one can read a message in
      another language, often in haste and emotion, and misconstrue it to a
      surpising degree.

      In Christ
      Fr. John R. Shaw
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