Translation: Glossing, Domains, Arguments

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Sat May 20 2000 - 17:57:23 EDT

Been reading Simon Dik's "Functional Grammar", 1981.

This book suggests that you really don't understand a lexical item in a
language by looking at its semantic distribution alone.

For example, a verb can be defined by a set of rules governing the types of
words that can serve as arguments for that verb. These rules might be
called, restriction rules.

One of the problems one encounters with translating into English is that we
must often settle for an English gloss chosen from the semantic domain of a
particular verb without giving full consideration to the restriction rules
placed on that Verb in NT Greek.

In other words, we might find a word that looks like a good match in English
based on semantic distribution alone but there are other properties of the
Greek verb that make it a poor match. We may end up having to reconstruct
the English periphrastically to accommodate the fact the the English verb
does not have the same set of restriction rules governing the arguments this
verb may take in a predication.

This is just one tiny little nit picking point illustrating why English
translation takes you away from the text.

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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