Trivia: Which Idiomatic expression is most difficult?

Trivia: Which Idiomatic expression is most difficult?

Postby Stephen Hughes » January 9th, 2014, 6:29 am

Which idiomatic expression in Greek requires the most additional words (or the most absolute rearrangement of meaning) to translate in to meaningful and good English?
Stephen Hughes
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Re: Trivia: Which Idiomatic expression is most difficult?

Postby Stephen Hughes » January 9th, 2014, 7:28 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:the most additional words
I mean the least "most additional words", I was thinking minimalist and economical, but now I realise that this might be be taken as an invitation to expansionistic translation. Just what's needed to get the sense of the idiom in English.
Stephen Hughes
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Re: Trivia: Which Idiomatic expression is most difficult?

Postby Stephen Hughes » January 10th, 2014, 8:39 pm

This is not a prepared right / wrong answer question, so I suppose I can participate as a respondee too.

The word that comes to mind that requires the most number of English words to acurately give its meaning is ἀρχισυνάγωγος "leader of a (jewish) synagogue" with five English words rendering one Greek one.

The Greek phrase that I find most difficult to grasp is simply the often discussed phrase, "Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί;" (John 2:4) (What/Why to me also to you?) in the context of "Οἶνον οὐκ ἔχουσιν." (John 2:3) (They have no wine!) seems to mean a very intimate - "Does that trouble you?" "Is this one of those your-trouble-is-my-concern situations?" (Let me fix what concerns you.) And it seems that "ἐμοί" refers to those who have no wine, and the σοί is refering to Jesus' mother from the viewpoint of those who have no wine (where the person in need is the orientation of direction - walking a mile in another's shoes).

The verse that I find requires thought to understand is;
Ephesians 4:26 (RP) (Part) wrote:ἥλιος μὴ ἐπιδυέτω ἐπὶ τῷ παροργισμῷ ὑμῶν·
(leading to the realisation - you can't stop the sun setting)
Stephen Hughes
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Re: Trivia: Which Idiomatic expression is most difficult?

Postby David Lim » January 10th, 2014, 11:26 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:The Greek phrase that I find most difficult to grasp is simply the often discussed phrase, "Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί;" (John 2:4) (What/Why to me also to you?) in the context of "Οἶνον οὐκ ἔχουσιν." (John 2:3) (They have no wine!) seems to mean a very intimate - "Does that trouble you?" "Is this one of those your-trouble-is-my-concern situations?" (Let me fix what concerns you.) And it seems that "ἐμοί" refers to those who have no wine, and the σοί is refering to Jesus' mother from the viewpoint of those who have no wine (where the person in need is the orientation of direction - walking a mile in another's shoes).

I'm surprised that you interpret it as an intimate expression; I thought it is just neutral. What about Matt 8:29, Mark 1:24, 5:7, Luke 4:34, 8:28?
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Re: Trivia: Which Idiomatic expression is most difficult?

Postby Stephen Hughes » January 11th, 2014, 10:18 am

David Lim wrote:I'm surprised that you interpret it as an intimate expression; I thought it is just neutral. What about Matt 8:29, Mark 1:24, 5:7, Luke 4:34, 8:28?
Matthew 8:29, Mark 1:24 and Luke 4:34 wrote:Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί

Mark 5:7 and Luke 8:28 wrote:Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί

"Intimate", that is probably not a suitable word, but overlooking that, in a way, yes, I do. The demons recognise Him in a way that others don't necessarily do so.
Stephen Hughes
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Re: Trivia: Which Idiomatic expression is most difficult?

Postby cwconrad » January 11th, 2014, 11:05 am

I'm going to have to chime in with SH on this one. The whole phase here -- τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι; -- has always seemed to me like one of those Sophoclean gems of diction that sparkle differently every time you cast an eye on them. Moreover, I tend to be suspicious of anything in John's gospel that looks too simple. I've seen many a discussion on the intonation and implication of "γύναι" and several discussions also of "τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί;" It's sort of like the ἄνωθεν of Jn 3:3,7. Shall we cry out, "Play it again, Sam"? and hope that we'll understand it better this time?
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Re: Trivia: Which Idiomatic expression is most difficult?

Postby David Lim » January 11th, 2014, 11:30 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:"Intimate", that is probably not a suitable word, but overlooking that, in a way, yes, I do. The demons recognise Him in a way that others don't necessarily do so.

Ah okay so you mean "well-acquainted".
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Re: Trivia: Which Idiomatic expression is most difficult?

Postby Stephen Hughes » January 12th, 2014, 5:29 am

David Lim wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:"Intimate",
okay so you mean "well-acquainted".
Something like that. It is so generic a phrase that it is like a camelion picking up on its context for definition. That dependence on context is what makes it so difficult, I feel, to understand and render.

Antway, that is different sort of generality (genericness) to that stuff I was writing the other day about the adjectives in -ιμος, where if they are not spelt out with the dative and infinitive, it is left to the surroundings of the reader / listener to supply thing from our own reasonable expectations and understanding to be able to understand the application of the adjective. In those adjectives, we the readers supply ideas about the context more than, with this stuff about datives where we try to look for clues in the given context.

I make that comparison just now to imply that when I see analyses and comments on this phrase with the datives that we are looking at, I judge them in the first instance based on this distinction. Take for example things like,
  • "What clues do we get from the surrounding phrases?" :) - Suitable interaction for this type of phrase.
  • "Do we find such and so words rude/ polite etc?" :( - Unsitiable type of texual interaction for this type of phrase.
I think that languages have ways that they hint we should interact with them, rather than giving us a carte blanche to read it in any way that seems suitable to us.

For the adjectives in -ιμος where things are not explicated with a dative and/or infinitive, it would be more wider, allowing more subjective input;
  • What is being implied from the context here?" :)
  • What do I think is reasonable here? How can I apply my general understanding about thigns here?" :)
But that is only my thoughts, you may have a different standard by which to judge the suitablity of the reader / listener's various intertextual participations.
Stephen Hughes
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Re: Trivia: Which Idiomatic expression is most difficult?

Postby David Lim » January 12th, 2014, 6:39 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
David Lim wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:"Intimate",
okay so you mean "well-acquainted".
Something like that. It is so generic a phrase that it is like a camelion picking up on its context for definition. That dependence on context is what makes it so difficult, I feel, to understand and render.
[...]

Yea agreed. I'd never seen the word "camelion" before until you used it. It really has changed its skin! But it couldn't hide from the context. :)
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Re: Trivia: Which Idiomatic expression is most difficult?

Postby Stephen Hughes » January 12th, 2014, 4:14 pm

Ha ha. I learnt a new word yesterday too, "impresario".

An impresario is somebody who organises the production of a play and who may supply the money. The word has some meaning in common, I suppose, with "εὐεργέτης" who would properly be the benefactor who supplied the money allowing someone else to organise the production of a play (among other things).
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