13 thoughts on “Updated HCSB Text Now Available in Accordance

  1. EricW says:

    Off-topic, but as I was reading the HCSB comparisons of “Adam knew his wife Eve intimately” (HCSB old) and “Adam was intimate with his wife Eve” (HCSB new) (the third image in the linked Webpage), it occurred to me that English lacks a proper unvulgar verb for “to have sexual intercourse.”

    “Knew,” while perhaps a literal translation of the Hebrew (depending on what one means by “literal”), is not a word we use anymore (if ever) with reference to sex; “lay with,” like “knew,” is more euphemistic than explicit and is also not a single word (and “Adam laid his wife” borders on the vulgar); “had sexual intercourse with” is certainly not a single word, nor is “slept with” or “made love to.”

    The only one-word verbs for “to have sexual intercourse” that I can think of range from the somewhat crude to the obscene (or what used to be obscene, before the Vice President broadcast it to the world with no repercussions).

    I guess our translations will always be stuck with using euphemisms or phrases for this act.

  2. Wayne Leman says:

    Eric, numbers of words for translation equivalents often vary from language to language. Current non-vulgar English words for Adam having sexual intercourse with Eve could be (with varying connotations):

    Adam had sex with Eve (this is not vulgar in current English)
    Adam made love to Eve
    Adam slept with Eve

    There is nothing wrong with using euphemisms for the sex act since language often do so as did the Hebrew. The only requirement for adequate translation is that the euphemism used be one which is natural in the target language, not one which has been imported to the language but not used by its speakers.

  3. EricW says:

    My main point was that it occurred to me that we don’t have a single-word verb that isn’t either euphemistic (e.g., “knew” – I can’t think of any other non-vulgar single-word euphemisms) or vulgar.

    I wonder why that is?

  4. EricW says:

    All polite phrases have to use the word “to” or “with” in conjunction with the verb, it seems: made love to; copulated with; mated with; etc.

  5. Dannii says:

    Why would a single word be desirable?? The person who you sleep with should be thought of as having the thematic relation of accessory/accompanist, so using the preposition “with” is entirely appropriate.

    Consider too the difference (if you think there is one) between “Adam made love with Eve” and “Adam made love to Eve”… I’d suggest that’s the difference between a role of accessory and patient, though the difference is slight in these cases.

  6. Brad says:

    “The only requirement for adequate translation is that the euphemism used be one which is natural in the target language, not one which has been imported to the language but not used by its speakers.”

    Why do you hold this presupposition? Why not consider enriching the language, or setting accurate communication as standards? Will your presupposition lock English into a small and static box, similar to what was done to French by the Academy Francaise?

  7. Peter Kirk says:

    Brad, if a translation is to be understood it has to use words and senses of them which its target audience understands, which rules out “one which has been imported to the language but not used by its speakers”. If the word is already in use, fine. If not, it should not be in a translation.

  8. EricW says:

    Dannii
    Posted March 31, 2010 at 5:11 am
    Why would a single word be desirable?? The person who you sleep with should be thought of as having the thematic relation of accessory/accompanist, so using the preposition “with” is entirely appropriate.

    I see your point. A single word may not necessarily “be desirable,” but I was just wondering why we don’t have such a non-vulgar word, as we have single-word transitive verbs for other interactions with humans that don’t require “with” or “to” (but many of them do require “with” or “to”). Maybe the reason the one-word versions are vulgar is because they convey the sense that the other person is an object, not a partner. Interesting. Thanks.

  9. Gary Simmons says:

    Eric, I think it’s just part of how English works in comparison to other languages. One could just as easily ask why English has almost no stative verbs, forcing us to rely on an equative verb plus an adjective in order to achieve the same effect (or affect). The syntax just is what it is.

  10. J. K. Gayle says:

    I believe this is a Hebrew wordplay, a Hebraism. The playful thread of יָדַע (yada` “know”) runs right through Genesis (3:5, 3:7, 3:22, 4:1, 4:9, 4:17, 4:25) and of course is used for intercourse a good bit (Adam “knew” his wife; Cain “knew” his; and Adam “knew” his again, in 4:1, 17, & 25 respectively — in 4:9 Abel does not “know” nothing about his brother, much less his whereabouts).

    When the Jews in Alexandria Egypt translate this text of theirs into Greek, they make up biblish Greek by using the verb γινώσκω (ginosko “know”) in each instance, including for intercourse. But this isn’t how Homer or Euripides or Aristotle or even the first-century Chariton used the word; they wrote an awful lot about the sex act – even in the intimacy that may be suggested in Genesis – but didn’t use the Greek word this way. This is Hebrew-Hellene.

    The English single word vulgarity thing is interesting. But the Hebrew single word wordplay is pretty interesting too.

  11. Dannii says:

    EricW, who knows, or cares? I don’t understand why you think there should be a single word option. “Talk with”, “fight with”, “conspire with”, “eat with” all use prepositions but I doubt you’d think that anything is odd with them. (“Fight” doesn’t need the preposition however. Neither does “eat”, but of course that would mean something very different!) Prepositions are a normal and essential part of English, and to not use them because other languages don’t would be both foolish and wrong.

    I also wonder whether “transitive” is entirely the right description of “slept with.” It could be argued that these clauses have plural reciprocal subjects

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