Interlingual Homophones


There are words which are pronounced the same as other words but differ in meaning or origin; these words are known as homophones. They are usually found within one language (e.g. carrot and karat) but they can cross language barriers; although they do not often exactly match across languages – as there always seem to be some slight deviation in how various sounds are pronounced – interlingual homophones do exist and can, potentially, cause all sorts of confusion.

  • εκεί / aquí
    In Greek, there. In Spanish, here.
  • ναι / nej
    In Greek, yes. In Swedish, no.
  • pig / pigg
    In English, mammalian species of the genus Sus. In Swedish, alert.
  • say / sé
    In English, to speak. In Spanish, I know.
  • tack / tak
    In Swedish, thank you. In Polish, yes.
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Conversations: Scriptural Accuracy


Lysandra
It is often said that it is reasonable for people to believe that the Bible is the word of God because many of the events recounted in the New Testament confirm Old Testament prophecy.

Helena
A pathetic argument. Consider the following, how difficult would it have been for the Gospel writers to tell the story of Jesus’ life so as to make it conform to Old Testament prophecy? Wouldn’t it have been within the power of any mortal to write a book that confirms the predictions of a previous book? In fact, we know on the basis of textual evidence that this is what the Gospel writers did.

Sappho
The writers of Luke and Matthew, for instance, declare that Mary conceived as a virgin, relying upon the Greek rendering of Isaiah 7:14. The Hebrew text of Isaiah uses the word ‘alma’, however, which simply means “young woman,” without any implication of virginity. Continue reading

Bathos


‘Bathos is a tradition from the dignified or grand to commonplace or laughable; an anticlimax […].'[1] The term was first used in this sense by Alexander Pope in his treatise Peri Bathous; or, The Art of Sinking in Poetry (1728).

From the Ancient Greek βάθος meaning ‘depth’, bathos is generally a sudden change of tone in a work of writing, usually from the sublime to the ridiculous. When used unintentionally or executed poorly, this may result in sappiness. When used properly, this may create a comedic effect.

Bridgekeeper: Stop. Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.
Sir Lancelot: Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I am not afraid.
Bridgekeeper: What… is your name?
Sir Lancelot: My name is Sir Lancelot of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What… is your quest?
Sir Lancelot: To seek the Holy Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What… is your favourite colour?
Sir Lancelot: Blue.
Bridgekeeper: Go on. Off you go.
Sir Lancelot: Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.

– Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)


[1] Fiske, Robert Hartwell (1 November 2011). Robert Hartwell Fiske’s Dictionary of Unendurable English: A Compendium of Mistakes in Grammar, Usage, and Spelling with commentary on lexicographers and linguists. Scribner. p. 71

Boustrophedon


In Ancient Greece, the boustrophedon, meaning literally “to turn like oxen”, was the writing of alternate lines in opposite directions, one line from left to right and the next from right to left, like the oxen would do when ploughing a field.

Common styles of boustrophedon writing include:

  • Inversion of every other line, but not the words themselves.

E.g. So again we have learned something,
Greek the about joke cheap a making of instead
civilisation upon which everything around us depends

  • Inversion of every other line, as well as the words themselves, but not each individual letter.

E.g. gnihtemos denrael evah ew niaga oS
daetsni fo gnikam a paehc ekoj tuoba eht keerG
sdneped su dnuora gnihtyreve hcihw nopu noitasilivic

  • Inversion of every other line, the words themselves as well as each individual letter.

Some Etruscan texts have also been written in boustrophedon style, as have some early Hungarian and Polynesian scriptures.

Ancient Greek You Know (δ)


Learning about the Classics can enrich one’s life enormously. Indeed, for some, understanding Greek is a κτῆμα ἐς ἀεί, a “possession for eternity”. Interestingly, people tend to be more familiar with Ancient Greek than they know. Consider the following words:

ἄξιος – axios meaning ‘worthy’; axiom, an assumption whose worth is evident.

ἀρχή – arkhe meaning ‘beginning’, ‘rule’ or ’empire’; anarchy, the absence of rule.

διδάκω – didako meaning ‘to teach’; didactics, the art of teaching.

δίκη – dike meaning ‘justice’; theodicy, a vindication of divine justice.

ἡμέρα – hemera meaning ‘day’; ephemeral, lasting only for a day.

θάλαττα – thalatta meaning ‘sea’; thalassocracy, the rule over the sea.

θάπτω – thapto meaning ‘to bury’; epitath, inscription where someone is buried.

κακός – kakos meaning ‘bad’, ‘evil’; cacophony, discordant sounds.

καλός – kalos meaning ‘beautiful’, ‘noble’ or ‘good’; callisthenics, healthy exercises.

μετά – meta meaning ‘with’, ‘after’; metaphysics, things beyond the physical realm.

μοῖρα – moira meaning ‘fate’; merit, the portion with one deserves.

Μοῦσα – mousa meaning ‘Muse’; music, an art which the muses superintended.

ὅπλον – hoplon meaning ‘tool’, ‘weapons’; panoply, an array of weapons.

πάλαι – palai meaning ‘long ago’; Palaeolithic, the old Stone Age.

ποιητής – poietes meaning ‘poet’; a person who writes poems.

πολίτης – polites meaning ‘citizen’; politics, certain manoeuvres between people.

συν – syn meaning ‘plus’; synchronize, to time things together with another.

τάττω – tatto meaning ‘station’, ‘appoint’; syntax, the way words are drawn up.

See other: Ancient Greek You Know

Kore ‎[Noun.]


An Ancient Greek statue of a woman, portrayed standing, usually clothed, painted in bright colours and having an elaborate hairstyle. From the Ancient Greek κόρη meaning ‘young woman’.

Accuracy of the Bible


‘It is often said that it is reasonable to believe that the Bible is the word of God because many of the events recounted in the New Testament confirm Old Testament prophecy. But ask yourself, how difficult would it have been for the Gospel writers to tell the story of Jesus’ life so as to make it conform to Old Testament prophecy? Wouldn’t it have been within the power of any mortal to write a book that confirms the predictions of a previous book? In fact, we know on the basis of textual evidence that this is what the Gospel writers did.

The writers of Luke and Matthew, for instance, declare that Mary conceived as a virgin, relying upon the Greek rendering of Isaiah 7:14. The Hebrew text of Isaiah uses the word ‘alma’, however, which simply means “young woman,” without any implication of virginity. It seems all but certain that the dogma of the virgin birth, and much of the Christian world’s resulting anxiety about sex, was a product of a mistranslation from the Hebrew. Another strike against the doctrine of the virgin birth is that the other evangelists have not heard of it. Mark and John both appear uncomfortable with accusations of Jesus’ illegitimacy, but never mention his miraculous origins. Paul refers to Jesus as being “born of the seed of David according to the flesh” and “born of woman,” without referring to Mary’s virginity at all.

And the evangelists made other errors of scholarship. Matthew 27:9-10, for instance, claims to fulfill a saying that it attributes to Jeremiah. The saying actually appears in Zechariah 11:12-13.

The Gospels also contradict one another outright. John tells us that Jesus was crucified the day before the Passover meal was eaten; Mark says it happened the day after. In light of such discrepancies, how is it possible for you to believe that the Bible is perfect in all its parts? What do you think of Muslims, Mormons, and Sikhs who ignore similar contradictions in their holy books? They also say things like “the Holy Spirit has an eye only to substance and is not bound by words” (Luther). Does this make you even slightly more likely to accept their scriptures as the perfect word of the creator of the universe?’

Harris. S. 2006. Letter To A Christian Nation p. 19-20