The paper developed a conceptual lexical string model of word relationships which cold be used in the writing of a multilingual dictionary.
The research reviewed state-of-the-art papers dealing particularly with Arabic-English dictionaries and evaluated existing dictionary translations especially Al Mawrid which is considered as the standard English to Arabic translation.
Respondents from different but related fields were interviewed and focus group discussions were held to tackle relevant questions dealing with the practice and theories pertinent to lexicography.
Grounded approach and modeling were used in developing the methodology used in the study of the paper.
Important insights and results generated by the study included: the validation of the string model supported by findings of the cases made in the study and based on current thinking in language and translation; a dictionary effort is necessarily a multidisciplinary effort; there is a need for detailed code of conduct in the translation process; there is a need for meta language to handle translations.
One innovation of the research is combining philosophical precepts of semiotics with basics of modeling to come up with an approach to translation.
A dictionary is no ordinary document. It embedded the culture of the language documented. Words transcends the object referred to into the cognitive realms of the language user.
To understand is to uncover a meaning not anyway embedded in the object but as a process of learning. Learning meanwhile is a function of internal mental processes and social influences. Translation then becomes an unlocking of meaning based on experience raised to the level of abstract of conceptualization enabling an individual to learn language, furthermore translate one language into another.
A bilingual dictionary is two documents rolled into one. One is the source language with its own logic system and meaning sensibility and the other the target language with its own particularity.
There are numerous bilingual dictionary and in the case of English to Arabic, the Al Mawrid is well known. There are several critiques of the weaknesses of such a dictionary and aside from its incompleteness, the logical structure of the dictionary is also put into question. Apparently the dictionary just followed a convenient path of translating word for word without an internal guide for selection.
Thus the dictionary is tedious to use and some critics claimed that it is of no use to someone who would want to learn a second language, much more learn the culture of the source culture from which the language is based. In conventional bilingual dictionaries, each word is treated independently from other words this despite word associations very evident. There is no attempt identify the strings of words or relationships of words as far as generating meaning.
The study unveiled some of the strings of words and in what manner these words are related as the first step in embarking a writing of a bilingual dictionary. There is the need to open up a new horizon on lexicographic translations to incorporate concepts which may be relevant but usually excluded in conventional writing of dictionaries.
With a string concept the researcher believes a potent tool is at the disposal of the bilingual dictionary user. In this sense a dictionary is a word book of knowledge on the particular culture using such a language.
The endeavor to produce a dictionary under a new set of precepts and understanding is inevitably a pioneering one. There are however positive circumstances which makes such an endeavor feasible. One is the availability of computer system which makes word tracking a lot easier and more important, could make tagging or cross referencing thousands of words manageable.
Knowledge and meaning are two intertwined concepts and a dictionary effort could be viewed as knowledge and meaning management. Same way that money could be viewed as a store of value, a word could be viewed as a store of knowledge and a key to unlocking meaning. Inevitably in the conceptual level, epistemological precepts would converge with the cognitive. Here, a middle ground a common standard for the store of knowledge and a key to meaning must be accommodated if we want to put “life” into a dictionary.
1.2. Objectives of the study
This research project aims at highlighting the Arabic Dictionary shortages and the failure of the parties concerned to address the issue. The objective is to unveil these shortages and emphasize the impact this is having on the language and its users as a whole. An attempt will also be made to find different ways of tackling this problem and producing better dictionaries which provides better help for learners and professionals and academics.
- Contribute to improvement in available dictionaries, or identify areas where more clarifications and additions are needed.
- Encourage Arab scholars to put more effort and thought when putting new dictionaries, or creating new editions of the old versions.
- enlighten research students and translators as well, of the most and best ways, to tackle problems arising from shortages in monolingual Arabic dictionaries.
1.3. Statement of the Problem
As early as 1965, Haywood observed that “There is no modern Arabic equivalent to the Oxford English Dictionary.” This observation holds true even today more than four decades later. Haywood poses the challenge that the “most fruitful modern Arabic lexicographical work has been done by European Orientalists” and that it is “high time that the Arabs tackled this problem with urgency and energy, and build a really modern superstructure on the great foundation of the past (Haywood, 1965: 110)”. The efforts made in creating a modern work that compares to, say, Oxford dictionaries, is still unsatisfactory. Part of that problem, as Al-Kasimi (1978) recognizes, is due to the fact that there is no single linguistic or scientific body which is in charge of coining the required technical or scientific terms in Arabic. He argues:
Terminology is derived from organizations and scholars such as (a) Universities and Ministries of the Education in the Arab World; (b) Arabic Academies in Cairo, Baghdad, Damscus, and recently in Amman; (c) lexicographers who are compiling general or specialized monolingual or bilingual dictionaries; (d) writers and translators engaged in publishing books and articles on various subjects (Al-Kasimi, 1978: pp. 111).
Those efforts are not united and therefore, they are not contributing positively in filling the void. There is then a big need to come up with tool which maybe used in a standardized and systematic approach to dictionary development.
Specifically the study poses the following problems tackled in the paper:
- How could weak or vague sections of the dictionary be identified and how could these weakness or vagueness be improved?
- How could Arab scholars be encouraged to put more effort and thought when putting out new dictionaries or revising new editions of old versions?
- What is the best way to tackle the problems due to these shortages identified?
1.4. Importance of the Study
Language functions in one level as an ethno-cultural bond between between people and communities. Recording the words and giving its appropriate meanings in the relation to the different level of meanings from simple lexical or dictionary meaning to the more sublime connotative and contextual meaning of the word. Coming with up a tool to systematically tackle dictionary writing which could incorporate new and foreign words is important if language development could be directed to fully capture the words including the particular characteristic how meaning is derived in that particular language and culture.
The lexical tool and the findings of research could be important to scholars, students and even policy makers.
2.0. Review of Related Literature
The emphasis on the nature of language and symbols in the review of literature emphasizes the approach the researcher is exploring in the lexical study being conducted. The particular interest of the author to come up with a new approach and understanding of multilingual dictionaries necessitates understanding how to reconcile two major attributes of language – One it is possible to study its organization and how words are related and two, language is arbitrary and this arbitrariness have resulted to different languages and dialects spoken in the world.
There has to be a way to handle the common and unique characteristics of languages. Meaning is somehow embedded in the language used and knowing such differences is important in coming up with a model for multilingual dictionary project. And in such efforts, semiotics discourses such as those Saussure and other thinkers could be significant especially in words which may have universality but different inflection as far as context in a particular system of belief such as for example Arabic and English or American sensibilities. As such the author focused on Saussure and other thinkers who dug deep into the nature of a word or a particular symbol in relation to the cognitive faculties of people.
2.1. The Role of Linguistics in Lexical Schematization According to Saussure
2.1.1. Language and meaning
In elucidating the mechanism of lexicography it is of necessity to understand first the historical encapsulation of linguistics. According to Ferdinand de Saussure, meaning of a specific word is not solely based on the language it embodies but on the linguistic make up of such word. Language is defined as group of words used to convey message or as a means to communicate, in which, it is uniquely and systemically designed by its users, which means that a specific language differs from other languages because each language possesses an authentic characteristic that can only be understand by its users.
One factor that contributes in the novelty of certain language is its geographic positioning because particular regions have modified the usage and operation of their respective language. Having defined the language, Saussure demarcated the limitations of language, in terms of meaning. He postulated that language will not suffice in understanding the meaning because it is only the material aspect of language.
Full comprehension of lexical entities lies on the one’s indubitable knowledge of linguistics and semantics. The former is defined as the study of language, which includes the structural make-up of a word such as its etymological origin, phonetic pronunciation, and etc. On the other hand, the latter is defined as the study of meaning, symbols and even logic, which necessitate an understanding of usage and interrelationship between words, phrases, symbols and the mechanism of logic.
2.1.2. Phases in study of linguistics
According to Saussure, there are three phases that must be discussed in the study of linguistics. First, linguistics espouses the inclusion of grammar in language, which was originally conceptualized by the Greeks and was perpetuated by the French in its primordial essence. In every aspect of grammar, whether traditional or not, it has been established as a normative grammar, which implies a customary usage of certain rules and results to the cleavage between correct language and incorrect language. It must be take into consideration that the first phase may not necessarily create the meaning of a lexical entity but it helps to effectively communicate the meaning of such lexical entity.
The second phase of linguistics proper transpired during the arrival of the philological movement or philology. This movement introduces a new light in the study of language through its sponsorship of a rigid a thorough procedure of texts examination. As mentioned earlier, grammar lacks meaning-making and this is the primary concern of philologists who aim to extract meaning from the language of a given texts. . In general, the philological movement opened up countless sources relevant to linguistic issues, treating them in quite a different spirit from traditional grammar; for instance, the study of inscriptions and their language (Saussure, p.122).
The third phase of this enterprise is still in the process of validation because up to this contemporary period it is still not self–evident. The third phase concerns itself in ascertaining itself that there is a connection between languages and that different languages can be juxtapose with each other. The issue of this precept is its incommensurability because as argued above, language of respective regions has its own rules, hence it cannot be compared.
But due to language pedigree like the Indo-European family, the appeal on incommensurability seems to be weak because this pedigree extends itself on other geographic boundaries, which means that language belongs to the Indo-European family, whether it is partitioned or not by geographical positioning, has an existing relationship, therefore it can be compared. In fact, from then on scholars engaged in a kind of game of comparing different Indo-European languages with one another, and eventually they could not fail to wonder what exactly these connections showed, and how they should be interpreted in concrete terms (ibid. p. 124). This phase proved to be the most prolific because it serves as a means for more philosophical debates on the validity of such assertion that a specific language is commensurable with other language.
2.2. The Nature and Structure of Linguistic Entity
2.2.1. Language and reality
Saussure claims that the words or phonemes of a certain language must innately have structure because the absence of such property entails the impossibility of knowing the meaning of a given phenomenon. He argues that ideas do not pre-exist and because of this everything is meaningless and even incomprehensible. But due to language all thoughts had been shaped. From this postulate, we can infer that our conception of our existence and of reality is solely based on language.
Consequently, in itself, the purely conceptual mass of our ideas, the mass separated from the language, is like a kind of shapeless nebula, in which it is impossible to distinguish anything initially. The same goes, then, for the language: the different ideas represent nothing pre-existing. There are no: a) ideas already established and quite distinct from one another, b) signs for these ideas. But there is nothing at all distinct in thought before the linguistic sign. This is the main thing. On the other hand, it is also worth asking if, beside this entirely indistinct realm of ideas, the realm of sound offers in advance quite distinct ideas [taken in itself apart from the idea] (ibid. p. 133).
2.2.2. Concept-auditory image
Language is merely deduced to naming system in which we see words as an association of phenomena, by which we create lexical entity. Saussure posits that this linguistic stance is very simple but regardless of its simplicity, this stance is the most operative and appropriate in explicating the importance of language, and in presenting its two significant components. First, the concept is the idea that represents a certain words or something that is communicated by a given stimulus. And the second part is the auditory image that serves as the stimulus for the meaning that must be communicated to the perceiver. It must be noted that auditory image is not merely the material characteristic of the stimulus rather the psychological element that the stimulus imprints in our mind.
The model of concept-auditory image works equally the same with the model of signified-signifier relationship. The basic knowledge that must be understood in this model is the role of the linguistic entity (also termed as linguistic sign) because it is the amalgamation of concept and sound image. The amalgamation helps in outlining clearly the necessary process that must be incorporated in the meaning-making system.
In the furtherance of this conjecture Saussure provides the tree example, which states that there are innumerable languages that can be represented by the word and the concept of tree. Having this myriad of languages, an individual must choose and know the language that best represent his concept of tree. An individual who use his/her respective language, he/she automatically conjures the concept of tree from the point he/she created the auditory image of the word tree. Thus, it is through the association of the two components of language that the meaning-making system happens because the psychological sound of tree is tantamount to the phenomenon tree.
2.2.3. Linguistic entity
To further the elucidation of linguistic entity, Saussure dichotomizes the role of signified and signifier, in which these terms can be transposed as concept or the representation of a thing, and as auditory image or the word, correspondingly. Saussure defined sign (lexical entity) as the amalgamation of signifier and signified, which intrinsically embodies two major fundamentals. First, the existing relationship between the signifier and signified is definitively arbitrary.
The reason for this is simple; there is no logical connection between the two if applied in a given word or thing because there are countless languages and also words, for a single concept. For example, tree is tree in English, but in German it is baum, in Spanish it is arbol, in Italian it is albero, in French it is arbre, and in Dutch it is de boom. This vastness of language to pertain a single concept implies that signifier and signified can be separated, which can also result to the alteration of relationship between them or to its meaning.
Therefore, a single word or concept can end up in the confinement of ambiguity and vagueness. Second, sign in form of words should be perceived in unison with time because it is linear. A word cannot be spoken simultaneously by a person in a given time, but he can utter it one at a time. Even in writing, an individual cannot write multiple words in a given time but he can write it one by one. Thus, word is linear, and essentially signifiers are represented one at a time in a sentence to concretize its signified.
In addition, Saussure concretizes his claim of arbitrary relation between signifier and signified because everything that we transcribe as objective is just a fatal mistake of our understanding. Objectivity only takes place in the meaning-making process because a certain convention agreed upon several things in order for them to have a common ground. Take the following example as proof:
The peace sign is considered by the hippie as the representation of peace, which they proliferated in the seventies. Everyone who advocated this sign knows exactly what it means, but it does not necessarily follow that it has an intrinsic value in it; the point here is that a specific community or group of people (hippies) agreed upon its usage. Little did these people realize that the peace sign is also the Cross of Nero, which exemplifies the abomination of Christ in early days.
Onomatopoeia or the sounds that corresponds to a certain meaning such the sound produced by the rooster is transliterated as cock-a-doodle-do in English, but it has a corresponding auditory image in Spanish which is cocorico.
Expressions and cursing words are also arbitrary even if it is unique to different regions. “Ouch!” in English and “Aie!” in French.
2.2.4. Synchronic analysis
Saussure believes on the importance of knowing the etymological origin of a word and its history, but he asserts that these things are irrelevant in the meaning-making system because of the arbitrary nature of language. For him the most essential concept that must be applied in this enterprise is the synchronic analysis because this concept focuses on the contained meaning within a word in its present time. The irrelevancy of past and of future times in the synchronic analysis is warranted because language and arbitrary, therefore, what counts is the present meaning of the word.
In the meaning-making process, there are three requirements that must be fulfilled to derive a formal definition. First, the structure or the lexical entity must have wholeness, which means that the language system must operate wholly and not as independent of each other. Second, the language system must be flexible because it is innately arbitrary.
Saussure named this as transformation, in which he further explains that language system must always be susceptible to change because language is itself is not static. But it must be noted that transformation of a word must embody the governing rules of language system accordingly. And third, language system must be self-regulating. Whether how many times transformation takes place, the novel elements must still operate according to the basic structure of the system because it is infallible and universal.
2.3. On Lexical Meaning and the Valuation of Its Terms
2.3.1. Embedding meaning in language
As stipulated earlier, language forms all our concepts and ideas because these things have never pre-existed. The warrant of such claim lies on the structuralists conjecture that any concepts cannot be expressed without language, and without language all concepts are indiscernible. Saussure furthers that in order to come up with an impeccable comprehension of ideas in terms of its lexical content; one must take a closer look on the materiality and immateriality of sign.
It has been established that auditory image is the signifier of an idea, and the idea of the sound produced is the signified. Sign is material because of the corporal characteristic that it produced such as its sounds, visuals, and etc. On the other hand, sign becomes immaterial because of the thought it summons in our brain or it is the mental image that is produced in our mind every time we encounter a stimulus. The materiality and immateriality of sign is not independent of each other, though we can decipher the dichotomy between the two, still they cannot be partitioned because both of them work hand in hand.
The point on the dichotomization of sign’s materiality and immateriality is the fact that Saussure wants to stress his point that language is not in any case a thing or even a substance. For Saussure, language is nothing but a system, a form, and a structure. He posits that system of language taken as a whole is langue and all the entities subsist within the language system is parole. The arbitrariness of the language is system is best explained in terms of langue and parole.
First, any valuation of terms will not happen within the langue if there are no social affairs. Second, the possibility of meaning in a specific parole (term or context) depends on the prerogative and perusal of the community to adopt a relationship that will be encapsulated to an existing signifier and signified. Valuation of terms is schematized by the people who will use it. An individual can even create or designate a meaning to a specific term but it can never be communicated. In order to communicate meaning, two or more people have to convene and to be in agreement on what signifier and what signified a word should embody. Hence, value is the collective meaning designated to signs, which will operate within the confinement of its signifiers and signifieds relationships.
2.3.2. Structure of signs
It must be noted that sign’s value is not determined by a specific signifier that has a corresponding signified; rather it is by the entire structure of signs that is adopted by the community. Most people are confused in the differentiation between value and signification, because in most cases they are both taken as anonymous to each other.
But Saussure points out that signification is not value because the former is generally thought of as the “meaning” of the word, which means that it is the established affiliation between a signifier and a signified. Conversely, the latter concerns itself on the connection between innumerable signs that are existent within a signifying system. Saussure (1910-1911) expresses that “Language is a system of interdependent terms in which the value of each term results solely from the simultaneous presence of the others” (p. 129).
There are two fundaments incorporated in value, first, similar things are comparable, interchangeable and changeable, and second, dissimilar things are also comparable, interchangeable and changeable. The comparability, interchangeability and changeability of similar things are self-explanatory since there are few differences that may occur between similar things and they still possess a common ground. But on the case of dissimilar things, the task of comprehending its comparability, interchangeability and changeability seems to be challenging and difficult.
The truth is that dissimilar things operate in the same way as similar things operate in terms of the given aspects. The difference is that the former undergo a more rigid process of connecting two dissimilar ideas. Take for example the peace sign that is associated with peace but can be interchanged with sacrilege connotation. The point is language is arbitrary and because of this fact, meaning can only be derived depending on its surrounding.
Remember, value in words cannot only be conceptualized because two things are similar; it is also due to opposition or difference. You can never find the meaning of a word by considering only the exchangeable item, but you have to compare the similar series of comparable words. You cannot take words in isolation. This is how the system to which the term belongs is one of the sources of value. It is the sum of comparable terms set against the idea exchanged (p.136).
The meaning represented by a signifier is realizable because it stands alone with other signifiers. Being stand alone is not being isolated because if this is the case then Saussure will commit contradictory and contrary premises. When he say stand alone, he means that a signifier is meaningful because it is not like any other established signifier i.e. the signifier dog has a meaning, not because of its association with animal taxonomy, but for the reason that the signifier is not jog, hog, clog or Doug. Isolation, on the one hand, is the existence of a signifier independent of the whole system.
2.3.3. Systemic differences
The system of linguistic units depends thus on the idea of difference; one unit has value within the system because it is not some other unit within the system. As the computer example shows, this idea of difference depends upon the idea of binary opposites. To find out what a word or sign is not, you compare it to some other word or sign. (And because language exists in time and space, you can only do this comparison one word at a time, hence always forming binary pairs, pairs of two.) A binary pair shows the idea of difference as what gives any word value: in the pair cat/cats, the difference is the “s”; what makes each word distinct is its difference from the other word (p. 141). And due to this difference, value in words is only applicable within the context of the community who ascribe certain conventions on their language system.
Thus, a word in German language will have not have equal value to Arabic language, and this will be the case in all language system. It can be the case that a word in two different languages can have the same meaning but it will certainly have different value. For example, in English language the word sheep is the referent of a hoof animal, and in French language it is termed as mutton though it can never be translated as food in English language. Another good example provided by Saussure is the usage of the term decrepit that own two dissimilar meanings, one is old man, and the other is a wall. These dissimilar meanings transpired because of the coexistence of two neighbouring word that influenced each other.
2.3.4. The value of a word
The value of a word can never be determined except by the contribution of coexisting terms which delimit it: or, to insist on the paradox already mentioned: what is in the word is only ever determined by the contribution of what exists around it. (What is in the word is the value.) Saussure (1910-1911) asks “Around it syntagmatically or around it associatively” (p. 144). Saussure puts more stress on syntagmatic relation because it emanates a linear relation both in verbal and non-verbal attitude. An example of this is the fact that, in English, word order governs meaning. Consider the following sentence, “The cat sat on the mat” means something different than “The mat sat on the cat” because word-order–the position of a word in a chain of signification contributes to meaning.
[The sentences also differ in meaning because “mat” and “cat” are not the same words within the system] (p.146). In English language system, the word-order has a particular structure that must be followed to communicate the meaning and to satisfy the rules of grammar, and in this case the sentence must be in a subject-verb-object order. But this word-order will be completely different to other language systems. In German, that sentence might be “The adjective noun auxiliary verbed the direct object adverbially main verb”. In French it might be “The noun adjective verbed adverbially the direct object”. In Latin, word order doesn’t matter, since the meaning of the word is determined, not by its place in the sentence, but by its cases [nominative, ablative, etc.] (p. 149).
Syntagm is the juxtaposition of two or more words in linear form such as phrases, sentences, quotations, and et al. The value within the syntagm is only probable if and only if a term is in opposition with other terms, in which this specific term encountered in a group of words like phrase. The term is defined as something because the other terms before and after it is not term being defined. Syntagmatic relation is essential in a rational discourse because the latter requires time, linearity and syntactical meaning inside any communication process.
2.3.5. Associative relation
Another relation concern itself on the mental by-product necessitated by a specific word, which is called as associative relation. Every individual are capable of storing data and memories inside their brain and all of these are in a form of signs. When one hears the word dog he/she can connect this word to other words, which may have a direct or indirect link to each other.
Henceforth, syntagmatic relation is more significant than associative relation because the former can result to the fabrication of new words that will be incorporated in a language system and used by its community. Syntagmatic relations perpetuate such production because it is the result of a linguistic structure. In lieu to this, associative relations are only formed inside the head, in which no other word can be concocted because it thrives only on linking itself to other words to clarify its meaning. The importance of this kind relation is that it can result to idiomatic expressions and metaphors and its ability to dissolve all kinds of patterns prescribed by rigorous grammatical rules and syntagmatic relation.
2.4. On Sterkenburg, Swanepoel and Geeraerts’ Conception of the Lexicon
2.4.1. Meaning-making in multi-lingual context
Individuals are very much accustomed in consulting dictionaries in order for them to define a single word, especially those words that they have never encountered. Knowing the exact definition of specific terms is necessary because it warrants our usage of the words we utter and that we can express effectively the message we want to communicate. The meaning-making process is a system that is unknown to men since time immemorial. Our communication back then is limited to noise and body language, in which words are alien concept for us. But evolution takes its own course, man and his language evolves. Biblical history narrates that in ancient epoch men uses only one language to communicate with each other but due to one misfortunate event, language multiplied itself into innumerable quantity.
Multiplicity of language becomes a barrier in understanding, which results to the necessitation of a common ground between two speakers who embody different languages. Lingua franca is the first solution in bridging the gap between two distinctly language, in which the two speakers combine their native language and uses another mixture of language that is proximally equal to their first language. But usage of lingua franca failed to completely address the problem in multiple languages because most often than not, meaning of certain words are being misconstrued since its understanding lies on the perception of the receiver. Miscomprehension of meaning propagates two prominent issues in effective communication, first is ambiguity, and second is vagueness.
2.4.2. Critical importance of dictionaries
Dictionary counterattacks the element of ambiguity and vagueness in a given discourse incorporated in the multiplicities of language. Dictionary provides accurate and concise definitions to the building blocks of language, which is the unit or word that is used in all forms of communication. Dictionary outlines the arbitrary nature of language, as well as, answers its arbitrariness by enumerating numerous meanings integrated in a single unit. A dictionary has several types such as illustrating dictionaries, biographical dictionaries, and most importantly translation dictionaries.
It has been established that a dictionary gives an accurate and concise definition to words. And if this is the case, what are the factors that justify this claim. Does the definition that is commonly attributed to dictionary sufficient enough? A dictionary is a noun which means 1) book of word meanings: a reference book that contains alphabetically ordered words, with explanations of their meanings, often with information about grammar, pronunciation, and etymology [http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_/dictionary.html], 2) foreign-language reference book of words: a reference book that alphabetically arranges and translates words and phrases in two or more languages [ibid.], or 3) it is book that is composed of definitions for specific words. Are these definitions enough to understand the nature of dictionary or even exemplify its importance?
The task of this paper is to establish clear cut definition of dictionary and to sketch out the mechanism of dictionary. In order to profoundly elucidate the anatomy of dictionary it is of necessity to discuss its history, and in doing so I will used Piet van Sterkenburg’s treatise entitled The ‘dictionary’: Definition and History. The furtherance of this elucidation will focus on the discussion of Piet Swanepoel’s philosophical construct entitled Dictionary typologies: A Pragmatic Approach. With regards to the meaning-making process that is incorporated in dictionaries, Dirk Geeraerts’ Meaning and Definition will be utilized.
2.5. On the Naissance of Dictionary
2.5.1. The functional definition of a dictionary
According to Sterkenburg, the above inferences on dictionary does not encapsulate its genuine meaning, rather it only defines the prototypical dictionary, which is defined as the alphabetical monolingual general-purpose dictionary (Sterkenburg, p. 3). This definition is the common connotation that laymen knows of dictionary, which only caters to a single word of a specified language in relation to its prescribed usage, structure and meaning.
The problem with this prototypical definition of dictionary is that it only define the characteristic and properties of a certain dictionary and not the entirety of dictionary’s anatomy, i.e. biological dictionary concerns itself with the technical and scientific terms used in biology, thus defining it will emanate a meaning that exclusive and limited only to the prominent features of the biological dictionary. Does it require for us to define all prototypes of dictionary in order for us to exhaust a definitive definition of the topic at hand? The schematization of dictionary is indeed a difficult challenge but it does not demand of us to accumulate all definitions of its entire prototypes to come up with a single meaning. Sterkenburg suggests that the initial step to put dictionary in a nutshell is to know and understand its history.
Ladislav Zgusta (2003) [considered as the father of lexicography of the twentieth century] circumscribes dictionary as a “systematically arranged list of socialised linguistic forms compiled from speech-habits of a given speech community and commented on by the author in such a way that the qualified reader understands the meaning… of each separate form, and is informed of the relevant facts concerning the function of that form in its community” (p. 4). Zgusta also stresses that a dictionary is exclusive to a given speech community that uses specific system based on social norms and functions. Conversely, Sterkenburg points out a discriminating loophole in Zgusta’s definition because it denotes an elitist stance, and it presents a mechanism that can only be understood exclusively by a specific group, especially those who attained higher education.
2.5.2. Relativism in dictionaries
On the other hand, Bo Svensen demarcates dictionary as compilation of meanings for a specific term used in a certain community. This compilation also includes all necessary information about the structure of the given word such as its etymology, synonyms, antonyms, pronunciation, proper usage, etc. More importantly, Svensen definition of dictionary is more focused on its physical aspect, or the components that make up the compilation. Dictionary is distinctly different form other informational compilation because of its presentation. A dictionary is always presented in an alphabetical order based on the how the headwords are being spelled out. But in the case of encyclopedia, information may be presented in two ways, either alphabetical or chronological, and it is always released in volumes.
Furthermore, Svensen posits that a dictionary presents information in arbitrary way and not on topical manner, which means that a definition of terms can be draw out easily based on its alphabetical order and not on the topic or definition the term has. There are two elements that must be noted in this definition, its formal feature and its referential usage. Dictionary for Svensen must provide the formal feature of the words to be defined such as its pronunciation, material form (the spelling of the word), inflection, etc. With regards to it referential usage, dictionary must serve as consulting reference to clear confusions to a specific unit such as misspelling, mispronunciation, perplexity on the meaning of unheard word, and the likes.
According to Sterkenburg, Zgusta and Svensen’s definitions are not problematic at all, but it is undeniably debatable because of the precept of modernity, which only means that their definitions are applicable only during their period but it is not appropriate for the contemporary period. Dictionary is perpetually evolving along with the progression of time. Dictionary is taking new forms from a simple book to an electronic book. Sterkenburg postulates that given this fact, there is a necessity to answer some prevailing debates regarding the definition of dictionary provided by Zgusta and Svensen. One important debate that must be addressed is Zgusta’s elitist stance on dictionary. Second is Svensen’s structural account of dictionary. And third, the debate on its timeliness.
2.5.3. Criteria setting
Sterkenburg suggests that the answering these debates will eventually lead to a definitive definition of dictionary, if and only if a warranted criteria will be realized. The criteria that he is sponsoring are as follows: formal, functional and substance.
188.8.131.52. Formal criterion
This concerns itself primarily on the electronic form of dictionary, though it can be argued that a normal book of dictionary and an electronic book has no difference at all since both of these forms operate as they are, in fact, the slight difference is only its form. James Raiher (2003) conjectures that an electronic dictionary is “exactly the same as a hard-copy dictionary, except that the information is held in a text file” (p. 5). He even added that functions e-dictionary was only actualized when software deems its possibility. So if there is no big disparity between the two, then why espouse the used of e-dictionary? The answer is simple; e-dictionary has more advantageous features than the primitive hard-copy dictionary.
In an old fashioned dictionary there is only one route you can choose to locate the information of a specific word, and that would be through the alphabetical method. Conversely, e-dictionary will not only save up your time for searching a given term but there are several routes you can select other than the alphabetical way. You can insert directly the word you want to locate, or if you don’t know the word that you want to find, you can utilize its antonyms and synonyms. Referring to the analytical definition will also lead you to the right path. Another beneficial characteristic of e-dictionary is that it can meet the standard of timeliness because you can manipulate its own database, in which you can perform some changes inside the program or create new words (neologism) to its memory. Hard-copy dictionary provides a guide on to pronounce specific words, but e-dictionary is more sophisticated because it gives you the opportunity to listen how it should be correctly pronounce.
184.108.40.206. Functional criterion
This deals primarily on the beneficial functions of dictionary to its users, whether it is an e-dictionary or the general-purpose dictionary. The most obvious function of a dictionary is to take account of lexicon. Dictionary is storage of customary, conventional, rare, new and highly scientific and technical words. Dictionary is the authority when it comes to word information, even if it cannot capture the whole lexical system.
Remember, there are words that are still not known to humanity and there are words that are utilize on limited communities, which entails that words on dictionary is only conceptualized on representative basis. A word cannot be represented if it is only understood on a certain language-game. A word must have a universal appeal. The point is, a user uses a dictionary to gather necessary information on a specific words, and he/she wants to acquire these information right away, and if he/she does not find the word and its meaning, then he/she can straightforwardly conclude that the word does not exist.
The second function of dictionary stresses the nonexistence of words, which can be translated as non-inclusion of a word in the lexicon is equals to its nonexistence. Dictionary should not be viewed as a mere reference but it must be perceived as a tenet for the entire lexicon. Some words are not included in the wordbook because these lexemes are too regional, profane and ersatz. A word is considered regional when it is only understood within a restricted community, therefore it lacks universal appeal or it can be comprehended universally.
Profane words are strictly prohibited in the dictionary because they are too vulgar and inappropriate, especially for young users. Neologism is an important aspect in the lexicon because it broadens the horizon of a dictionary, but artificial words that neologists create are expostulated because these words are unfamiliar and bizarre in nature. Dictionary is a law that aims to ascertain the unmistakable purity of language (ibid. p. 7).
In relation to the second function, dictionary is considered as preserver of morality because words that are too obscene, sacrilegious and mundane are eliminated such as curses, labels, and et al. A lexeme that connotes bias and prejudice is explained academically if not omitted because this kind of words has an underlying negative meaning. All dictionaries are very cautious and meticulous in the usage of such words because inappropriate usage of the words will lead to sexism and racism. For example, the word nigga/nigger is not included in the dictionary because it is too offensive on the Afro-American community, and because of the belief that this word should only be used by this community since it is them who exclusively grasped the meaning of this word.
220.127.116.11. Content-based criterion
This provides a justification on the usage of words, in which a lexeme cannot be considered as part of the lexicon if it is void of any lexical information. As discussed earlier, a dictionary contains necessary facts of the desired word such as meanings, diction, part of speech, syllabication and all lexicographical data. The basic premise that must be fulfilled in this criterion is the adherence on the law of dictionary and the proper representation of lexical information’s intrinsic value. Disagreement is a possibility on the intrinsic value of lexical information since the lexicon or the language in particular is arbitrary and perpetually evolving, which is a valid reason to exclude words that are regional, profane and artificial.
The content-based criterion guarantees the existence of abstract words because meaning in this criterion is not referent-based, but rather meaning is derived on linguistic signs. Meanings within a lexeme have the tendency to overlap if the lexeme is not identified properly, i.e. if the word is either a noun or verb. Dictionary outlines numerous meaning of a single word in a concise manner, in order to prevent any confusion on how to apply a single in a rational discourse.
Therefore, definition of dictionary, as circumscribed by Sterkenburg, is a prototypical dictionary that is dichotomized into a general-purpose type and electronic type, in which the former is commonly held in alphabetical organization, and the latter is established on the linkages that it has with the substantial elements that surround it. In addition, a dictionary maintains the purity of language and helps in understanding one’s native language.
2.6. On the Typological Nature of Dictionary
2.6.1. User driven typologies
Dictionary has numerous specifications from ordinary portfolio of lexemes to the technical volumes of scientific vocabularies that are definitive of its purpose and its usage. Different people use different typologies of dictionaries depending on the subject matter. If a reader wants to find the meaning of a highfaluting word, he/she must consult an ordinary dictionary to substantiate the word at hand, i.e. highfaluting is an adjective which means something is grandiose or pretentious, but in everyday language highfaluting refers to being pompous or self-important.
Conversely, if a word seeker wants to know the meaning of a scientific term, he/she must confer with technical dictionaries that specialize on a specific subject matter like biology, engineering, computer, etc., i.e. iron oxide is a noun that is usually causes corrosion on metal, but this word will simply mean rust in the ordinary world.
The point is simple according to Swanepoel; dictionaries have several typologies because of the users’ pragmatic nature. New types of dictionaries are being created because of the new demands are radiating from the users. Pragmatism is the machinery that keeps dictionary to its perpetual evolution. Lexicon users utilize dictionary ancillary on the practical antecedent of its utilization. A person will not use an ordinary lexicon if he/she wants to define the terms used in physics, and this is also works vice-versa.
And if all dictionaries fail to define a certain word because it cannot be categorized in any given typologies, then a creation of new typology is needed. As Swanepoel (2003) puts it, “the success of solving lexical problems of this kind is partly determined by the language user’s knowledge of what dictionary (lexical resource) to consult” (p. 44). The key hereof is the incorporation of pragmatism in the utilization of a dictionary, and how this pragmatism will help in schematization of new typologies.
It goes without saying that enumerating or naming all lexical typologies is utterly unimaginable but this does not serves as a quandary to dictionary users because of one simple fact: users do not necessarily have to know all typologies that they can choose from since all they need is to figure out what kind of dictionary they must used. Swanepoel (2003) defines typology as “a system for the classification and clarification of items” (p. 45). A typology concerns itself in determining themes and is made of several subcategories.
2.6.2. Fundamental attributes of a typology
A typology aims to broaden the horizon of the lexical system through the provision of new typologies, but it must be noted that a typology can be conceptualized overnight; the fact is, before a concept can be considered as a typology it must satisfy three fundamental characteristics. One, it provides a systematic overview of the various categories and subcategories of distinguished dictionaries (ibid. p. 45). Two, it specifies the most prominent characteristic of each major and minor categories. And three, it differentiates, as well as it draws the parallelism of each major and minor categories within the lexical system.
Zgusta, Geeraerts and Janssens’ typologies are the most commonly used types of dictionaries. For Zgusta, a typology should have the following elements: first, it must be discernible from encyclopedias in such a way that both of their axioms have irrefutable properties that are solely definitive of their nature, i.e. a dictionary is a dictionary because it gives all significant information with regards to words, and an encyclopedia is an encyclopedia because it discuss all vital information about a certain entity or event.
Second, the monolingualism or multilingualism of dictionary must be delineated on the basis of language quantity integrated in each typology. Third, diachronicity and synchronicity in all lexicons must be demarcated on the footing of time opposition. And fourth, generalness, limitedness, comprehensiveness and standardness of dictionaries must give emphasis on the echelon and/or amplitude of the vocabulary that will eventually be integrated within the mechanism of a specific typology of dictionary.
In this milieu, Geeraerts and Janssen purport that dictionary typologies are base on macro and micro-structural anatomy of the lexicon. When we speak of macro-structure of dictionaries it pertains on the echelon and amplitude of the vocabulary of all language wherein headwords are selected or included ancillary to the theme or type of lexicon. And most importantly, a typology on this structure are envisage in accordance to the principles that encapsulates how the lemmas should be presented, either in alphabetical (general-purpose dictionary) or ideological (electronic dictionary) arrangement.
On the other hand, the micro-structural make-up of dictionary deals with the precepts of grammatical and syntactical laws that all lexemes included in the lexicon must embody (see the figure below). In addition, the ordering of data to the respective categories or typologies is essential part of this structure because it affirms the rules that must be observed in the making of dictionary. In toto, typological differences in the macro and micro-structural anatomy lie on the full understanding of its echelon and amplitude.
Swanepoel (2003) borrows Murray stance to reify Geeraerts and Janssen’s constructs in a nutshell, which states that “the center is occupied by (common) words, in which literary and colloquial usage meet” (p. 47). The echelon of the lexis are divided into scientific, foreign and archaic words are byproducts of literature, in which it leaps from uncommon to common because of its everyday usage in the community.
Geeraerts and Janssen micro-structure
In summary, the lexical system needs the varying dictionary typologies because it provides a higher probability that the users’ need will be satisfied, and since human satisfaction is in flux, the system will always find ways to devise new typologies to meet the new demands of the lexicon users. Typology is buffet wherein consumers have a myriad of choices to choose from. Choices that will certainly satiate the consumers’ needs and will accustom them of what typologies are available to them to tackle an existing lexical dilemma. The continuing needs of the consumer are the impetus for the production of more typologies in the present time and for the future.
2.7. On Geeraerts Meaning and Definition
2.7.1. Property attribution
One of the most crucial tasks in the making of dictionary is the attribution of properties in a given word in order for it to be considered meaningful. Geeraerts posits that the epicenter of dictionary is the meaning and definition that embodies, thus five considerations must be noted in the making of lexicon. First, lexicographer should necessarily understand the identity of each word that he will incorporate in the dictionary. He must know exactly the senses that typifies a single word, and lay bare what makes a lexeme independent of other lexemes. Second, the lexicographer has to demarcate what insights must be integrated in the understanding of the lexis, and that insight must be precisely relevant. Third, a word possesses several meanings but the lexicographer needs to know what and which definition is appropriate in a given word, to ensure that vagueness and ambiguity will be prevented. Fourth, this consideration is critical because it needs to ascertain what linguistic perspective to be followed and not. And lastly, the lexicographer has to draw out which definitional format to be executed in the making of a lexicon.
2.7.2. Uniqueness factor
A single term should be able to stand alone so that its identity will not be mistaken with other words. According to Geeraerts, establishing the identity of a term is a Herculean task because words do not exist in isolation (ibid. p, 84), in fact similarity and opposition helps in defining the what and whatnot of the word. Geeraerts postulates that in order for the lexicographers to circumstantiate the identity of a word, which is independent of another word, they need to delineate the semasiological and onamasiological cleavage within two words. Semasiology focuses on the polysemical [defined as diversity of meaning] perspective of words.
Finding the identity of a single lexeme starts in its association with other words, through this a semantic data can be draw out and eventually will lead to proper categorization, of which meaning belongs to what word. Onamasiology, on the other hand, does not refer its semantic information on polysemy but rather on the prominent concept inherent in a word. As Geeraerts puts it, where in the world does a word can be considered synonymous with other words, and the answer is in the association of similar and opposing concepts.
Between the cleavages, lexicographers must take an in-depth outlook on the semasiological perspective because it is concern on the semantic origin and definition of words; in fact it deals greatly on the identity of individual words in the backdrop of semantic information. Whereas, onamasiology has a tendency to create another lexical typology rather than establishing the senses which epitomize a word, its mechanism focuses on the explication of how concepts are being synonymous and antonymous to individual words. Onamasiology outlines the identical relationship between words but not its identity. In summary, semasiology operates on the basis of word to concept pattern, while onamasiology works on incongruous fashion.
2.7.3. Handling multiple meanings
As concluded above, lexicographer needs to appeal on semasiology because of its intrinsic feature to identify the identity of individual words. This conclusion necessitates the application of polysemical perspective, which entails that lexicographer must figure out which appropriate definition he must choose to incorporate in a given term to prevent any confusion [see the table for examples (http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary.html)].
Because of multiplicity of meaning, the lexicographer must figure out which meaning is appropriate to individual words. The lexicographer chooses which words should be included in the lexicon, and in doing so, he also choose which definitions are relevant in the validation of words’ identity or sense. He may restrict his efforts to general vocabulary, or he may include marked words or readings (Sterkenburg, p. 85), it is his prerogative to do so, for as long as definitions will be definitive to individual words. Definitiveness in words creates their own identity in such a way that emanates how these words should be perceived both in their denotative and connotative value. Definitiveness highlights the nuances of individual words, thus making its definition complete and precise.
The task of appropriating which meaning to which word should not be misconstrued as an exclusive and subjective enterprise of the lexicographer; in fact his prerogative in this appropriation should operate in the context of universality, which makes his task highly objective.
2.7.4. Meaning in the context of reality
The next task that lexicographers must fulfill in the meaning-making process within the dictionary is to apprehend what type of meaning they need to define. The world is vast and because of this, the concept of reality is still contingent. Words are impression of the world, they help in the deciphering the context of reality. It has been conjectured that what we know of the world and of reality is relational to what we know of our language.
Humanity perceives words as mere referent of what we derived from the images of the world. A word becomes meaningful because of its referent, and even if abstract concepts do not have tangible properties, we can still explain them through our correlation to abstract words. For example, we associate a cat as a four-legged mammal that has whiskers and under the family of feline, thus when we see a cat, we refer to it as to what animal we know of it.
But in the case of words that do have any referent, we conceive it rather we perceive it. The difference is that in conceiving we apprehend thing mentally, while in perceiving we comprehend things on the materiality of objects. For example, the interjectional words like Ouch! does not have any referent, but the auditory image it infuses to our mind gives us what an idea about sudden pain. In general, abstract words may not have a direct representation in the world, but they still exemplify a meaning that is their own.
Geeraerts recapitulates three non-denotational types of meaning. One, emotive meaning is incorporated in words that expresses an emotive value that can be either complimentary or derogatory. The word nigga/nigger is considered as offensive word because of its historical content, but it can be complimentary if the user, who utilizes it, is a part of its historical content, meaning using this word is pejorative if outsiders used it but it is flattering if an African-American used it. Same goes for the word faggot, which is very much derogatory to the homosexual community.
Words have emotive meaning if they can provoke specific emotion. Second, grammatical meaning focuses on words that have specific morphological operation. As Geeraerts explains, its primary function is to overtly mark an aspect of the syntactic structure of the sentence, in this case, to introduce a subordinate clause (ibid. p. 87). Example of this is words that are used to emphasize a certain meaning but are excluded in the extralinguistic consequences such as Redeemer, whatness, universalizability, etc. And third, pragmatic meaning are discursive in nature, words included in this category are commonly express in speech act. Words under this category are Ouch!, Hello!, Hey!, etc. that do no describe any concept regarding greetings, rather it articulate what it is.
These types of meaning necessitate another formula for their meaning-making other than the ordinary formula that is applied to denotational meaning. Geeraerts points out that emotive and stylistic overtones are only understood by its semantic characteristics i.e. a word can have an emotive meaning if it emanates a positive or negative value, and if it can be translated in a euphemistic form. Denotational meanings can be derived easily from its referent but non-denotational meanings are deduced from the definition provided by the former. On the one hand, grammatical and pragmatic meanings are concretized through the aid of metalinguistic definition, which is operates on the principle of defining words rather than matter.
There are two essential features in metalinguistic definition, impossibility salva veritate [Quine’s concept of interchangeability in Two Dogmas of Empiricism] and it is not exclusively confined in the precepts of grammatical and pragmatic meanings. Denotational words are interchangeable since properties of individual words are vulnerable to comparison and commensurability. Conversely, grammatical and pragmatic meanings are void of substitutional features, which make them operate under the axioms of metalinguistic definition.
The word mole is substitutable to the word double agent, but the word Ouch! does not have any synonyms wherein it can be interchanged. Metalinguistic definition is not tautologous with grammatical and pragmatic meanings because the former is the axiom and the latter is the theorem derived from the axiom. Grammatical and pragmatic meanings only acquire an element of metalinguistic language, which makes it far inferior from the latter. It must be noted that metalinguistic can be applied to all non-denotational meanings.
2.7.5. Linguistic perspectives
Geeraerts suggests that in order to justify which linguistic perspective should be considered, the lexicographers need to know the different components of intensional and extensional definitions. When we say intensional definition it refers to the pre-eminent elements that defines a category, and on the one hand, extensional definition refers to members of such category. In addition, intensional definition specifies the common characteristics of the category and extensional definition list down the members of the category, in which the former serves as the definiens [the specifications of the word and its attributes that makes its definition] and differentia [the specific members of the word to be defined (definiendum)]. For example, the word dog (definiendum) is described as an animal that can bark, wag its tail, belong to the family of canine, etc. (definiens) and it can be referred to German shepherd, grey hound, poodle, Dalmatian, etc. (differentia).
Linguistic perspective also deals on the synthetic and analytic examination of the word, and the lexicographers have to ascertain which of these two they must incorporate in a word to be defined. Analytic definition focuses on the richer and in-depth meaning of individual words and synthetic definition is accustomed to the usage of economical word specifically of synonyms. Between these two definitions a continuous gradation exists. Analytic and synthetic definitions are considered intensional because it elucidates the elements within a word, and it can be extensional if the members of the definiendum will be enumerated within the context of analyticity and syntheticity.
Outlining the four considerations in validation of meaning and definition integrated in individual words, lexicographers needs to decide which definitional format to be utilized as the final step in the completion of lexicon. Aside from, analytic and synthetic, metalinguistic and prototypical definitions, lexicographers must choose between controlled definition and sentential definition. In controlled definition, as it names implies, meanings are controllable, and in sentential definition, meanings can be articulated in the form of sentence.
Geeraerts explains that controlled definition is designed to make the lexicon easy to use or to be user-friendly, because the lexicographer adopting this definition specifies which words are familiar to the users, thus formulating definitions that are commonsensical to its users. Contrariwise, sentential definition is formulated to make the meaning of the words more natural and easy to understand since the definiendum is already used in the sentence.
These are the necessary considerations that must be fulfilled by the lexicographers so that the dictionaries they will manufacture are effective and efficient.
2.8. The Cognitive Consideration in Translating the Arabic Lexicon to English Lexicon
2.8.1. Domain of translation problems
As Saussure points out, the translation of one lexeme from its native language to another language is a Herculean task because of the fact that translation does not equally captures the essence of the word from its original form to another form. In the furtherance of Saussure’s claim and to prove the validity of such claim, we will discuss Ibrahim Ali Al-Besbasi’s doctoral thesis entitled An Empirical Investigation of some Cognitive Processes of Translation between English and Arabic with Special Reference to the Use of Dictionaries.
This part of the paper will focus on specifics of translation provided by Al-Besbasi in order to get a picture of how the mechanism of translation works. After outlining such mechanism we will ensue to the essential elements of this thesis, specifically on chapter five labeled as Analysis of Data I: Dictionary Use.
In sum, it is essential to the role played by such notions as “equivocation”—it is presupposed by the epistemic role that these notions have—that we interpret one another in such a way that the “meaning” of a word is the same (in the sense of being treated as the same) under normal procedures of belief fixation and justification. (It is because interpretative practice owes allegiance to this constraint that sameness and difference of meaning cannot coincide with the presence and absence of any local computational relation among our “mental representations.” As the previous examples illustrate, a computational relation which coincided with synonymy could not be “modular” in Fodor’s sense, that is, could not be psychologically more elementary than “general intelligence”. (p. 15)
This quotation from Putnam (1991) is the basic premise in Al-Besbasi’s introduction that in order to understand the translation process it is of necessity that lexicon translator must know first the anatomy of translation process. The epicenter of such process is its first principle, and for Al-Besbasi most translators and semioticians fail to come up with complete explanation of this first principle. He added that translation theorem is always limited because of its abstract or theoretical nature, which is the primary reason why the first principle of translation is always inadequate if not misconstrued.
Al-Besbasi (taken from An Empirical Investigation of some Cognitive Processes of Translation between English and Arabic with Special Reference to the Use of Dictionaries. p. 4.) borrows Newark’s (1982) definition of translation theory, which states that its principal purpose is “…to determine appropriate translation methods for the widest possible range of texts or text-categories. Further, it provides a framework of principles, restricted rules and hints for translating texts and criticizing translation, a background of problem-solving… Translation theory is concerned with choices and decisions… (p. 19)
2.8.2. A complex of meaning, language and cognition
Newark’s definition also states in translation theory there is interplay within the bounds of meaning, language and cognition, in which this interplay will explicate and highlight the universal essence of a given word in the backdrop of cultural nuances of the word, hence the context of such word will be apparent in terms of its cultural origin and in terms of its universal usage. In elucidating translation theory it is a requirement to take in account two philosophical ideas, one is relativism, and two is universal rationalism.
The first consideration that a translator must acknowledge in transposing a text is that the outcome of his practice is directed at those individuals whom he generated such outcomes, in which these individuals has their own cultural background from the beneficiaries of the translation. Culture is the basis of one’s identity; hence language, social rites, laws and history of one community differs from another community.
It goes without saying that cultural background is relativistic. When we say speak of relativism it refers to a philosophical stance that concerns itself to the operation of our cognitive mind regarding perception, which designed by our cultural background, thus the thinking of a person is conceptually framed by his/her culture. Schemes and concepts are not developed on humans in ontogenetic level [defined as the development of perception from the ovum stage up to its maturity] but in phylogenetic level [defined as the development of perception through time and surroundings] wherein we can infer that any biological factor does not participate in the establishment of man’s perception; it is establish within the boundary of one’s culture. Because of relativism, translating one word for a target audience will be complex and complicated since there is a danger that the original essence of the word to be translated can be misconstrued or disregarded altogether.
Conversely, universal rationalism believes on the conjecture that human language and beliefs are determined by the biological make up of the person and by some psychological factors. Universal rationalism espouses nativism, which points to the homogenization of all human praxes and apperceptions, in which relativistic standpoint is shallow and diversity is of less significance. One of the proponents of such theory is Chomsky who posits that within linguistics there exists an intrinsic feature on the faculty of language, in which all existing languages have a parallel syntax, albeit their dissimilarities on phonology and visual image. Thus, the axioms of universal rationalism warrant the permissibility of translating different languages despite the hindrance of cultural background.
It is the prerogative of the translator to choose which theory they will implement and incorporate in their enterprise. If the translator chooses universal rationalism, then he/she must map out the reality emanated in one language beyond the other language, and as a result he/she must apprehend the fact that he/she can perform one transfer only. It must be noted that the target text (beneficiary of the translation) has something in common with the source text (rudimentary text) adjudicated by their biological and psychological properties. Whence, translation will not be that complicated because the emphasis will be put on the biological and psychological anatomy of both the target text and the source text, even if both texts have clashing cultural background.
Contrariwise, relativism perspective differs from universal rationalism on two essential factors. One, despite the fact that the target text and source text shares a common biological and psychological individualities the cognitive aspect of its deterministic nature is to be interrogated. And two, it maintains the essence of the original text because the target text must consider the cultural embodiment of a given language or the desired text to be transposed. Hence, translation would take place if and only if the translator figures out the common denominator between the beneficiary and the origin of the text based on their cultural backgrounds. Unlike universal rationalism, relativism does not only concern itself to linguistics or words but more importantly to the contexts and concepts integrated and encapsulated to the text.
2.8.3. The principle of equivalence
One major point of Al-Besbasi (1991) in his doctoral thesis is his discussion on the debate of equivalence. As Svejcer claimed in his book Levels of Equivalence or Translation Model?, he deemed equivalence as “one of the central issues in the theory of translation and yet one on which linguists seem to have agreed to disagree” (p. 10). But the most controversial disagreement in equivalence debate is its amalgamation to relativism because non-advocators of such merger believe that the text does not stay true to itself, and as it is translated over and over again, translator cannot preserve the same text again.
The problem of this amalgamation necessitate the arrival of metaphysical and metatheoretical considerations, which eventually leads to the redefinition of the entire system of translation theory because language or lexeme to be translated would have to be equivalent with each other. Therefore, the content of the target text and source text would have to be entirely equivalent, as well as the grammatical rules that embody both text must be in equal terms.
Such predicament will then lead the translator to succumb in an arduous faithfulness with regards to the linguistic aspect of both texts though he/she must keep in mind his/her faithfulness will not lead to a subjective attitude wherein the comprehension of the target text will be greatly jeopardize. The adoption of equivalence is tantamount to the acceptance of self-regulation within text that must be translated. Self-regulation as Bernardez’s demarcated it is when the sender of message appropriated the content of such message in accordance to the needs of the receiver, and other contextual considerations that are vulnerable to chaos or to the non-equanimity of the equilibrium (Teoría y Espistemología del Texto, p. 42).
Ideally speaking, when we speak of equilibrium concerning translation theory, it is prerequisite that translator maintains that the message reach its maximum its utmost understanding while keeping the slightest revision to the language/message linguistics properties and compositions.
2.8.4. Schools of thought in translation
There are two prominent schools of thought that landscaped the face of translation, in which propagates numerous insights that are sometimes complimentary or clashing to the present adopting translation theory. Structuralism helps the translator in perceiving language in interdependent subcategories where each of the subcategories interplays within the first principle of language. As Al-Besbasi stresses out, this school has defined elements for each subcategory, but work hand in hand. Obviously, structuralism focuses on the linguistic structures, and on the maintenance of the source text after it has been translated to target text.
One of the tenet of this school of thought is Catford who differentiated rank-bound translation and unbounded translation (A Linguistic Theory of Translation: An Essay on Applied Linguistics, p 27-28). On rank-bound translation, the equivalence status of the words is preserved from its basic structure up to its complex constitution. Rank-bound translation is only applicable if the words to be translated to another language have the same structures both in its morphological and syntactical condition. On the other hand, unbounded translation is a method that is concern mainly on the complex equivalent status of the text to be transposed i.e. phrases, sentences and paragraphs.
The second type of school of thought does not have a label as of the moment, but it chief concern is the juxtaposition of science and psychology, specifically of cognitive linguistics. There is a little debate on which school is better because both of them have stand alone axioms. Some of the major consideration in this school is how the cognitive mind of an individual works in the process of translation i.e. how does the person perceive translation and how does the translator perceive such translation, and how does the translator conceptualizes the transposition of the source text and how does the receivers conceive such translation.
One transparent characteristic of this school lies on schematization affected by cultural background of the speakers of a certain language since precursors of this school give great importance to this linguistic phenomenon. Thus, it results to the proliferation of vast conceptual categories and specificity into the world of epistemology.
The specificity in translation theory ascertains the validity of answering the anthropological question which asks the basis of common ground between distinctive culture and between users of specific language. Apparently, no one can presuppose that a specific language system is translatable to another language system. In fact, systems that do not have anything in common are altogether incommensurable, which means that they can never be compared to each other or used to explain one another. Anthropologically speaking, representatives of defined language system cannot decipher another system, especially if the difference between them unparallel.
As Putnam claims in the Principle of Charity, despite the fact that individuals share myriads of concepts whether they belong to similar environment or not, they will see things in different perspective because each of them have a definitive perception of things in general. As a result, the universe is perceived according to one’s perception, which is the best explanation why culture is designed in a given fashion for a given individual or community. Perception is the building blocks of cultural nuances, and it is the window in comprehending why language speaks for one’s culture.
It is to claim inaccurately that concepts are only geographically bounded or perceptions are defined by one’s geographic positioning because geographic distance is not the only fundaments that mould our perception. The existence of time is another contributor that shapes our perception. For example, the concept of beauty is different from the point of view of different epochs, such in the case of the Renaissance period where beauty was judged according to anatomic measures while on the twentieth century it is based on the geometric measurements of the individual in terms of proportional figures.
We can infer then that translation is not only inter-linguistic or intercultural but most importantly it is inter-temporal. In addition, albeit the fact that time contributes on the establishment of our perception, we can never deny that on the onset of individualities we still have one unified concept of things in general. Translation on this matter will be based on inter-textuality, which means that the translator must look on the substance of texts in accordance to how different periods have conceptualized one idea.
Since time immemorial, translation has been a part of humanity. Evidently, it is one of the primeval human activities in verbal and non-verbal forms. Translation is a way to decipher the world and to unfold the contingency of the universe. In consequent, it is very important for translator to know the entirety of translation because it is the key to communicate matters that is beyond the comprehension of the target text.
2.8.5. The importance of bilingual dictionary in translation
In chapter five of his doctoral thesis, Al-Besbasi used Al Mawrid (Arabic-English Dictionary by Rohi Dr. Baalbaki as his reference in proving his thesis’ claims. In his study, Al-Besbasi uses different kinds of dictionary in the forms of monolingual and bilingual but he gives much emphasis on Al Mawrid because it most used and popular dictionary with regards Arabic-English translation.
What are then the purposes of consulting a bilingual dictionary in the process of translation? First, is to find the Arabic equivalence in other languages. As al-Besbasi explains, consulting a bilingual dictionary helps in knowing the context of a foreign text or lexeme through the accumulation of its meanings, synonyms and antonyms that is proximal to Arabic language. Second, is to appropriate semantic rules and stylistic nuances in the desired text to be translated to its translated form.
There are two ways this purpose can be construed: one is to verify if the semantics and styles of the translation is suitable or not, and second is to simply validate if a tentative translation is already available. Third, is to ensure that grammatical rules are properly observed. This simply states whether the translator maintains the grammatical rules embodied by the source text and by the target text such as its pronunciation, syllabication, spelling, diction, etc.
Fourth, is to provide descriptive models. The beneficiaries of translation can understand easily the substance or the subject of translation if examples are available for them because they can have tangible reference of what does it means or even an idea of what the translation is all about. Examples concretize abstract or foreign concepts. And fifth, is to draw out precisely the difference between given items. The receiver of the translation is not accustomed to the characteristic or meaning of the translated text, which is why it is necessary, that translator provides more than one equivalents for a certain text or word.
Bilingual dictionary also has its main feature and one of them is its complimentary nature. Al Mawrid may have been the best Arabic-English dictionary but it is still incomplete, in the sense that there are translated concepts and texts that are not yet included in its item or collection. Thus, the existence of other bilingual dictionaries is important because they will help in filling the insufficiency of one dictionary, and for this instance, the Al Mawrid dictionary. This feature also helps on the case where the users of Al Mawrid need to confirm the equivalent of one text or word to another language because they can use Oxford bilingual dictionary to validate that the equivalence provided by the former is right.
Table 1: Complimentary Equivalents
On the contrary, another feature of bilingual dictionary is its contradictory nature, where translation of two different dictionaries is conflicting. Let say, a person uses Al Mawrid to translate the legal term accrue [to become a present and enforceable right or demand (http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_/dictionary.html)] then the result is عد, when he/she consulted another bilingual dictionary what he/she acquired is يُكتَسَـب، يتنامى، ينمو، يزداد، يصبح لازماً أو مُسـتَحقاً، يجمع، يكنز، يراك. Another issue here is if for example someone wants to transpose the word accounting which is equivalent to المحاسبه but when you look up another Arabic dictionary such equivalence is inexistent.
Because of this, translation is seemingly based on the subjective perception of the translation, which in the long run creates discrepancies among text items equivalence. Discrepancies do not exist solely between bilingual dictionaries it also exists in the usage of electronic bilingual translator. For example, the term enrich is congruent to in Al Mawrid but it is اغن in e-translator.
Al-Besbasi explains the problem with this occurrence, he argues that because of the subjective perception of both bilingual dictionaries they are becoming limited to a certain extent, and for this case, e-translator cannot used the translation provided by Al Mawrid and vice-versa since both of them failed to have an equally suitable contextualization of a given morpheme. To further Al-Besbasi claim below is a table comparing the equivalence provided by Al-Mawrid and Oxford bilingual dictionaries, as well as the e-translator. Examining closely the tables above and below, we can infer that common words have higher probability to have exact equivalents, while words that are not commonly used has higher probability to have conflicting equivalents.
Table 2: Conflicting Equivalents
- حالة إعرابية
- بدون ذكر الاس
- بدون ذكر الاسم
- التوافقي / الإنسجامي
- مذيعو أو مذيعات
2.9. The Intrinsic Nature of Bilingual Dictionary in the Perceptions of the Arabs and the Westerners
In his treatise entitled Bilingual Dictionaries of English and Arabic for Arabic-Speaking Advanced Learners of English, Nawal El-Badry explicates how western lexicographers perceives the English-Arabic translation, and how the Arabs also perceive such practice. According to him, the impetus that encouraged English lexicographers is the pre-existing trend in nineteenth century to apprehend oriental knowledge such as language, arts, religion, philosophy, et al, in which they have chosen to compile and create their own bilingual dictionary with the complementation of Arabic and English language.
The first recorded bilingual dictionary produced by the west in 1858 was created by Joseph Catafago, which is entitled as An English and Arabic Dictionary; In Two Parts: Arabic and English, English and Arabic. This compilation is quite precise because it provided necessary equivalents for both languages. Uniquely, the book is arranged in alphabetical order based on Arabic letters, which those headwords are ordered according to the order of Arabic alphabet; and it did not represent words based on their roots.
But Badger (from Nawal H. El-Badry’s Bilingual Dictionaries of English and Arabic for Arabic-Speaking Advanced Learners of English, 1990) claims, the book is “merely a compendious vocabulary that is utterly inadequate” (p. 17) because it fails to cater to the needs of those who wish to express their ideas in Arabic, simply because it is made as an idiot’s guide.
The most prolific dictionary ever produced was Arabic-English Lexicon, Derived from the Best and Most Copious of Eastern Sources created by William Lane, due to the fact that this dictionary set the standards for the up and coming bilingual dictionaries. As Badger describes it, “[English students] are now being supplied with Arabic-English Lexicon by the late Mr. William Lane, compiled from the writing of upwards of one hundred Arabian lexicographers. This marvellous work in its fullness and richness, its deep research, correctness, and simplicity of arrangement, far transcends the lexicon of any language presented to the world. Its perfection in all these respects leaves nothing to be desired.” (Badger 1881: vii) (ibid. p. 17)
Lane’s project is an ambitious one; it took him approximately twenty before it was realized because he wanted to ensure that it is not an ordinary lexicon that is composed of ordinary and common words, instead he dreamt of a lexicon that has broad horizon wherein all Arabic concepts (tangible or abstract) are completely incorporated in his work.. In this magnum opus, Lane made sure that authorities in both languages are properly recognized. The most prominent characteristic of Lane’s dictionary that set him apart from other lexicographer is his usage of prose and verse instead of transliteration, because he believes that readers and users of his lexicon will understand the concept easily, and most significantly, they will comprehend the concept beyond its face value.
Unfortunately, Francis William Newman failed to fair with Lane’s success when he published his own lexical construct named as Dictionary of Modern Arabic. The books is about eight fifty pages that is divided in three components namely Anglo-Arabic Dictionary, Anglo-Arabic Vocabulary, and Arabo-English Dictionary. Newman’s primary concern is to provide his students a compilation that will enhance their Arabic skill. Because of his limited market the book was never republished and this failure is always attributed to the fact that Newman did not stick with classical Arab language.
In 1881, George Peroy Badger released English-Arabic Lexicon, in which the Equivalents for English Words and Idiomatic Sentences are rendered into Literary and Colloquial Arabic, which changed the landscape of lexical system. Badger maximizes the usage of Qamus and other literary sources to provide a much clearer translation, and he also used the lexicons compiled by Lane and Freytag as his reference for a better bilingual dictionary. His main goal in this compilation is to preserve the culture that embodies Arabic language wherein its translation to English will not lead to any ambiguity or vagueness of Arab concepts. The only shortcoming of Badger’s work is he did not include any pronunciation and transliteration because he wants to keep the Arabic diacritical markings (ibid. p. 21).
From here on, bilingual lexicons took numerous forms and shapes and still preserved its main goal: to provide better understanding of Arabic language for western students and comprehension of English language for Arab students. Different dictionaries have its complimentary attributes and conflicting properties but these are the principal factors that shape and reshape bilingual lexicons because with these factors, translation is becoming more and more available and comprehensible. As Collison ( El-Badry, 1990)puts it:
“Part of the fascination of studying the long history of dictionaries is that each dictionary relies to a certain extent to its predecessors, so that for each dictionary compiled today it is possible to construct a kind of genealogical tree in which its origins can (with sufficient patience) be traced back through several centuries. It is in fact impossible to compile a completely new dictionary.” (1982: 19) (p. 27)
In toto, the emergence of bilingual dictionary from its primitive structure up to its modern and scientific form is due mainly to the need of actualizing the projects of what those Western orientalists wanted to achieve.
Intellectual trends in translation theories suggest that a convergence on two fundamental concepts, that of convention and indeterminancy which in some sense diverging point of views. Language could be accepted as form of a social contract or a convention but how these words are related to the objects or concepts it denote could be indeterminate in another language. The importance of such intellectual trends to the endeavor in this study could not be discounted and must be thoroughly addressed.
3.0. Methods of the Study
Grounded approach was approach was used in the study in combination with modeling as an approach to complex problems. This research strategy, the author hopes will enable the author to identify the weakness and shortages of current approaches particularly current Arabic-English dictionary available. Such use of combined methodology would enable the researcher to develop a model of translation which could be used in dictionary writing.
Questionnaires were used to solicit responses from various people from various fields as to pertinent items which needed some elucidation. Focus group discussions were also conducted to generate insights and identify particular word examples which offered particular challenges in translation.
3.1. Conceptual framework
3.1.1. The importance of frameworking
Frameworking is more or less a standard procedure in dissertations but it has its limitations, which becomes apparent as perception slides from the highly objective (physics for example) to the other end of high subjectivity (e.g. point of views).
Subjectivity is not a comfortable subject matter and in fact many studies which take extra effort to curb subjectivity and if possible eliminate it altogether. In linguistics, objectivity and subjectivity is rather blurred as we deal with the world of words and meanings from exact relational values to the use of meta cognitive tools.
It is apparent then in lexicological studies that it may be more important to differentiate between a perceptual tool and a theoretical framework. The difference is usage. A theoretical framework no doubt could enable us to describe a particular world (Popper) but we have to push further and develop a tool for further lexical studies with emphasis on applications. The study then to be relevant should focus on developing such a tool to generate a dictionary or lexical or intertextual mapping.
This approach to language is no means new, classical language study includes study of culture and history to explain the meaning of a particular word. And as we see there were thousands of years that human beings have been putting down into writing their language – from audal to textual.
Theories and scientific findings such as “language is learned” has profound implications in lexicography as it might necessitate upgrading meaning of certain words as well as its relationship with other words and concepts particularly in words loaded with subjectivism that understanding the culture behind the language becomes necessary.
Word definition then, took on an added task to complete the process of defining certain words. The problem is epistemological or different epistemological logic embedded in the language under study.
Current debates in translation as revealed in the review of literature have also to be considered and the basic premises and arguments of contending ideas accommodated. Handling of opposing view points is a prime consideration in developing a functional framework to be used in a lexical study such as this.
There are several basic premises adapted in this study to navigate the grey areas of translation. One, meaning is taken as a stream, when a definition leads to other words and definitions. In this way we can view certain words as branching out in terms of relationship with other words in the process of contextualizing. Words such as “male” could not be taken in isolation with “female” as male and female form a dichotomy represented by another word “gender.”
Second, the totality of words and how these words are interrelated in a language constitute a cultural knowledge encompassing interpersonal communication and cognitive processes.
Third, intertextual comparative between two languages is possible including word/concept. This is possibly due to the integrative nature of languages and cultures. That is cultures or communities learn and in the process, new words are coined to represent new events or objects.
The conceptual frame then could be represented by a conical figure with the ring at the base forming the universe of categories of knowledge as describe by a particular language (Fig. 1 A conceptual model of contextualization…). The apex represents a particular word being evaluated for its meaning. The shaded triangle in Fig. 1 represents the meaning of attribution in a language taken as source. Here we delineate the line between the physical aspect (sound and symbols); cognitive (inner process of the mind, intelligence and consciousness); and the world of meanings.
From such a conceptualization, we could identify readily the power of the word. The power of the word we define thus as the number of attributed meanings in relation to the categories of knowledge. For example, the English word “life” has a very broad use and has it contextual meaning in many of the categories such as biology, philosophy, social sciences…
It may then be possible to evaluate according to shades of meaning (across the ring) in relation to depth of meaning, that is as the word is particularly understood in certain category of knowledge such as for example biology wherein life is described more on the context of a process in contrast to “life” as understood philosophically.
The layers of depth as a particular word is defined in the context of a particular category, it is not branching out but rooting out down to coding structure of the convention, down to the metacognitive level, that is how to or rules of defining a body of knowledge.
Such framework could be used first to establish the structure of meaning of a particular word at the source, then compare this with the structure in the target language. How for example the word “life” is structured under the Arabic cultural construct? By comparing the two structures, differences in conception and relationships with other objects and concepts could be discernable.
In developing the conceptual tool, the study adapted the basics of epistemological analysis and some tenets of the theory of convention in meaning attribution to semiotic objects. Semiotic objects, in this paper means the object of meaning attribution.
3.2. Research design
The research has two stages, Stage I is developing the model described above into a lexical tool and Stage II is testing the tool evaluating Arabic and English words in the context of the source language and its intertextuality.
The model could be viewed as a perceptual tool which is useful even at the metacognitive level. The tool was developed based on the best features of lexical approaches reviewed. Basic criticisms of current Arabic lexicography were taken into consideration. The idea behind this effort was to develop a lexical generation system which could be useful in writing dictionaries both monolingual and intertextual which takes into consideration coding the word in terms of the convention that defines meaning and hence its relationship with other words and concepts.
To test the model a lexical experiment was conducted. Selected words in both Arabic and English were evaluated as to its translatability or encoding in the target using the lexical tool developed in Stage I.
3.3. Data collection design
Data was collected to test the validity of the string model by showing that word relationship could be treated as strings of associated meanings.
A questionnaire was used to generate the modern English words which were evaluated for translatability to Arabic according to the following criteria:
3.3.1. Power or relative importance and relevance of an English word
This criterion is used to differentiate between words in the context of its ability to generate other words which could lead to distinct class or aggrupation or category. The research is interested in developing a method which could identify critical words in a string of relationships with other words. The intuition that there are big words which could explain or contextualized other words and hence enable us to handle complex realities represented by such words.
3.3.2. Commonality and uniqueness
Commonality of the word in the source language and its intertextual equivalence in the target language is important if parallel presentations could be deduced. Possible inflection or divergence from the common meaning could also be ascertained. Another important consideration in the methodology to be used is recognizing the unique or words which could be untranslatable to other language or which have no equivalent or direct translation.
3.3.3. Degree of difficulty
In translation or encoding in the target language, it could be possible to compare the ease or difficulty of translation and the factors which make it difficult or easy to translate identifiable.
The paper is concerned mainly with first level translation, that is, from the source (English), then relating it to contextual meaning, then identification or if necessary formulating the word(s) equivalence in the target language (Arabic). Determining the words for the study requires a consensus and the opinions of experts in the field were solicited.
Twenty resource persons will be asked to enumerate Arabic and English words which they think according to defined criteria (see attached questionnaire). A Likert scale will be used to evaluate the perceptions of the respondents on some of the probe questions in the questionnaire.
Secondary data on Arabic and English lexicography were collected and analyzed and the findings evaluated in relationship to the primary data collected.
4.0. Results of the study
The results of the study encompass three broad categories. One is validating the conceptual model which opened up the possibility of using the model in dictionary writing; two, word generation which shows the results of the testing ten key words for the presence of associated string of meaning; and three, evaluating sample Arabic words for translatability.
4.1. Validating the conceptual model used in the paper
The conceptual model used in the paper was subjected to a focus group discussion composed of five Arabic scholars from a center for cultural studies. The assumptions, concepts and representations used modeling relationship between language and a word in a language were evaluated.
It was explained to the group that the circular base in the model represents the universe of words in a language. One of the participants pointed out that a clear parameter of inclusion is necessary to accept for example the supposition that a certain word is part of a certain language. This inclusion criteria has a fundamental implication in translation. Up to what extent could we introduce new “words” into a language? Whether a specific language is commensurable with other language or a common standard is possible to view languages became one of the item discussed. The group was at a consensus that by presenting a translational model, that model presupposes commensurability. Without a common a standard it would be impossible to come up with any decent translation.
4.1.1. Avoiding translation loss
Nevertheless, using the Al Mawrid as an example, we readily seen that there is the possibility that there would be English words (source) for example which would seem to break the signifier-signified relationship as posed by Saussure, when the signified without its proper context would be lost in its Arabic counterpart (target). Here, the discussants argued, that the signifier would have to be relatively accepted as a reality in the target culture and its lingua franca. The example of the word “acanthopterygian” was cited which has a dictionary meaning of “adj. belonging or pertaining to Acanthopterygii, the group of spiny-finned fishes, including the bass and perch;” illustrates a problem on commensurability.
The word is rooted on Acanthopterygii a group of related words, related according to the systematic classification species in a scientific manner. Nevertheless, being scientific here is a a context of Western science, which a participant pointed out derived from the philosophical discourse of the early Greek philosophers such as Aristotle. This line of thinking was a highlight in the focus group of discussions which opened up other lines of discussion as to the challenges confronting a lexicographic endeavor.
One of the more important possible line of discourse, the author believes is that in translation, it is necessary to identify the strings of words related not by meaning but by the imperatives of categorizing words. In our example, we have two words in use, the scientific word (Acanthopterygian) and the common word (bass like or perch like). We have essentially two logic systems here, the scientific and the linguistic. Al Mawrid, the group agreed, seemed to grappling with both, making it a tedious exercise of learning a new language. The dictionary it appeared is still anchored on the word for a word approach to translation, thus it is not able to take advantage of this strings of word relationships.
Word for word translations necessarily are not enough but how feasible is the string approach to handle the possible epistemological incompatibility between languages? One of the discussant pointed out that a string of related words generates an ordered universe of sort. Returning to the example, bass could be related for example in a number of ways such as stream, fishing, cooking, pans, condiments, etc. and there would be a problem later on of criteria for inclusion in a particular string.
In effect we are confronted with how to view association. One way of distinguishing associations is by looking at it in terms of wholes and parts, a problem of organization. Bass and stream could for example be viewed as part of a biome – species and habitat, this would exclude fishing and cooking. Economic point of view, bass, fishing and cooking could be part of a string of related words by value association.
Such insights led the discussion to the process of intertextuality and meaning, into the psychosocial realms of understanding or knowing languages. It was pointed out that meaning is not conveyed but has to be unlocked by the receiver according to his/her experience horizon, according to a set of associations. From such a realization, and relating such insight into the conceptual model, the intertextuality process could be viewed as parallel strings of word associations, one for the source, the other for the target language.
It was agreed that the model premised in such a way could be a promising instrument in coming up with a new approach and design of bi-lingual dictionary. It was further pointed out that current information handling technologies could provide the necessary computing power to keep track of word associations and provide an effective and efficient way of cross referencing words.
4.1.2. Across two languages: trends in bilingual (Arabic-English) dictionary
For this part of the paper a survey of 20 Arabic scholars was conducted and their response qualitatively evaluated. Follow-up interviews were conducted to clarify some of the points raised. Quantitative measures used in the study were used only as guidepost to possible degree of weight given by the respondents to particular issues raised in the questionnaire.
4.1.3. Direction of Arabic lexicography vis-à-vis English or American
The respondents were unanimous in disagreeing with the statement that Arabic lexicography is headed towards the direction of Western lexicography (ave. 1.5 rating of possible 5, with 1 as strongly disagree and 5, its opposite). According to a follow-up interview, many of the respondents shared the view that dictionaries such Al Mawrid, essentially followed the logic of Western lexicography, adapting its form and approach in writing a bilingual dictionary. There was even one respondent who mentioned that there appeared to be no internal logic in the manner Al Mawrid was written and it appeared that there was no real criteria in word selection. Such observation shared the sentiments of the focus group discussants in assessing Al Mawrid, as a word for word translation effort.
The weakness of current bilingual dictionaries, it seemed was due to its internal logic based on Western lexicographic standards. Necessarily, if Arabic lexicography could prosper, it must review how it is being currently approached and evaluated if there are possibly new way of attacking the problem in consideration of current theories and technologies which could be used to facilitate a more functional bilingual dictionary reflective of changing world views and growing sophistication of Arabic speaking cultures.
If the researcher would be allowed to make digression at this time, the researcher would like to stress that the increasing animosity between Arabic speaking countries and the West particularly the USA has put to light the importance of stop gaps to prevent escalation. Mutual understanding is a big word and may not be easy unless a middle ground of sorting out the differences in point of view and cultures is possible. A bilingual dictionary while may not necessarily a tool for peace could be an effort which could reflect two cultures by juxtapositioning two languages. Transcultural understanding could be possible in a conceptual plane. This digression could perhaps give a flicker of light that transcultural understanding is possible if not outright peace.
4.1.4. A search for standard
As to whether appropriate standard is lacking which makes Arabic translation of for example common English words into Arabic, there appeared to be a difference in opinion between the participants. Some of the respondents interviewed pointed out that there is specificity in language even in terms of general attributes like grammar, sequencing and sensibility and this specificity makes it difficult to apply standard of one language into another.
It is not only the words or phrases being translated, the sensibility if possible should be translated as well. Matters of belief and faith are examples which are difficult to explain from one social construct into a construction based on the target culture or social sensibilities. “Allah” for example may not be the same concept as “God” in the Western nomenclature of meaning attribution.
This reminds us of Geeraerts’ three non-denotational types of meaning – emotive, grammatical and pragmatic which must be considered if we are to increase the functionality of a bilingual dictionary. In this case the string concept of word association is not mediated by language structures but by the morphology of the reality (signified) which is commonly shared by people. For this, the best approach would be grammatical meaning as words pertain to the major categories which could be considered universal – words for objects, (nouns) actions (verbs) and qualifiers of these words (adjectives and adverbs).
We may encounter greater difficulty for emotive and pragmatic meanings more so on items which could become contentious because of possible differences if not outright opposing views.
Again, we are led to a discursive juncture to a need for transformative conception in lexical translations as shown by the importance of non-denotative meaning in contrast to simply direct meaning translation which as was pointed out, the basic weakness of word for word translation such as the Al Mawrid.
4.1.5. Difficulties in translation
When respondents were asked to react to the statement that there are English terms which are difficult to translate into Arabic, or vice versa, most of the respondents tended to agree. This difficulty is possibly due to as one of the respondents commented on “cultural bias” that is on the value system of certain cultures relative to the value system of the source language. English speaking cultures have different history and influence and distinctly different from Arabic speaking cultures. While such differences could be appreciated at the level of cultural diversity, it nevertheless poses a problem to lexical translators.
It may be that such difficulties in emotive and pragmatic meanings could be resolved in the string concept, that is we assume that there are classes of strings of word association. Intertexuality or transcultural barriers to effective translations have to be handled in such a way that the meaning structure in one language would not be lost in translation.
4.2. Generation of related vocabulary for English words not found in Al Mawrid
Thus we come to importance of defining the process and indicators of problems associated with intertextuality. The researcher to better contextualized this lexical problem identified words included in the Merriam Webster dictionary which were not included in the Al Mawrid. The researcher came up with a sample listing of such words (Table 1).
Arabic word (Transliteral)
Arabic word (Script)
n. (1) a person or thing that annihilates. (2) (Mathematics) the set of all linear functionals that map to zero all elements of a given subset of a vector space
v. to calculate for or as for an entire year.
3. annual report
a document reporting to stockholders on management and operations and containing fiscal information, published yearly by a publicly held corporation as required by federal law.
a necktie of thin cord fastened in front with an ornamental clasp or other device
n.a desert valley, the level of which has been raised by aggradation, usually draining into a playa.
6. bolt hole
n.(1) a hole in the ground, protected opening in bushes, etc., into which an animal can flee when pursued or frightened. (2) a place or avenue of escape or refuge.
7. bolting cloth
a sturdy fabric, usually of fine silk or nylon mesh, used chiefly in serigraphy, embroidery, and and as a foundation fabric for wigs.
n. (used with a singular v.) small pieces of pasta filled with meat or cheese.
adj. of or pertaining to an animal odor.
n. (1) a tree, Averrhoa carambola, native to southeastern Asia, bearing deeply ridged, yellow-brown, edible fruit. (2) also called star fruit, the fruit itself.
to deprive of capital; discourage capital formation; withdraw capital from
to reduce or eliminate the employment of (casual labor).
adj. (1) capable of being deceived; gullible. (2) (Archaic) misleading; deceptive
adj. (1) capable of being decided. (2) (Logic) (of an axiom, proposition, etc.) having the property that its consistency or inconsistency with the axioms of a given logical system is determinable.
15. Eagle scout
a boy scout who has achieved the highest rank in U.S. scouting
16. eared seal
any seal of the family Otariidae, comprising the sea lions and fur seals, having external ears and flexible hind flippers that are used when moving about on land: the front flippers are used for swimming
الختم ذو أذني
17. easy chair
an upholstered arm chair for lounging
18. easy street
a state of wealth, financial independence, or ease
adj. (Botany) having no bracts
n. an ancient city whose remains are located near Aleppo in present-day Syria, the site of discovery in 1974-75 of cuneiform tablets (Ebla tablets) documenting a thriving culture of the third millenium B.C.
adj. (Physiology) (1) of or pertaining to certain sweat glands, distributed over the entire body, that secrete a type of sweat important for regulating body heat (distinguished from apocrine). (2) of or pertaining to secretions of these glands, eccrine sweat. (3) exocrine
adj. (Pathology) noting or pertaining to a disease that is observed far from the area in which it originates
n. (Spectography) a diffraction grating designed to reflect infrared radiation
24. echo chamber
a room or studio with resonant walls for broadcasting, or recording echoes or hollow sound effects.
n. (Entomology) (1) the emergence of an adult insect from its pupal case. (2) the hatching of a larva from its egg.
n. the destruction of large areas of the natural environment by such activity as nuclear warfare, overexploitation of resources, or dumping of harmful chemicals
n. (used with a singular v.) (Economics) the application of statistical and mathematical techniques in solving problems as well as in testing and demonstrating theories.
n. (Ecology) a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment
n. (1) a shed or shelter. (2) any relatively wide structure used for housing airplanes or airships.
n. (1) a shoulder-shaped frame with a hook at the top, usually of wire, wood, or plastic, for draping and hanging a garment when not in use. (2) a part of something by which it is hung, as a loop on a garment. (3) a contrivance on which things are hung, as a hook. (4) (Auto.) a double-hinged device linking the chassis with the leaf springs on vehicles having solid axles.(5) a light saber of the 17th and 18th centuries, often worn by sailors.
n. an embroidery openwork having elaborate symmetrical designs created by blocks of satin stitches within which threads of the emroidery fabric are removed.
adj. (of a book) bound with a stiff cover, usually of cloth or leather, casebound.
33. hard copy
(1) copy, as computer output printed on paper, that can be read without using a special device. (2) copy that is finished and ready for the printer.
n. a person who acts as judge or sits in judgment.
adj.(1) of or pertaining to the cheek or the cheekbone. (2) (Entomology) pertaining to, involving, or situated near the jugum.
(1) to check or suppress (disease) by extreme measures. (2) to cut the throat of; kill.
37. knee bend
a physical exercise in which a person starts from an erect position, moves to a squattin position, and returns to the original position without using the hands to support the body.
adj. (1) full of or covered with knobs. (2) shaped like a knob.
n. a kiln for drying hops or malt
n. (Pharmacy) a semisynthetic penicillin, used in the treatment of serious staphylococcal infections.
Table 1. Sample of English words not found in Al Mawrid
At this stage of the evaluation of key items raised in the focus group discussions and from the questionnaire and following the grounded approach, we come to cross road. That is, what lead to follow based on the insight as provided by the string approach that different cultures probably have different ways of connecting the strings of words and if any bilingual dictionary could be made, we have to untangle the collection of strings in a language. One assumption we made, is that these strings that made up a language has its own logic honed through the centuries of lexicography.
And given, the explosion of information as the age of the Internet dawned with the speed and ease provided by the development of computing machines; the possibility of creating a dictionary based on new approaches made it imperative to presuppose that understanding of the logic of the source language and untangling these strings is the first order of things to be done. Hence the researcher decided to embark on an attempt to determine how to identify the strings by testing the following hypothesis: that, a word does not exist alone and is part of a string of words defining certain subject matter domain.
The method used is simple word association pyramid with the primary word as the focus word, secondary words are the string of words used to define the primary. Tertiary words are the string of words used to define the words in the string of secondary words. With such a scheme, it is hoped by the researcher that the pyramid of words generated would contain in it the pattern or logic of the language being evaluated. In this case, the source language which is the English language.
There was ten English words evaluated including the words decapitalized, annual report, bolt hole, bolson, eccrine, echelette, ecocide, annihilator, decidable and easy street. By evaluating the possible strings of words and classes of strings we hope not only to establish logic system but develop a strategy in writing a translation dictionary. The string concept will be valuable in word selection and in cross referencing. This will improve tremendously the power of the bilingual dictionary steering it away from the traditional mold of word for word translation.
With the string concept, we will be able to define completeness, that is the collection of words would have a logic behind it of completing the string and providing enough guide in the bilingual dictionary for the reader to strings of associated words. In this approach then, the bilingual dictionary would not be a simple source of translation but a guide to learning a second language. Its educational potential and advantage over the conventional dictionary could be clearly seen.
The researcher, in consideration of development in information technology and the Internet and the number of sites dealing with dictionary meanings made use of these sources in generating the word association pyramid of meaning. Generating such pyramids could be tedious without the aid of computers and available web search engines. The researcher has opted to make use of available online sources to facilitate the word association determination. Another reason for making use of Internet dictionaries aside from the conventional dictionaries is it give the researcher the opportunity to evaluate these online dictionaries for reference possibility of developing a more progressive and functional online bilingual dictionary.
The words were samples of words which were not included in the Al Mawrid. The choice is two fold. One, it will give as an idea of how complicated for example is updating an existing dictionary and what could be the challenges ahead in creating a new one more reflective of the current and the future of lexicography.
The researcher underscored one aspect of words which is as an element of communication using a definite language such as English. In the expansion of the word in secondary and tertiary levels of association, it is assumed that somehow meaning could be shared by people and it would be possible to expand the concept of sharing into sharing of strings of words rather than a meaning of a word taken in its singularity of meaning. That is, we evaluated the word in the context a identifying a possible approach and method to dictionary writing and the concept of communication could be of help as a lexicographic tool.
Communication is a process that involves exchanging of information and ideas. This process includes encoding, transmitting, and decoding of the deliberate messages. Moreover, the communication process is considered incomplete if the message from the sender is not grasped by its receiver. To prevent such communication failures, proper communication procedures should always be observed. (2000)There are many ways to communicate, and there also exist plenty of language systems. But speech and language are the most essential for they can easily be transmitted by any given sender and can be decoded by any given receiver. And what more way to stimulate speech and language but through the use of words.
Words are language that is either spoken or written(Harper, 2002a). These words are very complex in nature because it includes a never ending process — words are used to explain other words, and new words come up which needs to be further explained as well. This boundless process is called word association. In some cases, there are words that are frequently used in the English language, or any other language system for that matter, that are not found in any dictionary. But through word association, the meaning of these words can be deduced and understood.
The different cases are treated differently with each having its particularity, partially because of the nature of the word evaluated and partially because of the author’s attempt to generate as many as associated words as possible to have a complete illustrative example of the strings and complexity of a given language. The word expansion in the ten cases presented here, were freely associated using different sources to illustrate the richness of the particular language under study.
4.2.1. Case 1: The word “decapitalized”
This is a word with two meanings one referring to a string of words which could be labeled financial in nature, the other referring to lower and uppercase of letters. We examined these two sets of meanings by expanding its logical set of associations with other words.
Most, if not all, dictionaries do not have a meaning for this word. But if we deduce the word further, it is possible to know what this word means. Several ways of determining the meaning of the word exist but the most frequently used is through the method of separating the root word from its prefix or suffix.
The meaning of decapitalized according to Webster is to “deprive of capital; discourage capital formation; withdraw capital from” Furthermore, breaking the word into its root meaning, it can be observed that the word decapitalize is composed of the prefix de- and the word capitalize. These prefix and root word has different meanings attached to them and when combined, brings about a new word with a whole new meaning to it.
Specifically, the prefix de- can be traced back through Middle English and Old French to Latin de, which means “from, off, apart, away, down, out.” In English, de- usually indicates “reversal, removal, or reduction” (Company, 1996). On the other hand, the word capitalize has different meanings depending on the context used. In finance, it means “to obtain the present value (through the process of discounting) of a stream of cash flows.” Alternatively, capitalize, in the accounting sense, means “to reflect the costs of the balance sheet.”
The word capitalize also means “to write in capital letters .” Thus, decapitalize has several meanings depending on the context used. For instance, it could mean “to prevent the stream of cash flows” in terms of finance, “to prevent the reflection of costs of the balance sheet” in terms of accounting, and “to write in small letters” among others.
Expanding the word further
However, if further word expansion is to be made, new associations could be identified. Take the first definition of decapitalize which is “to prevent the stream of cash flows.” There are two major groups of words can be found in the said statement. One is stream and the other is cash flows. Stream also differs in meaning depending on the context. If it is used in the context of pouring, stream would mean “to move in large amounts.” Consequently, it could also mean “a steady flow (usually from natural causes)” when the perspective is about a current.
On the other hand, cash flows also have several meanings depending on the perspective used such as “the amounts of cash being received and spent by a business during a defined period of time” in terms of finance . Therefore, stream of cash flows means “the vast amounts of cash being received and spent by a business during a specified time frame.” Consequently, in relation to the word decapitalize, another meaning is the “reduction of the vast amounts of cash being received and spent by a business.”
Another definition of decapitalize is “to prevent the reflection of costs of the balance sheet.” The groups of words that can be deduced from this are reflection, costs, and balance sheet. Reflection has tons of meanings depending on the context. Some of those are “a wave phenomenon commonly observed in mirrors (physics),” “reflected voltage in an electrical signal due to an impedance change,” a transformation of a space (mathematics),” and “a programming language feature for metaprogramming (computer programming) .” On the other hand, costs mean “negative financial or non-financial implications due to some change or action.”
Lastly, balance sheet is the “financial report showing the status of a company’s assets, liabilities and equity on a given date .” Therefore, reflection of costs of the balance sheet denotes “to observe the negative implications of a financial report.” In relation to the primary word decapitalize; another connotation that could be attached to it is “to prevent the observation of the negative impacts of a financial report.”
Lastly, using the third meaning of decapitalize which is “to write in small letters,” it can also be deduced further to arrive at a new potential definition. The groups of words that can be separated are write, small, and letters. Similar to the word reflection, write also has plenty of meanings. This include: “to insure, to underwrite or to sell (insurance) ,” or “to save information, especially files, to a disk, to replace old data with new and permit later access from within a software package” or “the complement of read.”
Small, on the other hand, means: “limited or below average in number or quantity or magnitude or extent,” “limited in size or scope (minor),” “low or inferior in station or quality (humble),” “lowercase (little),” among others. Finally, the meaning of letters ranges from “handwritten or machine written texts of one or more persons or one or more corporate bodies destined to another person or corporate body “ to “the letters of the alphabet that enable you to read and write .” Hence, the new meaning of the phrase to write in small letters or the word decapitalize is “to save information using the little letters of the alphabet.”
It could be observed that the word association is showing a complexity of meanings which is part of a whole gamut meaningful if viewed in the context of category from which it belong. We explore this complexity further by going into the third level of association.
From the deduced definition of the word decapitalize which is the “reduction of the vast amounts of cash being received and spent by a business,” further presumptions can be obtained. For instance, if the definition is to be divided into the words cash, received, spent, and business, the meaning horizon further expands.
Cash for instance is defined as the “prompt payment for goods or services in currency or by check.” Moreover, the term received means “permit received from other agency.” Spent denotes “having all been spent.” Lastly, business indicates “a commercial or industrial enterprise and the people who constitute it.” With this, a new meaning of decapitalize is the “reduction of large sums of payment for permits and spending on commercial or industrial enterprise.” Deducing the second derived definition of decapitalize which is “to prevent the observation of the negative impacts of a financial report,” a whole new definition could be attained.
Using the same procedure of grouping of words which include observation, negative impacts, and financial report, a new definition could be at hand. For instance, observation is the “the act of making and recording a measurement ,” negative impacts mean “the costs or unpleasing results of certain actions,” and financial report signifies “an accounting statement detailing financial data, including income from all sources, expenses, assets and liabilities .” With this, decapitalize means “to prevent the recording of the unpleasing results of the statement of financial data.”
Finally, using the last derived definition of the term decapitalize which is “to save information using the little letters of the alphabet,” again, a new definition can be obtained. For instance, if the definition is subdivided into save (“to record”), information (“a message received and understood ), little letters of the alphabet (“the opposite of capital letters”), the new definition that would be obtained would be “to record a message using the non-capital letters.”
Several words in the English language and other language systems as well, are not found in the standard dictionary. This is because certain words are formed through the combination of two or more words, or the addition of a prefix, a suffix or both. With this, the meanings of combined words deviate from their original meanings.
Using the word decapitalize as an example, no dictionary offers a meaning to this word. This is because decapitalize is just a mere combination of the prefix de- and the root word capitalize. But, if the meanings of this two are utilized, potential definitions of the word decapitalize can manifest.
For instance, in terms of finance, several meanings of the term decapitalize are achieved. These include: “to prevent the stream of cash flows”, “reduction of the vast amounts of cash being received and spent by a business,” and “reduction of large sums of payment for permits and spending on commercial or industrial enterprise.”
On the other hand, in terms of accounting, its meaning ranges from “to prevent the reflection of costs of the balance sheet,” to “to prevent the observation of the negative impacts of a financial report,” and “to prevent the recording of the unpleasing results of the statement of financial data.”
Lastly, the third group of explanation for the word decapitalize are “to write in small letters,” “to save information using the little letters of the alphabet,” and “to record a message using the non-capital letters.”
With this, it can be observed that the definitions achieved in each context are related to each other. It can therefore be concluded that words are indeed related to each other. Lastly, the network of trying to explain the words are endless for there always exists a new set of words that can be further subdivided and deduced to attain a new set of definitions for any context possible.
It could be seen that the simple word, decapitalized has two strings associated with. From the simple word association expansion, there were 18 key words which could be associated with the word in different levels of association.
List of major associated word with the primary word under evaluation: Balance Sheet, Business, Capitalize, Cash, Cash Flows, Communication, Costs, Financial Report, Information, Letters, Observation, Received, Reflection, Small, Spent, Streams, Words, Write.
4.2.2. Case 2: The word “annual report”
Annual report in contemporary language is defined as “a document reporting to stockholders on management and operations and containing fiscal information, published yearly by a publicly held corporation as required by federal law”. In this context, we realize that annual report is a word that is made up of two distinct words that has formed another word or more aptly can be described as a term which integrated the definitions of two different words, annual and report.
Annual report used in contemporary language context means a document that is published yearly and includes information on the financial, management and operating systems of a corporation. The context of the given word is in terms of business and used by corporations to describe their status after a full year. The primary words given in our term are annual and report.
The word “annual”
The word annual is recorded to a Latin word used in 1382, from the Latin word annualem or annualis, which corresponds to the Latin annalis, an adjective form of annus, another Latin word for “year”. It has been used to describe the cycle of plants, meaning going through a full year since 1710. In another etymology, annual came from the Middle English word annuel, from the Old French and the Late Latin word annualis, consequently from the Latin word annus which refers to “year”. In 1412, historians recorded the word to mean “a yearly allowance” from M.L. annuitatem (nom. annuitas), also from the Latin word annus or “year”. In 1693, the word annual was coined in context of the meaning, “an investment that entitles one to equal annual payments”. (Harper, 2002b)
In contemporary language, annual means:
1. as an adjective:
- a. recurring, done, or performed every year; yearly. (e.g. An annual medical examination is done on the employees to assure their physical eligibility.)
- b. of, relating to, or determined by a year. (e.g. The annual income of his family is considered to be below the poverty threshold level of the country.)
- c. In botany: living or growing for only one year or season. (e.g. The marigold is considered as an annual plant which grows and dies after a year it is planted.)
2. as a noun:
- a. a periodical published year, a yearbook. E.g. The annual report was submitted to the Chairman for approval (Anonymous, 2000)
From the primary word annual, the secondary words are year and yearly. Year is defined in contemporary language as a noun describing as period which is approximately equal to a period of time which the earth completes a single revolution around the sun, which consists of 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 12 seconds of mean solar time. Also relating to the calendar year, or the Gregorian calendar, a year begins on January 1 and ends on December 31. (Anonymous, 2000)
- 1. It has been a year since the last time we saw her.
- 2. She only has a year left to receive her degree.
- 3. The previous year was lucky for me.
- 4. The architect spent two years building the National Museum.
Yearly was first used in the year 1465, from the Old English word gearlic, which also means year. Consequently, we can trace its origins from the word Latin word annales libri coined in the year 1563 which means “chronicles” which pertains to “yearly books”.(Harper, 2002b) Yearly can be used as:
1. an adjective which means “occurring once a year or every year”
- a. The yearly parade show is hosted by the company.
- b. The pilgrimage if done yearly dedicated to their faith.
2. as an adverb which means “once a year, annually”
- a. The magazine is published yearly.
3. as a noun; plural is yearlies which means “a publication issued once a year”
- a. The women’s magazine she works for as a contributing writer is a yearly.
From the secondary words, the words, year and yearly now gives rise to words such as time and chronicles. The first tertiary word is time. Time originated form the Old English word getimian which means “to happen, befall”; used as a noun to also mean “to appoint a time” for example an action, which was attested from the year 1300. The word developed into meaning in the context of saying “to record the time of”, such as a race, event and others, in the year 1670.
In English, time refers to a single word that encompasses the “extent” or “point”. Time has many etymology background which entails in a given period. Other examples are time defined as “an indefinite continuous duration” which was recorded from 1388; time which refers to in context of “having a good time”, an English word readopted in Britain in the 19th century; timeless meaning eternal in the year 1593; and to do time in prison was recorded in the year 1865. Timely is a word also relating to time which originated in the late Old English language in 1200 as an adjective referring to “occurring at a suitable time”.(Harper, 2002b)
In Modern English context, the word time refers to as:(Anonymous, 2000)
1. a noun:
- a. an interval separating two points on this continuum; a duration. (e.g. It has been a long time since they parted ways.)
- b. A number, as of years, days, or minutes; representing such interval. (e.g. he came in just in time for his job interview.)
- c. The present with respect to prevailing conditions and trends. (e.g. you must keep up with the times!)
The other tertiary word is chronicle. Observed in 1303 from the Middle English word chronicle, from the Anglo-Norman alteration of the Old French chronique, of the Latin word chronica, from the Greek word also chronika or biblia which means books of annals. The verb was conceptualized in the year 1440. in modern language, chronicle is defined as a noun describing “an extended account in prose or verse of historical events, sometimes including legendary material, presented in chronological order and without authorial interpretation or comment” and or “a detailed narrative record or report”. (Harper, 2002b)
“The chronicle details Marco Polo’s exhibition in the East.”
The word report
The other primary word, report, surfaced in 1374 from the Old French modification of the French word rapport, which is defines as “an account brought by one person to another, rumor”. The word reporter, which is adjective form of the word originated form the Latin word reportare, which means “to tell, relate, carry back”; re- “back” and portare- “to carry”. In 1661, the word developed to mean “formal statement of results of an investigation”. In 1873, the use of the word in context of “teacher’s official statement of a pupil’s work and behavior” was recorded. The term report card was attested in the year 1929. Reporter, in the sense of journalism emerged in 1789. Reportage which means “the describing of events” of recorded from the year 1891. (Harper, 2002b)
In modern English, report is defined as:
1. a noun:
a. an account presented in detail. (e.g. He delivered the news report well.)
b. a formal account of the proceedings or transactions of a group. (e.g. The written record of the gorup’s agenda was given to Mae.)
c. common talk, rumor or gossip. (e.g. According to report, he got married.)
2. as a verb
a. to make or present an often official, formal or regular account of. (e.g. He has to report the Civil War on Monday.)
b. to relate or tell about. (e.g. The inspector is ready to report his findings to the chief.)
c. to write or provide an account or summation of for publication or broadcast. (e.g. The news anchor will report the entertainment news in a while.)
From the word report, the secondary words that have emerged are the words account, narration and chronicle. Chronicle was already mentioned earlier. The word account originated in the year 1300 from the Old French word acont, from a- “to” and cont- “count”. This came from the Late Latin word computus which means “caculation”, from the Latin word computare which means “calculate”. In context of “narration”, the word was first used in the year 1614. Its verb use, in context with “to reckon for money given or received” is from 1393. In the sense of “to explain”, the word was used since 1377. Modern French differentiates the compter which means “to count” and conter “to tell”, but they are cognates. Accountant in the sense of “professional maker of accounts” is recorded from 1539. (Harper, 2002b)
In Modern English, the word account is defined as:(Anonymous, 2000)
1. as a noun:
a. a narrative or record of events. (e.g. He submitted an account of the company’s financial status.)
b. a reason given for a particular action of event. (e.g. How can you account for this incurred loss?)
c. a report relating to one’s conduct. (e.g. There is no reason to be worried on that account.)
d. a customer having a business or credit relationship with a firm. (e.g. My mother checked her account at the bank this morning.)
The other secondary word derived from report is narration which originated from the year 1432 of the Old French word narration which means “a relating, recounting, narrating”, from the Latin narrationem (nom. narratio), from narrare which means “to tell, relate, recount, explain”, or in context of literature, “to make acquainted with”, from the word gnarus which means “knowing”. The word narrate is first recorded in 1656, but was stigmatized and was not in general use until the 19th century. The adjective form of the word narration, which is narrative, came from the 1450’s Middle French narrative, from the Late Latin word narrativus which means “suited to narration”. This in turn originated from the Latin word narrare. The word narrator was first attested in the year 1611, and in the sense or broadcasting media emerged in the year 1941.(Harper, 2002b) Narration in the English language is defined as:(Anonymous, 2000)
- 1. the act, process, or an instance or narrating. (e.g. He narrates the gruesome accident in details.)
- 2. Narrated material. (e.g. His first published work is a narration of his life experiences.)
From the secondary definitions, the tertiary words we can define are statement and relate. Statement as a word has no formal etymology, the closest word we can associate its etymology with is the word state which emerged in the year 1590 which means “to set in a position”, from the word state. The sense of state in context with “declare in words” is first attested in 1647, from the notion of “placing’ something on the record. The word statement was first attested in the year 1775.(Harper, 2002b) Statement in English contemporary vocabulary is a noun which means:(Anonymous, 2000)
- 1. the act of stating or declaring. (e.g. He is currently making his formal statement to the police.)
- 2. something sated; a declaration. (e.g. The President delivered his statement on the impeachment inquiry this morning.)
- 3. an abstract of a commercial or financial account showing an amount due; a bill. (e.g. Trixie’s received her statement of account this afternoon.)
- 4. an overall impression or mood intended to be communicated, especially by means other than words. (e.g. The curtains and the beams supporting it makes an impressive design statement.)
The word relate, which means “to recount, tell” emerged in 1530 from the Latin relatus, used as a related word to referre, which combines re- “back, again” and latus- “carried, borne” . The word related in context of “to establish a relation between” emerged from 1771. In the sense of “to feel connected or sympathetic to” was attested in 1950, originally set in psychology jargon. Related, in context with “connected by blood or marriage” is from 1702. (Harper, 2002b) The contemporary definition of relate is used as a verb and means:(Anonymous, 2000)
- 1. to narrate or tell. (e.g. The author relates that the story is purely fictional.)
- 2. To bring into link in logical or natural association. (e.g. The woman is related to the prestige sorority in campus.)
- 3. to establish connection, relation, or reference. (e.g. The symbols on the paintings relates to another painting done by daVinci.)
- 4. to have or establish a reciprocal relationship, interact. (e.g. She can not relate to the play.)
4.1.3. Case 3: The word “bolt hole”
Bolt hole (1830-40), originated from two words “bolt”, which is from a Proto-Germanic word “bultas”, or perhaps from Proto-Indo-European base “bheld-“ which means “to knock or strike” and “hole” which can be from the Old English word “hol” which means “orifice or hollow place” or from Proto-Germanic “khulaz”, or from the Proto-Indo-European base “kel-“.
“Bolt hole”, a noun, is defined as a hole in the ground, a protected opening in bushes, etc., into which an animal can flee when pursued or frightened. It could also be a place or avenue of escape or refuge. From the definition of the primary word, secondary words can be further defined which includes these sets of words:
A “hole” (1822) is an opening through something or a hollow place in a solid body or mass. It is used as a noun in the context or in the definition of the bolt hole. While the word “ground” pertains to the solid surface of the earth. It can either be the earth, the soil or the land. Like the word hole, it is used as a noun.
“Protected” is an adjective which means to protect from being damaged, attacked, stolen or injured. “Opening” (1225) is an unobstructed or unoccupied space or place or a void in a solid matter. “Bushes” are low shrubs with many branches or may also be a land covered with a dense vegetation or undergrowth. While an animal is any such living thing other than a human being. The words opening, bushes and animal are used as nouns in the context of the primary word.
Continuing, we encountered the words flee and pursued and they are used as verbs. ‘”Flee” is a term which means to run away, as from danger or pursuers. While “pursued” means to follow in order to overtake, capture or kill. “Frightened” (1715–25) is also an adjective that means, thrown into a fright or to be afraid. “Place” (1250), used as a noun, is a portion of space or any part or spot in a body or surface. “Avenue” (1858) is a noun, which is a wide street or main thoroughfare or means of access or attainment. “Escape” (1300), used as a verb in the context, means to slip away from pursuit or peril to avoid capture, punishment or any threatened evil or to succeed in avoiding. “Refuge” (1386), which is used as a noun, is a shelter or protection from danger or trouble. It is a place of shelter, protection or safety. It can also be anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief or escape.
The secondary words which were defined, contains words which may still be vague or ambiguous to some. To further increase the accuracy or precision of the definition of the primary word, the tertiary words, words from the definition of the secondary words, will also be described, defined or expounded.
From the definition of the secondary word “hole” comes the tertiary words: “Something” is a pronoun, which pertains to a certain undetermined or unspecified thing. “Hollow” (1553), can be an adjective, which is described as having space or cavity or concavity. The word hollow can also be used as a noun, which is an empty space with anything. In the secondary definition, it is used as an adjective, referring to the word place. “Solid” (1391), used as an adjective pertaining to body, means having the interior completely filled up, free from cavities or is not hollow or without openings.
“Body” (1297), is the physical structure and material substance of an animal or plant, living or dead and is used as a noun in the context. On the other hand, “mass” (1400), is a body of coherent matter, usually of indefinite shape and often of considerable size. The words body and mass are used as nouns in the definition of the word “hole.”
From the definition of the second word “ground,” the tertiary words are defined. “Surface” (1611), used as a noun, pertains to the outer face, outside or exterior boundary of a thing. It can also mean the outermost or uppermost layer or area. “Earth” (1400), used in the definitions as a noun, pertains to the surface of the planet, the solid matter of this planet. Soil and dirt, as distinguished from rock and sand, is the softer part of the land.
It can also be a hole of a burrowing or an animal. “Soil” (1300), used as a noun is the surface layer of the earth, composed of fine rock materials disintegrated by geological processes. Meanwhile, “land” is any part of the earth’s surface not covered by a body of water; an area of ground with reference to its nature or composition. The words surface, earth, soil and land are all used as nouns in the context of the definition for “ground”.
From the definition of the word “protected”, the tertiary words are defined. The word “protect” is a verb, which means to defend or guard from attack, invasion, loss, annoyance, insult, etc. “Damaged”, can be used as a verb which means to suffer or to be susceptible to damage but in the context of the definition of “protect”, it is used as a noun which means an injury or harm that has reduced value or usefulness. “Attacked”, can be used as a verb, which means to set upon with violent force or to criticize strongly or in a hostile manner or to begin to affect harmfully like when a disease attacks the central nervous system. “Stolen” and “injured” (1575-85) can also be used as verbs where the former, when used with an object, means to take, get or win insidiously, surreptitiously, subtly or by chance while the latter means to do or cause harm of any kind to, or to damage, to hurt or to impair like to injure one’s hand.
For the secondary word “opening”, the tertiary words are: “Unobstructed” (1659), is defined to be free from impediment or obstruction or hindrance or to be clear. “Unoccupied” (1350-1400) on the other hand may also mean to be clear, more specifically, it is an adjective like the word “unobstructed”, which means without occupants, to be empty or vacant. “Space” (1300) as a noun, means a place available for a particular purpose. “Void” (1290) as an adjective, means without contents; empty or empty space. “Matter” (1300), as a noun is the substance or the substances of which physical object consists or is composed. “Matter” is also defined as something that occupies space.
The words used in the definition of the word “bushes” can be expounded. “Low” (1150), an adjective to the word “shrub” (1748), which means to be situated, placed or occurring not far above the ground, floor or base. It can also mean, of small extent upward; not high or tall. Whereas, the word “shrub” is a noun which is a woody plant smaller than a tree, usually having multiple permanent stems branching from or near the ground. “Branches” are the secondary woody stem or limb growing from the trunk or main stem of a tree or shrub or from another secondary limb.
“Covered” is an adjective which means overlaid or spread or topped with or enclosed within something. “Dense” (1599) is also an adjective which means having the component parts closely compacted together; crowded or compact. “Vegetation” (1555-65) and “undergrowth” (1590-1600) are used in the context of the definition as nouns where the former means all the plants or plant life of a place, taken as a whole while the latter pertains to low-lying vegetation or small trees growing beneath larger trees; underbush.
“Living” (1538) is used as an adjective pertaining to the word “thing”, which means having life or being alive and not dead. “Thing” (1937) is a material object without life or consciousness; an inanimate object. Adding the adjective “living” to the word “thing” negates its characteristic of having no life. “Human being” is a person, especially as distinguished from other animals or as representing the human species. Both words thing and human being are used as nouns.
For the word “flee” (before 900), we have the tertiary words: “Ran” which is the past test of run, meaning to go quickly by moving the legs more rapidly than at a walk and in such a manner that for an instant in each step all or both feet are off the ground. “Away” (1818) which is an adverb meaning aside; to another place or in another direction. “Danger” (1175–1225) is a noun, a liability or exposure to harm or injury, risk or peril. “Pursuers” (1350–1400), is a noun which pertains to a person or thing that pursues. “Follow” (1923) is a verb, meaning to come after in sequence, order of time, etc or to go or come after.
It may also mean to move behind in the same direction or to move forward along or go in pursuit of. “Order” (1483) means to be proper, satisfactory or in working condition. While “overtake” (1175–1225) is a verb meaning to catch up with in traveling or pursuit or draw even with. “Capture” (1535–45) is also a verb that means to take by force or stratagem or to take prisoner or to seize. “Killing” (1400–50) on the other hand is to deprive of life in any manner or to cause the death or to destroy, do away with or extinguish. “Close” (1488) means to bring together the parts of, or to join or to unite. It may also mean to put something in a position to obstruct an entrance, opening, etc.
The secondary word “frightened” has tertiary words such as “fright” (before 900) which is a noun that means sudden and extreme fear or a sudden terror. Also included is the adjective “afraid” (1330), or the feeling of fear, or filling with apprehension. While the secondary word “place” (1548) has the tertiary words such as portion, a noun, which means a part of any whole, either separated from or integrated with it. “Part” (1275) also a noun, means a portion or division or a whole that is separate or distinct. It is synonymous to the words piece, fragment fraction, section or constituent. “Spot” (1300) is a noun which means a place of relatively small and of definite limits.
“Avenue”, has tertiary words like “wide” (1705) which means having considerable or great extent from side to side. Furthermore, it could mean, of great range or scope or embracing a great number of varieties of subjects, cases, etc. “Street” (1400) is a public thoroughfare, usually paved in a village, town or city including the sidewalk or sidewalks. “Main” (1205), an adjective, pertains to be chief in size, extent or importance and may also mean principal or leading. “Thoroughfare” (1350–1400) is a noun pertaining to a road, street or the like, that leads at each end into another street. It can also be a major road, highway, a passage or way through. Meanwhile, “means” pertains to an agency, instrument or method used to attain an end. “Access” (1325) is the ability, right or permission to approach, enter, speak with or use. It may also mean the admittance, the way or means of approach, and the quality of being approachable. “Attainment” (1350–1400) is noun which pertains to something, such as an accomplishment or achievement that is attained.
“Refuge”, in its definition has the words “slip” (1300), which is a verb that means to move, slide or start gradually from a place or position or to slide out of or become disengaged from a fastening, the grasp, etc. “Pursuit” (1300–50) is the act of pursuing or an effort to secure or attain, such as a quest. “Avoid” (1250–30), means to keep away from, keep clear of, to shun or to avoid a person, taxes or danger. Moreover, in the definition of “refuge”, the word “punishment” (1250–1300) means the act of punishing, or the penalty inflicted for an offense, fault, etc. It may also mean a server handling or treatment. “Threatened”, is a verb that means to express a threat against, to be a source of danger to or a menace. While the word “evil” is an adjective that means harmful, injurious, and is also characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering. It may also be anything that causes injury or harm, or with a harmful aspect, effect of consequences. “Succeed” (1325–75) is a verb which means to accomplish what is attempted or intended while “shelter” (1585) is a noun that pertains to the protection or refuge afforded by such a thing. “Protection” (1275–1325) is an act of protecting or the state of being protected or the preservation from injury or harm. “Safety” (1300) is a noun that pertains to the state of being safe, free from the occurrence or risk of injury, danger or loss. “Recourse” (1350–1400) is also a noun that means access or resort to a person or thing for help or protection. “Aid” (1475), the second to the last word of the definition for “refuge” as used with an object, is to provide support for or a relief to. If it is not used with an object in the sentence, then it is to give help or assistance. “Relief” (1330), is the alleviation, ease or the deliverance through the removal of pain, distress, oppression, etc. It may also a means or thing that relieves pain, distress, anxiety, etc. In the definition of “refuge”, the second definition of “relief” applies more than the first.
4.2.4. Case 4: The word “bolson
A bolson is a desert valley, the level of which has been raised by aggradation, usually draining into a playa. Chiefly found in Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico, it is a flat arid valley surrounded by mountains and draining into a shallow central lake. Bolson is augmentative of the American Spanish word bolson, which came from the Spanish bolsa meaning pouch, which was further derived from the late Latin bursa, meaning a sac or saclike bodily cavity, especially one containing a viscous lubricating liquid and located between a tendon and a bone or at points of friction between moving structures (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2004, 2000b).
As we can notice, the bolson probably acquired its name because of its shape. A valley, which is land at a low region surrounded by mountains, would definitely have the shape of a sac, and the bolson’s tendency to drain into a playa, a shallow central lake, can be highly associated with the lubricating liquid coming out of the saclike bodily cavity.
As weathering continues to remove the rockmass of the highland, the bajadas, which are sloping masses of gravel and sand deposited by streams as they emerge from narrow mountain valleys and extending from the mountain base into the surrounding valley, on opposite sides of the desert basin encroach into the center of the basin where they eventually intersect (Nabhan). At that point, the entire basin has been filled with debris from the adjoining highlands to form a bolson.
With time, what had originally been grand mountain ranges will have been reduced to low hills and rock remnants, and what remains of the mountains is a rock surface called a pediment that adjoins the deposits of the bolson, the flanks of the mountains have literally been buried in their own debris.
In bolsons in the desert regions of Southern California and some parts of Nevada, the area underlain by alluvial fan gravels, which are fan-shaped accumulations of alluvium deposited at the mouth of a ravine or at the juncture of a tributary stream with the main stream, and playa sediments, is generally one to two times the area being eroded.
In certain larger basins in the vicinity of Death Valley, however, the depositional area is only about half the size of the erosional area. This reflects the more active tectonic environment, that is, the more active movement of the earth’s crust in these bolsons.
Of the areas underlain by recent sediments in these bolsons, playas, or shallow central lakes, make up two to six percent. Playa lakes are seasonal lakes that only hold water during the rainy season. During the period of drought between rains, the lakes disappear as the water sinks underground to join the groundwater. Left behind is a layer of crystalline salts.
Smaller playas are found in the Mojave region, and seem to be associated with sedimentary rock formations. Conversely, igneous rock formations support larger playas.
Sedimentary rocks are rocks formed by consolidated sediment deposited in layers. These rocks accumulate at the surface of the Earth, under room temperature. Igneous rocks, on the other hand, are rocks formed by the crystallization of lava or magma. They are rocks solidified from molten or partly molten material.
Larger deviations of playa area from these averages are attributable to incorrect identification of bolson boundaries. Fine sediment is either able to pass through the bolson to the next downstream, or is being collected from areas upstream that were not considered to be part of the system.
An example of such a case is the unusual largeness of the playa in Death Valley. This is in part because the playa in Death Valley has been deformed tectonically so parts of it are now eroding, and in part because the outlet of Lake Tecopa, in California, was downcut in the geologically recent past, so sediment once trapped there now reaches Death Valley (Peter Jansson, 2006).
It was said earlier that a bolson is a desert valley which level has been raised due to aggradation. Aggradation is the accumulation of sediment in rivers and nearby landforms. It occurs when sediment supply exceeds the ability of a river to transport sediment (Wikipedia).
To make things clearer, let us take the case of sediment accumulation during dry season. The quality of a sediment entering a river channel may increase when climate becomes drier. The drier conditions cause river flow to decrease while sediment is being supplied in greater quantities. Hence, the river becomes choked with sediment.
This piling of sediments result in a rise in level of the desert valley, the bolson, and its slightly raised level becomes one of its characteristics, other than leading to a shallow body of water, or playa.
Also, a change in climate, land use, or geologic activity, may cause an aggradation. For example, volcanic eruptions may lead to rivers carrying large amounts of sediment that can accumulate in a channel and bury the old channel (Wikipedia).
A bolson is also said to be a depression or a wide valley, mostly surrounded by mountains and drained by a system that has no surface outlet. Basically, it is an undrained basin (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate, 1989), which is a large, bowl-shaped depression in the surface of the land or ocean floor.
An example of a basin is the Hudson Bay in northeastern Canada, which was formed by depression beneath the center of a continental ice sheet 18,000 years ago. Another example, the Qattara depression, is 150 miles (240 kilometers) long and the largest of several wind-excavated basins of northern Egypt (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2004, 2000a).
Depressions in the ocean floor are also basins, such as the Canary Basin, west of Northern Africa, or the Argentine Basin, east of Argentina. These basins occur in regions where cold, dense oceanic crust lies between the topographically elevated ocean ridges and the continental margins (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2004, 2000a).
In the geologic sense, a basin is an area in which the continental crust has subsided and the depression has been filled with sediments. Such basins were interior drainage basins at the time of sediment deposition (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2004, 2000a).
Basins contain most of the world’s hydrocarbon reserves, and they are regarded as some of the best natural laboratories in which to understand the thermal and mechanical processes that operate deep in the interior of the Earth and that shape the Earth’s surface (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2004, 2000a).
At present, bolsons acquired an important role in water production. As the cost of water has increased, desalination projects, or projects of removing dissolved salt and other minerals from seawater to create fresh water, have teetered on the verge of becoming economically feasible.
El Paso and Dell City are now using desalination plants to make brackish water potable (Texas Water Development). In conjunction with Fort Bliss, El Paso Water Utilities is beginning construction of a large desalination plant to treat brackish water, which is water with salty taste, especially from containing a mixture of both seawater and fresh water, in the Hueco Bolson (El Paso Water).
Bolsons are also used as focus of studies by research institutions. The Pan American Center for Earth and Environmental Studies (PACES), formed in 1995 as a NASA University Research Center on the campus of The University of Texas at El Paso, has a mission with the dual goals of contributing research to support NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise and to contribute to the education of the next generation of scientists and engineers, many are whom from underrepresented minorities (Schulze-Makuch, 1995).
PACES researchers have been involved in the investigation of the Rio Grande rift, as well as the many practical problems that can be studied in the context of rift zones. Rifting has played a major role in the evolution of continents and the terrestrial planets; thus, understanding their evolution and structure, as well as the dynamic processes that form them, is a fundamental issue for NASA (Schulze-Makuch, 1995).
As rifts extend Earth’s upper crust, large areas subside as a result of movement along faults. In the Rio Grande rift zone, this process has led to the development of a series of large sedimentary basins containing a significant portion of the region’s scarce water resources (Schulze-Makuch, 1995).
PACES investigators are seeking to gain a better understanding of the structural framework of these basins to evaluate the extent of these water resources and the potential for groundwater pollution, particularly in and along the border with Mexico, where the pollution is rapidly increasing (Schulze-Makuch, 1995).
Regional analysis of the Rio Grande rift provides a framework for more focused local studies, such as the Hueco Bolson, the Mesilla Bolson, the NASA test facility near Las Cruces, and the Valles Caldera. The Hueco and Mesilla Bolson aquifers (underground beds or layers of earth, gravel, or porous stone that yield water) are located in El Paso and Hudpeth counties in the far western tip of Texas (Schulze-Makuch, 1995).
The Hueco Bolson, approximately 9,000 feet in total thickness, consists of silt, sand, and gravel in the upper part, and clay and silt in the lower part. Only the upper several hundred feet of the bolson contain fresh to slightly saline water. The Mesilla Bolson consists of approximately 2,000 feet of clay, silt, sand, and gravel (Buckner, 1980).
PACES investigators are also studying the region south of El Paso extending to Chihuahua City, with special attention to water resource issues (Buckner, 1980).
PACES studies include the effects of the use of untreated sewage effluent for crop irrigation on ground water quality in the Chihuahua City area, the effects of land-use changes on surface hydrology in the Rio Conchos Basin in Mexico, and the structure of the basins that hold the aquifers supplying the border region’s groundwater (Schulze-Makuch, 1995).
A desert valley, the level of which has been raised by aggradation, usually draining into a playa
Aggradation – accumulation of sediment in rivers and nearby landforms
Playa – seasonal lakes that only hold water during the rainy season
d. Bajadas – sloping masses of gravel and sand deposited by streams as they emerge from narrow mountain valleys and extending from the mountain base into the surrounding valley
- Alluvial fan gravels – fan-shaped accumulations of alluvium deposited at the mouth of a ravine or at the juncture of a tributary stream with the main stream, and playa sediments
- Sedimentary rocks – rocks formed by consolidated sediment deposited in layers
- Igneous rocks – rocks formed by the crystallization of lava or magma
- Basin – a large, bowl-shaped depression in the surface of the land or ocean floor
- Brackish water – water with salty taste, usually a mixture of both fresh water and seawater
- aquifers – underground beds or layers of earth, gravel, or porous stone that yield water
4.2.5. Case 5: The word “eccrine”
The word eccrine is derived from the Greek words ek- or ex, which means out and krinein meaning to separate(2006a). In Medicine, the noun eccrine, are sweat glands that are distributed in the whole body (2006a). An important secretion of this gland helps in regulating body heat. This gland is related to the eccrine sweat and belongs to the exocrine type.
Eccrine gland, a coiled tubular sweat gland, is a component of the skin in most of all the body(2006b). The formation of this gland begins in the fourth month of pregnancy as a down growth in skin particularly the epidermis. Eccrine germ is the term for this stage of development of the particular gland. Development of this body structure occurs first in the palms and soles before the gradual appearance in other body parts specifically in the lip border, labia minora (part of the vagina), inner surface of the prepuce, and the glans penis. In the palms, soles, and axillae greater portion of these glands are found(Donald J. Baker, 2006).
The covering or the external lining of the body or animals that provides protection and receives sensory stimuli from the external environment is called skin(2007). There are three skin layers: the epidermis which is the outermost skin layer that primarily contains the structure for protection; the stratum corneum; and the dermis which consists of bundles of fibers that provides the skin with firmness, strength, and elasticity. The dermis of the skin plays a vital role in respiration and the tone of the skin(1998). Skin color is one of the roles of the epidermis for it holds the pigment producing cells the melanocytes. Protection against Ultraviolet light specifically those coming from the rays of the sun is another function of this layer. Aside from melanocytes, the epidermis also has keratinocytes which rise up the layer as dead cells.
The cells that are group together to form a structure that removes specific substances from the blood, change or concentrate them, and then eliminates them or release them for further use by the body are called glands(2007). These glands are classified into two types: Endocrine and Exocrine. The presence of duct system which transports the glands secretion characterizes the exocrine type of glands. Examples of this type of glands are mammary gland, salivary gland, eccrine gland, and the lacrimal gland . Endocrine glands on the other hand are devoid of ducts and with secretory cells. These types of cells are highly vascularized that the hormones it secretes are directly transported to the target organs through the blood vessels. Pituitary, Parathyroid, Thyroid, Adrenal, and Pineal glands are some of the examples of endocrine glands(1997).
Sweat glands are of simple and tubular arrangement which excretes perspiration. These glands that are found all over the skin of the mammalian body is composed of epithelial tube that spirally extend from the microscopic pore on the surface of the skin into the dermis or tissues in subcutaneous tissues where it ends in convoluted tuft(2006a). Primates have sweat glands widely distributed all over their body while in other mammals it is limited to some organs only like in dogs and cats where it can be found only in the feet and face. This gland is about 2.6 million in an average person’s skin(Freudenrich).
There are two cell types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine which are limited only to armpits and the anal-genital areas. Unlike in eccrine glands that end up in pores of the skin, the apocrine glands terminate in hair follicles. Differences between the two types of sweat glands are their size, secreted sweat’s composition, and animal’s age wherein they become active. Eccrine glands when contrasted with apocrine glands are smaller; active from birth while apocrine is from puberty stage; and sweat produced is fatty acids and protein free(Freudenrich).
Sweat or perspiration is the body’s means of thermoregulation; the heat may have originated from the muscles at work, nerves that receive much stimulation and metabolism. Both the apocrine and eccrine glands produces sweat but the dissimilarity is that the apocrine glands secretion contains fatty acids and proteins thus making the secretion thicker in consistency and yellowish in color. Sweat volume varies in relation to the intensity of physical activity and the state of our emotions. That is why we produce sweat when we are exercising but not during periods that we are only sitting down or not doing anything. In times that we are nervous or afraid we also produce sweat. Temperature also affects the mechanism of sweat production that during hot weather we produce buckets and buckets of sweat(2006a).
Thermoregulation or the regulation of the heat in the body makes the sustenance of life possible. Without this process the body will die due to Hypothermia or Hyperthermia. The normal body temperature in humans is 36.4 and 36.7 ° C, lower or higher from this range results in health problems. Heat loss and heat production should be maintained at a same rate. Factors that influence the stepping up of the production of heat are: exercise, hormones, stresses in the nervous system, higher body temperature, age, and gender. Heat loss on the other hand can be observed in the following processes: evaporation; conduction and convection; and radiation. The hypothalamus controls the thermoregulation process of the body for it has a part that controls the metabolic thermostat of the body specifically preoptic area which is in the anterior portion of the hypothalamus and is an aggregation of neurons(Stevenson).
Secretion is a noun that came from the French word sécrétion, and Latin words: secretion-, secretio meaning to separate. Materials in this procedure are segregated, elaborated, and released either by isolation for excretion like urine or functionally specialized like saliva(2006a). The term in Biology denotes the release and production of a useful substance by a cell or a gland. Tissues of the body release substances that provide moisture and lubrication aside from the hormones and enzymes that facilitate and control complex biochemical processes(2007).
Biology is the study of the living things as well as their processes. This field of study complexes with physics and chemistry to create science that benefits the human beings(2007). Some of the branches of biology are Zoology, Botany, Ecology, Microbiology, Physiology, Anatomy, Toxicology, Cell Biology, Evolution, Genetics and Biochemistry.
Medicine, the science that studies the aspects of health maintenance; and prevention, remedy, or treatment of disease is a broad discipline that concerns not only humans but also animals(2007). The word that is derived from the Latin word medicina has progressed through time(2006a).
Science is a systematic knowledge that covers operation of general laws and general truths that is acquired and proved thru a scientific method. This discipline concerns the physical world and the phenomenons that surround it(2006a). Scientific method is an empirical process of learning through a scientific investigation. The steps in the scientific method are: 1) phenomenon observation; 2) creation of a hypothesis; 3) experimentation to verify or disqualify the hypothesis; and lastly 4) a conclusion that consolidates the result of the experimentation to validate or modify the hypothesis. What is then the importance of the hypothesis? The scientific method is useless without a premise that explains the observation, phenomenon, or scientific problem. Hypothesis is a proposition that intends to clarify the observations or facts. This assumption came from the Greek word hypotithenai meaning put under and hypo which means to put (2006a).
Knowledge is the condition of knowing something with awareness that is attained through experience or association(2006a). It is therefore a comprehension of the truth. Lord Byron, an English poet; once said that “One of the pleasures of reading old letters is the knowledge that they need no answer”. Knowledge acquisition comes in a variety of ways and reading is one of them.
Interaction between the principles and processes was observed in the previous terms. A term is interdependent with other terms that are all part of the systematic knowledge called science. These topics are not clearly defined without each other. A good example is the skin, sweat glands, and the skin. Without the clear understanding of the parts of the skin the description and definition of eccrine will not be clear, so as the definition and characterization of the sweat glands. A general thought governs all of these ideas; they are formulated to further understand the processes that happen within the body system of animals and their surroundings.
4.2.6. Case 6: The word “echelette”
The word echelette, a word used in spectography, is a diffraction grating designed to reflect infrared radiation.
When a group of waves change in their direction and intensity after passing by a barrier or through a gap or space, it is called diffraction, provided the size of the aperture is approximately the same as the wavelength of waves (Answers.Com, 2007). In diffraction, waves distribute around obstacles (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2007). Diffraction can be attained by any type of energy that travels in a wave such as light, sound, x-rays and gamma rays and also by micro particles that have wavelike properties such as electrons, atoms and neutrons (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2007).
Sound waves diffraction is a part of daily life (Answers.Com, 2007). On the other hand, light waves diffraction is more complex and has a number of uses in science and technology, production of holograms an example (Answers.Com, 2007). The diffraction of sound is more distinct than light diffraction because sound waves are a lot bigger than light waves. Sound travels by waves wherein the movement of vibration is parallel to the direction of the wave itself or what is called a longitudinal wave (Wikipedia, 2007). On the other hand, light does not only diffract when going through apertures but also around obstacles (Answers.Com, 2007).
Diffraction of light is more perceptible when it goes through exceedingly narrow openings unlike sound waves that diffract at large angles (Answers.Com, 2007). Hearing low frequencies better than high frequencies implies that diffraction is more obvious in longer wavelengths (Nave, 2000). Diffraction helps sound bend around obstacles and barriers (Nave, 2000). Another insinuation is that information cannot be gained from a wave that is much larger than a barrier (Nave, 2000).
Light slightly bends as it passes around the bordering of an object (Trustees, 1997). The amount of bending is dependent on the size of the opening and the relative size of the wavelength of light. So much so that if the opening is approximately the same size as the wavelength of light, the amount of bending is substantial and can be easily seen (Trustees, 1997). Light that is diffracted in the atmosphere produces fringes of dark or light colored bands and is in fact bent around atmospheric particles (Trustees, 1997).
Henry Augustus Rowland (1848-1901), an American physicist, was the first to develop and make use of a diffraction grating in the 1870’s. An optical device which consists of thousands of parallel, closely and equidistantly spaced slits for the purpose of resolving light into spectra (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2007). It is often the tool that is used for the separation of light of different wavelengths with high resolution (Nave, 2000).
It is also used for the separation of spectral lines that are connected with atomic transitions (Nave, 2000). The apertures in a diffraction grating are exceptionally narrow parallel slits, not merely holes that turn a beam of light into a spectrum (Nave, 2000). Although each opening diffracts the light beam, the diffracted waves experience constructive interference because of the openings that are equally spaced and have the same width (Nave, 2000). Also, the light appears brighter when constructive interference takes place (Trustees, 1997).
The diameter of an opening, usually a small one and is often expressed as an f-number is called an aperture (Farlex, 2007). It is a kind of regulator.
Constructive interference happens anywhere along the medium where the displacement of two interfering waves is also in the same direction (Henderson, 1996-2004). It just means that when two waves of the same wavelength have crests and troughs that correspond with each other, it would result to a wave that has amplitude of twice the individual waves had (Swish-E, 1997). This pattern makes it possible to view components of the spectrum separately (Answers.Com, 2007). Scientists are now able to study and observe characteristics like the structure of atoms and molecules and also the chemical composition of stars (Answers.Com, 2007).
The acme of the wave is called the crest and the lowest point is the trough (About, 2007).
Wavelength is measured by the distance between points in two successive cycles of a wave which is its crest (Inc., 1981-2007). It is disseminated in space or along a wire in the adjacent cycles of a waveform (Networking.Com, 2000-2007). The electromagnetic spectrum is made up of different forms of energy and the wavelength determines the nature of these forms (Inc., 1981-2007). The Greek letter lambda is sometimes used to symbolize it (Networking.Com, 2000-2007).
In the context of the word echelette, the word designed is synonymous with conceived, contrived, devised and formulated (YourDictionary.com, 1996-2007). It is originally from the word design and when the suffix ed was added, it became a verb. It means that something is organized so as to give configuration to or something is done, made or performed with purpose and intent (Die.Net). Sentence examples are “That car was designed for racing” or “The building was designed to withstand snowstorms”. In both sentences, the meaning and/or connotation of designed are the definition cited earlier on.
‘But if the sentence was “The house was designed to look Victorian” the meaning slightly changes. Here, design is associated with style and fashion. On the other hand, the word design, pronounced as pronounced as d -z n , has a lot of synonyms like device, figure, motif, motive, pattern, blueprint, game plan, idea, layout, plan, project, schema, scheme and strategy (YourDictionary.com, 1996-2007). These words may mean any of these: a graphic representation for construction, a detailed plan for manufacture, a sketch or drawing, an ornamental pattern, a fixed or original arrangement, a project and an intent to name a few (YourDictionary.com, 1996-2007).
Reflect in the context of our main word echelette mans to throw or bend back from a surface (Online, 2005-2007). It is pronounced as ri’flekt (Online, 2005-2007). Using this meaning, the closest synonym to it is reverberate. Reverberate could mean an echo or a continuing effect or to spring back. For this the most appropriate meaning is be reflected as sound, light, heat or shock waves (Online, 2005-2007). Reflected is a derived form of reflect. An example for reflect or its derived used in a sentence is “Light is reflected through a window”.
At the lower end of the visible light spectrum lies the infrared which is an invisible band of radiation (Inc., 1981-2007). It ends at the beginning of visible light and starts at the end of the microwave spectrum and has wavelengths ranging from 750 nm to 1 mm (Inc., 1981-2007). Transmission of infrared requires a unhindered line of sight between the transmitter and the receiver (Inc., 1981-2007). It is a means of sending out signals over a distance by using light (HLA-NC, 2003).
Radiation is emitted from unstable atoms that are said to be radioactive because for these atoms to gain stability, they have to shed their excess energy or mass (Education, 1992). It is energy that travels through space or some material and comes from a source (Education, 1992). There are two kinds of radiation. One is electromagnetic, gamma rays and x-rays as examples and the other is particulate with alpha and beta radiation classified under it (Education, 1992).
Gamma rays, also called nuclear X-rays, are of shorter wavelength compared to that of X-rays and are released by a decaying nucleus is a very strong and incisive high-energy electromagnetic radiation (Biology-Online.Org, 2005).
The most common type of radiation that most people know is X-rays because it is used in therapy and imaging (Answers.Com, 2007). Its beams cannot go through only heavy metals but is capable of penetrating most substances (Answers.Com, 2007).
The alpha particle is the heaviest because it came from the decay of very heavy elements. It is not a wave but a high-energy particle. Alpha particles are relatively large that is why they are easily absorbed but not as easily penetrated (ABGX).
The beta particle is around 8000 times smaller than the alpha particle and is a much lighter energy particle (ABGX). To restore energy balance, the nucleus of unstable isotopes gives off an active electron resulting to a beta particle. It is capable of infiltrating much deeper into living things (ABGX).
All types of radiation can be classified under the electromagnetic spectrum and the light that we see is only a meager portion of it (Michaud, 2003). The most dangerous are radiation with short wavelengths like ultraviolet rays. Infrared is located just beyond the red side of the rainbow, between the visible and microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum (Michaud, 2003). Humans cannot see infrared but it can be felt. Infrared waves have wavelengths that are shorter than microwaves and longer than visible and frequencies higher than microwaves and lower than visible (Cosmos-NASA).
Infrared is divided into three kinds: near, mid and far (Cosmos-NASA). The part of the infrared spectrum that is the nearest to visible light is the near infrared part and the part closer to the microwave region is the far infrared part. The area between the two is the mid infrared (Cosmos-NASA). Thermal radiation is produced by the motion of atoms and molecules in an object and is the principal source of infrared radiation (Cosmos-NASA). More infrared radiation is generated when there is a higher temperature because atoms and molecules move more. An object gives off more infrared radiation the warmer it gets but even objects that are very cold also emit infrared radiation (Cosmos-NASA).
4.2.7. Case 7: The word “ecocide”
The term ecocide shows that due to the human activities like nuclear warfare, overexploitation of resources, or dumping of harmful chemicals there exist destruction of the natural environment (Merriam-Webster, 2007). From these activities we do, we are destroying our environment where we are acquiring all the resources we need in order to survive our everyday activities. Yet from the way we get those resources with the human instinct of greediness, we come to a point where instead of taking good care of our environment we are destroying it without noticing it.
Evaluating a word such ecocide provokes a lot of implications and it is readily seen we have to make a judgment call in giving weight to a particular word in terms of importance as far as selection of words for inclusion in dictionary, moreover a bilingual, or may be multilingual dictionary. While there are tools to handle the complexity of a word expanded as to association with other words, selection and hence giving weight to not only informational value but its substantive content.
Here we could appreciate the organizational neatness in Popper’s conception of descriptive statements and statement of theories and principles.
As a case in point, genocide is new word, coined because of devastating capability of technology as nuclear explosion. Here we differentiate between the object (nuclear reaction) and its effect (devastation) but this does not fully defines genocide, as a “deliberateness” needs to be factored in.
To illustrate, nuclear weapons are so powerful that it can cause so much destruction in an area once used. Nuclear weapons also have radiations which are also harmful to any living creatures within its range. Weapon is a word related to warfare which defined as an activity used by a nation to weaken or conquer another nation. This is used with the help of their military units. Thus, nuclear warfare is the use of your military units to probably destroy another nation using nuclear weapons which can cause so much destruction against the opposing nation.
Exploitation of resources is the unfairly use of our natural resources for someone’s own advantage (Merriam-Webster, 2007). Abuse of our natural resources may lead to unbalance environment which can cause several effects on our nature’s ability to maintain its ecosystem. Humans do a lot of unfair actions against each other just to make sure they will get the most out of the available resources. With these actions towards our environment, we are destroying our environment just to make sure we get more of what we need.
Chemicals are products of chemical process which can be useful or harmful to us (Merriam-Webster, 2007). Harmful chemicals are the products of chemical processes which are found to have negative effect to human and even to its environment. Thus, dumping of harmful chemicals on unnecessary places where those chemicals can not be treated causes a lot of harmful feedbacks on us, humans. These chemicals can cause illness, plague and even epidemic.
Destruction is a state or fact of being damaged (Merriam-Webster, 2007). The circumstances, object or condition that surrounds us is the environment where we belong. Thus, destruction of our natural environment is the destruction of the surrounding where we belong. Doing damage upon the environment where we live in is like gently killing ourselves or even the generations next to us because if we continue to do damage on our natural environment there will come a time where we will not be able to get the resources we need for our everyday life.
Weapons are defined to be anything which can be used against someone or something to injure (Merriam-Webster, 2007). Weapons may be used against your foe or your aggressor. We can use weapons in different reasons. We can use weapons to defend ourselves or to obtain something.
Nuclear reactions are the state where the nucleus resists or oppose force, influence or movement of nucleus acting on it (Merriam-Webster, 2007). This is done by some scientists for the study of nucleus and what it can do for the human race.
Military units are units of the government who defends the nation against outsiders and intruders (Merriam-Webster, 2007). They are the one responsible for the protection of the state against intruders who wants to attack, destroy or govern the state or the nation.
Nations are the place where people are born. A community with defined territory and a form of government is considered to be a nation (Merriam-Webster, 2007). A nation should have to be composed of people living in it and the community should obey such rules which are made by statesmen and rulers of the state or nation. These rules are made for the benefit of the state and of course for the benefit of the people. There are a lot of factors to be considered in constructing the law which should be followed by the people of the state and these factors are well analyzed by the statesmen and the rulers of the said state depending to the needs of the people.
Ecosystem is an environment where the units living in it is functioning as one to maintain its balance (Merriam-Webster, 2007). An ecosystem should maintain its balance because once an ecosystem is unbalance there will be a great effect upon the units living in it. In order top maintain balance in an ecosystem, the units living in it should do their share fairly. A certain unit should not abuse its environment and at the same time should not be idle for the benefit of all units living in the ecosystem.
Chemical processes are processes which occur when particular changes occurs on such things which eventually leads to a certain result (Merriam-Webster, 2007). These processes are done scientifically and follow certain rules for the safety of those who perform the said process. These processes are done for the benefit of the human race and for further improvement of the lifestyle of the human race.
An outcome of a certain input, service or anything done to have an output is said to be a product (Merriam-Webster, 2007). A product can actually be sold or traded in return for service or other commodities which someone needs in return. Products can be used as a token in trades and other transactions concerning goods, services and commodities.
The return of effects of something done to the one that made it is called the feedback of a particular action (Merriam-Webster, 2007). Feedbacks definitely cause an effect to those who receives it and sometimes these feedbacks causes negative effects to the receiver. Feedbacks are sometimes the negative of the good things you are thinking before you do a certain act.
An unhealthy or unpleasant condition of someone is considered to be an illness (Merriam-Webster, 2007). Someone can catch illness from the environment he belongs. An unhealthy and unpleasant environment can cause illness. An unhealthy environment is more prone to be home of different illnesses which someone living in it could catch. These illnesses can affect the bearer’s performance negatively and this is the main reason why scientists and doctors studies those illnesses and tries to figure out certain antidotes against these illnesses.
Higher rate of illness is considered to be a plague. A plague is the condition where the same illness was captured by many people within the same vicinity (Merriam-Webster, 2007). A plague can cause more damage to the community and it may affect a lot of people living in the community. A plague is very disastrous that it may lead to a high rate of mortality in a certain area.
A high percentage of a certain community’s population being affected by the same illness or any negative occurrence is said to an epidemic (Merriam-Webster, 2007). An epidemic can cause a higher rate of mortality and lost of belongings. These epidemics cause a lot of negative effects to those who suffers upon it.
Facts are things that have been proven true or have already been done (Merriam-Webster, 2007). Facts are presented to give strong support to a certain thing, study or event.
Circumstances are events which happen to show details of another event (Merriam-Webster, 2007). Some circumstances are studied to analyze the effect of certain circumstances.
A group of individuals from a line of descent of a certain ancestors are generations of the family within the period of time (Merriam-Webster, 2007). Family heritage and traditions are passed from generation to generation thus you must make sure that your family’s generation next to you should still have its resources.
People who start a forceful attack to dominate are considered to be an aggressor (Merriam-Webster, 2007). Sometimes the aggressor provokes someone in order to acquire a particular position they want to dominate. Aggressors want to dominate in a certain field for some reasons which one reason could be the abundance of resources they can get from the vicinity they will dominate.
Nucleus is a small part of the cell where reproduction of cell and protein synthesis occurs (Merriam-Webster, 2007). Also the nucleus provides a lot of information from the particular body where it belongs. Since the nucleus is where the important cell functions take place it gives a lot of important information regarding the body.
Someone who just enters a particular territory without any permission and could have been with bad intention against the territory is considered to be an intruder (Merriam-Webster, 2007). Intruders sometimes enter a territory with force because they assume that the territory will fight back and reject their entry. In most of the times, intruders cause a negative event within the territory. With their intention of ruling over the territory they want it sometimes leads to a war.
4.2.8. Case 8: The word “annihilator”
Annihilator, n. (“The Free Dictionary”) a person or thing that annihilates. (2) (Mathematics) the set of all linear functionals that map to zero all elements of a given subset of a vector space
The word annihilator has two separate meanings which we can associate with to understand its full context. The first meaning of the word annihilator is a person or things that annihilates. The word annihilates comes form the Latin word annihilare which means to reduce to nothing. The word annihilare came from the Latin adjective “ad”, which means to and “nil”, which means nothing.(Harper, 2001) In this context, annihilare in Latin means to reduce to nothing. This can be attributed to its contemporary meaning which is to destroy completely so that nothing is left.
For example, “The atomic bomb annihilated the city’s entire population”. In context with this example sentence, we can understand the word annihilate in context of the example sentence which is that of killing an entire population. Annihilate thus implies to destroy completely. The word “destroy” comes from the Latin word “destruere”, which means to unbuild or to tear down.(Harper, 2001) Destroy now becomes the secondary menaing of the word annihilate. It has the contemporary meaning which also refers to the etymological definition of its term.
Using the word in example, “My entire research paper was destroyed by the fire in my apartment”. Destroy is synonymous with the word ruin which now gives rise to several tertiary meanings.(“The Free Dictionary”) Ruin was coined in the year 1375 from the old French word “ruine” which in turn came from the Latin word “ruina”. Ruina means “a collapse”. In 1673, the meaning “complete destruction of anything” was attached to the original word.
In 1660, the word’s definition developed into the context of financial matters.(Harper, 2001) In contemporary English terms, ruin can mean to destroy something completely. This now encompasses several other aspects such as financial, moral, social or physical. It can also apply to the act or the description of the destroyed depending on how it is used in the sentence. (“The Free Dictionary”)Examples on which are:
- 1. The incident ruined the man’s shirt. (Physical)
- 2. Rumors of the President’s affairs with his secretary brought upon his ruin. (Social)
- 3. The husband’s jealousy brought upon his assault on his wife, which ruined him completely. (Moral)
- 4. The crash of the Stock Market brought upon his ruin. (Financial)
The word ruin could also mean the remnants of something demolished or destroyed as, “The ruins of the basilica endure up to this day”. Another word emerges as we dwell into the word ruin, which is “destroy”. Destroy is synonymous with demolish, the words we associate with ruins. For example, “The workers totally destroyed the upper wall to reduce safety concerns”.
Demolish comes from the French word “demoliss” which is derived from the Latin word “demoliri” which means “to tear down”.(Harper, 2001) In contemporary English, the word destroys means “to tear down or raze”,(“The Free Dictionary”) for example, “The municipal administrator decided to demolish the old building which has not been occupied for many years now”. Demolish can also mean “to extinguish”, such as the sentence example, “The accident cost him his eyesight, which demolished his chance of becoming a pilot”.
Another tertiary meaning to the word ruin could mean several other words such as extinguish, kill and defeat. In the case of extinguish, the word extinguish is defined as “to put out” and “to put an end”. In context of law, the words extinguish means “to settle or discharge” or “to nullify”. In this context we go back to annihilate being defined in Latin as to nullify also. In psychological terms, the word extinguish will mean “to bring about the extinction”, of lets say, a conditioned response. As a verb, to extinguish will mean:
- 1. to cause to stop brining or giving light (e.g. The fireman tried his best to extinguish the fire, but it was too late.)
- 2. to destroy all traces (e.g. The government placed all their efforts to extinguish the rumors of the President’s affair with his secretary.)
In context of the word synonymous with destroy, kill, the word originated in 1205 which means “to strike, hit, break or knock”. In 1330, it developed into implying “to deprive of life”. The noun usage of the word kill, as in “an act of killing an animal” surfaced in the year 1852. In sports, they gave the meaning of kill from particular in the game of tennis in 1903. In terms of boxing jargon, they coined the term kill which means “the knockout” which was recorded to have emerged during the 1950’s.(Harper, 2001) In contemporary definition, the word kill could either mean:
- 1. To put death (e.g. the man killed the victim mercilessly.)
- 2. To deprive of life (e.g. the frustrated father tried all his efforts to kill his son’s dream of becoming an actor.)
- 3. To put an end to or to extinguish (e.g. the neighbors were exasperatingly yelling, “kill the fire”.(“The Free Dictionary”)
Synonymous with the word destroy is defeat which all relates to the other tertiary words mentioned earlier. The word defeat came originates form the Middle English defeten, from defet of the Old English language. The Medieval Latin language developed the word into “to destroy” from the word disfacere, from the Latin term dis- dis and facere- to do.(Harper, 2001) Defeat in contemporary definition means:
- 1. To win victory over or beat (e.g. The Persian went home in defeat to the Spartans.)
- 2. To prevent the success of (e.g. Internal strife within a group defeats the purpose of teamwork.)
- 3. In context with law: it is the act of making null and void (e.g. The defense states their best closing to defeat the plaintiffs strong arguments.)(“The Free Dictionary”)
In the first set of definition described earlier, the second contemporary definition for the word annihilator is “the set of all linear functionals that map to zero all elements of a given subset of a vector space”. For example, in a math quiz, the teacher asks to annihilate the function e^(2x)(x+sinx). To answer this, the function can be split into x e^(2x) + e^(2x) sinx. The first term can be annihilated using the term (D-2)^2, the second using (D^2-4D+5).
Further on, to be able to annihilate the sum, the products of the individual annihilators would need (D-2)^2*(D^2-4D+5). In this context, we can understand the word annihilator referring to “destroy, zero in, or nullify”. Applying the same logic to evaluate the secondary and tertiary meanings of the word, we use the word phrase “to zero all elements” as a starting point of reference. (“The Free Dictionary”)
The second word we can derive from the word annihilator is zero. The zero word was first recorded in 1604 from the Italian word zero. It was also believed to have originated in the Arabic word sifr or “cipher” which in if translated into Sanskrit will yield the word sunya which means “empty place, desert, naught”. The word zero which means in context such as “worthless person” was recorded in the year 1813. The verb form was coined in 1944, from the noun usage of the word and which was first used in context of instrument adjustment, like “turn the volume to zero”. Zero as a word that describes tolerance in political term emerged in the year 1972. (Harper, 2001)
The tertiary words we can derive from the second contemporary definition of annihilator are destroy and nullify. The word destroy, explained earlier in the paper can also mean similarly to this. The other word we can evaluate is null or nullify if used as a verb. Null is a word that is defined as “void of legal force” originating in the year 1593. It trace its roots form the Medieval French word nul from the Latin word nullus which means “not any, none”, which in turn came from the Latin ne- “not, no” and illus- “one”. (Harper, 2001)
The verb form of usage of the word null, nullify, originated in 1595 from the Latin word nullificare which means “to esteem lightly, despise, to make nothing”, which originated from the Latin word nullus mentioned earlier. The word nullify came from nullus- “not any” and the root of facere- “to make”. Another word, annul, can also be included in this logic. Annul originated in the year 1395 from the Latin word annulare which means “to make to nothing”, from the Latin ad- “to”, nullum- “nothing”. (Harper, 2001)
1. as a noun:
- a. The function results to a null set.
- b. The tennis player has a null score at this moment.
2. as a verb:
- a. The protesters want to nullify the score of the candidates.
- b. The student is struggling to nullify the set of the given formula.
The word annihilator came from the word annihilate, which means to destroy completely. It is then necessary to look up the meaning of destroy in order to comprehend the meaning of annihilate. Defining “destroy”, we find that it is similar in meaning to the word ruin, and can also be used interchangeably with words like kill, extinguish and defeat. These words however, although similar to destroy, has specific meanings as well. The English language is an amalgam of words from different cultures. Thus, many different words can be used to express the same thought.
For example, to kill someone could be expressed as to destroy him. Annihilating foes could mean defeating them as well as killing them. Inversely, the English language also contains words that have multiple meanings that may or may not be parallel to the context of the original. We find that annihilator has become a mathematical term in its contemporary use, far from its prior uses. These traits convey a sense of interrelatedness of words.
A word may have different meanings, and different words can be used to convey a single meaning. A word could lead to the use of another word which could lead to a different meaning in another context. We can perceive that, given the examples above, language has a way of adapting words in contexts that arise in contemporary times, which results in multiple words having similar meanings and a single word having different meanings in different contexts.
4.2.9. Case 9: The word “decidable”
The word “decidable” is an adjective meaning “capable of being decided”. In logic, an axiom or proposition is decidable if it is determinable and has the property of consistency or inconsistency with the axioms of a given logical system.(Infoplease).
To further understand the meaning of the word “decidable”, we may define the secondary words generated from the definition. The word “adjective” adjusts a noun or a pronoun by telling, recognizing or counting words. An adjective usually goes before the noun or the pronoun which it describes (MacFadyen “What Is an Adjective?”). When we say “capable of being decided” it means that it has characteristics favorable to making a judgment or an assessment (M.-W. Dictionary).
Logic came from the Greek word “logos” which means “reason”. It is the discipline and skill that dictates the brain in its way of thinking and supplementary course of actions to be able to come out with an understandable thought, constant assessment, and a sound conclusion (Turner) . Logic is the study of proper way of thinking based upon arguments or suggestions (J. Price). It involves both “inductive” and “deductive reasoning”. Inductive reasoning is the procedure by which a universal conclusion is achieved at by making limited observations. On the other hand, deductive reasoning is the procedure where one carries on cautiously from definitions and created facts to turn out at a probable conclusion (Wheeler).
An axiom is a widely recognized fact that does not need to be confirmed. The word was first used in 1475-1485. It came from the Greek word “L. axioma” which means “something creditable” (Unabridged). A proposition is a statement within an assertion which can be identified as true or false (Wikipedia), The word “determinable” means “ achievable of being determined” . The word “property” as used in the definition implies a “characteristic” possess by the word being defined.
Consistency means “without contradiction” (Weisstein “Consistency”) or uniformity of statements. In axiomatic system, consistency is demonstrated if a statement and its opposite statement can be confirmed as equally factual. (Weisstein “Consistency”). Inconsistency is the antonym of the word consistency. Thus, inconsistency means “absence of uniformity” or “presence of contradiction”. According to an excerpt in Encyclopedia Britanica, logical systems are idealized, conceptual verbal communications formerly developed by contemporary theorists as a way of examining the perception of judgment.
To define the tertiary words, the word “adjusts” means to modify (something) so that it became appropriate, match, or acceptable (R. H. U. Dictionary “Adjust”). According to MacFadyen “a noun is a word used to name a person, animal, place, thing, and abstract idea”. When you give a specific name, place, or things it is called a proper noun. The opposite of the proper noun is the common noun, in which we only refer to name, place’ or thing. Another type of noun is the concrete noun which tags anything (or anyone) that you can recognize through your physical senses: touch, sight, taste, hearing, or smell. A concrete noun is the reverse of an abstract noun. An abstract noun, on the other hand, is a noun which names anything which you can not distinguish through your five physical senses, and is the reverse of a concrete noun. Other types of nouns are countable nouns, noncountable nouns, and collective nouns.(MacFadyen “What Is a Noun?”)
A pronoun, on the other hand, is used to substitute a noun or a pronoun. The different types of pronouns are the personal pronoun, the demonstrative pronoun, the interrogative pronoun, the indefinite pronoun, the relative pronoun, the reflexive pronoun, and the intensive pronoun (MacFadyen “What Is a Pronoun?”).
A personal pronoun indicates a certain person or thing. An objective personal pronoun signifies that the pronoun is functioning as an object of verb, compound verb, preposition or infinite. A possessive pronoun indicates that the use of the pronoun is as a marker of ownership and identifies who owns a specific object or person. A demonstrative pronoun points to and recognizes a noun or a pronoun. An interrogative pronoun, on the other hand, is used to ask questions. To connect a clause to another clause one can use a relative pronoun. An indefinite pronoun is pronoun pertaining to a particular but not specified person or thing. An indefinite pronoun put across the idea of all, any, none, or some. One can apply a reflexive pronoun to refer back to the subject of the clause or sentence. An intensive pronoun is a pronoun applied to stress its antecedent. Intensive pronouns are the same in form to reflexive pronouns (MacFadyen “What Is a Pronoun?”).
A judgment is an act of making a decision, or conclusion, or assessment regarding things. In legal context, it is the final decision or verdict or “sentence” in layman’s term that is given by the court (B. O. Dictionary).
An assessment is any logical technique of acquiring proof from tests, examinations, questionnaires, surveys and guaranteed sources used to depict conclusions about traits of people, objects, or programs for a specific purpose. (Questionmark). The word reason is defined as a foundation or root, as for some idea, endeavor, truth, happening, etc. It is a declaration offered in explanation of an idea or action. In the context of logic, reason is defined as an assertion of an argument. This word originated in 1175-1225 (Unabridged “Reason”).
According to the American Heritage Dictionaries, the word “discipline” originated from Old French “descepline”, from the Latin word “disciplīna”, from discipulus, which means “pupil”. Discipline is a training anticipated to generate a specific moral fiber or intellectual sample of behavior (Dictionaries). According to Children’s Health Encyclopedia, the word “discipline” was derived from the Latin term “disciplinare,” which means “to teach”. Most individuals, however, correlate the term with “punishment”, which deteriorates the true definition of the word. Discipline, if appropriately carried out, employs a “multifaceted” technique, consisting of models, incentives, and penalties that train and emphasize acceptable manners (Encyclopedia).
Skill is expertise, capability, or agility that is gained or achieved through teaching or practice. It originates from Middle Eglish, skil, from Old Norse, discernment. Another definition of skill is the capacity to generate answers in some problem areas (T. A. H. D. o. t. E. Language).
The phrase “dictates the brain” is synonymous to the phrase “signals the mind” or “gives order to the brain”. The brain is like a huge, wrinkled, gray sponge responsible for everything that an individual do or think even when sleeping. It is like the “manager” of the body (Dowshen). It is a wonderful part of the body that provides people the ability to imagine, prepare, talk, dream etc. (Freudenrich). The four major parts of the brain are the cerebrum, cerebellum, pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain that is used in thinking and controlling the movements of the “voluntary” muscles. The cerebellum is at the backside of the brain responsible maintains sense of balance, association, and coordination of the body. The pituitary gland, which is as small as a pea, provides the hormones needed by the body to grow up. The hypothalamus, on the other hand, controls or maintains the temperature of the body (Dowshen). Thinking is one function of the brain that helps a person in decision making and many other things. Supplementary course of actions of the brains refer to the additional task performed by the brain.
The word “thought” is same as the word “thinking”. “Understandable thought” means an idea that is comprehensible or can be interpreted and explained by anyone. The word “conclusion” can be simply translated as “the bottom-line” of any argument. In logic, conclusion is an idea closed or deduced from the premises of an argument. It is a Middle English word discovered in 1300-1350 which originated from the word “conclus” which means closed (R. H. U. Dictionary “Conclusion”). In making conclusion the aim is to recapitulate thoughts in a comprehensible, summarizing way (Johnson).
The word argument originates from the Latin word argumentum, from, arguere, which means “to make clear”. It is compose of a sentence or sentences that contradict a particular topic. In Logic it is a small ground of a “syllogism”(A. H. D. o. t. E. Language). A fact is something that is truly present or any happening that was proven to have occurred. In law, a fact is an authentic or alleged event or situation, as eminent from its lawful result. This word was derived during 1530-40 from the Latin word factum which means “something done” (R. H. U. Dictionary “Fact”). An assertion as defined in Meriam-Webster Dictionary a positive declaration or pronouncement, in the absence of support or reason. It originates in 1375-1425 from late Middle English word assercion .A contradiction according to Meriam-Webster Dictionary is a suggestion, declaration, or phrase that stresses or entails both the reality and falseness of something. The term is synonymous to “logical incognity”.
An axiomatic system is a “logical system” which has clearly stated set of axioms from which theorems can be obtained.(Weisstein “Axiomatic System”). Antonym according to dictionaries is a word which has reverse meaning.
Verbal communication needs a language. Language, defined in terms of semantics, is a collection of tags used to represent estimation of space-time actions and construction. The tags can be expressed from one person to another in different ways such as writing and talking (Khan). Contemporary theorists are those modern philosophers advocating new ideas and principles.
Perception, in the context of psychology is the process of deriving, interpreting, choosing, and constructing sensory information. The term perception originates from the Latin perception-, percepio, , meaning “obtaining, getting, action of taking possession, hesitation with the mind or senses. Many theorists argue that perception involves one’s understanding of the world, but more often than not, perception is transformed into reality. Today most of the things that we consider as reality is based on perception.
4.2.10. Case 10: Easy Street
EASY STREET is a state of wealth, financial independence, or ease. A 1902 novel, “It’s Up To You”, coined this phrase to describe a wealthy character in the story easily trodding to and fro Easy Street (Brownielocks, 2007).
STATE is the political association with effective dominion over a geographic area. The modern state system bears a number of characteristics that were first consolidated in western Europe, beginning in earnest in the 15th century, when the term “state” also acquired its current meaning (Wikipedia, 2007). POLITICAL is an organization in governmental terms (Webster, 2007), coming from the Latin word politicus. ASSOCIATION is a group of people united in a relationship and having some interest, activity, or purpose in common (Association, 2007). EFFECTIVE is having an intended or expected effect.
It was derived from Latin effectus, from past participle of efficere, to accomplish (Effect, 2007). DOMINION is supreme authority. It is from Middle English dominioun, from Middle French dominion, modification of Latin dominium, from dominus (Webster, 2007). OVER is at or to a point across intervening space etc (Miller, 2007). GEOGRAPHIC concerns the details of a specific region. Extracting from Geography, from the Greek words Geo (γη) or Gaea (γαια), both meaning “Earth”, and graphein (γραφειν) meaning “to describe” or “to write”or “to map” (Wikipedia, 2007). AREA is defined as a homogeneous extent of the Earth bounded by one or more arc features (polygon) or represented as a set of polygons (region) (Green, 2007), possibly akin to arere, to be dry.
WEALTH is a property that has economic utility: a monetary value or an exchange value. Its etymology stems from the Middle English welthe, from wele, from Old English wela. PROPERTY is anything that may be the subject of ownership, real and personal, tangible and intangible. It is that which belongs exclusively to a person, with full rights to enjoy and dispose of it. Real property is land, or any estate in land. It generally includes whatever is built or growing upon the land. It may be defined to include anything that is immovable. Personal property is all property other than real property.
It generally refers to property that is movable (PCA, 2007). It originates from Middle English, from Old French propriete, from Latin proprietas, ownership (translation of Greek idiotes), from proprius, one’s own. ECONOMIC describes an action related to development of goods and services which are intended to satisfy a human condition (IndiaInfoline, 2007). Extracting its root word: economy, the term stems from Middle English yconomye, management of a household, from Latin oeconomia, from Greek oikonomi , from oikonomos, manager of a household : oikos, house.
UTILITY covers a water supply, storm or sanitary sewage, gas or oil pipeline, the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power, steam or hot water, towers, telegraph and telephone lines and other cabled services, waste collection or disposal or management, a public transportation system, licensed broadcasting receiving and transmitting facilities, or any other similar works or systems necessary to the public interest (Burlington, 2007). It came from Middle English utilite, from Old French, from Latin utilitas, from utilis, useful, from uti, to use.
MONETARY, using its root MONEY is defined as any marketable good or token used by a society as a store of value, a medium of exchange, or a unit of account. Money objects can meet some or all of these needs. Since the needs arise naturally, societies organically create a money object when none exists. In other cases, a central authority creates a money object; this is more frequently the case in modern societies with paper money (Wikipedia, 2007). It comes from Late Latin monetarius, from Latin moneta, money, mint.
VALUE is the power of a thing to command other goods in exchange; the present worth of future rights to income and benefits arising from ownership (Officefinder, 2007). It evolved from Middle English, from Old French, from feminine past participle of valoir, to be strong, be worth, from Latin valere. EXCHANGE comes from Middle English eschaungen, from Anglo-Norman eschaungier, from Vulgar Latin *excambiare : Latin ex-, ex- + Late Latin cambire, to exchange, barter; which means a means of trading equities in two or more real properties, treated as a single transaction through a single escrow or as a deferred exchange through two or more escrows (Foreclosure, 2007).
FINANCIAL is fiscal responsibility. Its root word: FINANCE, come from Middle English finaunce, settlement, money supply, from Old French finance, payment, from finer, to pay ransom, from fin, end, from Latin finis. FISCAL comes from French, from Latin fiscalis, from fiscus, money basket, treasury. It means relating to financial matters, especially in respect to government collection, use. and regulation of money through taxation (PowerHomeBiz, 2006). RESPONSIBILITY is being obliged to answer, as for one’s actions, to an authority that may impose a penalty for failure (International, 2007). In its verb form: RESPONSIBLE was taken from Obsolete French, corresponding to, from Latin responsus, past participle of respondere, to respond.
INDEPENDENCE is freedom from colonial rule (AngliaCampus, 2007). FREEDOM is a political condition that permits freedom of choice and action for individuals and also for individuals and groups to participate in the decisions and operation of the society and the political system (Canvas, 2004). It came from Middle English fredom, from Old English freodom : freo, free. COLONIAL is a group of the same species of plants or animals that live or grow close together is a colony; the organisms are colonial (Wildlife, 2000). It began from Middle English colonie, from Latin colonia, from colonus, settler, from colere, to cultivate. RULE means any one of a systematic body of regulations defining the way of life of members of a religious order. It was taken from Middle English reule, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *regula, from Latin regula, rod, principle.
EASE means in Middle English ese, from Old French aise, elbowroom, physical comfort, from Vulgar Latin *asium; defined as to slacken or relieve tension on a line (Highway, 2000). SLACKEN means, in the context of SLACK, the word for rope that is not tight. It is also used as part of a verb, as in “give me some slack,” meaning to give some rope (Williams, 2006). Its roots began from Middle English slak, from Old English slæc. RELIEVE is to alleviate or remove (pressure or stress) or make less oppressive; “relieve the pressure and the stress”; “lighten the burden of caring for her elderly parents.” It was derived from Middle English releven, from Old French relever, from Latin relevare : re-, re- + levare, to raise.
TENSION refers to a sense of heightened involvement, uncertainty, and interest an audience experiences as the climax of the action approaches. In the school of literary theory called “New Criticism” in the 1930s and later, the word tension refers more specifically to the quality of balanced opposites that can provide form and unity to a literary work of diverse components.
This sort of tension exists between the literal and metaphorical meanings of a work, between what is written and what the text implies, between the serious and the ironic, between contradictions in the text that the reader must resolve without authorial discussion, or any equilibrium resulting from the harmony of opposite tendencies (Wheeler, 2007). It was Latin tensio, tension-, a stretching out, from tensus, past participle of tendere, to stretch. Finally, LINE comes from Middle English, from Old English l ne and from Old French ligne, both from Latin linea, string, cord, from feminine of lineus, of linen, from linum, thread, linen. A line refers to A straight set of points that extends into infinity in both directions (Bagatrix, 2007).
4.3. Arabic words evaluated
This the part of the research wherein Arabic words were evaluated through a focus group discussion. Particular focus of evaluation in on translatability or degree of difficulty confronting a translator.
4.3.1. Samples of Arabic words difficult to translate
One common untranslatable word in Arabic is the word Akh. Some translators would refer to this as “brother”; however, in Arabic, there is a particular word that would mean “a brother who shares both parents as opposed to a brother who shares one or both parents” which is Shaqeeq. Another proof of the complexities of the Arabic language is the existence of words that are “too specific” as compared with the English language. The Arabic language has put much importance on the specificity of terms as to which would lessen any circumstance of confusion, given that you are under the Arabic context and cultural orientation.
Meanwhile, the word “uncle” in the English language could be readily understood by those who have an English tongue; but its counterpart in Arabic language would mean two different things. In Arabic, there is a distinction between the “uncle” who is the mother’s brother and the “uncle” who is the father’s brother. The earlier is referred to as the Khal while the latter is termed as ‘am. Thus, it is clear that such words do not actually have their exact translations. The Arabic language has been very specific on the terms that it is referring to. A single term in the English language could mean three or more different meanings in the Arabic language.
More so, the Arabic language has specific words for the father’s sister, mother’s sister, a person whose father died, a person whose mother died, and an array of words that describe specific actions by animals and humans that do not have a direct translation into English. The richness of the Arabic language also spells the richness of the Arabic culture. Muslim scholars have implied caution among translators because not all of the Arabic words can be translated; and that some of the “assumed” translations could be insensitive to the Arabic culture and values.
On the contrary, the English word “cousin” has no direct translation in Arabic. In one’s intent to say so, one has to state: “mother’s brother’s son” or its equivalent. This speaks of an evidence that there are words that are untranslatable. The English word “cousin” is just like the any other words that do not have a direct translation in some other language.
In addition, the Arabic language has no specific term for the English term “compromise” which means reaching an agreement of two opposing parties which is beneficial to both or just giving way of a more inferior party. However, the Arabic language has the term taarradhin which implies a favorable “happy solution” to everyone. For the Arabs the term also means, “I win, you win.” It is their way of solving a particular problem without leaving a party as a loser at the end.
This exists due to the differences in culture which primarily gives out meanings to words. One of the most crucial words that the Arabs and the Muslims I general consider as one which does no have a direct translation in English is Qur’an. Non-Muslims would simply regard that as “Bible.” But for in the notion of the Arabs and Muslims, the specific word Qur’an was especially chosen by their God; thus, a mere approximation of its translation could not be inferred by human. Qur’an is highly revered by the Arabs so any translation is far from being accepted; their society would not permit any literal translation of such.
This speaks very well on the uniqueness of one culture’s orientation over another. Thus, Bible and Qur’an cannot be regarded as synonyms, given the extremities of the culture of the persons “using” them. In understanding the complexities of the Arabic language, it is deemed necessary to consider the school of reading which underscores the importance of the three words which are the primary roots of almost all other Arabic words.
“K-T-B” are the letters which are considered the most important in the Arabic language. These three are said to be the “bunch load” or terms which primarily concern writing. Kataba means to write; Kitab means a book; and Istiktab means typewriter. More than mere etymology, semantics is also important in understanding the words under the Arabic language or any other language because each word carries traces from its cousin words.
Communicating across cultures could never be an easy task. Attempts in doing so usually fail due to the ignorance on the most importance aspects of communication with relevance to culture: orientation toward time and orientation toward “high or low context.”
Low-context cultures would generally be equated to English speaking nations, Germans and Scandinavians. In a way, they are all able to communicate because all the significant information exist within their culture and language. Words, along with their meanings and projected images, are contained within the culture that they are in. This kind of culture has a lesser possibility of incurring mistranslations. But then, the reality that there are words existing that do not have an exact counterpart or translation in other cultures remain.
Meanwhile, high-context cultures would refer to those which have varying degrees of cultural orientation. Aside from the word itself, there also considerations needed to generate meanings: emotions, personal relationships, and symbols, among others. This is where the Arabic language falls. There is actually no question that translating the Arabic language into another language like English entails possible perplexity.
The culture of the Arabs could be considered as “traditional” and as similar to the culture of the old world. Their culture is usually referred to as “long-term, relaxed, and less hurried with regard to time.” This is of course, in contrast with the fast-paced life and cultural orientation of those who have English as their mother tongue. This is one of the wide arrays of reasons why there are a number of words which are not directly translatable to the English language.
Another religious example in the first half of the fundamental Muslim creed: shahādah which is conventionally translated as “There is no god but God.” But then, one might write “Allah” instead of “God.” As the most important of the Muslim religion, Allah is ideally not to be translated as “God.” Arabs consider Allah as a unique part of their language, thus, no translation could equate to that name.
Although Qur’an has been translated into a number of language for many times now, the question on the “accuracy” still remains since there are given Arabic terms which could not be directly translated into another language. Likewise, it is a known fact that there are words that are not interchangeable even if they may appear quite similar; there are still degree variations in the meanings that each word implies. The translations that were made in Qur’ans are just considered as “for personal consumption” only. Translated Qur’ans like those which come in English have actually no place in formal religious sessions, or at any rate, in any religious affairs. This is, of course, in consideration of the cultural and religious reverence of the holy Qur’an of the Arabs.
4.3.2. The challenge ahead
Translation could not be regarded as a simple task of finding a similar word from a different language. Even if a translator critically weigh his/her choice of words in translating, the fact the there could actually be changes in the original context could not be simply disregarded. It is also the very reason why almost all of the Muslim scholars are not open to the idea of translating the holy Qur’an.
Abu Hanifah, one of the known Muslim scholars, was inconsistent in translating Qur’an into another language and even imposed a sanction the reading of al-faatiha (opening chapter) into a different language. Since then, a consensus was built on the reading of the Qur’an in its original Arabic version. Similarly, translating the holy Qur’an into another language is neglecting preserved order and arrangement of the words and phrases which is part and parcel of its being sacred. Also, semantic changes would be incurred in the process of translating it into another language.
Another interesting example of Arabic words that was tried to be translated to English is Al-falaq which is a general term referring to the process of splitting. The translation has been evidently constrained in the English language. The term was not concretely translated since the English language could refer to two different things when talking about “splitting.” In English, “splitting” could either mean “dawn” or “daybreak.”
Although the meaning of “splitting” in English could still be related to “daybreak” and even to the idiom “the crack of dawn,” the loophole still remains because al-falaq in the Arabic context also encompasses other aspects of “splitting” like the cracking of seeds or fruits. Thus, an absolute translation could not exist. It should always be noted that there could never be a one-to-one correspondence among the words of the Arabic and of the English language; just like the case of any other language against another one.
The same problem goes with the translation of the term ghasigin which could be equated to rains, flood, or tears. The varied meanings of the word could bring out confusion if it would be translated into the English language. Any attempt to equate an Arabic word could never be accurate at all times since there are relatively more words written in Arabic dictionaries relative to the English language; thus implying a more diverse kind of language and more specific terms for each concept that the Arabic context has.
The semantic reduction is also evident in this case since the given dynamic word could also be referred to as “night” or “sun.” Colloquial factors then exist in determining which meaning could fit a particular word. In the context of the Arabic language, a single English word could appear as vague or ambiguous since there are a string of definitions that could be related to that single English word. Likewise, the problem in translating the term waswasa arises in particular circumstances.
The gerund waswasa and the noun al-waswas could be found under the same entry in a monolingual dictionary. Al-waswas is defined as a name of the devil; while waswasa could refer to the whispering sounds of hunting dogs, the clank of jewelry or of a light metal, or even an evil thought that comes to one’s heart. Although they are of different meanings, they are regarded as the same in some instances because of the confusion brought about by translations which are backed up by mere assumptions.
The stated definitions above infer that the etymology of the term could be considered as mimetic. Just like “choo-choo” and “tick-tack” in the English dictionary. Both of them refer to a sound but with different degrees or variations. The structure of the word waswasa is said to be duplicate syllabic and could also be referred to as the direct transcription of the repetitive voice which has been commonly associated with Satan. The repetitiveness present in the word highlights the semantic intensity of the given word.
Among the synonyms of waswasa being offered by bilingual dictionaries are: to suggest, to whisper, and to promote evil thoughts. The term is also closely associated with Satan; but then, the meaning of the words could actually extend to the words “evil” and “sin.” Based on the Arabic definition that was given, the English translation which is “to whisper” seems to be lacking in three vital components that are imperative in any Arabic verb: +satan, +negative, and +sound.
It is worth noting that the Arabic word waswasa could never be given a positive meaning within the Arabic context. Wasawasa has always been given a negative connotation and denotation in the culture of the Arabs. In the Arabic language, waswasa could only be related to Satan or to some extent, to devilish acts. On the other hand, the English word “whisper” could be regarded as something pleasant or positive. In the English context, “whisper” could be related with the “rustle of the leaves or to some soft pleasant sounds.” This shows the contrast between the belief of the Arabs and English in interpreting a particular word. This is another concrete proof that contextual and cultural differences matter in giving meanings and translations among words.
Another significant thing to note is the failure of the theory of “one-to-one translation” which claims that every word from a particular culture or country has its counter part from another culture or country. The “one- to-one translation” theory failed because common words like “whisper” in the Arabic language is not wasawasa but rather, washawasha.
More so, it should also be noted that “whispering” is denoted as a sound with soft frequency thus, making it inappropriate to equate the term with “mute internal speech” or waswasa. There are, of course, reasons why translators failed to give a wrong translation, or simply the lack of it. One reason that could be implied is that washawasha and wasawasa are phonologically and semantically the similar; but it should be noted that they are not identical.
In addition to the list of the terms which encounter difficulty in finding for its exact translations are: fatwa and ansar. Fatwa is commonly regarded is “death threat” by the media but it is actually related with a legal opinion. Numerous news items released by different media outfits have defined fatwa as death threat thus, having it as a socially-accepted translation. There were actually published books which equate fatwa with death threats written by English authors. It is actually a technical term which could mean learned interpretation or legal judgment that a jurist could give about a particular issue. One thing which tolerates the mistranslation of words is the occasional usage of such.
Also, the majority of the given or stated fatwas just talked and tackled about simple and mundane issues. Some fatwas have declared death sentences which could be the possible reason for the word to be equated to “death threat.” One of the most notable fatwas given was the execution of Salman Rushdie by was issues by Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989. Also one fatwa worth noting was the one which was proclaimed by Osama bin Laden in 1998 which spelled was total war against the United States of America. Although the awareness over the wrong translation is evident, majority of the media practitioners are still using the term as a term which pertains to death threat due to the wide acceptance of such. Similarly, the true meanings of words have been disregarded due to the “inaccurate” translations that have been given to some words of the different culture.
Since it has been used over time, the wrong translation has been widely used and accepted. Translators often lost their way in looking for the exact translation of some Arabic words, because there could never be an absolute translation of all the words of the Arabic dictionary or of any other dictionary. Unfortunately, also, mistranslation is almost treated as norms in some societies in their failure to come up with a translation of foreign words. In aiming to explain a particular concept that is native of the Arabic culture, translators would often end up using terms which are only similar to the terms that they intend to translate; thus, generating an illusion of absolute translation. The problem roots, of course, from the simple lack of interchangeable words. True enough, meanings are in people. And those meanings are acquired through the cultural orientation that each person has thus the emergence of contextual differences among languages.
Furthermore, the Arabic Word ansar is usually regarded in the English language as “supporters”; but in tracing back the Arabic history, ansar is actually a term which is used to denote the people of Medina who had supported Mohamed while he was still living in Mecca. “Supporters” has been the widely-used inaccurate translation for ansar since history would tell that it is related to its true meaning; but then, the two words are still not interchangeable. Too many assumptions have been made in translating Arabic words into English words.
Phonologically and semantically similar terms are unfortunately regarded as identical terms by some translators; hence, we have today miscommunication in the contextual and literal definition of terms among cultures. History could also of great help in finding out the true meaning of a word without the danger of getting “lost in translation.” The fact that there are cultural differences, which is not debatable at any rate, fully explains the failure of a one-to-one correspondence among the words of different cultures.
4.4. Summary of findings
The major findings of the paper among others, include:
- It is possible to create a conceptual model on the translation process. The research generally validated the notion of word relationships as represented by a string.
- There are many words in English which was lacking in the edition of Al Mawrid evaluated.
- Selected words were treated to an expansion or identification of related words. A string of related words were identified which generally validated the string model.
- Access to powerful computing machines could facilitate data warehousing of words and tagging the strings of related words.
- There are words in Arabic which are difficult to translate in English because of lack of cultural equivalence of certain social relationships.
- A standard in translation or a meta language may be needed as an intermediary to guide the translation process.
5.1. Philosophical context of the string model
In his early paper Truth by Convention Quine asked what the thesis is trying to explore, that the truths of logic and mathematics are true by convention comes to—what it means. His unsuccessful attempts to give it a plausible sense showed that the theory is deficient in crucial respects and that therefore the appeal to conventions cannot account for our knowledge in logic and mathematics. He concluded with the remark:
We may wonder what one adds to the bare statement that the truths of logic and mathematics are a priori, or to the still barer behavioristic statement that they are firmly accepted, when he characterizes them as true by convention in such a sense.
Much of Quine’s subsequent philosophical effort has been to show that conventionalism adds nothing whatever to that barer behavioristic statement.
One still hears the complaint that the most that Quine showed in Two Dogmas of Empiricism was that several particular attempts to define analyticity are unsuccessful, but that he was wrong to conclude from this that analyticity cannot be defined, or that there is no distinction between analytic and synthetic statements. And it is obvious that to draw this inference would be a mistake. But it is equally obvious that Quine makes no such mistake. He says that although he has not dealt with all explanations of analyticity, what he has said can easily be extended to other possible definitions.
And surely he is right in this. There is a general epistemological theory from which his arguments spring, and once one sees and understands that theory one has no difficulty in constructing objections to other accounts of analyticity. The general theory is therefore an essential part of Quine’s attack, and makes the last part of Two Dogmas, where that theory is outlined, extremely important, and not merely a dramatic overstatement of a brand of ‘empiricism without the dogmas’.
If there were a distinction between analytic and synthetic statements, then among those statements we now accept as true there would be some which just happen to be true, which could turn out to be false tomorrow, and others which could never turn out to be false, which hold come what may. But:
Any statement can be held true come what may, if we make drastic enough adjustments elsewhere in the system. Even a statement very close to the periphery can be held true in the face of recalcitrant experience by pleading hallucination or by amending certain statements of the kind called logical laws. Conversely, by the same token, no statement is immune to revision.
If this is true then a search for a clear distinction between analytic and synthetic statements can yield nothing which has the epistemological force of the analytic–synthetic distinction as traditionally conceived.
Quine does not simply reject one or another particular theory of a priori knowledge and necessary truth; he denies the ‘datum’ which the appeal to analyticity was supposed to explain. If he is right the conclusion to be drawn is not that the explanation of the phenomenon of a priori knowledge along orthodox positivistic lines is deficient in some respects, but rather that there is no such phenomenon to be explained. We are mistaken at the outset to suppose that there is a class of statements which we could never be led to reject on the basis of sense-experience—we can decide on experiential grounds to give up any statement at all.
Unlike the orthodox positivists, who described only ‘necessary’ truth as conventional, Quine in Two Dogmas extends the realm of convention and decision to all the truths we accept; thus his attack on the conventionalist consists in outdoing him, in espousing ‘a more thorough pragmatism’. Because any statement can be accepted or rejected as a result of our decision, the search for a distinction between single statements that are known a priori and ones that are known a posteriori is doomed to failure. There is ‘empirical slack’ in all our beliefs, and since the whole body of our knowledge is ‘underdetermined’ by experience, accepting or rejecting particular items will always be a matter of decision.
This thinking of Quine has a particular interest to the result of our study. There is a string of word relations but this string has been established in the language system and common meaning are established one by culture and second by a more formal standard of word definition. A dictionary is in a sense a standard or convention on words included in the language. Permanency of meaning and how to handle changing attributes of language then becomes a paramount consideration.
Is Quine’s general epistemological theory true? Is he justified in rejecting the a priori–a posteriori distinction on the grounds that no statement is immune to revision? In this paper I examine the extent to which the more recent arguments in chapter 2 of Word and Object support his position. I think there are important consequences of those arguments that have not been clearly recognized. The aim of the chapter is to make plausible the following thesis about how much of language can be made sense of in terms of its stimulus conditions:
the infinite totality of sentences of any given speaker’s language can be so permuted, or mapped onto itself, that (a) the totality of the speaker’s dispositions to verbal behavior remains invariant, and yet (b) the mapping is no mere correlation of sentences with equivalent sentences, in any plausible sense of equivalence however loose. Sentences without number can diverge drastically from their respective correlates, yet the divergences can systematically so offset one another that the overall pattern of associations of sentences with one another and with non-verbal stimulation is preserved. (Quine1960 p. 27)
- Putting it interlinguistically, translation between languages is said to be ‘indeterminate’ in the sense that:
Manuals for translating one language into another can be set up in divergent ways, all compatible with the totality of speech dispositions, yet incompatible with one another. In countless places they will diverge in giving, as their respective translations of a sentence of the one language, sentences of the other language which stand to each other in no sort of equivalence however loose. (Ibid.)
It is tempting to take the thesis of the indeterminacy of translation as a less metaphorical and more precise way of making Quine’s earlier point that there is always some ‘slippage’ or ‘empirical slack’ between our full-blown language and the stimuli which give rise to our verbal behavior. If we can produce two or more incompatible manuals for translating a foreigner’s remark, all of which square with his dispositions to respond verbally to non-verbal stimuli, then the choice of one or another of those manuals is underdetermined by those dispositions and stimuli.
Or, in the domestic case, if two non-equivalent words W1 and W2 are correlated in the mapping of the sentences, our saying W1 rather than W2 is not determined by sense-experience or by non-verbal stimulation alone. Since we are bound only by the need to square the totality of our utterances with experience we could decide either to say W1 or to say W2, as long as we made any changes required elsewhere in the system of sentences. On this suggestion, to say of a statement that it is open to revision is simply to say that its translation is indeterminate.
5.2. Handling the problem of indeterminacy in translation
Indeterminacy of translation is very transparent in English-Arabic dictionary and vice-versa because the former is based upon the structure of words and the latter is based on cultural/religious context. The word ecosystem (W1) is an English term that has no particular translation in Arabic dictionary, thus in order to take into account the word, one must translate the word in transliteral way or in associating the word Arabic generic terms that are closely related to the definition of the word ecosystem. In doing so, the Arabic dictionary can generate W2 for ecosystem, and since W2 is an indeterminate translation, the possibility of generating W3, W4, W5 and so forth is imminent.
The thesis of the indeterminacy of translation would therefore constitute direct support for Quine’s contention that no statement is immune to revision only if the translation of every statement is indeterminate. But Quine himself shows that this is not so. Both observation words and truth-functional logical truths can be translated without indeterminacy.
Among occasion words there is a spectrum of observationality running all the way from those like Bachelor, whose utterance is due almost entirely to collateral information, to those like Red, where collateral information makes almost no difference at all. Those nearer the Red extreme are observation sentences, and they are the linguist’s best bet as starting-points for his radical translation. Any uncertainty affecting the translations of observation sentences is the normal inductive one, but there is no indeterminacy (Quine 1960, pp. 42–4).
Another part of language directly accessible to radical translation is the truth-functional connectives. For every truth-function there are objective behavioral criteria in terms of assent and dissent for determining whether a particular foreign expression is to be translated as the truth-functional connective in question (Quine 1960 pp. 57–8).
Any particular hypothesis about the translation of a foreign expression as one of our familiar truth-functional connectives is of course open to falsification, but this again is characteristic of inductive hypotheses generally, and has nothing to do with indeterminacy as described by Quine. But if there are objective behavioral criteria for determining which native words correspond to our truth-functional connectives then we can also find some statements (the ‘tautologies’) from which the natives would not dissent under any non-inhibiting stimulatory conditions.
The translation of a foreign word W1 is indeterminate if and only if there are at least two non-equivalent words W2 and W3 in the linguist’s language such that no dispositions to verbal behavior on the part of the natives are sufficient to decide between W2 and W3 as the translation of W1. Or, avoiding a foreign language, the translation of a word W1 is indeterminate in a given speaker’s language if and only if there is at least one non-equivalent alternative to it, W2, such that if all the lexemes of that speaker’s language are mapped onto themselves then W1 is correlated with W2 and the totality of the speaker’s dispositions to verbal behavior remains invariant. B
ut for any observation word or truth- functional logical truth T1, it is not the case that there is, in a given speaker’s language, some non-equivalent alternative to it, T2, such that if all the sentences of the speaker’s language are mapped onto themselves then T1 is correlated with T2 and the totality of his dispositions to verbal behavior remains invariant. If T1 and T2 are not equivalent, and yet can be translated on objective behavioral grounds, then the speaker’s dispositions with respect to them must differ. Observation sentences and truth-functional logical truths are according to Quine’s argument just those statements the differences among which can be determined objectively, on the basis of dispositions to verbal behavior alone. Therefore their translation is not indeterminate, and so it is not the case that the translation of every word is indeterminate.
That Quine would approve of this conclusion is shown by his discussion of the doctrine of so-called ‘pre-logical mentality’. Given the objective semantical criteria we have for the translation of logical connectives, the extreme claim that certain natives accept as true sentences translatable in the form ‘p and not-p’ is said to be absurd.
For truth-functional logic, ‘fair translation preserves logical laws’, and thus there is a general technique for accounting for all those cases where someone accepts ‘a logic whose laws are ostensibly contrary to our own’ (p. 59). Their apparent acceptance is in itself sufficient grounds for concluding that we have garbled the translation of some of the constituent logical connectives. The existence of objective behavioral criteria for the translation of logical connectives is incompatible with the indeterminacy of translation of truth-functional logical truths.
If to say of a statement that it is not immune to revision were to say only that its translation is indeterminate then Quine’s arguments in Word and Object against the conventionalistic theory of necessary truth would be different from, and in fact incompatible with, the view outlined in Two Dogmas, even to the point of requiring some unavoidable or non-revisable statements. In Two Dogmas all statements were said to be open to revision, but in Word and Object Quine shows that there is a class of statements whose translation is not indeterminate, and which are therefore not open to revision. But if they are not open to revision then they are unavoidable or without alternatives, and among them would be some of the statements that the positivists claimed were true solely by convention (viz., truth-functional logical truths).
This, if true, would appear to be a direct refutation of the conventionalist, and so Quine would no longer be outdoing him by extending the sphere of convention and decision to all statements; on the contrary, he would be arguing that there are some statements to which there are no non-equivalent alternatives. Since those statements are not open to revision, their acceptance or rejection is not a matter of convention or decision at all. This is not a direct consequence of the indeterminacy of translation itself, but rather of the related claim that there are certain parts of a language whose translation is not indeterminate.
The non-indeterminacy of translation due to non-revision of words is apparent in English-Arabic dictionary and vice-versa because there are English words that do not have any translation or even transliteration in Arabic lexicon such as jugal, happenstance, caprylic, nitty-gritty and discombobulated. On the other hand, there are Arabic words that are non-existent in English lexicon such kha’lun (salutation for uncle in mother side), kha’latun (salutation for aunt in mother side), ammun (salutation for uncle in father side), Qur’an (means the last and final testament but this cannot be equate to bible), and Allah (this word cannot be equated to God because the former does not merely means oneness God or Creator).
Does the argument as presently understood really refute conventionalism? Although it might well be a sufficient condition of a statement’s being open to revision that its translation be indeterminate, it is not obvious that it is also a necessary condition. Quine claims that the translation of a tribe’s truth-functional logical truths is not indeterminate, but the indeterminacy of which he speaks is always to be understood as indeterminacy relative to a given set of dispositions to verbal behavior.
Therefore his argument would show that there are no alternatives to our truth-functional logical truths, and hence that they are not open to revision, only if there were no relevant alternatives to our present verbal dispositions. But this is just what the conventionalist denies, since he believes that it is purely a matter of convention that we speak as we do. If our verbal dispositions determine our acceptance of a certain set of ‘tautologies’, then different dispositions could determine our acceptance of a different set.
From the fact that we can objectively pick out a tribe’s truth-functional connectives, and hence its tautologies, it does not follow that the tautologies we thereby discover will be the same as those we accept. Indeed, on Quine’s view they couldn’t be the same, given that the natives’ dispositions differ from ours in relevant ways. So there will be alternatives to our truth-functional logical truths to the extent to which there are relevant alternatives to our present verbal dispositions. It is only because we speak as we do that we have the particular tautologies we have. Far from being a refutation, this is almost a classic statement of the conventionalist’s position.
5.3. Validation of the possibilities for the string model
Current discourses on translatability points out to a functional sense, as one-to-one correspondence between conventions on meaning of words used in languages, that there are common words which would prove non-problematic as far as equivalence to other words in other languages are concerned. We are then open to the possibility of a meta-language as expounded earlier.
It is perhaps worth noticing that this shows our truth-functional logical truths to be true by convention in a literal sense only if we actually decided by convention to have the verbal dispositions we now have. That we did make such a decision is, to say the least, an unlikely hypothesis, and it is difficult to see what evidence there could possibly be for it. But it is too much to ask the conventionalist to prove that there actually was a time at which we explicitly decided to adopt the linguistic habits we now have, just as it is too much to ask for historical evidence concerning the date, location, and personnel of the original social contract among men.
The fiction of a social contract is a way of characterizing the apparent obligations of an individual to his state, and it can be a true and illuminating description of that relation even if no such contract was ever drawn up. Similarly, the fiction of primordial linguistic conventions is a way of characterizing that alleged necessity we are under to accept certain statements as true, and it can be a true and illuminating description of that necessity even if no original conventions were ever actually made. Conventionalism amounts only to the claim that it is just as if we had freely adopted certain verbal dispositions. But is even that much the case?
Obviously our verbal dispositions might have been different from what they are now in all sorts of ways. We might have been disposed to utter “and” on all and only all those occasions on which we are now disposed to utter “or”. We might have been disposed to utter “Rabbit” when and only when we are now disposed to utter “Tortoise”, and so the stimulus meaning of “Rabbit” might have been different from what it is. But if our verbal dispositions were different in only these ways it would not follow that we accepted anything contrary to our present truth-functional logical truths.
As long as there is only a class of stimulations prompting assent to “Rabbit”, another prompting dissent, and perhaps a third which inhibits a verdict, then whatever those stimulations happen to be, the sentence “Rabbit and not-Rabbit” would command assent under all stimulations that would elicit a verdict to “Rabbit” at all. Verbal dispositions which differed from our present ones only in these ways would not commit their owners to different logical truths. The relevant differences in verbal dispositions must be more radical than this.
Suppose people could be conditioned to make one or the other of three or more incompatible verdicts to a queried sentence, rather than only two as they do now. There would then be a class of stimulations prompting assent to a given sentence, those prompting dissent, and those prompting some third response (and perhaps those which do not prompt any verdict at all).
If there actually were some stimulations to which these people made the third response, then it would seem that we could find some compound sentences to which they would not assent under all stimulations which would elicit a verdict to the components, even though they were translations of sentences to which we would assent under all stimulations which would elicit from us a verdict to the components. If so, then according to Quine’s argument what is a truth-functional logical truth for us would not be one for them. If there could be people with dispositions like this then there are alternatives to our truth-functional logical truths. The issue between Quine and the conventionalist therefore comes down to the question of whether relevantly different verbal dispositions of this sort are possible.
The conventionalist believes that on this point he has an airtight case, since it is a purely contingent fact that human beings respond verbally to sensory stimulation at all, and equally contingent that they respond in just the ways they now do. But a contingent fact is one that might not have obtained, so it follows that there could be beings with verbal dispositions of the required kind, even if there are none in fact. Quine does not deny the premises of this argument; his opposition to it consists primarily in his rejection of the particular notion of possibility on which it depends. And this rejection in turn can be supported by the general considerations about language and meaning established in Word and Object.
To show that there could be three or more distinct and incompatible classes of stimulations—those commanding either assent, dissent, or some third response—or that there could be three or more ‘truth-values’, it is not sufficient to talk vaguely about an unspecified third response, or simply to write down matrices in which any one of three different symbols can be assigned to each component of compound sentences. One must be able to explain, or to make intelligible, what that third response is, or what the third symbol stands for. This explanation must be given in a language that we can understand, since only then will the alleged possibility have been shown to make sense within the only terms we have for making sense of anything. And thus considerations about determinacy and indeterminacy of translation are relevant.
The difficulty of specifying what this third response would be is the same as the difficulty facing a linguist who claims to have discovered a tribe which makes this third response and therefore accepts a different set of truth-functional logical truths from ours. What objectively discoverable native behavior would provide the linguist with any warrant for concluding that they are making the third response to queried sentences? In order to support the conventionalist’s conclusion the third response must be incompatible both with assent and with dissent, and yet be a genuine verdict, and not simply the expression of uncertainty, doubt, inclination to believe or to disbelieve, ignorance, or whatever.
How could the linguist translate the expression for this third response into our language, and thereby come to understand it? Successful translation requires that there already exist in our language an expression for a genuine verdict incompatible both with assent and with dissent. But if there is such an expression already in our language then we too can make the third response to queried sentences, and so we would accept the same truth-functional logical truths as the hypothetical natives. If there are objective semantical criteria for translating truth-functional connectives, and hence tautologies, then our having successfully translated a tribe’s language is incompatible with their accepting tautologies different from ours.
Therefore the conventionalist cannot specify how our verbal dispositions would have to differ in order for us to accept truth- functional logical truths which are genuine alternatives to our present ones. If he can make this alleged possibility intelligible, then it is not an alternative to what we can now say and understand; and if he cannot make it intelligible, then his argument fails.
To further this claim, one must realize that there are words that cannot be construed in any way because these words are embedded by religious contexts. In Arab tongue the words alif-lam-mim, yasin, ayn-sin-qaf and ha-mim are non-translatable words because these terms can only be understood by Allah. Even the Arabic lexicon cannot provide any definition of these words in its proximal idea because even the Arab community does not know what it means, which tantamount to non-usage of the word.
The problem here is, that words that are not usable renders futility because words such as these become non-existent and generally unimportant. If a word is unexplainable then the debate or study of its determinacy and indeterminacy is a futile attempt, thus words like these are nothing but a garbled words. Despite this fact, the Muslim community still perceives and deems these words meaningful even though they cannot comprehend and used it. Philosophers will purport that a word cannot exist without any thought that encapsulates it, and this also the case vice-versa, because language and thought are interconnected and interdependent of each other.
A similar, but weaker, conclusion can be shown to hold even for those parts of language whose translation is indeterminate. The aim of translation into English is to correlate the various expressions of a foreign language with English ones; or, in general, to correlate expressions in a foreign language with those in the home language. Analytical hypotheses are required wherever the translation of terms is in question. They are principles to the effect that, for example, the term “gavagai” means “rabbit” rather than “rabbit stage”, or that a particular foreign construction is to be translated as “are the same” rather than “are stages of the same animal”. The choice among analytical hypotheses is not determined by the verbal behavior, or dispositions to verbal behavior, of the natives, and so there are no analytical hypotheses whose truth or falsity can be established on objective grounds (Quine 1960, pp. 58–72).
In order to achieve the goal of correlating foreign expressions with expressions in the home language we obviously must formulate our analytical hypotheses in the home language. It would be useless to put forward analytical hypotheses associating a foreign expression with something not found in the home language at all. So the range of possible analytical hypotheses about a particular foreign expression or construction is restricted to those which can actually be formulated in the home language in such a way that their truth or falsity cannot be established on the basis of behavior, or dispositions to behavior, alone.
5.4. Translation problems
Having thus an approach in handling the nomenclature of English in terms of “knowledge” and “cognitive key,” we proceed to a more complex task of translation. There are two principles which will further add to the formulation of the conceptual model to meet the translatability requirement. One is the principle of equivalence and two, we borrow from mathematics the concept of isomorphism, the principle of transforming one logic system into another.
The emphasis here is not yet the outcome or a specific translation, it could easily follow, that is if the stream of strings as a metaphor or conceptual device would hold water. A verification would have to follow but the researcher lacked time and required resources to subject the words selected in thorough and multidisciplinary effort.
The researcher then focused on formulating a linguistic model based on concepts, principles and theories from all sources of textual knowledge.
5.5. Applying the string model of language
From the words evaluated which were not found in Al Mawrid, the sample words showed a definitive pattern of strings of related words. We are thus testing a formulation, whether the string model could solve the complex problem of translation. A translation would have to include words not in arbitrary manner but an inner logic guided by theories, accepted universal principles and setting a standard of objectivity.
This may appear straightforward enough but it has its subtleties which needed elaboration. One of the most importance is equivalency.
5.6. Insights from the focus group discussion
One item which came from a focus group discussion on translatability organized by the author, which is relevant is the observation that a sort of a parallax a view between two worlds. This is a complex philological issue or the origin and context of the word which must be resolved through the use of the string model.
One interesting possibility from the discussions which the author believes could resolve the parallax issue is through identifying possible universal strings that is acceptable as a common string at the conceptual and cognitive level. That is for the common platforms through which shared meaning could occur between two cultures as an attempt for a complete dictionary for use at this age and times. There is typological consideration here as language is not static but integrative and example of which is “techno talk” which would ultimately seeped through different languages in the world as societies got exposed to such technologies. Telephone, cell phone, fax, etc. now for example have universally recognizable because of the proliferation of these ubiquitous devices.
5.7. String model expanded to translation problem
The simple model in Fig. 2. verified in part one of the research is being tested as a translation model as well. Adding the share string concept, we come to an improved version.
With such an adjustment in the conceptual model, that is with the incorporation of shared strings we can manage the stock of knowledge as presented by the evaluation of the English logic in its knowledge system as reflected in its use of language and its lexical development.
There is of course such thing as opposing view points where there could be standard or common strings and which may include the possibility of rejection of one logic system as contrary to an existing belief system in the target language. Sensitive or heavy words, for example religious and political conceptions could be problematic as far as even attempting to find a common string to which anchor a translation along an intertextual and cognitive frame.
One of the major predicaments existing in studying languages, but perhaps, has never been given much attention is “untranslatability.” Untranslatability could be defined as a property of a text, utterance, or any word that is part of language which has no “counterpart” or translation in another language. Thus, it is but axiomatic to state that the inseparability of culture and language exists. Culture, indeed, is a determining factor on the existence of words, along with its meaning, and on some lexical gaps. This is in contrast of course, with the common notion that the different languages existing have a one-to-one correspondence of words. A clear illustration of this case is the absence of exact translations of some Arabic terms in the English language.
In the Arabic language, there are actually terms or words which are not interchangeable with words from other languages even if their meanings meet at one common point. By this, it means that there exists a “lexical gap” which implies that there is no absolute one-one correspondence among words of different languages. Although English is regarded as a universal language, it is no guarantee that the English language is rich enough to contain all the words that are included in the Arabic language, for example. Just like the analogy that a single dictionary could not possibly give the meanings of the words that are coined all through out the history. Given the rich language of the Arabs, there is a greater possibility of course of not having the direct translation of a number of Arabic words in the English language.
5.8. Evident trends
It was evident in the ten cases studied that there are strings of words embedded in a language. Each string could be considered as a collection of words in a subject matter. This is evident in the word “eccrine” which part of a scientific discipline. The science and technology are perhaps have the highest number of new words contributed to the English language.
This trend due to the numerous developments in science and technology in the last century alone. New industries, new knowledge and technology are being generated in business, government and universities as these institutions are engaged in research and development spanning all scientific disciplines.
Scientific and technological terms follow closely standards in studies with epistemological or systematics themes, that these terms could be all taken out as a separate dictionary. But for the purpose of completeness of a bilingual dictionary, the selection criteria must be set on inclusion and exclusion in terms of priorities as far as word selection is concerned.
Another insight is that the scientific perspective could be adapted as there are disciplines corresponding to all aspects of reality and to some extent covers even the intangibles and metaphysical.
It is apparent then that a writing of a bilingual dictionary is progressive and developmental. One is important is defining the approach, structure and logic system which will be used in such an endeavor. The string model could be used in handling even the intangibles as there is the option of adding a section to the multilingual dictionary a guide of some sort to explain the meta-language used explaining how to handle words which seem to have no equivalence in other languages.
The apparent unsolvable problem could then be handled in a level appropriate to come up with a multi-cultural way of handling differences between cultures with different semiotic systems in meaning attributions. There are we take note limited domain of meanings, limited perhaps by the human potential of understanding not only his/her kind but the more profound possibility of real universality in the context of the big word universe encompassing everything.
5.9. A growing dictionary
By the string concept in dictionary writing, the effort for a new approach to multi-lingual dictionary is necessarily developmental or growth oriented. That is the dictionary would be a growing dictionary and how could this accomplished could be done through a tool. The dictionary expands according to its internal logic and the model developed in this study could be one of the prototype which could be significant. Theory wise and given the possibilities of IT both print and virtual, an “intelligent” multilingual dictionary is not farfetched. There are a number of on-line dictionaries and translators for example which are virtual repositories of linguistic knowledge but nonetheless, the user supplies the logic system as far as word association or the context why one would be interested in learning a second language.
A growing dictionary would not only be providing “definitions” but the logic behind the inclusion of reference or associated words could lead to the right direction in the final selection of words for inclusion in the dictionary. Such an approach and strategy could be more useful to somebody learning a second language. The dictionary could be a learning guide providing a tool on how to go over the dictionary. “Growing” connotes changes which should be anticipated by the dictionary maker hence the dictionary should provide the guide to the inner logic behind the concept dictionary as the best approach to multi-lingual dictionary.
The model developed in this study meets the criteria of an inner logic in guiding the developmental flow of a growing dictionary.
5.10. Implications to bilingual lexicography
A model based on a string concept of translation necessarily creates complications on the traditional approach to dictionary writing be it hard or electronic. But it offers a possibility of making it multi-lingual later on.
Another implication is that the difficulties in understanding translation issues could be resolved if we add a third language, for example, it maybe possible that an Arabic-English parallax on certain words laden with contrasting meanings could be accounted for by adding French or may be German. The point here is that new dimensions of dictionary writing must be explored if Arabic lexicography is to jumpstart an effort towards a multi-lingual translation.
The illustrative cases discussed in the previous section point to similarities or equivalence and differences or even irreconcilable notions without going into a complicated explanation which may go beyond the limits allotted for definitions in a lexicographic context and jumps to the proper domain of an encyclopedia.
Such a point of view or way of looking at a particular word is useful in making a distinction between the unique and common attributions between objects and the relationships of generative words to construct meaning. The researcher contends that there should be two set of standards, or viewed through the string model, two sets of strings, one, definitive of target and source languages (unique) and two, set of meanings universal to all cultures, to all set of people (common).
Through the delineation the nuances of intranslatability, such an intellectual problem could be properly handled and managed and despite of the weakness of translation due to incompatability of symbolic systems, a reliable system of translation could be developed which would substantially improve current thinking in dictionary writing.
5.11. The online dictionaries
The string model could be complicated but with the computing power available and new software to keep track of multiple associations makes online dictionaries an inviting possibility. Availability of such IT tools makes it easier to apply complicated system of translations which not available to previous generations of lexicographers. The introduction of the IT factors could point out to a totally new horizon of lexicography. The string model appeared to be compatible with basic information handling theories and applications which appeared to be the core logic in most online dictionaries. Indeterminancy remains a problem but could be substantially lessened by presenting a string of related words which could illuminate how particular unique meaning of a word could be fairly translated in another language.
The ability to tag words with state-of-the-art technology does not necessarily guarantees that the equivalence for example, of certain word could be thoroughly ascertained. Judgment call based on the complicated way people interpret their immediate set of realities is needed. And here, credibility and integrity of people who would be the “final arbiter” of meanings is critical. The researcher at this time, could not dare to even suggest a long list of such people who would ultimately form the core group tasked with deciding the words for inclusion in the new concept dictionary.
6.0. Conclusions and recommendations
- 1. The findings generally supported the model developed in this study. This gives the author the confidence to draw some important implications and insights as the possibility of intercultural and multi-cultural understanding based on some system of understanding acceptable in the highest level of scholarship. Scholarship appeared to remain as a high level system of standards which could a corresponding high level of integrity to a dictionary project based on the model and/or its corresponding precepts.
- 2. One innovation of the research is the use of semiotics as combined with modeling techniques to come up with a fresh approach to translation.
- 3. The multidisciplinary angle must have a corresponding bodies or organization as overseers which would a) validate the findings of the core people or teams which would deliberate on a particular word of concern and b) people who would provide the techno/info support to facilitate the technical requirements of a dictionary project and c) the group or institution which would assume the responsibility of coming out with a dictionary based on a new approach based on the string model.
- 4. A code of conduct detailed to encompass at least the criteria and measures of key groups in the project is a companion piece of the model. In as much as the researcher would want to elaborate on the step-by-step details on dictionary writing and provide a solid illustration, the nature and sensitivity required to come up with such a document necessitates prudence and discretion. The answers or resolution of the key issues for example which word to include would depend on the scholarship and clarity of deliberation of a multidisciplinary group. This leads us to a question of organization.
- 5. There is a need for a meta language as a third language to handle difficult translations. It would be terribly difficult to appreciate multiculturality without being multilingual. We take note that at certain level, a meta language is essentially nonsensical or the limit of meaning generation has been reached. But nevertheless, the string model as core logic in developing the metal language for the unique and common language attribution remains a potent tool.
- 6. There are possible weaknesses in the conception of the string model and weaknesses in the methods and possibly in the structure of data gathering and such weaknesses the author acknowledges. Time and resources may have prevented the author to pursue other threads of thoughts to further confirm or rebut the findings of this study. For such weaknesses which was not properly identified, the author wishes to acknowledge.
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