Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
John 1:1
I am studying the above and have come across the two phrases 1. [font="Estrangelo (V1.1)"]0wh Yhwty0[/font] and 2. [font="Estrangelo (V1.1)"]twl 0wh Yhwty0[/font]. The first phrase is translated "was" and the second phrase is translated "was with" in the interlinear. I am not an Aramaic speaker and I find it difficult to understand how so much in the Aramaic can come out as so little in the English. Can someone give me an expanded translation of what is being said here, if indeed this warrants an expanded translation, or even an alternative translation?


Hi Peter.

The first phrase, "ith wah" is how it's pronounced in modern Aramaic, is translated into English as follows "there was". The second phrase is the same with the addition of "lwath" which is translated "with".

One thing that's fascinating about comparing two different languages is the fact that sometimes phrases don't exactly correlate to the same number of words between different languages.

Sometimes multiple Aramaic words are required to convey the same meaning that a single English word conveys. And vice-versa. This is especially true of languages that are as different as these two, from two different families of languages.

I'll give you an example. In English the simple "landlord" is a single word. But to say the same thing in Aramaic, it would be "Mara de Beth" - "lord of the house."

In general you'll find that Semitic tongues are "wordier" than English. It often takes more then one word to convey the same meaning that an English word does.

Whereas English (and languages related to it, like Greek and Latin) prefer conciseness, Aramaic and other Semitic tongues prefer fuller, and often repetitive, phrases.

One of the areas of our studies in Aramaic primacy focuses on this feature that is found even in the Greek copies of the new testament. It can be one clue about the original language of a document.

Many thanks for your reply to my query.

Further to this, and sorry if this is a bit basic - I'm just not familiar with the forms of words used -
can you explain the form of the word "ith" that occurs here and if this adds any deeper significance in its use in the passage?
Do you know if this particular form of the word is a generally common one in the peshitta text?

and thank you for bearing with me!


Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)