April 15, 2006
God the multilinguist
Let's have a Little Language Lesson, shall we?
The monotheistic religions refer to their higher being as "God". Let's see what the word is translated into, in the different colourful languages of the world:
- Arabic: Allah
- Chinese: Shang Ti
- German: Gott
- Greek: Theos
- Hebrew: Eloah
- Latin: Deus
- Malay: Tuhan
- Spanish: Dios
These generally refer to the same entity. However, due to cultural differences, inevitable when one studies Language, the way each society refers to that same entity is not the same. Therefore, one faces a difficulty where the Latin Deus is really the same as that of the Spanish Dios, and so on. Taking into consideration the context of time, society and culture, one then understands each's reference point.
Nevertheless, if there is no better way of explaining a certain point one attempts to make, than to refer to the word itself, one does it.
If I am speaking Spanish to a Barcelonian, will I temporarily pretend I am unable to speak Spanish and say "God" instead of "Dios"? I will not.
I'm not making any criticisms here at all, but just wondering aloud as to the reasons for this. (Page 3) Does banning certain words really do anything?
A rose by any other name should smell as sweet.
A God by any other name should mean the same.
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