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vol.60 número4-1Language change in the Afrikaans translations of the Gospel of MarkProblems with and after the direct translation índice de autoresíndice de assuntospesquisa de artigos
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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versão On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versão impressa ISSN 0041-4751


KUTZE, Ernst F. Authority and solidarity: Forms of address and pronominal personal references in the Afrikaans Bible translation of 2020. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2020, vol.60, n.4-1, pp.1066-1091. ISSN 2224-7912.

THEORETICAL CONTEXT: The Afrikaans Bible translation of 2020 took cognisance of Christiane Nord 's (1997, 2001) functionalistic model of translation, in conjunction with Reiss and Vermeer's (1984) skopos theory. A function of this translation, in addition to the aim of providing an authoritative basis for the faith of its readership, was to ensure that the source text is presented as an authentic representation of the culture(s) in which it originated, as well as being understood clearly by the target readers of today, in due regard of the text genre of the relevant source text (such as narrative, poetry, prophetic enunciations, wisdom literature, genealogical register). This is articulated in the skopos, or translation mandate by the initiator, it is the Bible Society of South Africa. This mandate was further informed by Gutt's (1991) notion of a "direct" translation, in that the source text is not interpreted and indirectly reported by the translator as narrator, but addresses the reader directly, as though the author had written the text in the receiving language. The intended function would then be to empower the translated text with the same status and authority as the source text. ADDRESS FORMS: One aspect of the translation process does, however, require a degree of interpretation on the linguistic level, namely the use of second person pronouns as a form of address in Afrikaans. The choice of an appropriate pronoun is often determined or influenced by the relation between the speaker and the addressee (which may vary through time), such as the relative social position of the interlocutors, and the style of the dialogue, and can be generalised to a binary distinction between a formal (u) and an informal address form (jy). This choice does not, however, reflect only factors such as formality or social asymmetry between speaker and addressee, as mentioned above, but also attitudes and emotions, such as respect, solidarity or disdain, or even strategies to achieve a particular speech act objective (illocution). In the literature (Brown & Gilman 2003), the abbreviations V (from the Latin vos) and T (from tu) have been introduced to refer to such forms in various languages, and are indicative of a dynamic of power (or authority) and a dynamic of solidarity, respectively. The article traces the origin of this distinction from the era of the Holy Roman Empire to the emergence of this phenomenon in the European languages, inluding English and Dutch. INITIAL CAPITALS: A further complication is that the Afrikaans translation, following the tradition of the seventeenth-century Dutch Statenvertaling, also utilises an orthographical marker, namely an (intrasentential) initial capital to indicate respect toward the Divinity in appellations of God, as well as in pronouns referring to God as subject or object of a sentence. The source texts do not contain any overt (orthographical) features indicating such reverence, since capitals are not distinguished in Hebrew, and in Greek, only proper nouns are capitalised as a rule. This then amounts to another level of distinction, in particular in relation to addressing Jesus as human being, but at the same time recognising his divine nature. APPLICATION: In this article, the application of these criteria is illustrated with reference to a number of selected verses in both the Old and New Testaments in Afrikaans. Secondly, since Afrikaans and Dutch share a history of applying pragmatic criteria in order to indicate such distinctions, a comparison is made between recent translations of relevant verses to determine the similarities and/or differences in address forms. Finally, with reference to the Gospel of Matthew, consecutive translations in Afrikaans from 1895 to 2020 are compared to determine how address forms in this language evolved over time, something which also reflects in a limited way a change in societal traditions.

Palavras-chave : Afrikaans; asymmetric dyad; attitude; authority; Bible translation; diachronie comparison; direct translation; Dutch; dynamics of power; form of address; functionalistic translation; pragmatics; pronoun; respect; skopos; solidarity; speech act; T/V forms.

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