Sunday, December 13, 2009

The War on Errors: A Lesson in Language

The English word "Church" comes from the Greek word kuriakon, which was used to mean a place of worship. Many European languages use some derivative of this word - kirche in German, църква (crkva) in Bulgarian, kerk in Dutch, and kyrka in Swedish.

In the New Testament, the word "church" is the translation of the Greek word ecclesia, meaning "assembly." You might recognize it if you know any of the Latin languages - iglesia in Spanish, église in French, igreja in Portuguese, chiesa in Italian. εκκλησία is still used in Greek. Persian, too, uses a derivative of the Greek: (kilisa) کلیسا Turks use the same word, kilise. I imagine the Arabic (kinisa) الكنيسةis some bastardization of the Farsi or the Turkish, but I don't have direct knowledge of that.

The word "baseball" was directly given to human beings by the Baseball Gods but underwent babelian transformations as it slowly spread across the globe, from its humble beginnings in England to its perfection in America to its becoming the national pastime in Japan to its drafty abuse of Latin American children. Various forms of the game are beisbol in Spanish, honkbal in Dutch, bejzbol in Croatian, among a few others. For the most part, the word baseball has remained in its pure state - even the French, who are obsessed with having their own word for everything (see this WSJ article on their agony over how to translate cloud computing), use the word baseball.

In Arabic it is... كرة القاعدة (korat al-qaeda)! has been invaded by terrorists! It's the Crusades! We must arm ourselves against the hordes of leatherpants-clad warriors who hate us for our beautiful game! We must fight against the baseball extremists - Al-lenselig, Don Aldfehr, Al-Bert Poojols, Al-lCubsfans, Al-Exrod Riguez, Scott Al-Boras...

Ok, enough sarcastic hysterics. This is what happens in the off season. April 5th seems so far away...

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