Thursday, April 24, 2008

Eating money

There are some fabulous turns of phrase in Shiyeyi that just tickle me when I see them being used for biblical stories:

From ‘The Prodigal Son’:
- Kopaa ka ldi maropa ake koongo, shi idze ngaho. (There, he ate all his money, with only happiness.)

- Ta kati dzera zilduwa za wangiri umoyo. (His heart needed pig’s food.) I like the way this reflects the Greek word used for how he felt about the pig food, usually translated throughout the New Testament as ‘lusted’. In the NASB (like the NRSV), it says ‘And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating’. Loses a bit of punch there, does it not? Other English translations include ‘longed’ (NIV,NET), ‘wished’ (Good News), and ‘would fain have’ (KJV). The King James is my favorite translation of this word here as, for me, it at least conjures up swooning maidens and stampeding knights. I’d use a modern word, I think: feen. ‘He was feening to get hooked up with the carob pods that the pigs were eating.’ Feening, in case this is a new word to you (as it was to me when I first heard it in 1997), is the kind of longing that comes from dependency, such as accompanies a cocaine addiction. Coke addicts feen for coke.

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