Author Topic: Vernacular vs. traditional  (Read 5886 times)

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Offline The Caffeinator

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Vernacular vs. traditional
« on: December 09, 2003, 05:26:55 PM »
Just to get an idea of where we're all coming from. :)

Offline The Caffeinator

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2003, 05:28:18 PM »
I voted for traditional English. But given the present circumstances, I prefer the Latin!

Offline The Caffeinator

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2003, 05:51:29 PM »
Who voted for the modern vernacular?

Online Schultz

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2003, 06:01:24 PM »
Slava Isusu Christu!

That would be me.

I'm in church to worship God, not act out Shakespeare.

Properly translated, the "modern vernacular" can be just as beautiful and even more uplifting than "traditonal English".  By "traditional English", I am assuming you mean the Thees and Thous of Elizabethan parlance.

Religion and liturgy is for the masses, not for a the literati or academes.  Once it ceases to be meaningful to the everyday layman, it edges its way towards clericalism, in my opinion.
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Offline Jakub

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2003, 07:04:19 PM »
I'm back after a 4 day trip  :P and nobody missed me, sigh, & of course voted traditional english RC but would be happy with traditional english & the big O.

james

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« Last Edit: December 09, 2003, 07:06:59 PM by Jakub »
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Offline carpo-rusyn

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2003, 07:38:25 PM »
The National Catholic Register (12/7 issue) has a nice article on the liturgy entitled,  "The New Liturgy at age 40"

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2003, 07:40:59 PM »
Oops I forgot.  I voted for traditional English but I think Schultz raises a valid point.

CR

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2003, 08:06:27 PM »
Traditional but no thees or thous for me. Get rid of this "Let God arise and let THE enemies be scattered" or "Glory to God in the highest and peace to ALL people on earth." That's the kind of religion they peddle at the "campus ministry."

Offline Br. Max, OFC

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2003, 08:51:53 PM »
gee caff thanks for leaving some of us out of the poll!! :P:P:P
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Offline The young fogey

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2003, 09:48:42 PM »
I like Slavonic, Latin and Elizabethan English! I can take or leave thous and thees but since they're in the psalter I use, I use them and that bleeds into other prayers in English I use.

Quote
The National Catholic Register (12/7 issue) has a nice article on the liturgy entitled,  "The New Liturgy at age 40"

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Offline The Caffeinator

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2003, 10:28:01 PM »
In response to Shultz's objection, 3 out of 15 people voted for modern English. 11 people voted for trad. English. So how is traditional English irrelevant?

Offline The Caffeinator

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2003, 10:30:12 PM »
Quote
gee caff thanks for leaving some of us out of the poll!!

This is a Catholic-Orthodox discussion forum. You'll just have to post a poll in some other forum :P
« Last Edit: December 09, 2003, 10:31:45 PM by The Caffeinator »

Offline Ben

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2003, 12:22:23 AM »
I prefer the awesome beauty of the Latin language for Mass and other litrugical celebrations.

“The use of the Latin language prevailing in a great part of the Church affords at once an imposing sign of unity and an effective safe gard against the corruption of true doctrine.” -Pope Pius XII

"The day the Church abandons Her universal tongue will be the day before She returns to the Catacombs." -Pope Pius XII

“The Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic and non-vernacular.”- Pope John XXIII  

"Respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition." -John Paul II

link that may be of interest on the issue:

http://olrl.org/new_mass/whylatin.html

Now for an Orthodox Divine Liturgy...I prefer Modern English, however I love to hear slavonic and ancient greek used at Divine Liturgy! :)




« Last Edit: December 10, 2003, 12:40:16 AM by Ben »
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Offline Anastasios

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2003, 12:30:39 AM »
I love the vernacular, but prefer it to be in traditional language--to a certain extent.

I think that Slavonic and Ancient Greek in America are ok if there are large immigrant communities but ultimately these foreign languages need to be reduced to about 10% in liturgy if we are going to evangelize, which is our PRIMARY mission.

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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2003, 12:41:22 AM »
Perhaps an acceptable solution for some would be to do something along the lines of the Maronite Catholics' practice...a few things are required to be taken always in the traditional language, and everything else can be done in either the traditional language or the vernacular.
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Offline Anastasios

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2003, 12:53:19 AM »
Sounds good to me--as long as we keep some connection.  We don't want to be like one parish I know where the priest ended up driving off all the "ethnics" because he wouldn't even do a litany in Arabic!

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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2003, 12:58:00 AM »
A connection must be preserved, and the traditional language must survive alongside the vernacular in some way.  This should not be all that bad when you only have one "traditional" language to deal with; it gets a little messy, however, when you've got two languages that you need to preserve along with the vernacular.  ;)
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Offline Elisha

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2003, 02:15:55 AM »
I love the vernacular, but prefer it to be in traditional language--to a certain extent.

I think that Slavonic and Ancient Greek in America are ok if there are large immigrant communities but ultimately these foreign languages need to be reduced to about 10% in liturgy if we are going to evangelize, which is our PRIMARY mission.

anastasios

Ditto.  If there are less than 1/4 of an ethnic population composing a parish, than no more than 10%.  If the congregation doesn't understand it, then don't do it.

Offline Justinianus

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2003, 08:37:55 AM »
As an Orthodox I prefer the modern vernacular mostly because I do not know Church Slavonic. Like Schultz (achtung, baby!) , I do not see much in using 15th Century English.

When I was a Roman Catholic, I preferred the Latin mass for the following reasons:

1. I studied Latin for 6 years, so have no problems understanding the language.  Some of the vocabulary is different than the Caesar and Cicero I know so well, but can usually pick up the meaning quickly. I love the language and use it in some prayers and read the Vulgate Bible when not using the New King James version.
2. I found the Novus Ordo mass terribly lacking in relation to the Tridentine Mass.  I feel just translating the Tridentine Mass into the vernacular instead of creating the Novus Ordo would have been a much better choice.

But as an Orthodox for the last year and a Byzantine Catholic for the previous 6 years, I can not say that I miss the Roman liturgy too much.  I am really uplifted by the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil.   Not to say the liturgy is better than the Roman, but the Byzantine liturgy works better for me.
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Offline Br. Max, OFC

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2003, 11:16:07 AM »
ENGLISH is my traditional language. :)
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Online Schultz

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2003, 11:36:23 AM »
In response to Shultz's objection, 3 out of 15 people voted for modern English. 11 people voted for trad. English. So how is traditional English irrelevant?


Slava Isusu Christu!

One thing you have to remember, my friend, is that we are on the internet participating in a board that caters to those of a more "traditional" mindset.  We here are not representative of our entire respective churches when it comes to our tastes regarding language.  The vast majority of people, at least in these United States of America, prefer to communicate with God in the language that they speak regularly.

Does that mean that slang and "lower language forms" should enter into the liturgy?  No, of course not.  However, using words like "vouchsafe" puts people off.  Do you really use language like that in modern parlance?  I guarantee you that 8 out of 10 people have no idea what that word means out of context and at least half would have to think about what it means in context.

What is more important?  Worship to the Most High that's more pleasing to our aesthetic ear or worship that is perhaps not so poetic, but simple and easily understood by the common layman, who can then whole-heartedly pray those words to God?

I think the latter.  The modern vernacular can be quite beautiful.  Robert Frost, for instance, wrote his outstanding poetry in a plain, simple, modern language.  The problem is taking translations out of the hands of liturgists with an agenda and putting it into the hands of, well, poets.  In the Catholic Church, ICEL has a runaway "spirit of Vatican II" agenda that has colored the translation of the Latin of the Mass of Paul VI and has led to all sorts of heterodox ideas and just plain bad liturgy.

I'd also like to add that I'm all for keeping little bits of the "traditional" language of a parish intact.  I love singing the Trisagion in Slavonic, as well as the Lord's Prayer.  They definitely help to keep a connection to the past, and they're sung often enough and short enough for one to understand what's being said.  I enjoy singing the Creed in Latin, too (minus the Filioque, of course!), when my girlfriend and I attend High Mass at her church.  However, I firmly believe that the bulk (and I mean bulk) of whatever liturgy one is celebrating, should be in the language understood by most of the parishoners present.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2003, 11:40:27 AM by Schultz »
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Offline moronikos

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2003, 01:57:55 PM »
Well, since I'm Antiochian and don't have a hint of Arab-ophilia, I voted for traditional English.
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Offline Seraphim Reeves

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2003, 02:49:29 PM »
I think the best language, is the one which the people benefitting from Divine Services actually understand.  While I personally prefer a form of vernacular (being an English speaker) which is "semi-archaic" so as to give the Liturgy an air of solemnity that would perhaps be lacking in a more "common" tone, I would still prefer "modern vernacular" over a Service which most of the congregation does not understand.

As far as I've been informed, in theory, vernacular is the "traditional" form of Orthodox liturgy; though in practice, very archaic tongues (or versions of the common language), and in the new world, tongues that are very foreign to large parts of the congregation, are common.

I remember back in my trad-RC days, I enjoyed (on an esthetic level) listening to the Mass chanted in ecclessiastical Latin (which as others have remarked here, differs somewhat from classical Latin); however, even after attending Mass for some time (and learning on my own what many of the prayers meant), I honestly still had to consult my missal while Mass was going on to follow certain prayers.  While nice on the ears, to me this creates an unneccessary step between what is being said by the Priest, and our hearts and minds...time/effort spent flipping through the missal, would have been better spent elsewhere.

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2003, 03:02:18 PM »
Slava Isusu Christu!

Look at that folks.  Seraphim Reeves and I agree, for the most part.

If that's not an endorsement of the "vernacular", I don't know what is ;).
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Offline Keble

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2003, 03:16:20 PM »
I personally would prefer modern English-- good modern English.

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2003, 03:42:32 PM »
With the emphasis on good

Have to agree there - I do find following the Liturgy in English while it is actually being said/chanted in Ukrainian is rather difficult
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Offline Jakub

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2003, 04:00:41 PM »
Semi-archaic is acceptable , like Seraphim stated it puts a air of soleminity in the wording.

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Offline The Caffeinator

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2003, 05:14:40 PM »
There was a book in Elizabethan England, I believe it was called, "The Governor" or the "Governess." I honestly never read it, but that's besides the point. It was a book on how to develop a flattering, elegant manner of speaking, and its principles guided the translation of the Douay Rheims and the KJV.

It is not mere nostalgia for "archaic" language. The translating principles that guided the translation of the old prayers, of Bible texts, etc., simply rendered them more powerfully stated. Often, I find in modern translation, (especially ICEL  :-X) that there is complete disregard for existing excellence, and in the end, this is revisionistic.

Also, the translation paradigms have changed from literal translation to dynamic equivalence, by which translators paraphrase texts for you. I find both of these glitches with modern translation commend to us the traditional.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2003, 05:15:50 PM by The Caffeinator »

Offline Br. Max, OFC

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2003, 05:17:38 PM »
I'm wondering what things would look like in ebonics . . . . YO Mary, SUP?
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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2003, 05:21:56 PM »
Slava Isusu Christu!

Last Pascha, I came up with this for the ebonics version of the Paschal greeting:

Yo!  Big C be up!
Word!

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Offline The young fogey

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2003, 05:43:44 PM »
Happened upon this whilst surfing the other day:

The Lord's Prayer In Ebonics

Some of this sounds suspiciously outdated - more like Two Beer White Guy than any black person I've been acquainted with for any length of time.

I imagine weekly churchgoing blacks (I'm thinking particularly of one lady I worked with 12 years ago) would find this patronizing.
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Offline Tikhon29605

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #31 on: December 10, 2003, 06:07:26 PM »
My favorite style of English for an Orthodox Liturgy is what I will call the "RSV" (Revised Standard Version). Modeled after the RSV Bible translation, an RSV style liturigical translation would retain the 2nd person singular (Thou, thee, etc) when directly addressing God in prayer.  In all other points, however, the language would be modern.  Its modern, but still dignified and churchly.  This seems to be the mindset that the translators of the 1967 OCA liturgy used.  I think it works very well at the parish level and I've NEVER had anyone in my parish complain that they cannot understand the 1967 "RSV style" translation that we use.  
     However, I have seen modern updates of the 1967 translation approved for use by some Bishops where all the Thees and Thous were removed.  While that is not my personal preference, it does not offend me in the slightest.  I'm not going to throw a fit over singing "Glory to You, O Lord, Glory to You" insteand of "Glory to Thee, O Lord, Glory to Thee."  
      While I do enjoying reading the almost KJV style translation of the Liturgy in the old Hapgood Service Book, I could certainly understand while many people today would find such language difficult to understand.  Generally, I like all the translations I've seen in the OCA, the ROCA and the Antiochian Archdiocese.  None are perfect, but all I have seen are singable, dignified, and true to the meaning of the text.  The only Orthodox liturgical translations I really DON'T like are the ones from Holy Cross in Brookline.  Even my local Greek Orthodox priest doesn't like those translations and says they are too 'politically correct."  And I tend to agree with him.  I cannot abide translating "Despota philanthropos" merely as "loving Master."  That just leaves me cold. I think "Master who lovest mankind" is SO MUCH better.  :)

Offline Karamazov

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #32 on: December 10, 2003, 06:20:23 PM »
Where's the "none of the above" option?  My preference?  The Divine Liturgy in an Orthodox Church.  Attended a Romanian church a few weeks back.  Liturgy was beautiful.  Language doesn't matter to me.

My preference liturgically speaking is really a matter of music than language.  That is why I prefer Ukrainian, Serbian, or Russian liturgies.

Offline SamB

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #33 on: December 11, 2003, 03:39:42 AM »
Sure....An Antiochian church I know says the "lord have mercy" responses in English, Greek, and Arabic, then if they are feeling adventuresome, Slavonic and Romanian. Other bits of liturgy as ethnic makeup demands.

I've seen similiar, here.  A little too amusing for the occasion.

It goes to show that on one hand there is the pragmatic tradition of praying in the people's tongue, and on the other, there are the compulsive disorders of multilingual hardliners who like showing off their eclectic Cyrillian qualifications.

Antiochian Vespers featuring "Lord, have mercy"s in Arabic, French, English, Slavonic, Spanish, and Swahili doesn't register well with an Arabic/English-speaking audience.

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« Last Edit: December 11, 2003, 08:31:05 PM by SamB »

Offline SamB

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #34 on: December 11, 2003, 03:56:19 AM »
2. I found the Novus Ordo mass terribly lacking in relation to the Tridentine Mass.  I feel just translating the Tridentine Mass into the vernacular instead of creating the Novus Ordo would have been a much better choice.

A tidy and far more preferable arrangement.  The English translations in many old missals do the project justice.

B.T.W., it is interesting to note--particularly if one is partial towards the idea of an unspoken old form of vernacular (Grapar Armenian, Fushah Arabic, Slavonic [a.k.a. Old Bulgarian])--that Latin, in the case of the peoples who speak a Romance language, qualifies as a langue des peuples in the same way as does Slavonic for the Slavs.

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« Last Edit: December 11, 2003, 04:01:45 AM by SamB »

Offline SamB

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Re:Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #35 on: December 11, 2003, 04:47:35 AM »
Which do you prefer?

Difficult to say, considering what could be meant by 'traditional language'; the distinction made between the first and third options, vis a vis traditional language vs. 'high'-vernacular, seems to me to make sense mostly within the American context with its exceptional nature.  In that arena, you would have English sparring off against Slavonic, for example.  I still find the American situation too complicated to suggest an acceptable resolution, and so can only answer concerning the situation in the Levant.  

In some way, Greek can be thought of as a traditional language in the Melchite/Antiochian Churches, and it still retains its place, though it has seen a lessening of its use with time in recent decades.  It could and should certainly stay, I would think, but its use is marginal, and there doesn't exist friction between it and the Arabic language, which dominates the Levantine countries and the liturgical celebrations.  Hence, it doesn't merit much study in the light of the topic of the thread.  

In my Church's case, what pertains more to the choices presented by the question is the difference between modern Arabic vernacular and classical Fushah.  In no framework would the former ever work properly.  I find it interesting that you can notice across countries strong contrasts regarding the faceoff between 'old form' and present-day colloquial.  Slavonic and Koine are not necessarily grasped or understood at all by Greeks and Slavs respectively, despite these being forms of their respective languages; in fact, I imagine Koine must seem to a Greek like Latin to a Spaniard or Italian, the languages of whom find their origins in Latin.  I can see people from these countries arguing for modern Greek, Russian, and Italian services.  Arabs on the other hand, have a unique privilege and noteworthy blessing.  The classical form of their language enjoys the distinguished position of straddling the line between the realm of archaic languages that capture the august and rich qualities people look for in such lingual forms, and that of tongues people are quite familiar with at large.  We have a strong familarity and grasp of the old Fushah, which sounds as distantly old as Elizabethan English in its distance from the colloquial.  Regardless, it (or rather a newer form of it that incorporates more modern words into its vocabulary) is generally used when writing of reading, notwithstanding a few exceptions (there are some Robert Frosts amongst Lebanese poets who like to compose 'Lebanese' [ie. in Lebanese dialect] verses and poems).  This general level of intimacy with Fushah allows us to fully understand the Liturgy whilst making a full departure from the informalities of vernacular dialects.  The very suggestion that the Liturgy can be translated into 'Damascene' or the like is entirely inconceivable and nonsensical, unlike a Russian's preference for Russian over Slavonic (Slavonic, no question about it in my case).

1 (except for religious affiliation) and 4 seem right to me.

In IC XC
Samer
« Last Edit: December 11, 2003, 04:54:35 AM by SamB »

Offline ilyazhito

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Re: Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #36 on: September 07, 2013, 01:35:54 PM »
Personally, I would prefer traditional, KJV-style English and Slavonic if conducting services for English or Russian speakers. For Russian speakers, Slavonic may not be well understood, but it is familiar, because authors like Pushkin and Derzhavin will use Slavonic words and expressions. If one reads Pushkin's The Prophet, the poem is written almost entirely in Slavonic, because of the amount of Slavonic expressions that Pushkin uses, but a Russian reading the poem will probably understand it. Another is that the traditional language is less grammatically ambiguous than the modern language. English has lost the T-V distinction, and one cannot tell if someone is using the English you to address one person or multiple people. and that may be confusing. In addition, traditional-English translations are often of higher quality than modern-English translations, because there is more "flow" in the traditional languages. Look at the Elizabethan translations of St. Anthony's monastery and the GOAA texts, or compare the standard OCA translation to that of Bishop Dmitri's The Priest's Service Book or a Jordanville English service book, and see how the style is different. Maybe this might seem secondary, but since we experience the Orthodox faith mostly through the liturgy, just like a computer user experiences the internet through a computer and network, if the network is defective, or the server slow, the user will not be able to do his work properly. Liturgics and liturgical language are the network and server through which we experience the faith, and if either are defective, it may hamper our understanding of the liturgy and how to live.

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #37 on: September 07, 2013, 03:50:49 PM »
The poll that was originally part of this thread has disappeared. This is unacceptable. I request that the powers-that-be relocate these posts to a newly created thread with a poll included. Nay, I demand!
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 03:51:02 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline Basil 320

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Re: Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #38 on: September 07, 2013, 04:04:09 PM »
I like traditional liturgical language instead of common language.  But I can compromise the "Thee," and "Thou" of the King James style (I have a very hard time reading the King James version of the Bible and prefer the Revised Standard Version).

But liturgical language must be lofty, elevated from common street talk.

In the GOAA the commonly used translation of Holy Cross Seminary from the mid-1980's is somewhat too common for me.  The best English language translations in the GOAA were Fr. George Papadeas,' both his Divine Liturgy and his revised Holy Week Services book.

The translations I hear in the OCA's Midwest Diocese are very good in my opinion; likewise what I've heard in AOCANA parishes I like.

The GOAA's use of the Narthex Press publications of Belmont, California I find lousy.

The Greek Old Calendar Synod in Resistance's Exarch in America, Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna, refers to the contemporary translations as "You who" language.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #39 on: September 14, 2013, 07:37:36 AM »
The poll that was originally part of this thread has disappeared. This is unacceptable. I request that the powers-that-be relocate these posts to a newly created thread with a poll included. Nay, I demand!

Did the mods and admins think I would just let this go? I will bump this thread every week if I have to!* Thank you for your time and consideration.


*Not true

Offline arimethea

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Re: Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #40 on: September 14, 2013, 08:16:57 AM »
The poll that was originally part of this thread has disappeared. This is unacceptable. I request that the powers-that-be relocate these posts to a newly created thread with a poll included. Nay, I demand!

Did the mods and admins think I would just let this go? I will bump this thread every week if I have to!* Thank you for your time and consideration.


*Not true

Looks like the poll got lost during one of the updates. It is gone, get over it.
Joseph

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Vernacular vs. traditional
« Reply #41 on: September 14, 2013, 08:18:46 AM »
The poll that was originally part of this thread has disappeared. This is unacceptable. I request that the powers-that-be relocate these posts to a newly created thread with a poll included. Nay, I demand!

Did the mods and admins think I would just let this go? I will bump this thread every week if I have to!* Thank you for your time and consideration.


*Not true

Looks like the poll got lost during one of the updates. It is gone, get over it.

It was a joke. I know why it was gone. I just like to resurrect some of these threads and make comments to annoy mods. Looks like it worked.  ;D