Article

The history of English seen as the history of ideas: Cultural change reflected in different translations of the New Testament

Anna Wierzbicka

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of English

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199922765
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199922765.013.0037

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 The history of English seen as the history of ideas: Cultural change reflected in different translations of the New Testament

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Linguistics
  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

Research on the history of English has often been undertaken in a somewhat atomistic spirit, with an emphasis on particular areas of phonology, morphology, syntax, and (to a far lesser degree) lexicon, or on aspects of what Ferdinand de Saussure termed “external history.” However, there is no attempt to take a broader view of the overall direction in which the English language was going. This article argues that the history of English is closely linked with the history of ideas and spiritual culture. It looks at some aspects of the hidden cultural legacy of English by analyzing selected examples from the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament and its successor, the New Revised Standard Version, and comparing them with the King James Version. It also examines some close links between semantic change, cultural history, and the history of ideas, and shows that these links can be investigated in a rigorous and illuminating manner with the aid of a semantic methodology (Natural Semantic Metalanguage).

Keywords: English words; New Testament; semantic change; history of ideas; spiritual; socio-cultural processes; Natural Semantic Metalanguage; King James Version; translation; linguistics

Article.  5113 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics ; Sociolinguistics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.