break down

The Hebrew that is translated as “break down” in English is emphasized in Sar with the ideophone (a word that expresses what is perceived by the five senses) sák sák (“(The Lord will) destroy them sák sák“). Sák sákmeans “empty, without anything, exhausted, tired, damaged. destroyed, cleaned up, without intermediary. Examples: illness has exhausted him, the calabash has shattered into several pieces, the calabash is destroyed and irreparable.” (Source: Ngarbolnan Riminan in Le Sycomore 2000, p. 20ff.).

See also root out.

shudder (mountains)

The Hebrew that is translated as “shudder” in English is reinforced in Sar with the ideophone (a word that expresses what is perceived by the five senses) ngin ngin (“The roots of the mountain dance / move ngin ngin“). Ngin ngin “evokes bulky, imposing, strong things (noise, shaking). Examples: the cold makes you tremble hard, the big drum makes a loud rolling noise, the thunder rolls, distant noise, depositing large droppings somewhere.” (Source: Ngarbolnan Riminan in Le Sycomore 2000, p. 20ff.)

See also shake.

your hand was heavy upon me

The Hebrew that is translated as “your hand was heavy upon me” or similar in English is translated in Sar as “Your hand hits my head rututu.” Rututu) is an ideophone (a word that expresses what is perceived by the five senses) which “evokes a regular, equal or orderly arrangement of a set of small objects, a more or less equal distribution over time. Examples: the children (lined up or side by side) are the same size, I’m all sweaty, he has a rash of little pimples all over his body (…), he scolds us regularly.” (Source: Ngarbolnan Riminan in Le Sycomore 2000, p. 20ff.)

my heart is in anguish within me

The Hebrew that is translated as “my heart is in anguish within me” or similar in English is translated in Sar as “a dark belly goes with me gadə gadə.” Gadə gadə is an ideophone (a word that expresses what is perceived by the five senses) to emphasize the emotion. It “expresses an action deploying efforts (right and left). Examples: searching for a person by searching everywhere, going back and forth).” (Source: Ngarbolnan Riminan in Le Sycomore 2000, p. 20ff.).

shake

The Hebrew that is translated as “shake” in English is reinforced in Sar with the ideophone (a word that expresses what is perceived by the five senses) ngin ngin (“The earth trembles and dances ngin ngin“). Ngin ngin “evokes bulky, imposing, strong things (noise, shaking). Examples: the cold makes you tremble hard, the big drum makes a loud rolling noise, the thunder rolls, distant noise, depositing large droppings somewhere.” (Source: Ngarbolnan Riminan in Le Sycomore 2000, p. 20ff.)

See also shudder.

soften it with showers

The Hebrew that is translated as “soften it with showers” or similar in English is emphasized in Sar with the ideophone (a word that expresses what is perceived by the five senses) sow sow (“You make it rain rain sow sow“). Sow sow “means long (size), extends, disperses (movement, noise…). Examples: he has long legs, a long pole, the children ran away from all sides when they see me, you make too much noise (screaming or chattering), the falling rain makes a noise that can be heard far away.” (Source: Ngarbolnan Riminan in Le Sycomore 2000, p. 20ff.)

As a deer longs for flowing streams so my soul longs for you

The Hebrew that is translated as “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God” or similar in English is translated in Sar as “As thirst makes a doe seek water pa pak, my God, I seek you, too, pa pak.” Pa pak is an ideophone (a word that expresses what is perceived by the five senses) which emphasizes the abruptness of the movement. It “expresses an abrupt movement, which is stopped, repeated, several directions in succession. Examples: a hunter who falls suddenly at the foot of a tree, a guinea fowl that falls suddenly into the grass to disappear, a person who goes here and there to look for what he needs, a person who is feverishly agitated, a person who is excited at the idea of going on a trip, a person who is excited at the sight of the meat.” (Source: Ngarbolnan Riminan in Le Sycomore 2000, p. 20ff.).

blood guilt

The concept of “blood guilt” that is referred to in Matt 27:24-25 and Acts 5:28 is translated in Gbaya and other languages of Central Africa with familiar terms that denote concepts relating to Hebrew thought in a way that English, for instance, does not have.

Philip Noss reports (in The Bible Translator 1996, p. 139ff.):

“In the Musey language of western Chad it is called tògòrò, in Sara-Madjingai of southeastern Chad it is known as mōsēyō, in Gbaya as spoken in central Cameroon and in the Central African Republic it is called simbò. (…). Strangely, perhaps, standard English does not have an equivalent word, at least not in contemporary speech. The closest functional equivalent may be the English reference to ‘the stain of blood’ or the expression ‘to have blood on one’s hands.’ These various words and expressions all express the result of shedding blood.

“A person who is guilty of shedding blood becomes the victim of his/her deed. The consequence of the act of killing will inevitably fall upon the killer and potentially upon anyone who comes in contact with the killer, unless the killer is purified.

“In Gbaya a simbò thing is anything that causes someone to become a simbò person, including killing certain animals (incl. leopards, elands and bongos) and humans. (…) The spilling of human blood brought the curse of simbò upon the person who was responsible for the death of a fellow human being. From this curse there was no escape for the guilty person and his family and his village without purification by another person who himself had been purified from simbò.

“For the translator of the Bible the question that must be asked is whether the concept associated with the spilling of blood by these central African cultures is similar to the concepts reflected in the Old and New Testaments or whether it is too culture-specific to be applied within the context of Hebrew and Jewish religious thought and expression.

“When Pilate washes his hands before the people and says, ‘I am not responsible for this man’s death.’ and the mob responds. ‘Let the punishment for his death fall on us and on our children’ (Matt 27:24-25, Good News Bible), the Gbaya understand this to refer to simbò. Pilate attempts to cleanse himself from the consequence of his responsibility in the death of Jesus while the people call for that very consequence to fall upon themselves. In the Gbaya understanding of the shedding of blood, no amount of self-cleansing can remove the curse of spilled blood which will surely fall upon Pilate and the people and their descendants.

“In Acts 5:28 the Jews express an implied fear of simbò when the High Priest says to the apostles, “you want to make us responsible for this man’s death” (Good News Bible). The New International Version of the Bible renders this statement, ‘you are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.’ The Gbaya would say, ‘you want this man’s simbò to take us.’

“The Greek text of these verses reflects the Hebrew underlying thought, for in each of the three sentences quoted, explicit reference is made to blood. (…)

“Although there does not seem to be a specific word that expresses the concept of simbò in Hebrew, in Greek we do come very close to an explicit expression of the result of the shedding of blood. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible cites the Greek word miasma which it defines as the ‘slain, pollution” of homicide, “an automatic, objective state” for which purification was required. The early Greek verb miainō meant “to stain, to dye.’ A specialized meaning of this verb resulted from its use with blood where it came to mean ‘to defile, to sully.’ The stain or defilement was known as miasma, the person who was defiled was miaros. For the Gbaya this was simbò. for the Sar speaker it was möseyö which is literally, ‘the blood of death,’ that is, ‘the stain/defilement of the spilling of human blood.’ (…)

“In conclusion, the components that are central to the Old Testament concept of dam/damim and the New Testament miasma are widely recognized in the cultures of central Africa. The implications of this fact need to be considered by translator and theologian alike.”

filled with burning

The Hebrew that is translated as “filled with burning” or similar in English is reinforced in Sar with the ideophone (a word that expresses what is perceived by the five senses) tólóló (“My back gets hot tólóló“). Tólóló “evokes the intensity, or the prolongation of an activity or a state. Examples: the children run nonstop (around us) [or] the porridge is still very hot.” (Source: Ngarbolnan Riminan in Le Sycomore 2000, p. 20ff.)

See also parched.

set their hope in God

The Hebrew that is translated as “set their hope in God” or similar in English is translated in Sar as “throw their belly mámák towards God.” Mámák (or elsewhere mak) is an ideophone (a word that expresses what is perceived by the five senses) that emphasizes the expression. It “means leaving nothing, without restriction, completely (positive or negative). Examples: a fire that is completely extinguished, a paralyzed arm/leg, having eaten without leaving anything, to be really dead. In the figurative sense: to die of fear, to believe with all one’s strength, to be really the child of a person.” (Source: Ngarbolnan Riminan in Le Sycomore 2000, p. 20ff.)

See also die and terrors have destroyed me.

waters roar and foam

The Hebrew that is translated as “waters roar and foam” in English is emphasized in Sar with the ideophone (a word that expresses what is perceived by the five senses) pukətu pukətu (“the foam rises pukətu pukətu“). Pukətu pukətu
“evokes the movement of a liquid mass. Examples: a good amount of water poured over a person, wading across the river, agitating the water as it wades across the river.” (Source: Ngarbolnan Riminan in Le Sycomore 2000, p. 20ff.).

clamor

The Hebrew that is translated as “clamor” in English is reinforced in its sound in Sar with the ideophone (a word that expresses what is perceived by the five senses) biw biw (“The howl that people throw at you in battle biw biw“). (Source: Ngarbolnan Riminan in Le Sycomore 2000, p. 20ff.)