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Wade Miller: Horses…


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16 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

I do know what the scholars say, and what they say is that your statement about culture/religion/technology not coming from a vacuum is mistaken. The general mass of scholars has abandoned diffusionism (the idea that civilization spread from a central point) in favor of a theory of multiple independent "cradles of civilization" of which Mesoamerica is one. It's sui generis. 

Nothing comes from a vacuum.  I don't believe any scholars actually believe or teach this.  While there may be some innovations that they have a hard time determining a source of influence for, the overall languages, religion, culture, art, building techniques, technology, agricultural practices, etc. did not come from no where.  From corn, to pottery, to art, to temples/religion/rituals, they all point to earlier influences, from what I have seen in my research.   Corn alone is evidence that the mesoamericans evolved technologies and agricultural practices that existed for thousands of years before any Book of Mormon peoples would have made it to America.   Maize was cultivated over thousands of years.   There is no doubt that the Olmecs had significant influence on other, and later, civilizations.   Pottery technique is the same (but different from Jerusalem).  So, if the Olmecs truly are the Jaredites (who's culture had intercourse or influence with the Nephites or laminates), how do you explain the influences.  The Olmecs didn't just die off with coriantumr.  The rituals and temples predate the Olmecs even.  The Mayans developed alongside and traded ideas with the Olmecs.  The evolution of the region into cities etc evolved around agricultural development over thousands of years - and not with some outside (Jerusalem) influence.   

16 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

As for the apologetic argument, there's very little data about general cultural shifts among the Nephites, culture is mostly described in terms of degrees of adherence to the commandments, which can take many forms. I will note that the apologetic argument in general is that the Lehites, being one family finding themselves far more numerous peers, adopted stylistic and behavioral norms from the surrounding environment to varying degrees even as they established their own polity. The Book of Mormon generally paints Christians as being in the minority even among the Nephites for most of the book's history except for the 200 year period (corresponding chronologically with the Preclassic Collapse), so the idea that Mayan culture must be primarily Judaic in origin is not in keeping with mainstream apologetics. 

 

Yet Christianity was the only religion after Christ visited the Americas.  There were no "ites", but were all one people under the same name of "Nephites".   I just can't see any evidence of this narrative and others in the following chronological chart, or religious understanding of the time:

Mesoamerican chronology - Wikipedia

16 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

If you find the analysis of Chinese influence on the Mesoamerican calendar persuasive, I wonder what you'd think of Brian Stubbs' linguistic assessments of the impact of Egyptian and Semitic on Uto-Aztecan? Seems to be a similar base of data. 

I'll have to look more into it.

16 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Full disclosure, I ascribe to a loose historicity/glossalalic translation model which I've founded based on Sam Brown's analysis of "Smithian translation." Basically, the Book of Mormon was not translated according to any overriding systemic program. It's more of a dappled translation with varying rules and methods throughout, basically intended to frustrate reduction to grand unifying theories (think Nancy Cartwright's dappled science). It's more like an example of relatively restrained glossalalia in which the relationship of the English text and the plate text are subject to varying degrees of fluidity. The pull away from reductionism, on my view, is actually part of the message. 

But do you still hold to the overall general historicity in terms of Jaredites, Mulekites, Lehites populating the area?  I simply don't see any evidence for this in terms of what we know of the chronology, religion, and cultural evolution of the area. 

I think apologists are going to have to increasingly adopt an approach similar to yours in the face of scholarly research - I predict the historocity will become more and more "loose" over time to make anything remotely work intellectually. 

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1 hour ago, pogi said:

Nothing comes from a vacuum.  I don't believe any scholars actually believe or teach this.  While there may be some innovations that they have a hard time determining a source of influence for, the overall languages, religion, culture, art, building techniques, technology, agricultural practices, etc. did not come from no where.  From corn, to pottery, to art, to temples/religion/rituals, they all point to earlier influences, from what I have seen in my research.   Corn alone is evidence that the mesoamericans evolved technologies and agricultural practices that existed for thousands of years before any Book of Mormon peoples would have made it to America.   Maize was cultivated over thousands of years.   There is no doubt that the Olmecs had significant influence on other, and later, civilizations.   Pottery technique is the same (but different from Jerusalem).  So, if the Olmecs truly are the Jaredites (who's culture had intercourse or influence with the Nephites or laminates), how do you explain the influences.  The Olmecs didn't just die off with coriantumr.  The rituals and temples predate the Olmecs even.  The Mayans developed alongside and traded ideas with the Olmecs.  The evolution of the region into cities etc evolved around agricultural development over thousands of years - and not with some outside (Jerusalem) influence.   

Well, believe it, because they do. The idea that Mesoamerican development was borrowed from other loci of civilization is now out of scholarly favor. The Olmecs started with and advanced technologies which their unnamed and unknown predecessors had, but they didn't borrow anything from any other civilizational cradles. 

Your big flaw, I think, is believing that Jaredites/Nephites/Lamanites were the origins of these civilizations, rather than simply among them. These weren't unipolar empires, there was no overriding Olmec or Mayan "state", but a lot of smaller polities with general cultural similarities, and these we call the "Olmec" or the "Maya" or the "Zapotec" or what have you. 

Quote

Yet Christianity was the only religion after Christ visited the Americas.

Depends on how you define "the land", which is the bound given in all the descriptions of the post-visitation peace and which the Book of Mormon uses to describe lands of varying scale. The only city mentioned by name is Zarahemla, with other cities round about being mentioned in passing. The land of Nephi, or any other lands, is not alluded to.

For my part 4th Nephi seems like a gloss, a brief connective tissue between Christ's visitation and Mormon's episode. The Book of Mormon in general seems to me to be episodic, hopping from one major character's narrative to another while skipping hundreds of years at a time. I'm not too concerned about what's in those hundreds of years. It's common for ancient literature to exaggerate things ("all the land acclaims the king" when they probably don't) so I am not particularly concerned about 4 Nephi. 

1 hour ago, pogi said:

But do you still hold to the overall general historicity in terms of Jaredites, Mulekites, Lehites populating the area?  I simply don't see any evidence for this in terms of what we know of the chronology, religion, and cultural evolution of the area. 

Again, "loose historicity". I think there were Jaredites, Mulekites, and Lehites, but they probably were not huge polities and I'm not married to Mesoamerica because, again, my theory of interpretation allows for mistranslation, rhetorical adaptation, etc. So much BoM geography hay is made out of the vague descriptions in Alma 22 and I'm not even sure we can be confident those were "translated right" - a slipped word here or there would blast the whole map to hell. The only facts I'm really married to are the real existence of the plates, Moroni, and the belief that something akin to the general narrative of the BoM occurred. "Based on a true story", if you will. But the actions of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young regarding the BoM text are what really put me off of a "precise translation" model, because they clearly believed that the Book could in many material respects be different from its original translation were it to be translated again. Samuel Morris Brown's work has influenced me a great deal in this regard, especially his The Language of Heaven: Prolegomenon to the Study of Smithian Translation

As an aside, it is not apologist cope to say that ancient cultures really did conceive of and describe the world around them in very different ways than we do with our post-Enlightenment atmosphere and satellite maps. We're all about precision and they were manifestly not. The most vivid example I can think of is the oldest known map - the Babylonian Map of the World. It's no older than the 9th century BC though it might be a bit younger than that. This passed for a map back then. So if the Book of Mormon deviates from geographical or anthropological precision, its in good company even before you factor in translation. 

Edited by OGHoosier
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21 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

In the circumstance you describe, English would be the native language, and the language of the gold plates would be the foreign language. For Joseph Smith to engage in loanshifting in this circumstance, it would be the case where Joseph Smith was adding the definition of a foreign language word to the definition of the native word "horse". There are two problems (and one aside) here. The first problem is simply that there is nothing in the text which suggests that the word "horse" in different places in the Book of Mormon actually means different things from the default definition provided in English. The second problem is that this idea of loanshifting is foreign to the idea of translation. Translators don't, as a general rule, expand their native language in this way when translating a text in a foreign language into their native language. The aside is simple - LDS apologists have consistently placed the loanshifting on to the Nephite writers of the Gold Plates. That is, they are translating their working (spoken) language into the language the gold plates are written in, and in doing so, go through this process to make the word in the gold plates refer to multiple definitions.

My own take on this is that this argument (in either case) is necessitated only by the problem of anachronisms in the text. This is a problem that exists only because of assertions which are made about the translation process. There are definitely anachronisms in the King James bible, for example, that are created by bad translation. We don't then insist that the King James text isn't a translation of an ancient text. So only in certain models of translation does this become an issue. I don't accept many of the ideas fronted about the translation of the Book of Mormon. Because of this, I don't find theories of loanshifting to be necessary in preserving claims of authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

Does this clear up any of the confusion?

Thanks for attempting to explain. 

21 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

The first problem is simply that there is nothing in the text which suggests that the word "horse" in different places in the Book of Mormon actually means different things from the default definition provided in English.

I agree with you here, but that would be the case in either case - whether it was a loanshift generated by the Nephites, or if it was a loanshift generated by Joseph Smith.   The fact that the Nephites did seem to make up new words for unfamiliar animals (curlom and cumom) suggests that it could go either way.  The problem is that if the Nephites were practicing loanshifting in naming unfamiliar animals, why didn't they do it with all the animals?  The same problems if Joseph Smith was practicing loanshifting - why didn't he do it with all the animals.   I don't think there is any definitive reason to believe one way or the other or why it couldn't have been a combination of the two.    

The fact that there is nothing to suggest that the book is speaking of something other than a "horse" is partly (small part) what makes its historicity hard to believe.  I just am not buying the "battle beast" explanation that they were little figurines being spoken of.  The horses, in context, seem to be associated with transportation/travel and not just battle/war - not to mention that Alma was feeding the horses (clearly not figurines). 

21 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

The second problem is that this idea of loanshifting is foreign to the idea of translation. Translators don't, as a general rule, expand their native language in this way when translating a text in a foreign language into their native language.

It seems to be a fairly common form of translation if I am to believe Hamba Tuhan's post above.  

21 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

The aside is simple - LDS apologists have consistently placed the loanshifting on to the Nephite writers of the Gold Plates. That is, they are translating their working (spoken) language into the language the gold plates are written in, and in doing so, go through this process to make the word in the gold plates refer to multiple definitions.

I will note that there are indeed apologists who have accredited loanshifting (specifically in regard to horses) to Joseph Smith.  

John L. Sorenson said in 1992,

Quote

Is "horse" in the Book of Mormon merely a matter of labeling by analogy some other quadruped with the name Equus, the true horse, or does the scripture's use of "horse" refer to the actual survival into very recent times of the American Pleistocene horse (Equus equus)? If, as most zoologists and paleontologists assume, Equus equus was absent from the New World during Book of Mormon times, could deer, tapir, or another quadruped have been termed "horse" by Joseph Smith in his translating?[2]

He started floating around this ideas as early as 1984.  It is a fairly common argument and predates the argument the type of loanshifting by the Nephites that you suggest, as far as I am aware. 

21 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

This gets back to our fundamental assumptions about Nephite language. If the Nephites maintained their language because of the Brass Plates (written in reformed Egyptian), then it would stand to reason that we see the re-use of a lot of language from the Brass Plates to apply to things within the context of their new environment. One of the strongest examples of this is the use of animal lists from the Old Testament - an important fact because Mosaic law had clear markers for which animal types could be eaten and which couldn't. To see animals defined in this way fits much of what we see in these definitions of loanshifting while also allowing the Nephites to continue to use their sacred texts appropriately. So while we may not expect to see it here, it isn't unreasonable. I also wouldn't go so far as to suggest what is actually meant by the term - but part of that is because I am not convinced that loanshifting (or semantic expansion) is actually occurring. For us to know this, we would need to have some understanding of the original text of the gold plates, and here, any suggestion is pure speculation.

I hope this helped.

Thanks for attempting to explain, but I honestly don't see any good reason to rule out loanshifting on the part of Joseph Smith.   

Edited by pogi
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4 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Well, believe it, because they do.

I don't accept that as a possibility.  They may have had some new/original innovation in certain areas (just like we have seen with technology in the US), but it wasn't influenced by nothing.  It wasn't innovated in a vacuum.   The larger culture, diet, language, etc. did not come from nowhere.  There is clear evidence of evolution over thousands of years with corn, for example.  Pottery.  Language. Religion.  Etc.  These people didn't come out of a black hole.  There is history. 

4 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

The idea that Mesoamerican development was borrowed from other loci of civilization is now out of scholarly favor. The Olmecs started with and advanced technologies which their unnamed and unknown predecessors had, but they didn't borrow anything from any other civilizational cradles. 

"Unnamed and unknown predecessors" is not the same as a "vacuum".   Isn't that exactly what I suggested.  Show me where scholars suggest otherwise.  Whoever those predecessor where, their religion, art, culture, language, agricultural practices resemble other native practices more than Jews. 

4 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Your big flaw, I think, is believing that Jaredites/Nephites/Lamanites were the origins of these civilizations, rather than simply among them. These weren't unipolar empires, there was no overriding Olmec or Mayan "state", but a lot of smaller polities with general cultural similarities, and these we call the "Olmec" or the "Maya" or the "Zapotec" or what have you. 

I wouldn't consider that a flaw on my part, but a flaw of the Book of Mormon narrative if what you suggest is true.  Either that or it represents a desperate attempt to make the historicity viable despite the glaring lack of mention in the book of other people - another seeming example of painting targets around arrows.   Nothing in the narrative about encountering relatively advanced civilizations with established agricultural practices and city planning, etc.  No mention of intercourse with the native culture/customs/language/technology/religion.  Strange that they place a huge emphasis on finding an extinct Jaredite civilization (couldn't be the Olmec people because they didn't go extinct) and the Mulekites, but no real mention of intercourse with the population that already existed there.  Strange indeed! 

A lot of war between the Nephites and laminates over a millennia.  No other groups ever attacked the Nephites?  Just the Lamanites?  Weird no other groups are mention that they warred against over a thousand years.  You would think that over that much time, there would be slight more mention of other people who were native to that Land that dominated the culture, religion, agriculture, technology, language, etc of the area.   Too much to bite off for me personally.  

4 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Depends on how you define "the land", which is the bound given in all the descriptions of the post-visitation peace and which the Book of Mormon uses to describe lands of varying scale. The only city mentioned by name is Zarahemla, with other cities round about being mentioned in passing. The land of Nephi, or any other lands, is not alluded to.

Fair enough, but Christ was taught for around 600 years before that time throughout the area in a fairly predominant church among the Nephites at different times - surely we would find something about this, some Hebrew, some 10 commandments, some Jewish religion...  When someone discovers written Hebrew (which they both spoke and wrote fairly unchanged for probably several centuries at least), the 10 commandments, other Hebrew religious texts and religious influence, and Christianity as practiced in the Book of Mormon - I will be a little more open.  While Christians may not have been dominant, they were not a small group and the commandments were well known.  The church leaders were also government leaders.  They had temples built up unto the Lord.  One would expect to see some of this.  Somewhere.  

4 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Again, "loose historicity". I think there were Jaredites, Mulekites, and Lehites, but they probably were not huge polities and I'm not married to Mesoamerica because, again, my theory of interpretation allows for mistranslation, rhetorical adaptation, etc. So much BoM geography hay is made out of the vague descriptions in Alma 22 and I'm not even sure we can be confident those were "translated right" - a slipped word here or there would blast the whole map to hell. The only facts I'm really married to are the real existence of the plates, Moroni, and the belief that something akin to the general narrative of the BoM occurred. "Based on a true story", if you will. But the actions of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young regarding the BoM text are what really put me off of a "precise translation" model, because they clearly believed that the Book could in many material respects be different from its original translation were it to be translated again. Samuel Morris Brown's work has influenced me a great deal in this regard, especially his The Language of Heaven: Prolegomenon to the Study of Smithian Translation

As an aside, it is not apologist cope to say that ancient cultures really did conceive of and describe the world around them in very different ways than we do with our post-Enlightenment atmosphere and satellite maps. We're all about precision and they were manifestly not. The most vivid example I can think of is the oldest known map - the Babylonian Map of the World. It's no older than the 9th century BC though it might be a bit younger than that. This passed for a map back then. So if the Book of Mormon deviates from geographical or anthropological precision, its in good company even before you factor in translation. 

So you see the Book of Mormon as an inspired book of fiction, with some loose historical elements.  Is that fair?   This approach conveniently allows one to ignore any difficulties with historical scholarship not aligning with the text, and to be able point to any similarities (if one squints enough) to count as evidence of loose historicity.  As I mentioned, I think that is going to likely become the popular approach unless a better historical model/location is determined.  Am I correct in assuming that the only reason that you hold to a loose historicity is because of the gold plates and Moroni, largely, correct?  Without those, you probably would have no problem dismissing the historicity all together and favoring an inspired, non-historical, text.  Is that correct?

It sounds like your approach is a hybrid of taking the historicity theory of the gold plates and mingling it with the theory of an inspired fictional text (as posited by tagriffy in the other thread).  What implications would this model have?  As with every theory it leaves many unanswered questions, so I guess it is as good as any other, but it does still appear to me like painting targets around arrows in a very convenient and unfalsifiable way.  There is no evidence that can harm your theory.  It is entirely malleable to fit any evidence or lack of evidence, and in that way it is equally bulletproof but also lacking any real heft. 

Even with a loose historicity, if three different groups of Jews landed in mesoamerica in the period of the mayans, and built civilizations there with temples etc., I would expect some evidence that has sticking power which is convincing to non-Mormon scholars.

Edited by pogi
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8 minutes ago, pogi said:

I don't accept that as a possibility.  They may have had some new/original innovation in certain areas (just like we have seen with technology in the US), but it wasn't influenced by nothing.  It wasn't innovated in a vacuum.   The larger culture, diet, language, etc. did not come from nowhere.  There is clear evidence of evolution over thousands of years with corn, for example.  Pottery.  Language. Religion.  Etc.  These people didn't come out of a black hole.  There is history. 

"Unnamed and unknown predecessors" is not the same as a "vacuum".   Isn't that exactly what I suggested.  Show me where scholars suggest otherwise.  Whoever those predecessor where, their religion, art, culture, language, agricultural practices resemble other native practices more than Jews. 

I wouldn't consider that a flaw on my part, but a flaw of the Book of Mormon narrative if what you suggest is true.  Either that or it represents a desperate attempt to make the historicity viable despite the glaring lack of mention in the book of other people - another seeming example of painting targets around arrows.   Nothing in the narrative about encountering relatively advanced civilizations with established agricultural practices and city planning, etc.  No mention of intercourse with the native culture/customs/language/technology/religion.  Strange that they place a huge emphasis on finding an extinct Jaredite civilization (couldn't be the Olmec people because they didn't go extinct) and the Mulekites, but no real mention of intercourse with the population that already existed there.  Strange indeed! 

A lot of war between the Nephites and laminates over a millennia.  No other groups ever attacked the Nephites?  Just the Lamanites?  Weird no other groups are mention that they warred against over a thousand years.  You would think that over that much time, there would be slight more mention of other people who were native to that Land that dominated the culture, religion, agriculture, technology, language, etc of the area.   Too much to bite off for me personally.  

Fair enough, but Christ was taught for around 600 years before that time throughout the area in a fairly predominant church among the Nephites at different times - surely we would find something about this, some Hebrew, some 10 commandments, some Jewish religion...  When someone discovers written Hebrew (which they both spoke and wrote fairly unchanged for probably several centuries at least), the 10 commandments, other Hebrew religious texts and religious influence, and Christianity as practiced in the Book of Mormon - I will be a little more open.  While Christians may not have been dominant, they were not a small group and the commandments were well known.  The church leaders were also government leaders.  They had temples built up unto the Lord.  One would expect to see some of this.  Somewhere.  

So you see the Book of Mormon as an inspired book of fiction, with some loose historical elements.  Is that fair?   This approach conveniently allows one to ignore any difficulties with historical scholarship not aligning with the text, and to be able point to any similarities (if one squints enough) to count as evidence of loose historicity.  As I mentioned, I think that is going to likely become the popular approach unless a better historical model/location is determined.  Am I correct in assuming that the only reason that you hold to a loose historicity is because of the gold plates and Moroni, largely, correct?  Without those, you probably would have no problem dismissing the historicity all together and favoring an inspired, non-historical, text.  Is that correct?

It sounds like your approach is a hybrid of taking the historicity theory of the gold plates and mingling it with the theory of an inspired fictional text (as posited by tagriffy in the other thread).  What implications would this model have?  As with every theory it leaves many unanswered questions, so I guess it is as good as any other, but it does still appear to me like painting targets around arrows in a very convenient and unfalsifiable way.  There is no evidence that can harm your theory.  It is entirely malleable to fit any evidence or lack of evidence, and in that way it is equally bulletproof and lacking any weight. 

 

Kind of reminds me of Blake Ostler's "modern expansion" theory that Joseph Smith had some sort of basic text that he expanded on to make it more applicable to our day. Of course, that leaves me with the question: how much of it is modern expansion? 10%? 40%? 80%? 100%? It just seems like you really have to do a lot of parsing and fudging to make the text work as ancient American history. 

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1 hour ago, pogi said:

It sounds like your approach is a hybrid of taking the historicity theory of the gold plates and mingling it with the theory of an inspired fictional text (as posited by tagriffy in the other thread).  What implications would this model have?  As with every theory it leaves many unanswered questions, so I guess it is as good as any other, but it does still appear to me like painting targets around arrows in a very convenient and unfalsifiable way.  There is no evidence that can harm your theory.  It is entirely malleable to fit any evidence or lack of evidence, and in that way it is equally bulletproof but also lacking any real heft.

Personally I think its the best fit for the stated mission of the Book of Mormon, the circumstances surrounding its translation, and the way Joseph Smith himself dealt with the text. Plus I really don't buy reductionism so...*shrug*. Do what thou wilt with it. 

Arguments about what we should properly expect have been done before and I'm not interested in going around that carousel again. 

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15 hours ago, pogi said:

The fact that the Nephites did seem to make up new words for unfamiliar animals (curlom and cumom) suggests that it could go either way.

This is such a strange suggestion to me. If these were Nephite words, then why didn't they get translated into English? The text doesn't require that they are Nephite words - they may well be words that were (in some way) transliterated into the language of the Gold Plates and then the translation of the Gold plates effectively maintained that transliteration, in which case, it could be that Mormon/Moroni had no idea what these animals were (other than that they were "useful unto man". In any case, I don't think that this isolated example is helpful.

15 hours ago, pogi said:

It seems to be a fairly common form of translation if I am to believe Hamba Tuhan's post above.  

No - you seem to have misunderstood Hamba. Hamba is suggesting that the situation that is common is what we see with Marco Polo or the notion of the Nephite's expanding the definition of their own words to include meanings from the environment they encountered. This is what Hamba means when he discusses "contact literature". When this kind of literature is translated into English, we observe these kinds of problems frequently. But the translation NEVER introduces the loanshift - that occurs only in the source documents.

15 hours ago, pogi said:

He started floating around this ideas as early as 1984.  It is a fairly common argument and predates the argument the type of loanshifting by the Nephites that you suggest, as far as I am aware. 

Loanshifting? Or bad translation? How would you distinguish between the two in Sorenson's model here? Sorenson later abandoned the idea that Joseph might have been responsbile through his translation (likely for reasons that include some of what I have mentioned here). This is from his 2013 Mormon's Codex:

Quote

In explaining how Amerindian peoples conferred names on Spanish and Portuguese cattle when they first saw them, Kiddle pointed out four kinds of solutions to the naming problem. Upon encountering the new species, they (1) gave the animal a descriptive name, (2) used the name of a familiar animal they considered the new species to resemble, (3) combined the foreign name with a native term that indicated the animal’s origin (e.g., “Spanish deer”), (4) adopted the (often-distorted) foreign name borrowed from the newcomers 67 (e.g., Mayan wacash [cattle], derived from Spanish vacas ). 68 The Lehites would have been limited to the same kinds of solutions when immediately after their landing they found various strange “beasts in the forests of every kind” (1 Nephi 18:25). They labeled some of those as “the cow and the ox, and the *** and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat.” Since the animals known by those names in their West Asian homeland seem not to have been present in nature in coastal Mesoamerica (or, probably, anywhere else in the New World), the Lehites would have followed one or more of the processes Kiddle described in adapting their Hebrew nomenclature to apply to the new fauna they encountered. Elsewhere I have identified plausible species of American animals that might fit with each of the English terms used in 1 Nephi 18:25 to translate the Nephite names for those animals.

See how he has attributed everything back to the Nephites in the context of what Hamba calls "contact literature"? There isn't a reasonable explanation of why Joseph Smith would translate two different words from the Gold Plates as "horse" when one of them meant horse (in the original context) and one of them meant something else entirely.

16 hours ago, pogi said:

Thanks for attempting to explain, but I honestly don't see any good reason to rule out loanshifting on the part of Joseph Smith.   

And I see no rational or logical reason to accept it. I still think you are confused about what is going on here.

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5 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

This is such a strange suggestion to me. If these were Nephite words, then why didn't they get translated into English? The text doesn't require that they are Nephite words - they may well be words that were (in some way) transliterated into the language of the Gold Plates and then the translation of the Gold plates effectively maintained that transliteration, in which case, it could be that Mormon/Moroni had no idea what these animals were (other than that they were "useful unto man". In any case, I don't think that this isolated example is helpful.

I think it is an interesting question.  You can dismiss it if you want, but I don't find your explanation helpful or convincing.  "Transliterated" from what?  The brass plates?  I thought you said that the Nephites would have practiced semantic expansion of the language from the brass plates, in which case Moroni should know what those words/animals were, just like "cow", "horse", "goat", "wheat", etc.  If they were "the most useful" animals, surely Mormon and Moroni would have known what those animals were.  Honestly, I don't care if they were "Nephite" words or "transliterated" words, it doesn't really matter what the original language was.  The fact that there is not an English translation for them is a little confounding to me and a matter of curiosity.  Because, if the Book of Mormon is indeed an actual "translation" by the "gift and power of God", why does it matter if Mormon/Moroni had no idea what these words/animals were - my question is, why didn't Joseph Smith know?  His gift of "translation" was clearly not limited to the dialect/language of Mormon and Moroni.  He had the gift of translating ancient and unknown languages.   

5 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

No - you seem to have misunderstood Hamba. Hamba is suggesting that the situation that is common is what we see with Marco Polo or the notion of the Nephite's expanding the definition of their own words to include meanings from the environment they encountered. This is what Hamba means when he discusses "contact literature". When this kind of literature is translated into English, we observe these kinds of problems frequently. But the translation NEVER introduces the loanshift - that occurs only in the source documents.

I can see where I misunderstood now. 

Is this not an example of what I am describing though:

Quote

Translators find that in certain cases, “one may have to employ a term for something belonging to quite a different species, but having some of the same essential features.”34  No one solution is always completely satisfactory.

https://interpreterfoundation.org/blog-animals-in-the-book-of-mormon-challenges-and-perspectives/

 

5 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

Loanshifting? Or bad translation? How would you distinguish between the two in Sorenson's model here?

It is loanshifting by definition.  According to you a loanshift would be an example of a bad translation, so there would be no difference.  It is not like Joseph Smith understood the rules of scholarly translation, or that loanshifting was a no-no.   He wasn't even using the goldplates in the process, so thinking of the process akin to a scholarly "translation" is far from what actually happened. 

5 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

Sorenson later abandoned the idea that Joseph might have been responsbile through his translation (likely for reasons that include some of what I have mentioned here). This is from his 2013 Mormon's Codex:

See how he has attributed everything back to the Nephites in the context of what Hamba calls "contact literature"?

Quote

Literary: The zoological reference in verse 10 is to lions. While the phrase is completely understandable in English, it is not accurate to portray lions in Mesoamerica. In that area of the world the big cat was a jaguar. What we probably have in this case is Joseph substituting a know animal (out of place) for an animal which was also a big cat. In other words, the underlying text should have been "jaguar" but the translation would be "lion." It is easier to see this as a mislabeling on Joseph's part than that the Mesoamericans would fail to correctly identify a jaguar.

https://bookofmormon.online/commentary/1217504101

Quote

“For the Bible translator perhaps no aspect of his work is more complex, confusing, and time consuming than the problems encountered in attempting to render satisfactorily the terms for differing plants and animals of the Scriptures.”28  Edward Hope observes, “In the Old Testament it is extremely difficult to decide with any certainty the animals (or birds) referred to by their Hebrew names. In some cases the range of suggestions is staggering.”29  One challenge has to do with identifying the animals named in the Hebrew text. One approach is to simply follow previous translations. This, however, “sometimes introduces into the text animals which were not found in Biblical times in the ancient Middle East, as far as we know.”30   Still, this may at times be the best approach, hence, “a translator should, carefully consider the existing tradition in translating, that is, the practice of other translations of the Scriptures into this receptor language.”31  Similarly, Joseph Smith may have simply followed the King James rendering of animal terms for some Book of Mormon animals, even if the association with some animals in the American land of promise may not have been precise.

https://interpreterfoundation.org/blog-animals-in-the-book-of-mormon-challenges-and-perspectives/

I am not kidding when I have said that I have seen this argument used by apologist.  You may not agree with the argument, but one shouldn't insist that apologists "never" use it.  I have personally seen/heard it a lot (hence my comment).  It is often called a "loose translation" by apologists where Joseph uses familiar terms for unfamiliar things he may have encountered in the text.

5 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

There isn't a reasonable explanation of why Joseph Smith would translate two different words from the Gold Plates as "horse" when one of them meant horse (in the original context) and one of them meant something else entirely.

I think it would be perfectly reasonable for Joseph to use loanshifting for animals that he didn't have a good English word for in his vocabulary, if he ever encountered such an animal in his translation (or whatever you want to call the process of what he did). 

5 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

And I see no rational or logical reason to accept it. I still think you are confused about what is going on here.

I don't think I am confused other than misunderstanding Hamba's comment.   

Look, Joseph apparently "translated" golden plates that he never referenced, but instead burred his head in a hat with a scrying stone in it.  If you are trying to make this follow "logical" and scholarly rules of translation, I think you are going to run into just a few problems.  I am not insisting that you accept the idea of Joseph using loanshifting, but to dismiss it outright for no good reason doesn't seem wise to me.  I think people need to be more open minded and not rule out possibilities when there is no good reason to. 

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18 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Personally I think its the best fit for the stated mission of the Book of Mormon, the circumstances surrounding its translation, and the way Joseph Smith himself dealt with the text. Plus I really don't buy reductionism so...*shrug*. Do what thou wilt with it. 

I think it is as good as any approach I can think of.  It certainly checks a lot of boxes.  If it works for you, run with it.  With this model however, I am not sure why anyone would feel persuaded to defend the historicity of the Book of Mormon in any way, since there is no way of knowing what is historical and what is inspired fiction.   It wouldn't make sense to argue with people who have a problem with the historicity of the Book of Mormon, trying to prove that it makes sense in any specific historical context (because there is no context under your model). 

19 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Arguments about what we should properly expect have been done before and I'm not interested in going around that carousel again. 

Without knowing what is actually historical and what is not, there is no good solid historical reference to know what one "should properly expect" and argue from anyway.   

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2 hours ago, pogi said:

"Transliterated" from what?  The brass plates?

Cureloms and Cumoms are identified as coming from the Jaredite record. So they would not come from the Brass Plates. We have claims of some sort of additional translation process - although what that means is even less explicit than we have with Joseph Smith and the gold plates. Much of Ether isn't from the Jaredite record at all - there isn't a clear demarcation between translation and editorializing.

2 hours ago, pogi said:

He had the gift of translating ancient and unknown languages.   

Not necessarily in the sense that we understand translation. Joseph may have functioned as merely a reader. Any translation that goes on in that case, goes on in the proverbial black box, and Joseph merely reads the text that he sees - which is already in English. This is, of course, part of the problem. In any case, the translation is a poor one by our standards today.

2 hours ago, pogi said:

Is this not an example of what I am describing though:

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Translators find that in certain cases, “one may have to employ a term for something belonging to quite a different species, but having some of the same essential features.”34  No one solution is always completely satisfactory.

https://interpreterfoundation.org/blog-animals-in-the-book-of-mormon-challenges-and-perspectives/

It may be an example of what you are describing, but it isn't loanshifting. Let's go for a slightly longer excerpt from the cited text (which isn't one I would have used - because it isn't dealing with this sort of situation):

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On the other hand, one may often have to employ a term for something belonging to quite a different species, but having some of the same essential features. For example, "cedar" in the Scriptures refers to a wood which was aromatic and greatly valued for construction. (In reality, the English term cedar is often, in current usage, applied to wood which is produced by cypresses, junipers, and even certain tropical trees completely unrelated to cedars. ) Accordingly, many translators have employed a term which designates this type of prized timber (and the corresponding trees) rather than attempt to borrow a word such as cedar, which would not have meaning to the people.

This isn't loanshifting (or lexical expansion). It is, rather, something opposite of that. Our standard definition of loanshifting is "The situation in which a word changes or extends its meaning under the influence of another language." What this is discussing is the problem that occurs because in translation, we don't always have a exact correspondence between terms. Sometimes, a word (in this case "cedar") may have a series of connotations that aren't included in the normally used translation of that word in a different language. What the UBS guide suggests here is that sometimes it may be preferable to use a different word that more accurately reflects the meaning intended in the original language rather than the traditional translation which will lose information (in either case, you lose information - the UBS argues here that its preferable to privilege function over form).

In the application to the question here, this is the idea that there is some word on the Gold Plates which normally would be translated X, but has some connotations in context in the Book of Mormon that cause X to be an inadequate translation, and so the better choice is to maintain the meaning of the word by using 'horse'. The term 'horse,' in this context is used precisely because it has a meaning to begin with, and that meaning is useful in translating the foreign language text in a way that maintains the meaning of the original source text. It is important to understand here that the word 'horse' never changes meaning. And because it never changes meaning, it cannot be considered an example of loanshifting.

Similarly, the UBS guide explains how to deal with idioms that don't exist in both languages:

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Similarly, in talking about "wolves in sheep's clothing," some translators have used "fierce animals looking like tame animals." On the other hand, for this type of idiomatic saying, some languages already possess a well-established equivalent, e. g. "leopards looking like goats."

Here there is substitution (which is what you describe) but not loanshifting. For loanshifting to occur, the meaning of the language has to change. To make a clearer example let's say that hypothetically, the Nephites brought some horses with them from the Old World. In the New World, they found other animals which functioned in some way similar to the horse. Rather than inventing a new term for these new animals, they also call them horses (albeit somewhat strange horses). The meaning of the word "horse" has changed. And so we have loanshifting.

As an aside, I would never cite the UBS guide for its value in translational theory. As the guide itself notes, its purpose is to help translators provide the biblical text in as many different languages as possible - while staying true to the theological truth of the text. This is why the guide favors function over form - even at the cost of losing material in the text. The goal is primarily theological and not necessarily an accurate translation in the sense we normally use the term.

3 hours ago, pogi said:

It is loanshifting by definition.  According to you a loanshift would be an example of a bad translation, so there would be no difference.  It is not like Joseph Smith understood the rules of scholarly translation, or that loanshifting was a no-no.   He wasn't even using the goldplates in the process, so thinking of the process akin to a scholarly "translation" is far from what actually happened. 

I think you still have a very bad understanding of what loanshifting is.

As far as what I think happened - you should really read my presentation on translation. Texts are texts. Just because we claim that there was some magic box process that converts one text to another doesn't meant that the text functions in some new and mysterious way that no text has ever done before. It isn't a "scholarly translation" I am discussing - I am talking about the issue of representing one text in another. And that happens here (assuming that the Book of Mormon is an authentic translation) no matter how it happens. Like all texts, we read the Book of Mormon just as we read any text. It has to be written for a specific audience (just like any other text). And so on. There isn't some privilege that we can give the Book of Mormon that suddenly means that it doesn't have to work the way that every other text works.

I don't think that loanshifting (or my preferred term semantic expansion) is unreasonable. I think that it is unnecessary. It is only a necessary feature when certain assumptions are made about the text and the translation - and I don't buy into those assumptions. But, if those assumptions are true, then almost certainly loanshifting happened. Only, I argue, it cannot happen with Joseph Smith (by definition), it must have happened in the source texts.

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57 minutes ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

Here there is substitution (which is what you describe) but not loanshifting. For loanshifting to occur, the meaning of the language has to change. To make a clearer example let's say that hypothetically, the Nephites brought some horses with them from the Old World. In the New World, they found other animals which functioned in some way similar to the horse. Rather than inventing a new term for these new animals, they also call them horses (albeit somewhat strange horses). The meaning of the word "horse" has changed. And so we have loanshifting.

If I am understanding you correctly, it is sounds like you are saying that it is considered loanshifting for a Nephite to use a familiar term for an unfamiliar animal/object, but it is not considered loanshifting for Joseph Smith to do the exact same thing.  In either case, the meaning of the word "horse" has changed to include an unfamiliar animal in that particular context.  Perhaps I am super dense and the only one struggling to see a difference, but I don't see the difference. 

 

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12 hours ago, pogi said:

If I am understanding you correctly, it is sounds like you are saying that it is considered loanshifting for a Nephite to use a familiar term for an unfamiliar animal/object, but it is not considered loanshifting for Joseph Smith to do the exact same thing.  In either case, the meaning of the word "horse" has changed to include an unfamiliar animal in that particular context.  Perhaps I am super dense and the only one struggling to see a difference, but I don't see the difference. 

No. It has nothing to do with the way that someone might "use a familiar term for an unfamiliar animal/object". Loanshifting is about how the meaning of words change. Even if Joseph Smith uses a familiar word to describe an unfamiliar object, unless the meaning of that familiar word changes, you cannot have loanshifting. And when Joseph Smith does this in the context of translation of the Book of Mormon, the meaning of the word hasn't changed at all. This is in part because if the source text has something that is completely unfamiliar (that would require such a substitution), that original meaning is now lost to us as readers and is completely unrecoverable. The word 'horse' in this context cannot have two different definitions because only one meaning can be defined, and the other one can't. So we only have one meaning for the word horse. And because of this, loanshifting doesn't happen.

This is also why, in general theory, loanshifting is never a function of translation. Language simply doesn't work this way.

Edited by Benjamin McGuire
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5 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

No. It has nothing to do with the way that someone might "use a familiar term for an unfamiliar animal/object".

Yet, that is exactly how apologists have used and defined the term -

Quote

 

A second approach is to view such references as a possible example of what linguists call loan shift, in which Lehi's family may have applied a familiar name to an unfamiliar animal.

https://bookofmormoncentral.org/qa/why-does-the-book-of-mormon-mention-horses

 

Quote

history is full of examples of migrants using terms they are familiar with to describe foreign plants or animals—a phenomenon often called loanshifting.

https://evidencecentral.org/recency/evidence/attestation-of-sheum

I agree with them.

5 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

Loanshifting is about how the meaning of words change. Even if Joseph Smith uses a familiar word to describe an unfamiliar object, unless the meaning of that familiar word changes, you cannot have loanshifting.

If Joseph Smith did indeed do this, then the meaning of the word "horse" has indeed changed in that context.  If he did this, then the meaning has expanded under his translation to include another animal and thus another meaning, whether we realize it or not.  There is no definition of "loanshift" which suggests that the reader must understand that a loanshift, or meaning change, took place in any particular context.  

5 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

And when Joseph Smith does this in the context of translation of the Book of Mormon, the meaning of the word hasn't changed at all. This is in part because if the source text has something that is completely unfamiliar (that would require such a substitution), that original meaning is now lost to us as readers and is completely unrecoverable. And when Joseph Smith does this in the context of translation of the Book of Mormon, the meaning of the word hasn't changed at all.

Yes, the meaning of the word in this context DID indeed change because a "horse" in this context, again, is not a "horse" as we understand it at all.  That would irrefutably constitute a change or expansion in meaning in this particular context. 

It doesn't matter if the original meaning is lost to the reader.   Having the original source document wouldn't change that fact that the expansion of meaning was applied in any particular context, it would only prove that it did indeed take place. 

I think you are making some serious assumptions that the general public has to understand that the meaning of a word has changed in any particular context before it can be called loanshifting.  That idea simply is not supported by any definition that I have seen.   Even if Joseph Smith is the only one who knows that he changed/expanded the meaning of "horse" in this context, the meaning was still changed by him to include something foreign to him - aka loanshifting.  That is exactly what the Nephites did too.  No difference.  Whether it is one person who applies the change/loanshift, two people, 50 people, a village, an entire country, or an entire shift in meaning for all people in all countries who speak a particular language - it is all loanshifting with changes in scope only.  There is no requirements as to scope that I can see anywhere.  That is an unwritten rule that you are creating from nothing. 

If change in meaning is all that is required, as you suggest, then if Joseph did this the meaning of "horse" irrefutably changed in this context.   It doesn't matter if we have the original source or not.  It doesn't matter if the reader realizes it.   Having the source would help prove that a loanshift actually took place, but not having it doesn't disprove it or disqualify it in anyway.    

5 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

This is in part because if the source text has something that is completely unfamiliar (that would require such a substitution), that original meaning is now lost to us as readers and is completely unrecoverable. The word 'horse' in this context cannot have two different definitions because only one meaning can be defined, and the other one can't.

CFR that the reader has to understand what the original source and meaning is for a loanshift to have taken place. 

I never understood that "Easter" is a loanshift word that originally meant something else in relation to a pagan holiday until researching this subject.   Lets suggest that somehow the original source/history/meaning for the original "Easter" was somehow lost - did a loanshift take place even if the original source and meaning was somehow lost to history?  Of course.  The reader doesn't have to know, or have access to, this history for it to have taken place.  

 

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2 minutes ago, pogi said:

Yet, that is exactly how apologists have used and defined the term -

Then either the apologists are wrong, or you are misreading them (I tend to believe its the second choice here at this point - but I also believe that many apologists often do not understand all of the subtleties of the things they pick up - and I speak on this with personal experience as a reviewer for articles submitted for publication).

3 minutes ago, pogi said:

I agree with them.

So do I. But this isn't what you are describing with the Book of Mormon translation. They are two entirely different things. I keep trying to point this out, and you keep on saying exactly the same thing. I note that your quote says 'migrants' - plural. A shift in language is never evidenced in a single, isolated statement or text. "Migrants using terms they are familiar with to describe foreign plants or animals," means that they are (as a community) giving their word an additional meaning - and this community understands the shift. This isn't happening in the translation of the Book of Mormon - and in fact it cannot happen because unlike the migrants, there isn't a multilingual population which understands the language of the gold plates.

4 minutes ago, pogi said:

If Joseph Smith did indeed do this, then the meaning of the word "horse" has indeed changed in that context.  If he did this, then the meaning has expanded under his translation to include another animal and thus another meaning, whether we realize it or not.  There is no definition of "loanshift" which suggests that the reader must understand that a loanshift, or meaning change, took place in any particular context.  

If Joseph did this, then he hasn't given the word "horse" a new meaning in that context. If you believe that he has, then you need to provide that new meaning. What is it? Again, you have it backwards. Joseph isn't adding meaning to the word "horse". There is no difference between what you are describing here as a "loanshift" and a simple substitution. But loanshifting isn't simple substitution.

8 minutes ago, pogi said:

I think you are making some serious assumptions that the general public has to understand that the meaning of a word has changed in any particular context before it can be called loanshifting.  That idea simply is not supported by any definition that I have seen. 

Then you have been looking in all the wrong places.

13 minutes ago, pogi said:

 Even if Joseph Smith is the only one who knows that he changed/expanded the meaning of "horse" in this context, the meaning was still changed by him to include something foreign to him - aka loanshifting.

No. It's not loanshifting.

37 minutes ago, pogi said:

CFR that the reader has to understand what the original source and meaning is for a loanshift to have taken place.

I thought you would never ask ... if these sources seem a bit eclectic, it is because I don't have immediate access to my personal library (I can come up with more if you need it with a little time) -

The first issue goes back to the challenge of definition. The standard easy to see definition of loanshift is:

Quote

a change in the meaning of a word under the influence of another language (as when a word meaning "pedal extremity" acquires also the meaning "12-inch unit of length" under the influence of English "foot") also : a word that has undergone such a change in meaning

Using a word differently is not "a change in the meaning of a word". This is a part of the problem I am having with you here. Joseph Smith doesn't create a "change in the meaning of a word". If he is doing as you suggest, then he is using a word to reflect a different meaning - but this is personal to him. Loanshift is a term used to describe a change in language. It is not used to refer to how an individual may use (or misuse) that language. The term Loanshift was first defined relative to this linguistic change in languages in 1950 by Eric Haugen. Haugen wrote (p. 219):

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Loanshifts. Some foreign words appear in the language only as changes in the usage of native words. Such changes will here be classified as 'shifts,' which will be made to include all changes that are not strictly phonological and grammatical. Complete substitution of native morphemes has taken place.

Alexander Onysko, in his 2007 Anglicisms in German explains it this way (p. 35):

Quote

Haugen also distinguishes between three dimensions of borrowing: (a) loanwords, (b) loanblends, and (c) loanshifts (1950:214-15). Though named differently, these categories partly relate to the concepts proposed by Betz. For Haugen, a loanword shows morphemic importation without substitution but possibly phonemic adaption (cf. foreign word/assimilated loanword in Betz), loanblends are partial substitutions (i.e. hybrid terms), and loanshifts are characterized by total substitution with native elements as in the examples of loan formation and loan meaning.

A little later, he adds (36-37):

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frequency of occurrence is the major qualifying criterion. Thus, an embedded language (EL) lexical item which occurs only once in a corpus of considerable size would generally not qualify as a borrowing.

This is part of a distinction between two related ideas - language borrowing and code switching (language borrowing is a type of code switching). But the point is clear - you don't actually have borrowing unless you see it in many places. In a similar fashion, Martin Haspelmath and Uri Tadmor explain in their 2009 book Loanwords in the World's Languages: A Comparative Handbook (pp. 38, 40-41):

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Note, finally, that the term borrowing refers to a completed language change, a diachronic process that once started as an individual innovation but has been propagated throughout the speech community.

...

From the point of view of an entire language (not that of a single speaker), a loanword is a word that can conventionally be used as part of the language. In particular, it can be used in situations where no code-switching occurs, e.g. in the speech of monolinguals. This is the simplelest and most reliable criterion for distinguishing loanwords from single-word switches.

But, it is often the case that the whole speech community is blinigual, so that code-switching may always occur. In such circumstances, the frequency criterion is useful: If particular concepts are very frequently or regularly expressed by a word originating in another language, while other concepts show a lot of variability, then the first group can be considered loanwords, while the second group are switches (cf. Myers-Scotton 1993: 191-204).

 

Assuming Joseph Smith is adding meaning to the word "horse" in his translation, it isn't a borrowing yet but an innovation. It would need to catch on in the language to become a borrowing or a loanshift. A much more detailed description can be found in Angeliki Alvanoudi's recent (2017) article "Language contact, borrowing and code switching A case study of Australian Greek" (Journal of Greek Linguistics 18(1):1-42). I have bolded a couple of things for further discussion.

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Lexical borrowing involves the transfer of lexical material from the source language into the recipient language. Lexical borrowings are divided into loanwords and loanshifts (Winford 2003, 45, cf. Haugen 1953). Loanwords are lexical items in which all or part of the morphemic composition of the loan derives from the source language. Loanshifts are lexical items whose morphemic composition is entirely native and whose meaning derives at least in part from the source language.

The basic mechanism through which forms and constructions travel from the source language into the recipient language is code switching (cf. Heath 1989; Gardner-Chloros 2008, 60; Thomason 2001, 132–133). While borrowing constitutes a completed contact-induced change, switching from one language to another constitutes a “contact-induced speech behavior” (Haspelmath 2009, 40) that occurs extensively in the talk of bilinguals. In broad terms, code switching is defined as “the alternate use by bilinguals of two or more languages in the same conversation” (Milroy and Muysken 1995, 7), between turns of different speakers, between turn constructional units within a single turn, or within the same turn constructional unit. Code switching covers a wide range of patterns that have been identified by Auer (1995, 124–125), as in the following:

...

 

The definition of loanshifting includes the idea that information from one language is moved into another language through contact - usually by a group of bilingual speakers. What we don't have with Joseph Smith is a change in the language. It doesn't exist. And no one who reads the Book of Mormon (and this potentially includes Joseph Smith himself) understands the term "horse" by the definition that comes from the source language. Not only is this the case, but it is also the case that there is no textual anomaly that would require us to read the word "horse" in the Book of Mormon as meaning something other than what the term horse means in English (as found in any English dictionary). The reason why Easter is considered by some to be a loanshift is that the word meant one thing in the past (it referred to pagan celebrations). After contact with Christians it began to be used to also refer to Christian celebrations. And today, we have (since we are no longer, generally speaking, pagans) ditched the earlier meaning and kept the one that was influenced by the contact - everyone understands what Easter is. If a single writer had used the word Easter to describe a Christian celebration once, and then it never caught on - no one else used it in that way - it would never have been a language borrowing, and Easter would never have become a loanshifted term. A single author cannot create a loanshift. The term doesn't describe what an author (or a translator) does - it describes a connection between languages where one language borrows from another.

Finally (and to repeat myself) - translators are not generally innovators of language. Their job is not to create new meanings in language but to take one text and to reproduce it in another language in such a way that readers of that language will understand it. This idea of innovating language through borrowing defeats the entire conceptual purpose of translation. This is why I have repeated myself specifically about the nature of translation here in this thread. A translator doesn't create a loanshift through their translation.

This is the basis for my rejection of your claims and your definitions. You are welcome to provide any source that says otherwise from an academic linguistics text, and I will be happy to back down from my position.

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