A Linguistic Case for the necessity of Enculturation in Theological and Economic Teaching based on the ‘Shape of Words’: including a case study comparing Sub-Saharan Africa with the West

Jim Harries (1)
(1) Christian Missionary to Africa, Kenya, Kenya

Abstract

Considering words and the areas of the mind that they impact as two-dimensional shapes forms the theoretical basis from which intercultural communication between the West and Sub-Saharan Africa are examined. Unique shapes of words are illustrated as arising from their meeting with equally unique 'impactible areas' of people's minds, and cultures, resulting in transmitted and received shapes differing in a way related to lexical content at both ends. Differences in overlap between word impacts, shapes of words and fit between words in different languages / cultures are shown to contribute to imprecision in translation, resulting in the recommendation that local policy be of local origin. The above is applied to Christian mission in Africa through diagrammatic representations of 'love' as a spiritual gift in comparison to fellow words, and by an inter-cultural consideration of public transport systems.

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References

Kempson, Ruth. M., 1977, Semantic Theory. Cambridge Textbooks In Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sperber, Dan, and Wilson, Deirdre, 1995, Relevance: communication and cognition (second edition). Oxford: Blackwell.

Steiner, George, 1998. After Babel. Aspects of Language and Translation. Third Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Venus, nd. ‘The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.’ http://venus.va.com.au/suggestion/sapir.html (accessed 30.03.02)

Authors

Jim Harries
jharries@africaonline.co.ke (Primary Contact)
Author Biography

Jim Harries, Christian Missionary to Africa, Kenya

Jim Harries Ph.D. (b. 1964) has served the church in Africa (first Zambia then Kenya) from 1988 to date, sent by Andover Baptist Church in UK. He has learned three African languages, two of which (Kiswahili and Dholuo) he continues to speak fluently. He uses these languages in the teaching of theology, reaching out especially to indigenously founded churches, while also teaching part-time at the Kima International School of Theology under Church of God (Anderson). He is the Chairman of the Alliance for Vulnerable Mission, that encourages Christian mission using the languages and resources of the people being reached.

Harries, J. (2008). A Linguistic Case for the necessity of Enculturation in Theological and Economic Teaching based on the ‘Shape of Words’: including a case study comparing Sub-Saharan Africa with the West. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 8(3), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v8i3.466

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