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self, translation, knowledge

caleb.eckert's picture


OED: "In the sense of the Latin ipse. In concord with a n. or pron., to indicate emphatically that the reference is to the person or thing mentioned and not, or not merely, to some other."

Etymology: Common Germanic: Old English self strong, selfa weak, corresponds to Old Frisian self strong, selva weak, Old Saxon self strong, selƀo weak (Middle Low German sulf, self, silf, solf), Dutch zelf, weak -zelve, -zelfde, Old High German selp strong, selbo weak (Middle High German selp, selbe, modern German selb, selbe), Old Norse only strong sialf-r (Icelandic sjálfr, Swedish sjelv, Norwegian sjøl, sjølv, Danish selv), Gothic silba weak < Germanic *selƀo-, selƀon-. The ultimate etymology is obscure;... In Gothic and Scandinavian the primary sense (= Latin ipse) is the only one that exists; the sense of ‘same’, found in English and the other West Germanic languages, was developed from this in collocations where the notion of identity implied by a demonstrative was emphasized by the addition of self (thus the Old English se selfa man þe may be rendered either ‘the very man who’ or ‘the same man who’).

Medical Dictionary: "a term used to denote an animal's own antigenic constituents, in contrast to “nonself” (which denotes foreign antigenic constituents). The self constituents are metabolized without antibody formation, whereas the antigens that are nonself are eliminated through the immune response mechanism. It has been postulated that there is a mechanism of “self recognition” that enables the organism to distinguish between self and nonself."

Wolfram Alpha: "1) your consciousness or your own identity; 2) a person considered as a unique individual"

Thoughts & misc.:  Self looks to have been used in a wide variety of senses, though all pointing back to some aspect of indentification. In more philosophical definitions, self appears to be a solid thing to which emotional states are subjected, like a solid rock being beaten upon by the sea. The self connotes "ego" in both modern and philosophical terms alike. Uniformity (self silver, self-whiskey, self-fabric) and sameness seem to stick with its use as a prefix or on its own throughout. What's particularly interesting is that idea of sameness and identity being held together. Often identity is thought of as concrete and singular, when maybe that sameness may not be as strong/weak (as the etymology suggests) as we think it to be? At the same time, ipse was originally used to delineate a singular entity, nameable and identifiable, as the author—a tie between ideas and a fixation on identity? And what of the medical term, where "foreignness" or "nonself" is based on the self's (body's) response to the environment? Will it deem something a foreign pathogen, or recognize "other" as its own, its responsibility?



OED: "2b) The expression or rendering of something in another medium or form, e.g. of a painting by an engraving or etching"

Etymology:  < Old French translation (12th cent. in Godefroy Compl.), or < Latin translātiōn-em a transporting, translation, noun of action < translāt- , participial stem of transferre to transfer v.

Medical Dictionary: "The process whereby the genetic information on mRNA is “decoded” and converted into a coherent protein; tRNA converges on ribosomes packaged as rRNA and, at the behest of mRNA, dispenses amino acids to a growing polypeptide chain; protein synthesis is divided into initiation, elongation and termination steps, and the assembly of amino acids into polypeptides using the genetic information encoded in mRNA. The mRNA is “read” from the 5’ end to the 3’ end, with the protein being synthesised from the amino terminus to the carboxyl terminus."

Wolfram Alpha: "1) a written communication in a second language having the same meaning as the written communication in a first language; 2) a uniform movement without rotation"

Thoughts & misc.: Translation also has a history of indicating disease transferrence, as well as the transferrance of meaning from one thing to another. The word has strong ties to movement and change, stemming from "transfer" (to "bear across"). As OED says, trans is a Latin preposition for "across, to or on the farther side of, beyond, over". There's also an indication that translation was once used in the context of death, where an individual underwent "translation" into heaven. Then there's also the translation of energy and motion through mass, which has been used since the 1700s.



OED: "3a) The fact of knowing or being acquainted with a thing, person, etc.; acquaintance; familiarity gained by experience."

Etymology: Probably < know v. + late Old English -lec, apparently an alteration of either -lāc -lock suffix or -laik suffix (or the early Scandinavian etymon of the latter; compare Old Icelandic -leikr ), after Old English -lǣcan -leche suffix. The early predominance of the word in Danelaw areas perhaps lends weight to the identification of the altered suffix as -laik suffix or its etymon (-laik suffix is first attested in English at the end of the 12th cent.). Compare Old Icelandic kunnleikr knowledge, intelligence, intimacy, familiarity (also kunnleiki ; < kunnr couth adj. + -leikr -laik suffix), a partial semantic parallel of the English noun, and also (rare) knáleikr prowess, hardiness ( < knár hardy, vigorous ( < the same Germanic base as know v.) + -leikr -laik suffix). With the formation compare later wouhleche n., also a deverbal noun apparently formed with the same suffix. Compare later knowledge v., and see discussion at that entry. Compare also slightly later knowing n., which this word partly superseded.

Medical Dictionary: "the ability of a client to remember and interpret information."

Wolfram Alpha: "the psychological result of perception and learning and reasoning"

Thoughts & misc.: As the etymology states, knowledge likely comes from know and -lac, a compound that's roughly translated to "actions or proceedings, practice". Knowledge is then a practice or a procedure of knowing—not just what ensues after one "knows" but needs to be practiced as well. It is not static. Knowledge has gone back a long way as an action of acknowledgement or recognition. Knowledge can be intimate: "physical knowledge" or "knowledge of the body" has meant sexual intimacy or actions with someone. Still running with its roots, knowledge or "knowledges" were moments of appreheneded perceptions/intuitions. Wolfram Alpha's definition is equally as jumbled: what in the world is "the result of perception and learning and reason?" Is knowledge then more based in reason, or feeling/intuition? Or is it a chicken/egg scenario?




"self" in The Oxford English Dictionary

"self" in The Free Dictionary Medical Dictionary (via Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition)

"self" via Wolfram Alpha

"translation" in The Oxford English Dictionary

"translation" in The Free Dictionary Medical Dictionary (via Segen's Medical Dictionary)

"translation" via Wolfram Alpha

"knowledge" in The Oxford English Dictionary

"knowledge" in The Free Dictionary Medical Dictionary (via Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition)

"knowledge" via Wolfram Alpha