Et Cum Spiritu Tuo?

’The Lord be with you. And also with you.’ (Not, ’and with your spirit’). The rendering of ’Et cum spiritu tuo’ in a sense which included the whole person raised eyebrows back then when it first came out. Had a fifth column of Anglo-Saxon, anti-metaphysician, logical positivists infiltrated ICEL some wondered! Since then I have laboured under a delusion. I thought that liturgical English was unique in this particularly ’dynamic equivalent’ translation. Another reason for my continuing delusion was that the indigenous South African languages also translate the Latin literally as ’And also with your spirit’. I recently discovered I was quite mistaken. At a gathering of some fellow African Jesuits I asked each of them how the translation was made in the various languages that they spoke (and, as is common in Africa, some spoke several). It turned out that English is by no means alone, and that ’And also with you’ is precisely how it is rendered in Swahili, Lingala, Shona, Acholi, Lango, Alur, Jonam and Chewa. Those with some knowledge of African languages will note that some of these, particularly Swahili and Lingala, are very widely spoken in areas of Africa with a large Catholic presence. Upon enquiring whether similar changes to those being proposed for liturgical English were being mooted for these African tongues, my confreres said they had not heard of any. Chris Chatteris, S.J.
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9 years 9 months ago
Could not the African-language translations have been influenced by the current English translation? Even though liturgical texts are supposed to be translated directly from the Latin (more strictly so nowadays), surely translators were aware of other translations?
9 years 9 months ago
One has to ask (well, This One does, anyway) what language source the translators used. I know, I know, the world doesn't revolve around the United States and the English language. Hmmm... well... Anyway. As a student, I sat through several years of Latin. How well I recall Amo, Amas, Amat, remember? So I was struck by your assertion that ''et cum spiritu tuo'' was translated properly to be anything other than ''and with your spirit.'' It might be idiomatic, and entirely acceptable, but it isn't accurate to say ''and also with you.'' Google to the rescue! http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/innews/0805.pdf page three of four (an exerpt of a larger document) deals directly with the change to the literal English ''and with your spirit.'' Looks like dynamic equivalency takes it on the chin. That's what's nice about a dead language. Cheers!

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