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What does atta mean?

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What does atta mean?

Postby SmileyDJingles » Tue 12.09.2008 1:31 am

Hi,

I got this verse out of my Japanese/English Bible. I thought would be an easier one to translate, and good practice. I've figured out what every thing but the atta means. What dose atta mean?

初めに、ことばがあった。 ことばは神とともにあった。 ことばは神であった。 John 1:1
hajime ni, kotoba wa atta. kotoba wa kami to tomo ni atta. kotoba wa kami de atta.

hajime= beginning
kotoba= word
kimi= God
tomo= together

This is the the English translation from my memory.
In the beginning was the word and the word was with God, and the word was God.
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Re: What dose atta mean?

Postby furrykef » Tue 12.09.2008 1:49 am

It's just the past tense of ある. "In the beginning, there was the word..."

(Also, you have "kotoba wa" for the first sentence, when it should be "kotoba ga".)

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Re: What dose atta mean?

Postby becki_kanou » Tue 12.09.2008 1:53 am

Also: 神 should be kami not kimi.

Are you just checking this one verse or trying to read the Bible? If you're unsure of the past tense, you're going to find the Bible nigh on impossible.
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Re: What dose atta mean?

Postby SmileyDJingles » Tue 12.09.2008 2:02 am

Oh, thank you!!!!! Oops, I knew I didn't remember 3 wa's in it. :roll:
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Re: What dose atta mean?

Postby SmileyDJingles » Tue 12.09.2008 2:18 am

Oops, again. I was sleepy. :oops:

I'm just checking this one verse. I've got a lot to learn before I can read the Bible. But that dosen't stop me from trying when I'm in church and half the page is Japanese just begging to be read. :wink:
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Re: What dose atta mean?

Postby furrykef » Tue 12.09.2008 4:45 am

While we're at it, I should probably mention that である is basically a formal version of です/だ, so であった in the last sentence is equivalent to でした/だった. In fact, だ is just a contraction of である. (です may similarly be a contraction of であります.)

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Re: What dose atta mean?

Postby nukemarine » Tue 12.09.2008 9:54 am

Shouldn't it be god (little g) since it's 神 and not 神様? I'm assuming that 神様 is the Japanese term for the Christian's term for their various gods that they like to call God?

Also, were ことば「言葉」 and とも「共」 actually done in kana?

Funny enough, I didn't look at the Romaji, so didn't quite get what was being talked about by Kef and Becki at first.
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Re: What does atta mean?

Postby becki_kanou » Tue 12.09.2008 10:21 am

nukemarine wrote:Shouldn't it be god (little g) since it's 神 and not 神様? I'm assuming that 神様 is the Japanese term for the Christian's term for their various gods that they like to call God?

Also, were ことば「言葉」 and とも「共」 actually done in kana?

Funny enough, I didn't look at the Romaji, so didn't quite get what was being talked about by Kef and Becki at first.


The English verse has God (big-G) which is the standard convention for English bibles. A quick google shows that some Japanese versions have ことば some have 言葉 and some have 言.
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Re: What dose atta mean?

Postby richvh » Tue 12.09.2008 10:29 am

Neither 神 nor 神様 explicitly reference the Christian God. (In the first chapter of 史上最強の弟子ケンイチ, the protagonist calls on 神様 when he sees a friend in a pinch, but there is no indication in the rest of the series that he is Christian (nor any other particular faith, for that matter.) In conversations with native speakers, it has been explained to me that 神様 often means "gods" in general.) However, in this context (John 1:1), 神 does translate God (or whatever term was in the original Greek.)
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Re: What dose atta mean?

Postby Denus » Tue 12.09.2008 11:03 am

From what I remember, the Japanese call the Statue of Liberty 自由の女神. It seems to me that the word 神 in Japanese is rather more dilute than the English word God.
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Re: What dose atta mean?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 12.09.2008 12:12 pm

While that may be true, in the context of this passage, "kami" should clearly be translated as "God" with a capital G.

The reason for "kotoba" being written in kana could be because of the peculiarity of the term Logos (or "Word") in this sense; sometimes kana are used to avoid linking a word too closely with the associations of specific Chinese characters.

"to tomo" is frequently written in kana.
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Re: What does atta mean?

Postby richvh » Tue 12.09.2008 12:28 pm

I changed the thread title before someone overdoses
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Re: What dose atta mean?

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 12.09.2008 12:42 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:While that may be true, in the context of this passage, "kami" should clearly be translated as "God" with a capital G.

The reason for "kotoba" being written in kana could be because of the peculiarity of the term Logos (or "Word") in this sense; sometimes kana are used to avoid linking a word too closely with the associations of specific Chinese characters.

"to tomo" is frequently written in kana.


Chris is quite correct. Kami or Kamisama is indeed God, regardless of what connotations Kami or Kamisama has to Shinto religions, in the Bible it is indeed God. Most of your Japanese Bibles are also a translation from German scripture and so have many comparisons to that language. Jehova is Ehoba, Jesus is Iesu (but that's more of a Greek/hebrew to German to Japanese) Jacob is Yakobu, John is Yohane, etc..

nukemarine wrote:Shouldn't it be god (little g) since it's 神 and not 神様? I'm assuming that 神様 is the Japanese term for the Christian's term for their various gods that they like to call God?
God is never referenced with a small g..
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Re: What does atta mean?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 12.09.2008 2:41 pm

Although it is a problem for translation into Japanese in that "gods" is used as well, i.e. in passages like:

"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Gen 5:5)
"Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" (Ex 15:11)
"And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken." (1 Kgs 18:24)
"Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" (Jn 10:34-36)

I'm not sure what the Japanese Bible does with these to represent the difference.
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Re: What does atta mean?

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 12.09.2008 2:44 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Although it is a problem for translation into Japanese in that "gods" is used as well, i.e. in passages like:

"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Gen 5:5)
"Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" (Ex 15:11)
"And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken." (1 Kgs 18:24)
"Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" (Jn 10:34-36)

I'm not sure what the Japanese Bible does with these to represent the difference.


I can look them up.. as I don't remember those exact scriptures (at least I don't have them memorized in Japanese) I seem to remember it being a different word though.. I might be misremembering..
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