Monday, March 21, 2011

Substantive thoughts (Prov. 21:5)

A substantive is a noun based on an adjective. The quality of being hard is -- hardness, for example. Wet and wetness. Weak and weakness. Other examples are less predictable: high, height. Poor, poverty. Happy, happiness. Other languages employ the same technique of adding a suffix or infix to work that magic. The only word of Afrikaans most people instantly recognize adds their usual syllable -heid to the adjective apart (English equivalent, apart) to create the name of their distinctive social system, apartheid.

In Turkish, the syllable used to convert an adjective into a noun comes in four flavors:
  • -lık-
  • -lik-
  • -luk-
  • -lük-
Don't worry, you'll get used to this quirk of the language fairly early in your studies, and see these four varieties as the same. It's called "vowel harmony," and the appropriate syllable depends on the syllable before it.

Another short syllable with a big meaning comes in two flavors, -la- and -le- and means "with, by means of."

And that brings us to today's proverb:
Proverbs 21:5 Çalışkanın tasarıları hep bollukla, Her türlü acelecilik hep yoklukla sonuçlanır.
Çalışkanın is a word you'll soon master if you study the Book of Proverbs in Turkish, since it is one of the virtues most frequently celebrated in this guide for living well: informs us that it means diligent. energetic. industrious. sedulous. studious. hard-working.

My goodness, now THIS is fascinating. The Hebrew word translated into English as the hazy, indistinct and generic word thoughts has a more specialized, specific, and focused word in Turkish: tasarı, which means project. plan. scheme. bill. draught. design. proposal. set-up. bill. draft of a proposed law. written proposal. blueprint for action. draft. projection. schema. Now THAT is a cluster of words dear to a technical writer's heart!

And, let's look at the three substantives in this brief aphorism:
  • bollukla -- bol = abundant. plentiful. generous. plenty. full. rich. wealthy. loose. hefty. wide. baggy. abounding. affluent. ample. bounteous. bountiful. copious. effusive. exuberant. fecund. flush. handsome. hearty. lavish. liberal. lush. luxuriant. opulent. plenteous.
  • acelecilik -- hasty. hustler. impatient. slippy. precipitant. rash. precipitate. precipitous. brash. impetuous. headfirst. headforemost. headlong. precipitate.
  • yoklukla -- yokluk = absence. dearth. exiguity. failure. famine. hardship. lack. neediness. non-appearance. non-existence. nonappearance. nonexistence. nudity. penury. poverty. privation. shortage. strait. tightness. want. straits.
Folks, this is why you all need to sit down, and learn another language, starting today. You can read something in English hundreds of times -- then see new facets, fresh insights, when you examine the same text through another frame of reference, another set of eyes.

Diligent people are paying attention to, and thinking carefully about, what they are doing. They have plans, goals with deadlines. They assume, and operate in terms of, the abundance of opportunities. Small investments, over time, turn into vast fortunes. Five loaves and two fishes placed in the hands of our Lord provide a feast for 5,000. Little things, thoughtfully and carefully done, fill life with lavish wealth. Be kind to your wife, day after day, and you can have a livelier love life in your 50s than you did in your 20s.

In American English, the "get-rich-quick scheme" is a widely-understood term for costly swindles. Folks driven by restless dissatisfaction, or desperate circumstances, can get tempted to cut corners, to max out their credit cards buying sure and easy roads to wealth. When their ship does finally come in, they are at the airport.

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