ترجمة "الذات" إلى غير العربية
Thread poster: Ouadoud

Ouadoud  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:41
English to Arabic
+ ...
Feb 25, 2006

Dear all,
I’d like to thank you all for participating in what started as a Kudoz pro question and that seems to end as a philosophical debate. (Special thanks to: Iren Rad, Ahmed Al-Rouby, enshrine, imane kd, Colin Smith, Abu Arman and the other peers...) http://www.proz.com/kudoz/1265244

Searching for the root of Quiddity I found :
Indo-European Root Etymology
Also kwi-. Stem of relative and interrogative pronouns.
Derivatives include who, whether, either, quorum, quip, and quality.
a. WHO, WHOSE, WHOM, from Old English hw , hwæs, hw m, who, whose, whom, from Germanic personal pronouns *hwas, *hwasa, *hwam;
b. WHAT, from Old English hwæt, what, from Germanic pronoun *hwat;
c. WHY, from Old English hw , why, from Germanic adverb *hw ;
d. WHICH, from Old English hwilc, hwelc, which, from Germanic relative pronoun *hwa-l k- (*l k-, body, form; see l k- in Indo-European roots);
e. HOW, from Old English h , how, from Germanic adverb *hw ;
i. WHEN, from Old English hwenne, hwanne, when;
ii. WHENCE, from Old English hwanon, whence. Both (i) and (ii) from Germanic adverb *hwan-;
g. WHITHER, from Old English hwider, whither, from Germanic adverb *hwithr ;
h. WHERE, from Old English hw r, where, from Germanic adverb *hwar-. a-h all from Germanic *hwa-, *hwi-.
. WHETHER; NEITHER, from Old English hwæther, hwether, which of two, whether;
a. EITHER, from Old English ghwæther, ther, either, from Germanic phrase *aiwo gihwatharaz, "ever each of two" (*aiwo, *aiwi, ever, and *gi- from *ga-, collective prefix; see aiw- in Indo-European roots and kom in Indo-European roots). Both a and b from Germanic *hwatharaz.
3. QUA, QUIBBLE, QUORUM, from Latin qu , who.
4. HIDALGO, QUIDDITY, QUIDNUNC, QUIP; KICKSHAW, from Latin quid, what, something.
5. QUASI, from Latin quasi, as if (< quam + s , if; see swo- in Indo-European roots), from quam, as, than, how.
6. QUODLIBET, from Latin quod, what.
7. Suffixed form *kwo-ti.
. QUOTE, QUOTIDIAN, QUOTIENT; ALIQUOT, from Latin quot, how many;
a. further suffixed form *kwo-ty-o-. POSOLOGY, from Greek posos, how much.
8. QUONDAM, from Latin quom, when.
9. COONCAN, from Latin quem, whom.
10. QUANTITY, from Latin quantus, how great.
11. QUALITY; KICKSHAW, from Latin qu lis, of what kind.
12. CUE2, from Latin quand , when (from *kw m + -d , to, til; see de- in Indo-European roots).
13. NEUTER, from Latin uter, either of two, ultimately from *kwo-tero- (becoming -cuter in such compounds as necuter, neither, from which uter was abstracted out by false segmentation).
14. UBIQUITY, from Latin ubi, where, ultimately from locative case *kwo-bhi (becoming -cubi in such compounds as alicubi, somewhere, from which ubi was abstracted out by false segmentation, perhaps under the influence of ibi, there).
15. CHEESE3, from Old Persian *ci -ciy, something ( < *kwid-kwid).


Quiddité. - Ce mot, dérivé du latin quid ? Quelle est cette chose, qu'est-ce ?, a été forgé par les scolastiques pour traduire l'expression souvent employée par Aristote dans sa Métaphysique de to ti hn einai, laquelle désigne l'essence d'une chose, ce qui constitue sa nature spécifique, ce qui fait qu'elle est ceci plutôt que cela. Il est donc l'équivalent des termes de forme substantielle et d'entéléchie. Sur le même patron, les scolastiques avaient forgé les mots d'ignéité, pétréité, haecceité, etc., ce qui fait que le feu est du feu, qu'une pierre est une pierre, que cette chose-ci est précisément elle-même et non une autre, etc. Dans la philosophie moderne, le mot quiddité est entièrement hors d'usage à moins qu'il ne soit pris dans un sens défavorable pour désigner une abstraction creuse, une pure subtilité verbale. (E. Boirac).

From : http://www.cosmovisions.com/quiddite.htm

MT of the French definition:
Quiddity. - This word, derived from Latin quid? Which is this thing, what is it?, was forged by the scholastics to translate the expression often employed by Aristote in its Metaphysics of to Ti hn einai, which indicates the essence of a thing, what constitutes its specific nature, with the result that it is this rather than that. He is thus the equivalent of the terms of substantial form and entéléchie. On the same model, pattern, the scholastics had forged the words of igneity, petreity, haecceity, etc, or what makes that fire is fire, that a stone is a stone, that this thing is precisely itself and not another, etc. In modern philosophy, the word quiddity is entirely out of use unless it is not taken in an unfavourable direction to indicate a hollow abstraction, a pure verbal subtlety. (E Boirac).

End of references--

Concerning the last sentence, I have no problem to use it (re-launch it) if it fits the nearest meaning we’re searching for) although it seems out of use by modern philosophy.

Scholastics: المتكلمون، علماء الكلام

I’m attracted to opt for this term for the above mentioned reasons, to which we may –even- add:

- It suggests all the philosophical questions: who, what, where, how, which...

- It has been used by antique philosophers in -approximately- the same family of thoughts

- It involves miscellaneous roots: Latin, Greek, Germanic and Persian.

- Phonetically speaking (semiology-phonetics): “quiddity” is not completely alien to “deity”.

ماهية الذات هي الذات بعينها


P.S: well, it doesn't seem completely obsolete, it's still used in sufi literature and metaphysics: http://www.editions-verdier.fr/v2/oeuvre-penetmetaphysiques.html

[Edited at 2006-02-25 11:22]

[Edited at 2006-02-25 12:37]


Iren Rad
Local time: 01:11
+ ...
Feb 25, 2006

[Edited at 2006-02-26 08:24]


Iren Rad
Local time: 01:11
+ ...
comment Feb 25, 2006

We don not translateذات in Farsi/ Persian language, but I had heard the following term before and we pronounce it as چیستی.
means what it is:
CHEESE3, from Old Persian *ci-ciy, something ( < *kwid-kwid).


Abu Arman
Local time: 23:41
English to Arabic
+ ...
comment Feb 25, 2006

I don't mind the usage of this scholastic term (well known in Germ. Phil. discourse: Quidditas versus Entität) which would to me opinion be "ماهية" in Arabic. Could be that "ماهية" is even a translation of quidditas...
It might pls. you that quidditas is explicitly opposed to the "يوجد/موجود" introduced by Al Farabi.
With quiddity you just avoid the problem by using languagewise a typical Indo-European (comp. all your examples incl. Old or Middle Persian are so) word-concept (which by your own words would be completly alien to Semitic and) circumstantially describes the meaning you refuse to translate (essential nature), as quiddity per defintionem is the essential nature.
So your Engl. readers would understand your quiddity as the essence or essential nature anyways.
So I propose you should call it by its name:
As you can't accept certain words than better just call it "Dhat" as many authors on the subject do.

First have to fry some fish now, later coming back with a word on haecceity and the Ash'arites.


Ouadoud  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:41
English to Arabic
+ ...
questioning rather than... Feb 25, 2006

You're right about "Dhat" transliterated.

I was attracted by quidditas since it pones questions rather than giving answers, and that fits well the "general mood" of a philosophic reading of dhat.

Even if questions may be of different types. There are questions questions, and questions that are more exclamations!



Abu Arman
Local time: 23:41
English to Arabic
+ ...
solution is not end of questioning Feb 25, 2006

Here comes a quote from your text, Ouadoud:
"Quiddité. - Ce mot ... désigne l'essence d'une chose, ce qui constitue sa nature spécifique, ..."
"hors d'usage à moins qu'il ne soit pris dans un sens défavorable pour désigner une abstraction creuse, une pure subtilité verbale. "

Certainly I agree with you that language can't desribe any(-thing?) which lies beyond its reach.
It is immanent in the system and can't fully comprehend it.
Quiddity is "questiony" but not a solution, since being unprecise never poses a real solution to a given problem.
Divine wording could be different.
Another argument for "Dhat"?

However, our research on the subject matter shall continue.

For today I'd like to close with yet another original Khayyam suitable for illuminating this discussion:
آسرار ازل را نه تو دانی ونه من
این حل معمانه نه تو دانی ونه من
هست (!) از پس پرده گفتگوی من وتو
چون پرده بافتاد نه تو مانی ونه من

مع فائق التحية


Ouadoud  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:41
English to Arabic
+ ...
Language and philosophy Feb 26, 2006

أخي أبو عرمان

I think that the problems around the issues we're talking about come from the fact that philosophy use words as means, but without thinking about them.

They rely on them and take them for granted, living thus inside a cystal ball (language) through which they see facts, realities and thought. But they don't see the direct reality, they see it through that crystal ball.

If we hypotesize that the crystal ball deviates or even biases reality, you imagine the results ?



Abu Arman
Local time: 23:41
English to Arabic
+ ...
language Feb 26, 2006

Dear Ouadoud,

that's why I often tend to use common language vocabulary for controversial meanings in translation. Like "the real ...".
In the end of the day there is no consensus in many of these issues and the reader will anyhow depict his own reality.
The term eventually chosen and used carefully by the translator would only be of secondary importance.
Hence main stream vocabulary is always my first choice, especially when it is the first translation of a text and not a furter attempt trying to clarify or compete with another.

On the practical side of our research it seems to me that there is indeed no consensus among scholars on the subject matter, which actually honours the KudoZ community, since it immedeately disagreed on it as well...

Engl. Translations of Ash'arite texts and essays on it that talk a lot about "dhat", mostly use the word essence or just "dhat" with no furter comment.

I started to contemplate the aspects of haecceity (better: "thisness") when I read your "ماهية الذات هي الذات بعينها"; since one could argue that quiddity is the question for haecceity and the ethymology (in the broader sense) of Arabic "dhat" is not too far from it. And it can by the way be very particular. But the result was again that this is all misleading since these are defined terms (lacking consensus on the definitions) that cause false phil. allusions. Schopenhauer couldn't even agree with Kant on the definitions of Greek phil. terms. And some of the above mentioned texts talk a lot about "thisness" and even deny the existence of it in medieval lat. philosophy (just ignoring Scotus' concept of "haecceity" recklessly).

A small quote of a text that summarizes an important aspect of our findings in this context:
"It is important to note that while terms such as haecceity, quiddity and noumenon all evoke the essence of it, they have subtle differences and refer to different aspects of its essence."

I'd also like to leave you a link to a text that had to deal in its translation part with the same problem and offered again another approach to finding a solution in the Qur'anic context:

To summarize my findings at this point, I'd agree that the question of the right translation into English of the Arabic term "Dhat of God" is a phil. one.
But I wouldn't agree that it is merely a question of phil. terminology.
I'd rather say that the latter is even hostile to finding a good solution for this particular problem of intercultural translation.

That's why I'll leave it at this point.
Certainly I expect you, Iren Rad or others at anytime to open this box again (hope, it won't prove to be the one of the famous Greek lady).

Abu Arman


Iren Rad
Local time: 01:11
+ ...
comment Feb 27, 2006

To Abu Arman

I read your comments; I didn't share because I'm not an expertise in this field and the level of your discussion is very high for me. I do not agree with the word "to be" since in Persian/ Farsi language we do not translate ذات. As well as we have other words such as چیستی or بود or other words that Iranian philosophers know better than me.
Good luck for both of you.


Imad Almaghary (X)
Local time: 00:41
English to Arabic
+ ...
Use caption when you translate it Feb 27, 2006

Good morning professionals

Here, since it is an intercultural term then the best way is to use caption when translating this word. There is no other option.



Ouadoud  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:41
English to Arabic
+ ...
"To be" and its absence in Arabic Feb 27, 2006

When you say that Arabic does not have this verb and the notions lying ahead, shields stand up!

See third point in "Notes -- not for grading" in this Kudoz question :

Aswers to the statement in the title of this post, may even go further, explaining the famous verb, used tangentially:

كان يكون، كونا وكيكنونة...

and we can even be invited to refrain from arguing, since it's even used in the Coran, where God The Magnificent says:

"إنما أمره إذا أراد شيئا أن يقول له كن فيكون"

(Tr: Verily, when He intends a thing, His Command is, "Be", and it is! - Coran 36-82)

Before providing some interesting recent researches around the verb "to be" in Arabic, available unfortunately only in French and Spanish language, I'd like to introduce a parable that may help us all.

"To be" and the Arabic-speaking:

There's a man who's very fond of bird-watching, he's passionate by these volatiles. You could see him all the day along in the fields throwing seeds to them, feeding and watering these fantastic birds. Some of them came daily on his shoulders to be fed....
One month ago, while watching TV, he heard about the bird's influenza. He was shocked and from that day on, avoided the direct contact with the birds, fearing contamination...
He saw a new reality in what was so close to him. The least we can say is that he SAW A DIFFERENT REALITY, since his position to watch the birds changed... and that's it!

Why do we accept that there may be different new realities in birds, viruses, and the concrete world, and do we refrain when it comes to our intellectual production, our thoughts and our ideas, most often just our pre-conceived certainties...
it's also possible to see differently.

There are facts, analysis, experiments and then perhaps conclusions that may differ from our carried certainties.

The topic is of course particularly interesting to linguists, more over translators who work with pairs including Arabic.

I quote hereafter (MT) Abderrahmán Mohamed Maanán, Ph.D Sevilla University, Spain


"As introduction to the subject we can say that an essential characteristic of the Arab language is that it does not have the verb “to be”. Thus, since Borges, the western thought is centred in the Being, whereas the Muslim thought, in good logic, could not do it. The existence of the verb to be, according to Tunisian author Moncef Chelli, is the magnificent trick through which the thought in the West is possible, and nevertheless there are cultures that can question it completely, like for example the Arab one, that does not need that mechanism to be able to express itself…"

That was a starter, we can get slowly into details later on.



Ouadoud  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:41
English to Arabic
+ ...
من حبة يعمل قبة Mar 1, 2006

The title is a Tunisian pop proverb that may be translated "from a single seed, he builds a cupola".

Satirically said to those who start from lilliputian things to end building cupolas...

Well it's not always wrong. How?

One fine morning, your son or daughter comes jumping in your arms and asking:

- "Daddy, help me with my new English (or French, Italian, Spanish...) lesson! My teacher gave me a sentence and told me to ask my parents to explain its meaning in my mother tongue: Arabic. Could you help please?" and he/she gives you a childish kiss.

Who can refuse such a gentle help!

- "Well! What's the sentence?" You ask defenseless.

- "Water is cold" She tells you.

- "الماء بارد" is your answer.

- "Oh Daddy, you're cheating!" says your son/daughter and adds: "I gave you a sentence with 3 words and you translate just 2 of them! Are you so lazy?"

Now, it's up to you to explain to your powerful daughter/son where that verb "is" went.

You'll have to tell her that the meaning conveyed by the 2 words in Arabic is the same than the one in the 3 English words.

But is it really the same?

Is the reality described and the conscience created by:

"Water is cold" the same as "الماء بارد" ?

Moncef Chelli says: no. Realities created and consciences around them and world imagined are diametrically different.

because each sentence creates and supports a completely different conscienc, world and reality.




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ترجمة "الذات" إلى غير العربية

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