Journal of Intercultural Communication, Issue 18, Oktober 2008

Jim Harries

A Linguistic Case for the necessity of Enculturation in Theological and Economic Teaching based on the ‘Shape of Words’: including a case study comparing Sub-Saharan Africa with the West


Considering words and the areas of the mind that they impact as two-dimensional shapes forms the theoretical basis from which intercultural communication between the West and Sub-Saharan Africa are examined. Unique shapes of words are illustrated as arising from their meeting with equally unique 'impactible areas' of people's minds, and cultures, resulting in transmitted and received shapes differing in a way related to lexical content at both ends. Differences in overlap between word impacts, shapes of words and fit between words in different languages / cultures are shown to contribute to imprecision in translation, resulting in the recommendation that local policy be of local origin. The above is applied to Christian mission in Africa through diagrammatic representations of 'love' as a spiritual gift in comparison to fellow words, and by an inter-cultural consideration of public transport systems.

Key words: language, linguistics, Africa, theology, translation, inter-cultural, Gospel, missiology, Christian, culture, context, pragmatics, love, economics, word-shapes, policy, public transport.

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