Saturday, September 26, 2009

More on the original copy

There was certainly an original copy due to the simple reason that I don't think it possible that Dias wrote directly in Chinese. Not only because of linguistic considerations. It is deeper than that. Scientific modes of expression are very codified and in a trained person they become a "second skin". When thinking about science the mind tends to work with words, expressions and linguistic patterns of the language one learned that science.
So I think it is safe to say this: Dias first wrote a text, most likely in Latin (Portuguese is also a possibility, but less probable in my opinion). I think the question about the original text is more about what happened to it and how it was actually used. These are two very interesting questions....

1 comment:

  1. The 'second skin' metaphor-thing is an excellent point. It is somehow confirmed by my direct experience with the glossary. Dias' text is very consistent in matters of terminology, and this consistency might be related to the fact that it is a very direct translation of an original text.

    Speaking of which: is there any literature out there on the Jesuit scientific writing process in foreign contexts?