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|Title||Liahona: “Prepared of the Lord, a Compass”|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2022|
|Authors||Tolman, Calvin D.|
|Journal||Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship|
|Keywords||Language - Hebrew; Liahona; Linguistics; Transliteration|
This study assesses some of the interpretations of the name Liahona, which are unsatisfactory from a linguistic perspective. Since a dialect of Hebrew is the most likely underlying language of the Book of Mormon, the approach taken in this study parses the word Liahona into three meaningful segments in Hebrew: l-iah-ona; a Biblical Hebrew transliteration would be l-Yāh-Ɂōnấ. This name is a grammatical construction that attaches the prepositional prefix l- to Yāh, the name of “the Lord,” followed by the noun *Ɂōnấ. The preposition l- in this context denotes the following name as the agent or the one who is responsible for the following noun, i.e., l-Yāh designates the Lord as the agent, author, or producer of the *Ɂōnấ. Languages are complex, and etymological conjectures in ancient languages are hypothetical; therefore, the explanations and justifications presented here, of necessity, are speculative in nature. Etymological explanations have to involve the complexity of linguistics and sound changes. The hoped-for result of this study is that a simple and reasonable explanation of the meaning of Liahona will emerge from the complexity, and a more reasonable translation of Liahona will be the result.
For a summary of this article, check out Interpreting Interpreter: https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreting-interpreter-a-prepared-vessel/
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