my familiar friend
mine own familiar friendThe same wording is used in the ASV (1901). Translations of the Hebrew idiom prior to the KJV were:
the man of my pees (Wycliffe, 1395)I mentioned in my previous post on this topic that none of the 21 versions I had checked translated the Hebrew idiom literally. With the ASV, Wycliffe, Bishop's, and Geneva Bible, we have four more English translations. And, finally, we get to see that one English version translated the Hebrew idiom literally. It is the Wycliffe translation of 1395 A.D. which translates the idiom as "the man of my peace" (current spelling).
myne owne familier frende (Coverdale Bible, 1535)
myne owne friende whom I trusted (Bishop's Bible, 1568)
my familiar friend (Geneva Bible, 1587)
As some of you may have noticed, Anonymous and I have been having a spirited discussion about how we can best discover what kind of language the people for whom we are translating use. Anonymous understands the wording "my familiar friend" to refer to a friend with whom I am familiar. I have mentioned to him that in my idiolect (my personal dialect) of English, I do not use "familiar" as an adjective modifying a noun, as in:
my familiar bookAs a descriptive linguist, I simply observe these dialect differences. They are important. They are even important for what words we use in Bible translations.
my familiar teacher
my familiar friend
So, I'd like to try to do what I have been trained to do and that is conduct an empirical study of "my familiar friend." Yes, it means another poll on our blog! And, yes, I recognize that such polls are not scientifically accurate. For us to have a scientifically accurate, we would need to field test a truly random sample of English speakers. But such tests are not easy to conduct, unless you are standing in a parking lot of a K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Macey's, or whichever store you choose, hoping to get a random sample of typical English speakers.
Please vote in the newest poll (red background) in the margin of our blog. There will be a place in the poll where you can add comments about your responses or the poll itself. It is not necessary for you to add your name with your comments, but you can if you wish.
Anonymous and I both recognize that the results of this poll will not determine with any certainty how the word "familiar" is used and understood today. We both know that such polls are not scientific. But, at a minimum, this exercise should be fun, at least it will be for me. I hope it will be for you, and Anonymous, as well.