Time Terminology

Of those passages that were examined, 217 (EG) or 147 (GL) mention the word Zeit(en) (time[s]) or one of its derivatives or compound words, or the term Zukunft (future). This results in percentage incidence rates of terminology regarding time of 24.5 percent or 25.4 percent in all time-indicating passages. Because this slight variance can certainly lie within the margin of error, no quantitative differences with regard to time terminology can be verified here.

The EG mentions Zeit (time) 181 times, 25 of which are in the plural. In GL, the corresponding figures are 128 and 23, respectively. One thus sees the word Zeiten (times) relatively more often in GL than in EG. Zukunft (future) is mentioned six times in each of the hymnals. Some representative passages containing the words zeitlich (temporal), beizeiten (in good time), and jederzeit (at any time) have also been examined. The following concepts, which are expressed by compound (time terminology) terms, should be mentioned: Gnadenzeit (time of grace) (4/2),47 Erdenzeit (time on earth) (1/6), Leidenszeit(en) (time(s) of suffering) (3/1), Morgenzeit (morning time) (1/1), Weihnachtszeit (Christmas season) (1/1), Sommerzeit (summertime)

(3/0), Lebenszeit (lifetime) (2/0), Freudenzeit (time of celebration) (1/0), Er-losungszeit (time of redemption) (1/0), Erquickungszeiten (times of comfort) (1/0), Prufungszeit (time of testing) (1/0), Abendzeit (evening) (1/0), Nachtzeit (nighttime) (1/0), Folgezeit (time to come) (1/0), and Gezeiten (tides) (1/0).

According to this comparison, the EG contains a larger spectrum of time terminology; times of grace and times of suffering are also represented more frequently in the EG, which can perhaps be attributed to the influence of Protestant theology. In GL, on the other hand, the expression Erdenzeit (time on earth) is relatively over-represented.

In the passages of the Svps that were studied, there are 285 occurrences of time terminology expressions. This means that such terminology occurred in 25.3 percent of all passages examined, which corresponds amazingly well to the findings in the German hymnbooks. Tid (time) is mentioned 208 times in definite or indefinite form; "tid" occurs seventeen times in the plural. Framtid (future) appears fifteen times, three times of these being compound terms, namely, framtidsdag (day in the future), framtidstro (belief in the future), and framtidsland (land of the future). Different combinations of the word tid (time) appear forty-five times. The most frequent occurrences here areprovotid andprovningstid (time of testing), a total of seven passages. Summer is mentioned five times, winter twice, and spring once. There are three incidences of tidevarv (age), another three occurrences of Christmas season, and two occurrences each offastetid(er) (Lent), vantetid (time of waiting), arbetstid (time of working), sorgetid (time of mourning), and hogtid (time of celebration). We find one mention each of urtid (primeval times), levnadstid (lifetime), ungdomstid (youth), varfrudagstid (Annunciation), blomningstid (time of flourishing), vandringstid (time of wandering), rusningstid (rush hour), skordetid (time of harvesting), vilotid (time of rest).

In Pspo, forty-nine passages contain time terminology in the 166 passages containing time indications, which, at a rate of 29.5 percent, represents the greatest concentration up to now. The concepts are distributed as follows: time, thirty times; times, twice; and future, nine times. The distribution of the compound terms are as follows: blomningstid (time of flourishing), four times; vantetid (time of waiting), twice; and once each for vinter-tid (wintertime) and mognadstid (time of maturity). In contrast to Sv ps and, above all, to EG and GL, one is struck here by a drastic increase in the usage of Zukunft (future).

The numerical ratios in the AHB and the SA are entirely different. Here, the proportion of time terminology to the total number of time-indicating passages amounts to 12.3 percent or 14.8 percent. It is true that even here the frequency in the SA, which is composed primarily of more modern hymns, is higher, but it nevertheless lags significantly behind that of the German and Swedish hymnals. Compound time terminology is rare in the two English-language books. The AHB mentions seed-time once, and the SA speaks once of dreamtime. Timeless occurs twice in each of these two books. Moreover, in the AHB, ageless occurs twice, and age-long appears once. In the 624 hymns of the AHB, time occurs thirty-eight times, seven of which are in the plural. Age is mentioned a full forty-three times, and future appears nine times. In the SA, time appears twelve times, three in the plural. The terms age and future occur three times each. In all of the ninety-six or twenty-one passages that contain time terminology in the AHB and the SA, the use of future in the SA is, proportionally, at least four times as high as in the AHB. The most striking observation, however, is the difference in the use of the word age. While the usage ratio between age and time was still 1.1:1 in the AHB, it had changed to 1:4 in the SA. This represents a significant reduction in the usage of age in favor of time.

For the EG, I also studied how the occurrences of time terminology were distributed over the centuries. The passages containing time terminology come from 182 hymns. Of these, fifty-seven—that is, almost one-third—have texts from the twentieth century, which represents a comparably high proportion. Random sampling in different subject areas of the EG show a relatively small proportion of hymns from the twentieth century.48 Thus, it is evident that the topic of time has become more prevalent in recent times, at least in the EG.49 This trend is supported by the fact that Pspo, with its texts coming primarily from the second half of the twentieth century, exhibits the highest frequency of time terminology in all the material I have analyzed.

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