Remember when Dick Armey called Barney Frank "Barney Fag" on a radio talk show? That got a lot of press back when the Republicans were accountable for their actions, and all his colleagues had to play the shame game.
enough is enough. not enough is not enough.
--Nick B Tue Jun 29 12:32:57 2004
Also, the translations page seems a bit too brief. They don't explain why "cosy" is an inadequate translation of "gezellig", for example, though I don't doubt there's a reason. It seems like rather sloppy Cosmo-style list-based journalism to me.
There are many words that have a nearly perfect gloss in another language, but a slightly different connotation that can muck things up. For example, "natsukashii" in Japanese is the pleasant feeling associated with remembering the past. We call a similar feeling "nostalgia", but for many people the English word connotes a desire to return to the past.
A bigger problem is probably the hidden cultural implications of common first-semester vocabulary words. The word "brother" is often used in a metaphorical sense, by black Americans who refer to their common bond. It's a simple enough metaphor, but then you have the occasional racist who uses it as a code-word. A few years ago, a neighbor of mine was telling me "yeah, I was minding my own business, and these two 'bruthaz' were acting like they were going to jump me..."
The discussion brings up the english word "Home", and its French equivalent or lack thereof. This brings up a bigger problem in translation: when a word is a noun or adverb in one language, but a preposition in another. You might have to change the whole architecture of a sentence.
--Nick B Tue Jun 29 12:49:17 2004
Yeah, the whole range of ways I can say any particular idea in English leads me to believe that there's little that's truly "unsayable" in any other language (Orwellian doublespeak/think be damned), it's all a question about carry a lot of nuance in a very compact way. I'm sure the French can say "my childhood house" or "where I grew up" or "where my family/friends come from", but its clumsy, and less suitable for poetry, and could well influence how the culture thinks.
"Wabi-Sabi" ( http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WabiSabi ) is another neat concept, probably tying in with "Natsukashii" (see
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=4fikmh%241fte%40msunews.cl.msu.edu for talk on that, where they say "I left my heart in San Francisco" gets very close to the idea). Wabi-Sabi is a feeling for the beauty of decay, I guess I'd say...
--Kirk Tue Jun 29 13:17:21 2004
Re: the "Cosmo-like journalism" issue w/ the list, it might have to do with some the vagaries of the polling process.
"Googly"...heh, means something different in the USA than its cricket-based UK definition. I wonder if the USA meaning of "Googly" (an adjective for eyes, having to do with great big eyes bugging out) translates smoothly either...
--Kirk Tue Jun 29 13:20:26 2004
I just read the word "chuffed" in the fifth Harry Potter book. First time I every saw it.
--Erin the editing intern in L.A. Wed Jun 30 20:39:10 2004
I heard chuffed in "Best of Show"... I think I've seen it one other place...
--Kirk Thu Jul 1 18:08:33 2004
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