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Old 01-27-2009, 09:20 AM   #46
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These may be "old fashioned" views, but I firmly stand by them!
I absolutely agree. You make a good point.
I believe it was a huge mistake to abdicate "the formal study of English grammar" in the UK. I also believe it is less than helpful in case they want to study a foreign language because you must understand the structure of your own language in order to learn a new one.

P.S. And what is a difference between
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"I will go" and "I shall go"?
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:25 AM   #47
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Some books lose something in the translation. Try to read Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide in any other language than English...
I definitely agree with you but can you imagine of how good your English must be in order to understand the book better than a professional translator can do it? Can you imagine the amount of time one must contribute/invest to achieve this level?

Well, maybe I am stupid and for other people it is easier to learn the language and get at least 5.000 vocabulary in order to read fictiopn and actually enjoy it (not just understand it).


Ah, just more question
Is there a difference between:
Hug me
and
Give me a hug?
If, yes, what is a difference (it is a serious question, I am not trying to be funny)
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:34 AM   #48
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I absolutely agree. You make a good point.
I believe it was a huge mistake to abdicate "the formal study of English grammar" in the UK. I also believe it is less than helpful in case they want to study a foreign language because you must understand the structure of your own language in order to learn a new one.

P.S. And what is a difference between
Absolutely true.
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:34 AM   #49
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P.S. And what is a difference between "I shall go" and "I will go"?
"I shall go" is a simple future tense - "tomorrow I shall go to the library".

"I will go" is a subjunctive, and has the meaning "it is my intention to go", but with the underlying implication "but something may prevent me from doing so", eg "if it's not raining tomorrow, I will go to the library."
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:38 AM   #50
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Is there a difference between:
Hug me
and
Give me a hug?
If, yes, what is a difference (it is a serious question, I am not trying to be funny)
There's no difference. Both are "imperatives" - commands to tell somebody to do something. In the first, "Hug" is being used as a verb, in the second, as a noun. The overall meaning, however, is the same.
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Old 01-27-2009, 10:40 AM   #51
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I don't know if the same thing has happened elsewhere, but here in the UK, the formal study of English grammar has very much "gone out of fashion" in schools, and the majority of people leave school today not equipped with the vocabulary to discuss language in any meaningful way. Use a word like "subjunctive" to most young people today and you'll get a blank look.

That, to my mind, is a great pity. I think that you miss many of the "subtleties" of great literature if you don't have a proper understanding of the grammar of your own language: eg, how many people today understand the distinction between "I will go" and "I shall go"? Authors like Dickens certainly understood it, and if the reader doesn't, he or she will lose something from the book.

These may be "old fashioned" views, but I firmly stand by them!
I will go to the loo because I have to.

I shall go to the loo when the proper time has advanced.
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Old 01-27-2009, 11:02 AM   #52
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I definitely agree with you but can you imagine of how good your English must be in order to understand the book better than a professional translator can do it? Can you imagine the amount of time one must contribute/invest to achieve this level?
Not exactly that. It's just that some things can't be translated. I heard an example last night, but can't remember it!
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Old 01-27-2009, 11:12 AM   #53
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Do you realise how well one must learn a foreign language in order to enjoy reading a fiction book (understanding all the subtlities and nacities of the language/text/novel)?
I am not sure you do.
I think I do, at least partially.
I read frenquently in english and in italian (including essays).
You don't need to know a language as well for other forms of culture, such as subtitled movies and songs, for instance. These are the main providers of foreign culture, these days.


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Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
Ah I see, personally I think the opposite is true; and cultural differences will erode with globalisation anyway - but time will tell.
I know that we tend more towards a global culture than separate ones, and this can be a good thing. But it mustn't come too fast, or it will exacerbate tensions instead of calm them.


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Originally Posted by Sweetpea View Post
Some books lose something in the translation. Try to read Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide in any other language than English...
I've enjoyed the french translation, and I've heard several times that it was a good one, but I definitely plan on reading them in english as well some day.
I recently read (in italian) an essay from Umberto Eco about his experiences in translation, and it was a very interesting read.
If I can, I tend to read books in their original language if I feel that the translation might have lessened the quality.


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Originally Posted by astra View Post
I definitely agree with you but can you imagine of how good your English must be in order to understand the book better than a professional translator can do it? Can you imagine the amount of time one must contribute/invest to achieve this level?
I have to say it depends greatly on the translator. There are lots of books where an expression had been litterally translated, completely losing its original meaning.
Here is an example :
the original text was speaking about scientists taking "training courses" in order to increase their knowledge in their field of study.
The translated text was "courses de trains", which means "train races".

A good translator not only has a good formal knowledge of a language but also a good knowledge of the culture of the author.
This allows him to understand expressions and references and to try to adapt them to his intended audience.
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Old 01-27-2009, 11:16 AM   #54
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I have to say it depends greatly on the translator. There are lots of books where an expression had been litterally translated, completely losing its original meaning.
There's the classic story of the translator who translated the English expression "out of sight, out of mind" as "invisible, insane" .
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Old 01-27-2009, 11:19 AM   #55
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There's the classic story of the translator who translated the English expression "out of sight, out of mind" as "invisible, insane" .
that's actually a good example of the difficulties of translation for another reason ; that expression exists in a slightly different form in french. a good translator would have to know both languages well enough to realize not only the figurative meaning of the expression, but also that the french form of it would be "far from the eyes, far from the heart" ("loin des yeux, loin du coeur"). and vice versa, of course.
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Old 01-27-2009, 11:21 AM   #56
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that's actually a good example of the difficulties of translation for another reason ; that expression exists in a slightly different form in french. a good translator would have to know both languages well enough to realize not only the figurative meaning of the expression, but also that the french form of it would be "far from the eyes, far from the heart" ("loin des yeux, loin du coeur"). and vice versa, of course.
Your loin is a cur's loin?
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Old 01-27-2009, 11:42 AM   #57
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Well, I have followed this thread for a while and would like to comment on several things. However, I will just put in a few ideas. I have to Disagree with you Astra on your opinion about wasting time to learn another language. For me Language is Culture. It is an intrinsic part of said culture and also affects and effects the very way a person thinks. I have a friend who is Maori here in Japan. A man asked him why he tried to keep up his Maori tongue even though he had lived in Japan for years. He said "It's me. It's my culture and it is my mind". I think that helps state the importance of Language.

I lived for 7 years in Russia. I speak Russian and have read about 20 novels in Russian. I think the knowledge of another Language is vital if one has the opportunity to attain the knowledge and speak it at a conversational level. As a bonus one can read novels watch movies or listen to the radio in said language.

For example. I take the time to listen to Russian, Spanish, and French via podcasts every week on the web.


As for Only reading about another culture or country. Yes, you can learn a lot but you can not understand the culure as well. I am no pro at understanding Russian culture. However, I have met people with PHDs in Russian history and Literature who can not have a long conversation in Russian. Yet, some of these people tell me about how Russians think and how their culture works?!...

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Quote:
Originally Posted by astra View Post
Do you realise how well one must learn a foreign language in order to enjoy reading a fiction book (understanding all the subtlities and nacities of the language/text/novel)?
I am not sure you do.
Mind you, I am speaking about a certain level of knowledge of a certain language that is far superior to the level equal to be able to ask direction to the nearest loo in a foreign country.

As about this famous saying:
anyone "must learn other languages as well, as it broadens your views and keeps you open to other cultures"

I totally disagree with it.
There are plenty of opportunities to learn other cultures if you are interested. Just read the proper books or google for it on the Internet and you will learn a lot more about them than spending a huge chunk of your life to learn grammar and vocabulary of another language.

The simplest example is me. My first language is Russian, my second language used to be Hebrew and now it is English.
Learning language didn't broaden my understanding of the cultures who are using the languages at all, however, I am sure that if only a fraction of the time I spent on learning the languages I would spent on reading books about the cultures in my native language, I would learn so much more.

I sincerely envy people whose first language is English, and if I were one of them I would never waste my time on learning a different language as a hobby (unless one enjoyes learning languages, as one might enjoy reading books, or playing chess etc.). There is so much new and interesting in the world that you can learn instead of 3.000 foreign words. Or as a worst case scenario spend the time to advance in your carier.

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Old 01-27-2009, 11:49 AM   #58
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Sorry, but I think that expecting someone else to learn YOUR language is one of the major failings of those of us fortunate enough to speak English as our native language. English speakers are notoriously bad at learning other languages, and that's a very bad thing, IMHO.

A good point Harry T. Unfortunately, in many English speaking countries the teaching of foreign languages in primary and secondary school is very poor. Most secondary school students graduate without a good grasp of a foreign toungue (or even a good grasp of how English Works).

I admire your knowledge of Latin and Old English. Well done.
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Old 01-27-2009, 11:52 AM   #59
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I don't know if the same thing has happened elsewhere, but here in the UK, the formal study of English grammar has very much "gone out of fashion" in schools, and the majority of people leave school today not equipped with the vocabulary to discuss language in any meaningful way. Use a word like "subjunctive" to most young people today and you'll get a blank look.

That, to my mind, is a great pity. I think that you miss many of the "subtleties" of great literature if you don't have a proper understanding of the grammar of your own language: eg, how many people today understand the distinction between "I will go" and "I shall go"? Authors like Dickens certainly understood it, and if the reader doesn't, he or she will lose something from the book.

These may be "old fashioned" views, but I firmly stand by them!

I now regret not being better at English Language, understanding all its nuances.


I have no 'ear' for a language, though I obviously manage in English (one hopes), but to say that learning another is a waste of time is too wide a statement - the learning of another language ought to help develop and maintain ones' neurons.

What do multi-lingual members say. Is it an aid or a confusion to think in another language.
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Old 01-27-2009, 11:56 AM   #60
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What do multi-lingual members say. Is it an aid or a confusion to think in another language.
I've often head, and don't ask me where, that you don't have the true grasp of another language if you are knowingly doing the translation in your head.
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