Re: [Czechlist] Re: Zen and the art of translation
- In a message dated 9/1/03 5:24:16 AM, zehrovak@... writes:
> Pri srovnani anglictiny a cestiny se zda, ze anglictina ma chudsi inventarAs I mentioned to you off list (but will mention here for the rest of the
> inherentne expresivnich prostredku ne〓 cestina, coz vsak neznamena, ze by byl
> nutne mene ucinny. Expresivita v anglictine je ve vetsim mnozstvi pripadu
> oncentrovana do lexikalnich vyrazu, ktere jsou nositeli vyhradne expresivnich
> konotacnich slozek a maji radiacni schopnost, kdezto v ceskem textu je
> expresivita rozprostrena rovnomerneji na vetsi pocet nositelu slozek denotacnich i
people), I'm a little annoyed by her use of the word "chudsi", and it always
strikes me that Czechs who claim English to be "chuda" in one respect or another
tend not to realize how "chudy" their own command of English is. The other
way of spinning what she said would be to say that Czech is lexically
impoverished (objectively speaking, it does have a smaller word inventory than, say,
English, Russian, Arabic or French and has to resort to a great deal of
circumlocution), and so it has to use nonlexical means to express nuances that other
languages are able to express lexically.
However, in theoretical linguistics we simply explain that a complex system
of inflection allows a language's speakers to use word order and other
syntactic devices to express things, because the verb and case endings, rather than
word order, tell you who's doing what to whom. Meanwhile, languages that have
simple inflection or no inflection (English, Chinese, Vietnamese) find other
means to express the same or similar things.
You can find, for example, that Esperanto has most of the syntactic
possibilities that Czech has, simply because its inventor (a Pole) chose to include an
accusative ending for nouns. Just one case ending.
Everything evens out anyway, though. In what is these days called "African
American Vernacular English" there are more verb tenses than in standard
English, so its speakers can produce sentences like, "They been had that!" or, "You
shoulda been told me!" These meanings have to be expressed lexically in
standard English, and even then can only be conveyed by imprecise equivalents.
However, in that same dialect one does not have the lexical means to carry on
the linguistic discussion we are having now, and so the speaker would have to
switch into more or less standard English to do it.
Czech can use syntax more for expressive effect than English can (although I
think this point might be arguable), but there are many aspects of modern life
in which it is impossible to express oneself in Czech (at least to the
satisfaction of the anglophone mind) without resorting to foreign terms, and even
then you can't do it with quite the precision or nuance that you can in English.
Graphic design and desktop publishing are one example. I also sense that
Czech lacks the financial lexicon, ranging from scientific economics all the
way to stockmarket slang, to say many things that are easily expressed in
English. Car maneuvers are another realm in which the Czech language is lexically
"chudsi", to use this woman's term (but not one I would normally use).
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- --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, Mgr. Lenka Mandryszovï¿½ <iona@v...> wrote:
> Helga isVery true. I shall send examples as I find them in weeks and months to come.
> right about changing the meaning when leaving out an important word, but we
> cannot generalize it and only examples can be, IMHO, discussed here.
> There is a very good article about the problem (in legalese) in the latestPaul sent me the article recently. I shall try to put it up on the Czechlist homepage in the near future.
> issue of ToP (Paul Sinclair - Neznalost zakona neomlouva) which aims at
> de-mystifying legalese (common attitude to legal "speech").