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Re: [Czechlist] Re: (narodni) pr'irodni rezervace, pr'irodni pamatka

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  • Todd Hammond
    Dear Rachel This is the first time I ve ever engaged in any kind website or chat room conversation, either by email or direct. My feelings about it are mixed:
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2000
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      Dear Rachel

      This is the first time I've ever engaged in any kind website or chat room
      conversation, either by email or direct. My feelings about it are mixed: on
      one hand, it's nice to be in contact with all you nice colleagues out
      there - otherwise I may never have "met" you. But it bugs me that I can't
      see your face and you can't see mine, so we can't judge the reaction of the
      other person, nor really know with whom we are talking. Next time I have a
      trip to Prague, which should be sometime this spring or summer, I would like
      to join as many of you as possible for that Friday night beer!

      The can of worms is, of course, the differences between British and American
      English. That's one of my hot buttons, I admit, for a long list of reasons,
      some that might be unearthed by a psycologist, others by a social or
      political scientist, some perfectly understandable. During the ten years
      I've been here, and earlier when I taught English in Spain, I have had some
      very difficult experiences with some people on this topic. Some people feel
      free to treat their complexes with this medicine, and perhaps because it's
      kind of "all in the family" (the Anglophones), they know no restraint or
      respect. Examples and long stories can wait for the pub, because that's the
      best place to dispose of that kind of baggage - I won't fill up space and
      take a lot of time here with it.

      This perturbs me about conducting this conversation by mail - I don't want
      to offend you or anybody, or push anyone else's ire buttons. The little
      smiley face :-) helps, but it's not enough!

      Just this: no to language hegemony.

      OK, OK, here's some of the baggage.

      It was bad that time in '92, when I returned to Brno after summer break
      having been promised a job teaching by the owner of the school, only to find
      that in the meantime he had hired a British school director who evidently
      thought that the most obscure British dialect was more legitimate than
      standard North American. So the kids had to listen to various mumblers from
      Manchester, and I had to find work as an "externista" rather than teach full
      time as I had been invited back to do. It's upsetting to find oneself out of
      a job for that kind of arbitrary reason. In the end I stayed and he went,
      but it took a year, and in the meantime I ate less, and the students...

      It does seem to me that the average Brit is better prepared when they come
      over here to teach than the average American I've encountered, but there's a
      lot of variation within that range, so as to make broad conclusions like
      "We've had bad experiences with American teachers" sound pretty sinister to
      my ears.

      Another piece of lost luggage - Last year I translated about 200 pages of
      historical documents, and my editor (from Canada) decided to change all the
      spellings to British. Didn't ask or consult with me at all. After a mild
      protest, I decided to be a good sport about it - and I didn't want to get
      the professor stuck in the middle of a pointless argument between an
      American and a Canadian. But I must admit it bothered me. What difference
      does it make if it's in British English? None, really, I suppose the world
      can live with it, even though the project was sponsored by Americans for the
      archives there. But then, what difference does it make if the spellings stay
      American? Because the fellow never took the time to call me or communicate
      with me in any way, I still don't know why, I just got the implied message
      that American English is, for this guy at least, something substandard.
      Maybe he didn't mean it that way at all. But it's funny to see my name at
      the foot of a text where there's "programme" and "theatre" and "colour".
      Maybe he just doesn't know how to change the settings on his spellchecker,
      otherwise why would he take the time to correct it all? Anyway, my feelings
      were slightly bruised - the spelling changes were pointless.

      So, as you can see, I've got a few complexes about that. For defensive
      purposes only, I carry around a cudgel studded up with all kinds of (equally
      false and chauvanistic) arguments about the legitimacy or even superiority
      of Standard North American. But fortunately I never have to use it down here
      in Valtice, since the only Anglophone with whom I have regular contact, the
      English Tim, is a fine bloke.
      By the way, could it be that a village green really is just a British thing?
      Maybe there's something specific about it that we really don't have over

      My idea of a helpful and enjoyable exchange on the topic is finding out
      those funny differences, or a particularly apt phrase, that colors the
      language. I do not know where "can of worms" comes from, unfortunately. Let
      each one use the common language as he or she knows how! and share it with

      And now that I've spent half the day again writing you, I will now get back
      to work. Dang it, Melvyn, this website is a damn sight too interesting!

      Kind regards, and apologies to those I may have offended

      Todd Hammond

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Rachel Thompson <rachelandsimon@...>
      To: Czechlist@onelist.com <Czechlist@onelist.com>
      Date: 1. dubna 2000 20:31
      Subject: [Czechlist] Re: (narodni) pr'irodni rezervace, pr'irodni pamatka

      >Todd wrote:
      >> So, I always translate the word "památka" as "monument", when used as
      >> part of an official designation (Narodní kulturní pamatka, Pamatkový
      >> Městská pamatková reservace), for the sake of standardization of terms,
      >> long-established practice at the Pamatkový ústav and their international
      >> sponsors.
      >Point taken.
      >> When it's not a matter of official designation, I feel more free to
      >> descriptive and go for meaning: a national heritage site, a nature
      >> a memorial, a historical landmark, etc.
      >Sounds good.
      >> Does the phrase "can of worms" have meaning in Britain?
      >"You've opened up a real can of worms there" = "you've brought to light
      >something unpleasant that's going to be really messy to sort out, something
      >that we'd rather have kept the lid on," etc., etc. We certainly know it -
      >was it American originally? I've no idea of its origin (can somebody
      >enlighten me?). It is in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary (defined
      >more concisely as "a complicated problem"). Why do you ask?
      >Get a NextCard Visa, in 30 seconds! Get rates as low as
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      >Czech<>English translation resources page:
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