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#831 - 07/28/00 05:29 PM Re: English as a Global Language  
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william Offline
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emanuela,
fascinating example!
once (only once) i was mistaken as being from torino in rome, when my italian was a little more voluble than these days. i also remember learning that fellini's film "amarcord" comes from a me riccordo. is that true?
in my experience of shakespeare, there are lots of words that are out of use today. when reading, they really impede understanding, but when watching the play in action they barely stick out at all - the acting and intonation of the actors cover them. after all, who understands every word of a conversation, or even a movie? it doesn't matter at all. in fact, we pick up a huge amount of a conversation by an automatic understanding of rhythm and intonation (and expectations grounded in previous experiences).
am i right in thinking that shakespeare, along with more recent poets like hardy, used words not even in common use in their day?
there's no one current language, as far as i can tell. native speakers (and really good students) of a language have a huge capacity to understand nuances from all kinds of sources, historically and geographically remote.
i don't feel shakespeare is a different language, because i feel so many of his phrases in my bones, even when they're new to me.
after all we only understand the english we use now because of the english that came before. 50 per cent is a pretty good hit rate for something old.
translation is just an interface. like news stories, the more you know about it, the less true it is.
i only read japanese books or poems in english cause i can't read japanese. when i hear and understand something in japanese that moves me, i feel like i've just discovered my neglected front yard is in fact a cherry orchard.
as for shakespeare in schools, surely the teachers who think it's a necessary duty will leave students thinking the same way, while teachers who love its sensualness and beauty (and can express that) will instill the same feelings in their students.


#832 - 07/29/00 04:27 AM Re: English as a Global Language  
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Avy Offline
old hand
Avy  Offline
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I was taught Shakespeare at school and my reaction was "This is a guy that writes stupid plots in tough language. What is all the fuss about?" But then I grew up and reading Shakespeare began to appeal - for some reason. Except I found that I couldn't - read! I have finished one Act and the whole thing has gone - whoosh - over my head. But I could sense the poetry - the "sensualness and beauty" (couldn't express it better) and wanted to be able to read. So I searched book shops for editions that made it easy. I found Cambridge school edition the best that was available here. And I began reading - sitting on my bed, surrounded by four different editions of Hamlet. And every time I completed a play I felt really good. In this manner post-school, I read Julius Ceaser, Hamlet, Macbeth, Anthony and Cleopatra, Measure for Measure, Richard the II. I am currently reading Othello. My vote for the greatest writers goes to Shakespeare and Lewis Carrol.


#833 - 07/29/00 05:57 AM Re: English as a Global Language  
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emanuela Offline
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Italy - Perugia is a town with...
>i also remember learning that fellini's film "amarcord" comes from a me
riccordo. is that true?
Yes, it means " mi ricordo" (=I remember) in the Fellini's dialect.
Emanuela


#834 - 07/29/00 03:20 PM The language of Shakespeare  
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Rubrick Offline
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Somewhere outside New York
> am i right in thinking that shakespeare, along with more recent poets like hardy, used words not
even in common use in their day?
there's no one current language, as far as i can tell. native speakers (and really good students) of a
language have a huge capacity to understand nuances from all kinds of sources, historically and
geographically remote.

I am reminded of a story I once heard of an eminent Shakepearean researcher who was baffled when he could not track the source of the line 'there is a certain divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will'. Almost admitting failure he travelled to Stratford-upon-Avon in one final desparate attempt to find a reference to this enigmatic phrase.

Walking down a lane he noticed two men were cutting a hedge. Out of natural curiosity he asked them why it took two fo them to cut one hedge.

'Well, you see', saud the first. 'I rough-hews them and he shapes their ends'. The researcher could only guess that the bard himself had walked down a lane similar to this almost three centuries previously and had the same conversation with, possibly, the ancestors of these two men.


#835 - 07/29/00 03:26 PM Re: English as a Global Language  
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Rubrick Offline
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Rubrick  Offline
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Somewhere outside New York
> During the First World War , the Italian Army used people from Sardegna (an island) for
radio-transmitting , because their dialect is impossible to be understood even from other Italian
people, so it was safe against the possibility of interception.

This is very interesting. The Irish army serving in Lebanon under the UN use Gaelic (Irish) exclusively for radio transmissions because the Irish language is one of the most difficult languages to understand. However, in the early years of the war in Lebanon, Israeli radio units were taught Irish as a second language with the sole view of intercepting and decoding these Irish and UN transmissions.


#836 - 07/30/00 10:32 AM Re: English as a Global Language  
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Bingley Offline
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Bingley  Offline
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Jakarta
Isn't it fun having a language no-one else can understand ! When I went back to England with my loved one we used to have long conversations in Indonesian fairly confident no-one else on the bus or train could understand us.

Bingley


Bingley
#837 - 07/30/00 04:26 PM Re: English as a Global Language  
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Jackie Offline
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Louisville, Kentucky
A little bit different take, Bingley--
When I was in high school, I took French and my best friend took German. We did the following all the time for a while,
and one time on the bus particularly stands out in my memory. He would ask me a question in German, of which I
understood not a word, and I would make up an answer in
French. Then we would translate for each other, with
hilarious results! We had the whole back half of the bus
cracking up, listening to us! What fun!!



#838 - 07/30/00 04:39 PM Re: English as a Global Language  
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william Offline
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william  Offline
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jackie,
reminds me instantly of recent experiences at karaoke, a favourite pastime here. i'm sick of the small selection of english songs and have taken to trying unknown german songs just to see what happens. yesterday i gave a rendition of "ich gehe singend durch die stadt", without knowing the song at all, and it was quite respectable. these germans have a way with music i tell you.
mind you i feel like a sardegnan transmitting secret codes: most japanese wouldn't know how my pronunciation was at all.
neither would i come to think of it...
william


#839 - 07/31/00 01:27 AM Re: English as a Global Language  
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Jackie Offline
Jackie  Offline

Carpal Tunnel

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Louisville, Kentucky
william,
you're braver than I would be (though I do have an
embarrassing memory of grabbing the microphone at a party
after a couple of drinks). Here's about 75% of the German
I know: ich liebe dich!
But then, which is the worse, I wonder: acting the fool in
front of a bunch of strangers whom you never have to face
again, or in front of co-workers who can give you sly digs ever afterwards?


#840 - 08/13/00 11:45 AM Re: English as a Global Language  
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Bridget Offline
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Bridget  Offline
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Sydney Australia
>i don't feel shakespeare is a different language, because i feel so many of his phrases in my bones, even when they're new to me<

Ever thought about it in reverse? Ever thought about how Shakespearean language must have sounded to his contemporaries, when all those quotations and cliches weren't quotations and cliches?


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