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KEV67

Foreign phrases in books

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In some books the authors inserts phrases from foreign languages. French, Spanish, German, Italian and Latin phrases are the most frequent I suppose. Personally, I did not mind when it was French or German as I could have a stab at translating those. I did not like Latin phrases so much. I rarely understood those, which annoyed me as I attended Latin classes for three years at school.

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I find it kind of annoying as apart from school pupil French, which helps very little, I only understand English. Dropping foreign phrases casually into books feels rather pretentious, but if I was a bit more versed in languages, I'd probably feel smug :lol:

My Dad learned Latin at school and had a Latin/English dictionary. I used it to translate phrases in Asterix books and found they were very clever and funny, adding to the enjoyment.

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I can't actually think of any examples I've read other than French and Latin but I picture Latin phrases as mainly being at the beginning of a book and not within the actual story (or explained within the text, which I don't mind either). I'm not too bad with French words and phrases, but I've never been particularly good with languages. Although, thanks to the French teacher who wouldn't let us do anything if we didn't ask in French, I can always remember how to ask if I can take my jacket off :rolleyes:.

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^

 

Latin pops up occasionally in the Rivers of London books.

 

I use Google Translate quite a bit, and regularly at work when replying to customers all around the globe. 

 

If you had told me 20+ years ago - when I first started the job - that I would regularly be conversing with people in French, German, Spanish etc. in their own language I would have laughed square in your face, but with the wonders of modern technology...

 

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13 hours ago, Hayley said:

I'm not too bad with French words and phrases, but I've never been particularly good with languages. Although, thanks to the French teacher who wouldn't let us do anything if we didn't ask in French, I can always remember how to ask if I can take my jacket off :rolleyes:.

 

I can inform people I'm very cold in French, but it’s never proved particularly useful :lol:

 

11 hours ago, Raven said:

If you had told me 20+ years ago - when I first started the job - that I would regularly be conversing with people in French, German, Spanish etc. in their own language I would have laughed square in your face, but with the wonders of modern technology...

 

 

Very well done, Raven, that's quite an accomplishment!

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2 hours ago, poppy said:

 

Very well done, Raven, that's quite an accomplishment!

 

 

There's no accomplishment there - I've not learnt the languages! - you just type English into Google Translate and that spits out the same text in whatever language you select!

 

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3 hours ago, Raven said:

 

There's no accomplishment there - I've not learnt the languages! - you just type English into Google Translate and that spits out the same text in whatever language you select!

 

Yep, I’m now fluent in Google Translation too!:giggle2:. You just to be rather sceptical of some of the texts, every now and again :D

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I can cope with a few french and Latin bonne mots, but my O Level are my limits! It is when the author puts a whole paragraph, then I haven’t a clue what they are talking about. I have Nancy Mitford is often of this; a snobbery mostly.

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22 hours ago, Raven said:

 

Latin pops up occasionally in the Rivers of London books.

I think the meaning is usually explained though, isn’t it? At least, I don’t remember ever having to look up some Latin while I was reading! 

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I have started reading War and Peace. It's the greatest novel in the world by reputation, or maybe Ulysses is, but I read that last year and did not understand it. I was rather surprised to find so much French in War and Peace. The translators have translated all the Russian, but not the French (well, they have, but as footnotes). I understand most of it, so all those evening school courses were not in vain. Ulysses had quotes from Latin, Italian, French, and a sentence in Irish. I had particular difficulty with the Latin.

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16 hours ago, Hayley said:

 

I think the meaning is usually explained though, isn’t it? At least, I don’t remember ever having to look up some Latin while I was reading! 

 

 

Not always; there was something in one of his recent books - related to The Folly - that I had to look up.

 

13 hours ago, KEV67 said:

 

I had particular difficulty with the Latin.

 

 

I can usually understand the gist of e-mails I get when they are written in French, Spanish and Italian.  German is a little more tricky, but Latin is opaque to me.  I find you either know the word, or you don't - it's not something you can guess at.

 

Obviously, I don't get e-mails at work that are in Latin.

 

Plenty that are all Greek to me, however, but none in Latin...

 

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War and Peace has started interposing more German, as the Russians and the Austrians were allies against Bonaparte. Quite large chunks are still in French. One of the Russian nobles even thinks in French. It is mad. I never thought I would be able to read Tolstoy in the original language.

 

Despite George Orwell having written an essay on the use of plain English, he did used to use Latin phrases in some of his earlier books. For some reason I do not understand, I find Latin a much harder language to understand than French, German or even Italian. Why should Italian be so much easier than Latin? I have been studying Latin for about a year, and it is still not getting much clearer. I read Waverley by Sir Walter Scott last year, which was a great book. There was a character in it called Baron Bradwardine. He was always quoting Latin. I do not know if Scott thought at the time that anyone who might read Waverley would have a classical education. I don't think girls were taught Latin.

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1 hour ago, KEV67 said:

 

For some reason I do not understand, I find Latin a much harder language to understand than French, German or even Italian. Why should Italian be so much easier than Latin? I have been studying Latin for about a year, and it is still not getting much clearer. 

 

 

I found that after having done three years of French at school, the year of Spanish I did was - despite my teachers at the time - and I can usually (as I said above) get the gist of other languages, such as Italian, when reading them as well. 

 

All three are derived from Latin, where English and German are not.

 

I can recognise various Latin words, but context is often lost on me when they are placed in longer sentences.

 

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On 15/05/2021 at 2:20 AM, KEV67 said:

I have started reading War and Peace. It's the greatest novel in the world by reputation, or maybe Ulysses is, but I read that last year and did not understand it. I was rather surprised to find so much French in War and Peace. The translators have translated all the Russian, but not the French (well, they have, but as footnotes). I understand most of it, so all those evening school courses were not in vain. Ulysses had quotes from Latin, Italian, French, and a sentence in Irish. I had particular difficulty with the Latin.

French was used almost as much as Russian by the upper classes in Tolstoy's day (and in Natasha and Pierre's too). I adored war and Peace when I read it aged 15 (I did skim the battle scenes and masonic stuff though) and can still remember nearly all of the plot which shows how much impact it made. If you aren't getting on with the translation it's worth looking out for another, my book group read Anna Karenina (also read as a teenager and almost completely forgotton) and among 9 of us there were seven different translations in totally different styles.

 

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3 hours ago, France said:

 

French was used almost as much as Russian by the upper classes in Tolstoy's day (and in Natasha and Pierre's too).

 

 

French was the language used for diplomacy at the time.

 

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