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Maciamo
22-09-03, 07:55
As I was reading the Seidensticker English translation of Kawabata's Snow Country, I found some English expressions that I would consider wrong. Is this maybe acceptable in American English, or even in any Standard English (old fashion expressions or some way of speaking I wouldn't know of ?) or are they really mistakes ? What do you think ?

Here are the problematic passages :

p42

"Not a few of the new novelists whose names came to her meant nothing to her"

"anything" would be more suitable than "nothing", as Standard English doesn't accept double negative, except if it were Black English, which it is not.

p106

"That was the first Shimura had heard of the "one man" in Komako's life."

I suppose it is "the first time".

p114

"Is there a path in back ?"

"in the back", I guess, as they were talking about the inn.

p129

"I meant to come see you at seven, but it was no god."

It should be "come and see you".

In all of them, a word is missing. I guess that's just the typist or printer's fault, rather than Seidensticker. They could at least double check their text, especially that it isn't the first edition or printing.

Mandylion
22-09-03, 08:09
P42- Too odd. Just a bad sentence unless that is how Seidensticker wanted it. Could be an issue with translation and maitaining a sense of style?

P106- I have no problems with this. Your supposition is correct.

P114 Yes, it means behind the inn and is a common expression where I am from (US). I would also use "around" as in "is there a path around back?"

P129 This is fine too. You are right that it means come and see you. I would take issue more with the "but it was no good" in being and odd expression.

The author seems to be going casual. I leave out words all the time when talking with friends. Same thing happens in Japanese. I wouldn't say such language is ok for newspapers and such, but in a novel attempting to express a mood, I wouldn't take issue with much of it.

How is the book aside from this?

Maciamo
22-09-03, 08:36
I have reviewed the book here (http://forum.japanreference.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4220)

jeisan
22-09-03, 08:54
i agree with mandylion. especially the "come see you" phrase 'go' would also work in place of 'come'. and as he says "it was no good" is kinda off but still acceptable. i dont know the context but i would say it should be "it wasn't a good time"

P114 - 'of' and the object you are talking about are implied, so in this case "is there a path in back (of the inn)." either way you were correct and got the implied meaning.

P42 - they could have also used "many" in place of "not a few" since thats what it means, maybe they were just looking for a synonym and didnt realize...

P106 - is fine as it sits, its another implied meaning. and you got it as well, so i wouldnt worry about it too much.

kirei_na_me
22-09-03, 15:36
I'm kind of having that problem right now as I'm reading Anatomy of Dependence by Takeo Doi. It seems that with the translation of that book came lots and lots of run-on sentences, some misplaced punctuation marks, and a few mistakes on grammar in general. I'm wondering if anybody else has read this book and felt the same way? It makes it kind of hard to follow in some spots...

Elizabeth
22-09-03, 19:33
Originally posted by kirei_na_me
I'm kind of having that problem right now as I'm reading Anatomy of Dependence by Takeo Doi. It seems that with the translation of that book came lots and lots of run-on sentences, some misplaced punctuation marks, and a few mistakes on grammar in general. I'm wondering if anybody else has read this book and felt the same way? It makes it kind of hard to follow in some spots...
Well, Japanese is unfortunately rife with run-on sentences and commas are more or less inserted at will, so it seems Bester is just a highly literal translator regardless of the material. ;) I have some novels he's done by Oe and Mishima that are the same way. Where are you in the book, by the way?

kirei_na_me
22-09-03, 19:58
Originally posted by Elizabeth
Well, Japanese is unfortunately rife with run-on sentences and commas are more or less inserted at will, so it seems Bester is just a highly literal translator regardless of the material. ;) I have some novels he's done by Oe and Mishima that are the same way. Where are you in the book, by the way?

I'm about right smack in the middle of it now. I have been sidetracked by sickness... :sick:

Anyway, I'm where he is discussing jiyu and wagamama right now. It's very interesting...

Elizabeth
22-09-03, 20:10
It is fascinating, definately. I've just skipped to the section on "ki" and "kokoro" in the back so far.....but there's also a part on wagamama there if you're interested in that in particular ;).

kirei_na_me
22-09-03, 20:19
Hmmm...thank you for that tidbit, Elizabeth.

You know what would be of particular interest to me, don't you? ;)

Haivart
22-09-03, 22:50
Kirei na me: is this a book I should read?

Thanks little sister

Elizabeth
23-09-03, 00:46
Originally posted by kirei_na_me
Hmmm...thank you for that tidbit, Elizabeth.

You know what would be of particular interest to me, don't you? ;)
Heeeeee :D. Here's a whole list of personality disorders for you, Rachel. :eek:

http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~aanderss/Culture.html#Wagamama

Elizabeth
23-09-03, 03:23
Originally posted by Maciamo
As I was reading the Seidensticker English translation of Kawabata's Snow Country, I found some English expressions that I would consider wrong. Is this maybe acceptable in American English, or even in any Standard English (old fashion expressions or some way of speaking I wouldn't know of ?) or are they really mistakes ? What do you think ?

Here are the problematic passages :

p42

"Not a few of the new novelists whose names came to her meant nothing to her"

"anything" would be more suitable than "nothing", as Standard English doesn't accept double negative, except if it were Black English, which it is not.
OK--first the English:
"Not a few of the new novelists whose names came to her meant nothing to Shimamura" and now the Japanese:
"Kanojo ga omoidasu mama ni ageru (j atarashii sakka no namae nado Shimamura no shiranai no ga sukunakatta."
So obviously just a too direct translation, and it should have been edited most clearly to "most meant nothing" :blush: But what a funny mistake....

One other oddity I noticed on page 6 is his rendering of "iya" as
"Not that I know of." Is this appropriate? I think as an interjection iya can be akin to "Well" or "so" -- and maybe the tone is intended as something softer than flat out "no" in line with the question,"Osake wo itadakimasudeshouka?"

The entire tone just seems so different in Japanese and English it's hard to pick out one example, though. In some ways the narrative flows at a much higher level with these additions but somehow at the expense of most of the dialogue which comes off as incredibly stiff and awkward.
:auch:

kirei_na_me
23-09-03, 03:36
Originally posted by Elizabeth
Heeeeee :D. Here's a whole list of personality disorders for you, Rachel. :eek:

http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~aanderss/Culture.html#Wagamama

Thank you very much for this link, Elizabeth. This will come in handy for quick reference...

Elizabeth
23-09-03, 03:52
Originally posted by kirei_na_me
Thank you very much for this link, Elizabeth. This will come in handy for quick reference...
OK--it may be interesting to compare with the book and see how much has changed or not there in the last thirty years.
Anyway, hope you're feeling better !.....:happy:

Maciamo
23-09-03, 05:03
Originally posted by jeisan
i agree with mandylion. especially the "come see you" phrase 'go' would also work in place of 'come'. and as he says "it was no good" is kinda off but still acceptable.

I think Americans have always (since the 18th century at least) have a more tolerant approach of what is acceptable than Brits.
That's why, eventually, American English has come under criticism for saying things such as "different than" or "we are agreed" (also in Snow Country), or just not make any nuance between past simple and present perfect ("I just did it", "You already told me", and the like).

I know there are always more acceptable "mistakes" in the spoken language (in any languages, not just English), but I was surprised to find this in literature - not even a personnal choice of the author, but a translation, so Seidensticker could at least have had some consideration.

I'd like to have the opinions of British people about how acceptable these mistakes are for them.


P114 - 'of' and the object you are talking about are implied, so in this case "is there a path in back (of the inn)." either way you were correct and got the implied meaning.

You misunderstood me here. I have no problem with the "of the inn" missing. The obvious and blantant grammatical mistake was the absence of "the" before "back". As in expressions like "the same", the "the" is inseparable from the noun that follows. "In back" suggest that "back" is an adverb and not a noun.


P106 - is fine as it sits, its another implied meaning. and you got it as well, so i wouldnt worry about it too much.

Implied of not, what would you think if I spoke like this : "The first I went to Japan, I saw same car as mine in back my house" :D (the first time I went to Japan, I saw the same car as mine in the back of my house)
Seidensticker was maybe just experimenting some pidgin Jenglish. :sorry:

den4
23-09-03, 06:39
Is this the translation where the translator kept changing character names from, for example, Yukiko to Snow Child and back again every other chapter, along with the other characters in the book on a constant basis? If so, then I threw that book across the room to the opposite wall whilst attempting to read that poor translation attempt and never went back to the book because it was so aggravating that they kept changing the characters' names back and forth back and forth all throughout the book....why couldn't the bloody translator just leave the name well enough alone? What's he going to do with a name like Johnson, keep changing it to Son of John every few paragraphs? I hate it when translators try to get cute and all knowing when it's just a name of a person.... :(

jeisan
23-09-03, 08:55
Originally posted by Maciamo
I think Americans have always (since the 18th century at least) have a more tolerant approach of what is acceptable than Brits.
That's why, eventually, American English has come under criticism for saying things such as "different than" or "we are agreed" (also in Snow Country), or just not make any nuance between past simple and present perfect ("I just did it", "You already told me", and the like).

those examples also seem perfectly accpetable to me. im kinda curious as to what the british equivilent of them all would be.


I know there are always more acceptable "mistakes" in the spoken language (in any languages, not just English), but I was surprised to find this in literature - not even a personnal choice of the author, but a translation, so Seidensticker could at least have had some consideration.

true, but didn't some of the sayings come up in dialouge? i know literature is supposed to have less mistakes, but when the characters are speaking the line tends to blur. also alot of it may also have just slipped through the cracks of proofreaders and whatnot. i'd say its more of a problem with tanslated works, you should see all the silly mistakes in the moss roberts translation of "three kingdoms"


You misunderstood me here. I have no problem with the "of the inn" missing. The obvious and blantant grammatical mistake was the absence of "the" before "back". As in expressions like "the same", the "the" is inseparable from the noun that follows. "In back" suggest that "back" is an adverb and not a noun.

the use of the, or the lack thereof, in instances of reletive location indicates whether the subject would be inside or outside the object. if someone said to me "the can is in the back of the box" i would take that as inside the box but all the way back where as if they said "the can is in back of the box" would carry the meaing that the can is actually behind the box. you could also say in front with the . there's a mailbox in front (of the inn.) "on top" and "on bottom" are other examples.


Implied of not, what would you think if I spoke like this : "The first I went to Japan, I saw same car as mine in back my house" :D (the first time I went to Japan, I saw the same car as mine in the back of my house)
Seidensticker was maybe just experimenting some pidgin Jenglish. :sorry:

"this/that is the first i've heard of it." is an expression, used when someone else thinks you should have known it before. its similar to "... and that was the last we heard/saw of him." in the case of leaing out [i]time. you could probably get away with saying, though i wouldn't reccomend it "the first i was ever in japan, at my house there was a car, same as mine, in back."

Maciamo
23-09-03, 15:03
Originally posted by jeisan
those examples also seem perfectly accpetable to me. im kinda curious as to what the british equivilent of them all would be.

Well, I know they sound right to you, as they are coorect in American English (only) and you are American. Here is what a Briton would say :

"different from/to", instead of "different than"

My Oxford dictionary explains than all 3 (from, to, than) are correct, though there is a slight nuance between them. "From" is usually considered the most "correct", and "than", which is often criticised, is restricted to North America.

"We agree", instead of "we are agreed"
"Agree" cannot be used as a passive, as you are not agreed by someone.

"I've just done it", instead of "I just did it"
"You have already told me", instead of "You already told me"

More generally, the present perfect tense in British English always has a connection with the present. It is used to mean that an action continues "until now" and in a period of time that is not yet finished (today, this week, this year, this afternoon if we are still the afternoon...) or with words like "recently, so far, since, for" and so on, that have a connection with the present.
As a rule, it's "always" the present perfect with the words "just, already and yet".

There are other slight grammatical difference between AmE and BrE. For instance, Americans say "on the street", while Brits say "in the street" (what about Canadians, Aussies and others here on the forum ?)



the use of the, or the lack thereof, in instances of reletive location indicates whether the subject would be inside or outside the object. if someone said to me "the can is in the back of the box" i would take that as inside the box but all the way back where as if they said "the can is in back of the box" would carry the meaing that the can is actually behind the box. [quote]

This is probably another Americanism. I would say "behind the box" to mean it is outside it.

[quote]
you could also say in front with the [i[the[/i]. there's a mailbox in front (of the inn.) "on top" and "on bottom" are other examples.

I acknowledge that you can say "in front of the inn" (meaning "outside"), because the expression is "in front of", but I had never heard of "in back of", as the opposite of "in front of" is "behind". When it's inside, a cinema (=>BrE for "movie theater") for example, you can sit "in the front" or "in the back".
However, for a car, I'd say "sit at the front/back" and you'd certainly write an address "on the front/back" of the envelope. But that's another issue.



though i wouldn't reccomend it "the first i was ever in japan, at my house there was a car, same as mine, in back."

Well, for me that's completely wrong :p , but if they let you speak like this in the great country of liberties, then so be it.

kirei_na_me
23-09-03, 15:18
Hmmmmm...

I would say something like, "The first time I was in Japan, I saw a car the same as(or like) mine in the back of(or behind) my house."

Elizabeth
23-09-03, 15:34
I don't know...."the back of" still sounds to me like it is in the house itself. :D.

kirei_na_me
23-09-03, 15:40
Yeah, kind of. It depends on the situation, I think. I know if something is in the backyard, and I'm telling someone--who is in the front with me--where that something is, I'll say "such and such is around back" or "such and such is in the back".

jeisan
23-09-03, 23:40
Originally posted by Maciamo
Well, I know they sound right to you, as they are coorect in American English (only) and you are American. Here is what a Briton would say :

"different from/to", instead of "different than"

My Oxford dictionary explains than all 3 (from, to, than) are correct, though there is a slight nuance between them. "From" is usually considered the most "correct", and "than", which is often criticised, is restricted to North America.

"We agree", instead of "we are agreed"
"Agree" cannot be used as a passive, as you are not agreed by someone.

"I've just done it", instead of "I just did it"
"You have already told me", instead of "You already told me"

More generally, the present perfect tense in British English always has a connection with the present. It is used to mean that an action continues "until now" and in a period of time that is not yet finished (today, this week, this year, this afternoon if we are still the afternoon...) or with words like "recently, so far, since, for" and so on, that have a connection with the present.
As a rule, it's "always" the present perfect with the words "just, already and yet".

There are other slight grammatical difference between AmE and BrE. For instance, Americans say "on the street", while Brits say "in the street" (what about Canadians, Aussies and others here on the forum ?)

interesting, thanks. though "different to" just sounds wrong to me. what about "i agree" since for some reason "i am agreed" sounds like theres more than one of me. another thing is we (americans, not sure about BE) use agreed as the past tense of agree, so that may be part reason for the american usage.


I acknowledge that you can say "in front of the inn" (meaning "outside"), because the expression is "in front of", but I had never heard of "in back of", as the opposite of "in front of" is "behind". When it's inside, a cinema (=>BrE for "movie theater") for example, you can sit "in the front" or "in the back".
However, for a car, I'd say "sit at the front/back" and you'd certainly write an address "on the front/back" of the envelope. But that's another issue.

i think 'in back' is a more logical opposite to 'in front' than 'behind' in most cases. the only time i would really take issue with it is when it used in reference to a person. "there is a car in back of me" sounds completly wrong and even worse if 'the' is added. it also depends on what preposition is used 'in' versus 'on' you can also say out front/back and in the top/bottom. movie theaters are the same for me, though for a car i'd sit in the frontseat or the backseat.


Well, for me that's completely wrong :p , but if they let you speak like this in the great country of liberties, then so be it.

while that certainly isn't the best way to phrase it, it's not neccesarily wrong. i had to think abit before i could come up with something without 'the' or 'time' in it.

Elizabeth
24-09-03, 00:47
Originally posted by jeisan
[quote]what about "i agree" since for some reason "i am agreed" sounds like theres more than one of me. another thing is we (americans, not sure about BE) use agreed as the past tense of agree, so that may be part reason for the american usage.

Maybe "I am agreed" is more of a direct German translation, I'm not sure -- something like "How goes it?", which can be understood but isn't really standard in modern English. We are agreed or I am agreed sounds vaguely legalese to me, though, like agreeing to terms of a contract, notice or such.



i think 'in back' is a more logical opposite to 'in front' than 'behind' in most cases. the only time i would really take issue with it is when it used in reference to a person. "there is a car in back of me" sounds completly wrong and even worse if 'the' is added. it also depends on what preposition is used 'in' versus 'on' you can also say out front/back and in the top/bottom. movie theaters are the same for me, though for a car i'd sit in the frontseat or the backseat.
I don't think it's necessarily a human/non-human distinction, since you don't generally say in back of the tree or in back of the plant. Back behind is OK if you're talking about a large span of something or object completely hidden by another. I don't know, back or in back sounds like it could be further distant than behind, but I wouldn't say "there is a car in back of me" if you are also in a car is particularly peculiar, either. Maybe I do prefer Japanese afterall :p

jeisan
24-09-03, 02:42
Originally posted by Elizabeth
Maybe "I am agreed" is more of a direct German translation, I'm not sure -- something like "How goes it?", which can be understood but isn't really standard in modern English. We are agreed or I am agreed sounds vaguely legalese to me, though, like agreeing to terms of a contract, notice or such.

i agree :p you're probably right, the other forms are more formal and most likey used for documents and such but not really for everyday speech.


I don't think it's necessarily a human/non-human distinction, since you don't generally say in back of the tree or in back of the plant. Back behind is OK if you're talking about a large span of something or object completely hidden by another. I don't know, back or in back sounds like it could be further distant than behind, but I wouldn't say "there is a car in back of me" if you are also in a car is particularly peculiar, either. Maybe I do prefer Japanese afterall :p

yeah. now that you meantion it, i think its more of a living/non-living distinction. its all very subtle i would never have noticed or thought about any of the differences had maciamo not brought up this subject.

on another note, i'd say americans are alot more relaxed about their speech than brits. which i think is more fun and makes the language more colorful and supple. also i beleive it helps with our understanding of others speaking english, even if they are foreign. i know in japan they have subtitles for people from different regions and gaijin speaking japanese. occaisionaly you see a show with subtitles for non-native english speakers, you only very rarely see a show in the states that uses subtitles for british, irish or australian speakers, and never for other americans. im curious about anyone elses thoughts on this.

Maciamo
24-09-03, 08:35
Originally posted by Elizabeth
Maybe "I am agreed" is more of a direct German translation, I'm not sure -- something like "How goes it?", which can be understood but isn't really standard in modern English.


I think there are many translations in German depending on the situation, but they are mostly verbs. So I don't think there is a connection with German.

However, in Latin languages, "agree" is an adjective, not a verb. French would say "je suis d'accord", Italians "sono d'accordo" and Spanish speakers "estoy de acuerdo". They translate as "I am in agreement (with you)", and thus, lots of speakers of Latin languages would mistakenly say "I am agree(d)" instead of "I agree". I guess the large number of Latin languages speakers in the USA (Spanish-speakers in the South-West, Italians in NEW York, Chicago, etc., French-speakers in Louisiana or Vermont + all mixed immigrant from Europe or Latin America) explains how Americans have come to use "I am agreed".

I read that Americans have seen their grammar simplified because of the huge number of non-native English-speaker immigrants, that couldn't cope with the subtilities of the present perfect, for instance. That's also why Americans have developed simplified spellings such as "nite" for "night", "lite" for "light" or "thru" for "through", though the original spelling is still considered better - more formal.

Other spelling differences with BrE like "color/colour", "theater/theatre", "organize/organise" or "plow/plough" are not due to immigrants, but to the work of early Americans, notably Noah Webster, who wanted to distinguish AmE from the Queen's English after the Independence.

Elizabeth
24-09-03, 11:30
Originally posted by Maciamo
I think there are many translations in German depending on the situation, but they are mostly verbs. So I don't think there is a connection with German.

However, in Latin languages, "agree" is an adjective, not a verb. French would say "je suis d'accord", Italians "sono d'accordo" and Spanish speakers "estoy de acuerdo". They translate as "I am in agreement (with you)", and thus, lots of speakers of Latin languages would mistakenly say "I am agree(d)" instead of "I agree". I guess the large number of Latin languages speakers in the USA (Spanish-speakers in the South-West, Italians in NEW York, Chicago, etc., French-speakers in Louisiana or Vermont + all mixed immigrant from Europe or Latin America) explains how Americans have come to use "I am agreed".

Something I found online re this intransitive shift.

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=agreed

jeisan
29-09-03, 23:04
i have another one for you maciamo. though you might already know as youve spent some time in aussie land. 'shout' is a verb in austalian. meaning to pay for.
ex.
i'll shout you for lunch.
will you shout me for dinner.
i shouted her 3 times last week.

Maciamo
30-09-03, 04:54
=> Jeisan

Yes, that is Australian English, but what's the connection with the grammatical discussion we were having before ?

"to shout" is a verb in every form of English, so far as I know. Differences in meaning are common in regional Englishes, be them local British English or between countries like Australia, the US, Singapore, India... but grammar is supposed to remain the same.

jeisan
30-09-03, 22:42
yeah but its meaning and use are different than the norm. ive never heard it used that way in america. i was thinking if someone just read it or heard it without knowing how its used would think it fairly wrong and bad english, when its perfectly acceptable. unconventioal english.

jerry o'connell had a problem with it when he was filming 'kangaroo jack.' he never grasped the sense of the word as the aussies use it. the result was he thought the aussies were nuts for asking him to shout (at) them all the time, while they thought he was a cheapass.