Pronominal Theory: it’s not FOR you

January 29, 2010

An important note on Pronominal Theory mentioned below: I really really wanted to read more about this. So, naturally, I asked Prof. Godzich how one would do such a thing. His first question: do I read German? No. No I do not. However, like a FOOL, I told him that I do read Latin. So, later, when emailing for the reference, it turns out that the Latin translation was published in 1531 in Italy, and apparently the Professor just… knows a dude who knows a dude, so he read the manuscript in one of the libraries there that has it. He helpfully informed me that the Huntington probably had a copy (it sort of does; I mucked around in their catalog a lot) but it then turned out that no way in hell are they going to let me touch it without three or four more degrees than I have currently. I thought maybe offering to translate the Latin to English would be an awesome excuse, but no one wants a secondary translation and if they did they could probably get someone better than an undergrad linguist, so, it looks like I do not get to breathe near the Grammatica Speculativa, like, ever. This depresses me because no one seems to want to put it in English or helpfully scan the Latin or ANYTHING, and this is the single most obnoxious part about the Ivory Tower: sometimes I forget my keys and no one wants to throw down the spare to let me in. Damn it.

*******Friday week four tranls theory whutwhut
only one question to dispose of right away: oxford annotated bible whutup: frequently used in academia contemporarily. Very servicable, inelegant translation but striving for accuracy; based on Jerusalem Bible and revised King James. Very good notes in it yo yo.

translation in Italy
>Aristotle’s Organon translated in Venice mid 12th cent (Greek to Latin)
>>Impetus to development of logic in France/Engl
>Averroes (Ibn Rashid): Kitab al-Kulliyyat -> Colliget
~>book of healing
~>into Latin; medievel pronunciation of Latin yo
~>medical schools up through 18th cent (fewer and fewer doctors can read Latin and this dismays WG deeply; requirement dropped ca1964)

Translation in Spain
>Gerbert of Aurillac (Sylvester II): mathematica in Barcelona (10th cent.)
>Toledo: reconquered in 1085
>>the Translation School
>>Translating from Arabic; often teamwork
>>Mathematics, astronomy, Quran & Islamic theolog.
>1142: Lex Mahumet pseudoprophete (Cluniac project)
~>1st transl of Quran into Latin
~>Cluniacs = one of the wealthiest orders
~~during 12th cent more translations into Latin of Quran than of Bible.
>Raymond of Toledo (1125-1152)
>>Mozarabs (Arabic-speaking Christians)
~~>still sometimes used in Christian churches in some places; written Arabic hasn’t changed much
>>Avicenna’s encyclopedia (Book of Healing)
>>Gerard of Cremona: tr. 87 books incl Aristotle
~~>italian, workhorse, mostly from Arabic

The Scholastic Aristotle
>Aquinas’s suspicion
~~>Wrote Summa + 80ish other books
~~>suspicious of existing transl of Aristotle at that time; feared they had been “traffiked” by Arabs D:
>Willem van Moerbeke (1215-1286) (flemish)
>>1st Complete transl of Aristotle
~~>used until beginning of 19th cent.!
~~>most recent=Jonathon Barnes who is apparently a weirdo, dresses like John Locke, lives in house w/o running water or electricity except in the study. WG asked him to speak; Plato and the novelists lol okay, diatribe on what a lousy writer his brother was (Julian); “He hates fiction… and yet he lives it.” “He’s a remarkable teacher yet he’s really a weird guy.”
~~~>very good transl, pub by Princeton. sort of unweildy copy but whatevsies. Very precise, in spirit of Moerbeke (for indiv. works esp Poetics, use Sachs) ((note to self: moar Bakhtin nao.))
>>Revision of earlier translations
>>literal translation: de verbo in verbo
~~>resulting in awkward latin woo boy
>>faithful to Aristotle
~~>inelegant b/c Ari walked while lecturing and students wrote notes down later that is ADORABLE I think I have had professors like this
~~>”As is to be found in the Aristotilian corpus.”
~~>one of most important texts in linguistics; Saucie(??)
>>avoidance of elegance
>>enduring value: sole source for some texts
~>translation takes on life of its own; some of the greek originals have been lost since then so some subsequent transls are based on Moerbeke’s Latin text

Significance of Aristotle transls
>decisive influence on organization of curriculum
~>classified everything, everything since then just refines his framework
~>organization of thought/of language ^
>theory of discourse
~~>meant to be read aloud
~~>articulates what we now call genres
>>medieval organization of discourse: [was shitty]
>>>by content; the “mattieres”
>>>by form: the lyric
~~~>all derived from music and dance.

Medievel Grammar
>>pedagogical grammars
~~>trying to do Latin mostly; no vernaculars because the boundaries were too unknown
~~>relied on ancient roman grammar; not particularly useful because the model sentences were written in classical latin, which is way more complex than medieval latin especially syntactical. (Med. has very few ablative absolutes)
~>(would have been unthinkable without Aristotle transls)
>>speculative grammar
>>Thomas of Erfurt: De modis significandi seu grammatica speculativa:
~~>most influential; mistaken authorship ’til recently, attributed to Don Scot…es?
>>>modes of signifying (significandi)-> words
>>>modes of understanding (intellegendi)-> concepts
>>>modes of being (essendi) -> objects
~~>could arrive at “universal grammar”; all languages ultimately have the same fundamental grammar if you approach at this level of generality. lollll kay. Very old greek idea: first expressed by Plato, Parmenedes, idea for every thing that exists and a word for every idea that exists so there is a fundamental equation that all of being can be thought and stated and everything that can be thought exists. LOL okay. Correlary: everything exists in three aspects, truth – inevitably beautiful and good; aspectual version of this equation. (BEING IS STATEABLE FULLY IN LANGUAGE.) Oh my god this is adorable. Is this what philosophers do all day? Debating about angels on heads of pins because if you can conceive of angels and pins then it’s totes legit. [in fact we have words that do not correspond that to anything that exists. “Unicorns for example.” if we have word/concept for unicorns then they MUST exist. god I just want to pinch all their little cheeksies.]

Pronominal Theory: 10 cent Arabic LOOK THIS UP LATER
~>very few transls of this available; Latin yes, but almost nothing else
~>school of grammarians in Seville
~>lang structures not only itself but how we look at the world; grammar = philosophy
>1st person: I -> present tense; cognition and action
>2nd: thou-> future tense; ethics
>3rd (dead): it-> past tense; description and manipulation

Writing prose in the middle ages
~verse is facilitated by oral cultures so verse was easier for ancient societies, verse offers mnemonic devices so it’s better to memorize; children like to memorize verse, linguistic games awww yay
~no such thing as spoken prose; speech. Prose = that which goes beyond the line.
>Ars/artes dictaminis: dictamen (letter)
~>underlying influence is Arabic not Latin
~>complicated system of reporting via letters
~>very very formulaic; paragraphy
>Ars dictandi for documents other than letters
~>readymade documents
~>telling about state of the language
~>notion of official language; actionable
~>problematic if no one can read the dang thing
~>progressively, small glosses will get provided in the vernacular to describe terms of contract (such as land exchange (Latin has no language for English topography but it would be funny to see them try.))
~~>good linguistic resource because there’s a lot of data, they’re well-preserved, and notaries oft get it helpfully wrong
>Rhetorica ad Herennium (90 BCE)
~>Medievals believed it was written by Cicero
~>textbook of rhetoric used in roman antiquity
~>had a collection of commonplaces/topoi
~~>believed to be immediately understandable by everyone
~~>building blocks for vernacular languages; reduce need for speaker/writer to innovate; innovation = opportunity for error oh nooooes. repetitive/conformist is a good thing, vouched by tradition and therefore okay
>vernacular prose
verse is first; true in all cultures says WG.
~>situations of ambiguity and other problems that come up after derhyming; removing the articulation/disambiguation of the performer when the performer is removed. Have to give a lot of textual directions to clarify; took a while to figure this crap out. Lots of early prose texts are just incomprehensible. reading it out loud solved that problem but silent reading was really ridiculous; translators compound that problem woooo! conventions of the original are not necessarily accessible to the second language.

Aristotle and Scaliger
>Julius Caesar Scaliger (1484-1558)
>>Poetices (1561)
~>ornery italian; prefers Virgil to Homer whatever
~>establishes “Aristotilian Language Police” omg that’s adorable let me go get my Bakhtin
>Joseph Justus Scaliger (1540-1609)
~>^his son; smartest man of his day. [WG passes this kind of judgement very freely, does he just have a list of everyone’s IQs and have it ordered temporally from here ’til the beginning of time?] shitty teacher, knew too much and insulted his students for not knowing. Favorite term = idiots. Inaugural lecture of his second year begins, “Dear Idiots: Idiots you are, Idiots you shall remain. I can only temper your idiocy somewhat, and it will be best if you do not speak to me.” 1st professor appointed purely for research, doesn’t have to teach.
>Emergent notion of style; impact on translation
~>sort of invented literary crit.; important notion that there is *choice* in expression. This was not important when translating mathematics, but when it becomes more lyrical/narrative choice becomes crucial. Constantly have to ask what other ways there are to say it.

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