topics in industrial-strength language

February 17, 2010

There was no class on Monday and I will not be answering any questions about where I was that day, so don’t ask. Instead, read Wednesday’s notes! I’m including the notes from discussion section because some interesting things were brought up. I also am considering posting .pdf files of the papers I’ve written for this class so far, but I want to consult with a couple people about the wiseness of that kind of thing first.

************************transl theory wed feb 17 week7
The Question of Norm
don’t question the Benjamin, he’ll get to it on Friday. Chillax. Make sure you bring it to class.

Translators and Language
~the definition of language that linguists have is meant for linguists and no one else; language is not a stable transdisciplinary construct
>Technical translations
~legal/business documents, tech reports
~more and more English is used to save time/prevent error (even the french (gasp))
>>the language industries
~~>especially Canada
~~~Univ of Ottowa best school of translation in the world
>>data banks of technical terminology
>>>”terminologist” vs lexicographer
~~~>latter maps dialects and fun crap like that 😀
~~~>lex’s also do fieldwork, harvest terms
~~~>terminol’s make up words
~~~~new word must fit the language
~~~~40 new words/day (well paid but not de verba)
>>role of linguistics
~~>training for terminologists
~slight tangent about how much WG likes Khazakstan. ok then (if you wanted to be a terminologist there’s a job opening. just learn six langs.)
>ecumenical vs vernacular languages
~>oiecos (sp?) grk “household” in re: to Empire
~>ottoman empire with millets and little langs.
~>historically: greek, latin, arabic
>>the New Ecumenical Languages: English, French, Russian, chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Hindi-Urdu
~~>term revived in 1970s in Norway and Israel in reaction to globalizationismicality.
~~>used in more than 2 countries (often have more speakers abroad than in their own countries, like English.)
~~>tend to become more linguistically conservative, must be stable.
~~~>local varieties (Bono’s speech vs singing; diglossia)
>>print vs media practices
~~>print=older thus more nation-specific (especially as it emerged during rise of nationalism)
~~~>differentiation btwn spanishes when transl to fr
~~~>major export
~~~>many places simply dub them (western eur speakers)
~~~>many europeans learn english from american soaps (thus have incorrect accent) (american military bases in germany brought in their tv)
~~~>entered east eur after collapse of USSR; they have to catch up but don’t have time to dub, so they do voice-overs with just one actor
~~~~problems: in Ukraine WG tries to watch telenovella but it is spanish w/ italian subtitles and ukrainian VO. Other problem: in Ukraine it’s bilingual, two candidates with diff langs (and also they scheduled a debate during a tele.) I’m confused, now we’re talking about the pope and some greeks. oop there was WG’s screensaver, that’s how he can tell he’s getting sidetracked. hee.
~~~~television issues: portugal imports brazil tv and resents it but there’s such a differential of populus
>>>Ramadan epics
~~~>middle eastern muslim tv is very censory. during Ramadan you’re fasting during daytime so people are having largest meals (and man the second the first star appears). Not like Lent (starts today, WG has witticisms about this of course); cook all day, eat all night. Perfect for prime time, new tv shows, big deal! the epics are shows that will be shown every day during Ramadan, much competition. Two main competitors: Egypt and Iraq. Egypt has: 1. historical drama, and 2. sentimental stories (w/ singing and way too many violins; WG stresses how much Egypt likes violins, okay then). Iraq: used to be very linguistically pretty but there’s no more because now it’s heavily censored and very religious/puritan so now Syrian tv is getting big! (Saudi tv is so bad even Saudis don’t want to deal with it, would be arresting each other all the time if their offices weren’t in London.) Syrian tv is very contemporary and evocative, ppl watch in disbelief; this latest Ramadan one Syrian show got 90% of audience. This is spreading Syrian Arabic more!

The language of translators
>Marlene NourbeSe Philips
>>”father language vs mother tongue”
~~>in Tobego (near Trinidad), one lang in household and another in school(british standard colonial english).
~~>not always dealt with by linguists
>the question of linguistic standard
~>linguists reluctant to argue for the standard
>>Educators vs linguists
>>>The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language
>>Managed Languages:
>>>Academie francaise (Richelieu 1637)
>>>Academia real
~~~”I don’t think there is a word both accurate and kind to describe them.” Castillan verging on racism.
>>>Accademia della Crusca
~~~”The Italians could not tolerate this normativity, they are just anarchists at heart.”

Samuel Beckett and the question of norm
>Samuel Beckett (1906-1983) b. in Ireland d. in Paris
~WG is now talking about Beckett’s breakfast habits and his favorite waiter in Paris. For like ten minutes. I would try to transcribe the whole thing but my wrists are acting up. Many writers in Europe apparently just hang around in restaraunts waiting to talk to their readers, okay. If you’re looking for Toni Morrison she’s at the Hotel Pierre caffe. Dude, how does he even KNOW all this, this is a weird thing to even– he just called someone a dragon. I do not remember who. But she has a room at Hotel Manhattan where she naps and then has tea and you can talk to her then. </breath>
>Writing in English: verpersonifiziert
~>writes to his Irish cousin in German. That word is not a word in German, he made it up.
>>”depersonified” vs “mispersonified”
>>John Keats (oct 1818): “If then [the poet] has no self, and if I am a Poet, where is the Wonder that I should say I would write no more?”
>>Arthur Rimbaud: “Je est un Autre” (may 1871)
>>”official English” and its effect on the writer: presupposes a stable, solid self. a single substantial “I” where none is felt. boocakes.

The Axel Kaun letter
>Beckett and German (“BeschissenesDasein” = shitty design, or beshitted. To do with Heiddegger?)
~Beckett = last of modernists/first of postmodernists
>The Axel Kaun letter of 1937
>>”more difficult, indeed, more senseless, for me to write ein offizielles Englisch” (cf his disdain for Geheimrat Goethe [Gouty of “Daunty, Gouty, and Shopkeeper” in Finnigan’s Wake, yay Joyce!]; Geheimrat = secret advisor)
>>language as blinding; “Grammar and Style”
>>The deadly “sophistication” of English
>>>Dante’s volgare illustre against Latin
>>>Joyce against English
>>>a vita nuova for English
>>”It is easier to write in French without style” 1956.

The language predicament
>languages freeze form and form habits
>their conventions are at crosspurposes with creative usages
>”official” vs artistic
>”peepair hide sex” Piper Heidsieck
>accepted literary language is always like an outmoded social convention
>translation as breakthrough:
~>must not transl into official language b/c this entombs the original language
~>preventing a language from deadening itself
>>the case of rap
~~>attentive to the nature of the language thus creates space for more linguistic play.
>>rap vs rocknroll in the global sphere
~~>standard, everyone sounds the same in English

************transl theory section
“The philosopher’s task consists in comprehending all of natural life through the more encompassing life of history.”
written on the board: meta.
life of history: more encompassing due to, what, the fourth dimension? the human element? mayhaps both, and using something BIGGER as a lens to view something that’s already plenty big is a terrifying notion but I suppose it makes sense. this probably has something to do with using this tentative implicit agreed-upon common knowledge as a way of talking about things in a non-arbitrary, systematic way. we only know what an apple is because we know what it is LIKE, and we only know how to talk about it because we have the history of words and language (and the historical mechanisms that allow us to have whatever language we have) at our disposal. natural life is something concrete and therefore ineffable, unless we string it together with relationships via history. “And indeed, is not the continued life of works of art far easier to recognize than the continual life of animal species?” this is I guess because art comes with a presupposed language to discuss and think about it, and exists within a predefined system that we ourselves made up and therefore know it to be totally arbitrary and artificial, rather than this anxiety that there’s some better, correcter way of organizing real things (things we did not make and do not control) in the world. The afterlife, then, is twice artificial: art is man-made, and then art-history is made around that, so following the history of a piece of art is a task so detached from reality that it has basically no way to be wrong. my anxiety about the gap is not necessarily a worry about being wrong, but about being unable to speak at all. in terms of philosophy we are still concerned with the organization of things in the world into meaningful categories; the mechanism is surely language, what else can it be? I will never be able to talk about anything else.

Dahlia dicet: everything becomes literature; we don’t care about the info which was accurate at the time but look at them as historical texts.

point of origin – point of departure – before that time it didn’t exist (as an entity!) – the original is when all the antecedants finally combine. family tree the “root” is not the first thing of anything: as far back as you’re capable of deciphering. significance comes from trajectory! point of reference. Yo.


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