• 2007-09-20
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A day late, here’s a proper language instruction video, in the purest style of language instruction videos. A day late, but foreign tongues aren’t learnt in a day, ye scurvy dogs!

(Hat tip: Chris Ambidge. Ahoi!)

Carnival of Blog Translation VI.

Blogueurs et blogueuses mulitilingues de tous les pays, à vos claviers ! Il y a une nouvelle édition du Carnaval des traductions blogiques. Toutes combinaisons de langues source et cible sont acceptées — pourvu que vous traduisiez un billet publié en juin 2006 (par vous même ou quelqu’un d’autre), publiez la traduction sur votre blog à vous, et me le fassiez savoir.

Update 3: To make this perfectly clear, there is no deadline. As long as the translated posts were published in June 2006.

Hell and damnation! I hate it when that happens — and this was indeed a bad time for things to go awry. No I didn’t forget the Carnival of Blog Translation, which I’ve agreed to host for the month of June. I’ve just been horribly snowed under with my new job and moving to the pleasant suburb of Brixton. So not only did I find myself too sleepy to blog, I even missed posts going missing and all but the most egregious server problems. Because there’ve been some.

Update 1: This post, too, is affected. It seems it’s up now — at least I hope so.

Be that as it may, I am horribly, horribly late for the June edition, which Angelo/Caelestis at Sauvage Noble so kindly suggested that I host. No; Liz Henry’s excellent initiative deserves better.

Still, all is not lost, maybe, and June’s not really quite finished yet, if you squint. So Bi- and Multilingual Bloggers of All Countries, Unite! Here are the rules:

  1. Choose a blog post written in June 2006 and get permission to translate it. You can choose one of your own.
  2. Translate it.
  3. Post it on your blog.
  4. All topics and language combinations are welcome.
  5. Notify me, either by leaving a comment or trackback here, or by email to chris AT lascribe POINT net, or by Technorati-tagging your post. The notification should include: The URL, title and author’s name of the original post (in the source language), your name and blog URL, the URL and title of your translation.

Technorati-tagging? Like so: add this code to the end of your post, and I’ll automatically see it:

<a href="http://www.technorati.com/tag/carnivalofblogtranslation" rel="tag">carnivalofblogtranslation</a> or, if you prefer,
<a href="http://www.technorati.com/tag/carnival_of_blog_translation" rel="tag">Carnival of Blog Translation</a>

The deadline is

Sunday, the 32nd of June 2006 at 23:99

(whichever your time zone).

Update 2:Liz Henry herself has come through wonderfully. Read her translation of Yuyu’s post Tormentas de verano: Music, roses, and thunderstorms. To be read while listening to Paula and Odile’s very beautiful Coplilla de la rosa amarilla.

But in fact, I’ll post whatever comes in, even later. I’ll do two translations myself, to make up for my tardiness. And if I fail to give satisfaction as a hostess, I’ll accept 100 lashes with a Unicode string as a punishment.


Je suis en train de (re)lire Problèmes de linguistique générale d’Émile Benveniste, dont j’admire l’érudition, le style accessible et l’approche décontracté au multilinguisme dans ses écrits. Le dernier point est illustré par une citation.

I’m reading, or, for some parts, rereading, Émile Benveniste’s Problèmes de linguistique générale, both volumes of which are available in the publisher Gallimard’s low-cost-high-quality collection tel.

Benveniste#[1] (1902-1976) is one linguist whose name should be the first that comes to mind when writing about (the lasting influence of) structuralism in contemporary French linguistics. Strangely enough, it doesn’t: in the anglosphere, I usually see some hand-waving about Lévi-Strauss, full stop. Lévi-Strauss has certainly influenced many disciplines, but he wasn’t a linguist and is, as far as I can tell, an indirect reference at best in French writings on language.

Problèmes de linguistique générale is a collection of articles published between 1939 and 1972. I like the very readable style — the only difficulty comes from the subject matter — and the sheer erudition, which is always in the service of the topic, is quite mind-boggling#[2].

I want to quote, without translation, the first and part of the second paragraph of Pour une sémantique de la préposition allemande vor (reprinted as ch. X of vol. 2, originally published in Athenaeum, nouvelle série, vol. L, fasc. III-IV, University of Pavia, pp. 372-375) because its approach to multilingualism made me smile (footnotes omitted):

Dans un article antérieur, nous avons tenté une interprétation unitaire des emplois de la prépositon latine prae, afin de monter en particulier que le sens dit causal de prae résulte d’une spécialisation du sens général de « à l’avant, à l’extrémité, au point extrème ». Nous avions donc repoussé l’explication donnée par Brugmann de l’expression prae (gaudio) : « Etwas stellt sich vor etwas und wird dadurch Anlass und Motiv für etwas ». P. Meriggi, sans considérer en détail l’argumentation de notre article, reprend la thèse de Brugmann, et à la question que nous posions : « je pleure devant la joie… En quelle langue s’est-on jamais exprimé ainsi ? », il répond: « In tedesco, perchè vor Freude è l’expressione del tutto corrente e addirittura unica pel lat. prae gaudio ».

Nous pensons que, loin de modifier notre conception du sens de lat. prae gaudio, l’expression allemande vor Freude la renforce.

In what follows, he extensively quotes from the Grimms’ dictionary. In the original German, of course.


[1]: The Johns Hopkins Online Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism used to have an entry that was a good intro, though slightly slanted towards Benveniste’s influence on literary criticism. Well, it probably still has, but the database has unfortunately become subscriber-only and is thus inaccessible to lowly people such as me. Wikipedia, is for once, rather unhelpful. Except for the German version — someone should definitely translate this. [2]: For example, the essay La phrase relative, problème de syntaxe générale (originally published in Bulletin de la Société de Linguistique, LIII, (1957-58), fasc. 1) starts with a brief introduction, and then considers Ewe, Tunica, Navajo, Chipewyan and Arabic, before stating On peut maintenant se tourner vers l’indo-européen — he turns to Sanskrit, Old Persian, Homeric Greek, Hittite and Latin, and finishes with a few notes on Old Irish and German.

Via Language Hat, I just read about a brilliant initiative launched by Liz Henry at ALTAlk Blog: a Carnival of Blog Translation. A blog carnival is, as Liz puts it, “sort of like a travelling signpost that points to a bunch of magazine articles. It is a post that contains links to other posts written […]

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Some reflected glory from Les Blogs

V.F. en cours de rédaction.

  • 2005-12-05
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I spent a very pleasant day yesterday having lunch with Suw Charman (in whose IRC channel#[1] I like to hang out), Kevin Anderson of BBC World Have Your Say and Matt Mullenweg (the WordPress lead developer). They are in Paris for the Les Blogs 2 conference. The local welcome committee included Michel Valdrighi (who took […]

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Seen in a few places on the web lately, this is what I want on a t-shirt: I � Unicode During yesterday’s Paris blogger meet-up Paris Carnet, Mouche noted that a sticker might be even better; and was worried about what it meant that she not only understood the joke but even found it funny. The character […]

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Langues régionales de France

There is an interesting blog-based debate going on about the value of teaching “regional languages” in French schools. The main languages in question are Breton, Corsican, Occitan, Basque, maybe Alsacian and some others — none of which is a French dialect (the word having been used with a pejorative connotation).

In discussions like these I realise how much of a Sapir-Whorfian streak I have developed.

Débat intéressant à blogs interposés entre Batims, qui exècre les langues régionales et leur enseignement et qui trouve, en gros, que cela sent le renfermé, et Pascal de chez Finis Africae#[1] qui, au contraire, nous fait une défense passionnée et exhaustive du multilinguisme, du patrimoine linguistique et de la richesse de toute langue, quelle qu’elle […]

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  • 2005-07-19
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Interesting article by Michael Erard in today’s New York Times (reg. req’d), on the book and the database The Ethnologue, which are published by the Summer Institute of Linguistics (S.I.L.). This is an absolutely amazing source of information for everyone who is interested in the languages of the world. Erard does not avoid to touch upon the […]

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On being an immigrant

Une petite réflexion autour de ces dangereux bilingues, en l’occurrence moi, qui s’aventurent à avoir un jugement instinctif sur la correction grammaticale d’énoncés appartenant à leur langue(s) seconde(s).

Étrangement — étant donné que c’est en France que j’habite — je suis moins à l’aise de revendiquer ce type de jugement en français, genre nominal, subjonctif du passé et terminaisons muettes obligent.

Language-wise, that is. A question I’ve been increasingly puzzling over lately is whether, and if yes, to what degree, we non-native speakers have a legitimate claim to sprachgefühl#[1] in our second language(s): The process of becoming more fluent and idiomatically correct in whatever tongue we have immersed ourselves in comes with a greater and greater acumen […]

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It has brought to my attention that a small clarification might be in order: Given that this blog is not monolingual, comments are welcome in any language that I may be able to decipher. In addition to the English languag, French and German are particularly welcome. If a post already has comments in a language that […]

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