“The Lady, or the Tiger?” Continuation

December 21, 2009

. . . . . .

He went to the door on the right, opened it. He was astounded. Had it been the tiger, he would have been pieces already. The astonishment had deprived him from the enjoyment of survival. As if it was the princess herself. He looked at the scenery a second time. He thought that the distress had driven him insane. The lady approached him. He was trying to come to his senses. It was after the lady embraced him and he lost the amazing sight that he realized what had happened -or better to say not happened.

The warmth, the smell, the breath, the caress, the feeling, everything was exactly those of the princess. For one fleeting moment, he felt as if he was dreaming. While clasping her tightly, in order not to let his sweet dream escape, he looked up to see if the princess was still there, watching the scene. The princess was present. He saw the princess glaring at him furiously, typical of any woman watching her lover Read the rest of this entry »


“I’ll alter him” vs. “Aisle, Altar, Hymn”

November 16, 2009

Has it ever happened to you to mishear a part of a song or sentence and keep on repeating and singing along to it incorrectly for a long time? Nothing to be ashamed of! It has happened to the best of us.

The American writer, Sylvia Wright, in an essay entitled “The Death of Lady Mondegreen” published in Harper’s Magazine in November 1954, wrote:

“When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me from Percy’s Reliques, and one of my favorite poems began, as I remember:

Ye Highlands and ye Lowslands,

Oh, where hae ye been?

They hae slain the Earl Amurray,

And Lady Mondegreen.”

The last verse is actually “And laid him on the green” which was misheard by Ms. Wright as a child. She coined the term Mondegreen for this phenomenon.

Here are some examples of the dear Lady Mondegreen:

“I’ll alter him” vs. “Aisle, Altar, Hymn”

“There’s a bathroom on the right” vs. “There’s a bad moon on the rise”

“Cry Me a River” vs.”Crimean River”

“Grand parade” vs.”Grandpa Raid” Read the rest of this entry »


Crass ?!

November 11, 2009

One of the words that we recently encountered and seems to have caused a slight discord amongst students is the word “Crass”. The examples might be too many, but they are worth checking out.

crass adjective
/kræs/

Definitions:

-Without considering how other people might feel

-Behaving in a stupid and offensive way which shows that you do not understand or care about other people’s feelings

-Having or indicating such grossness of mind as precludes delicacy and discrimination

-Being beneath one’s dignity

-Used as a derogatory intensifier

-Guided by or indicative of base or materialistic values

-So crude and unrefined as to be lacking in discrimination and sensibility.

-Without refinement, delicacy, or sensitivity

-Showing no interest in the finer things

Examples:
Warns union: Crass public spending cuts would wreak lasting social and economic damage.

It is crass to say that if consumers are tightening their belts, so should government. If citizens and businesses stop spending then the state must fill in the gap.

OTTAWA – A Liberal MP is alleging that “crass politics” have resulted in a Canadian Olympic retail logo that mirrors the federal Conservative party logo.

Economists are sometimes accused of crass materialism.

Manchester United’s Gary Neville was crass to suggest that footballers are worth their astronomical wages. Read the rest of this entry »


New Words, New Concepts

November 11, 2009

As we elevate our vocabulary knowledge over the course of our education, it seems to be getting more difficult to find an even close equivalent in Farsi for some of the new words we come across.

Each word is a matter of convention or mutual agreement among language users. Whenever we use a word in any language it is accompanied by a bundle of ideas and concepts that are defined by those unwritten conventions. Therefore it is very difficult, trying to compare different words from different languages and set them as precise equivalents, since there is a very specific connotation behind each word, especially in abstract concepts.

As far as translations is concerned, there is no one-to-one correlation existing between the words and phrases of different languages. Translation is not encoding and decoding equivalents between the two languages, using a bilingual dictionary as the codebook. Translators should also find a word or phrase that best represents the connotation or concept of the one in the source language.

But in learning a new language -especially for literature students, in my opinion the best approach would be to learn the new vocabulary items by seeking help from the words and sentences that are already present in that language –not by making every endeavor to translate them into your mother tongue and consequently losing some or most part of the meaning that word conveys.

As mentioned each word represents a concept. To form a new concept in our mind we should read as many sentences and examples as possible. In upcoming posts I will try to collect some authentic phrases and sentences and also some semantically close words from different contexts and dictionaries for some of the new words that I find debatable. Hopefully this can help us acquire a better sense of the new vocabulary items. Please DO NOT hesitate to share your comments and opinions.