Archive for the ‘language’ Category

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David Sedaris

I’m going to see David Sedaris tomorrow with some friends at the State Theater. I’m so excited! I’ve never seen him live before, although I have listened to clips of him perform.

This is one of my favorite pieces about learning French:

My favorite book of his is Me Talk Pretty One Day, from which the above piece came. It’s especially hilarious because I have learned French in a similar classroom situation (although my teacher was *much* nicer than his), and I have also taught German to kids at Concordia Language Villages.

Stories about learning languages are fun!

I am also terribly fond of this story, because Black Peter is part of the St. Nicholas tradition in Germany as well. The Germans, however, have Klausen instead of six to eight black men to do the beatings and kidnappings.

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via Bookshelves of Doom

This is pretty neat, if you care about translation. It’s always interesting to hear how different translators do their work, and then compare it to what I do. When Done Right, Little Gets Lost In Translation

At least some of the people want to read their pretty books, and not just look at them. But still. Selling a Book by Its Cover

I think I need this shirt! If only it weren’t yellow… Reading is for Awesome People

Pretty self-explanatory from the title: Buy India a Library

*snicker* Profile of a Twitter User

Fabulous podcast with Neil Gaiman, AS Byatt, and Salman Rushdie. The Uses of Enchantment

Fair enough; everyone needs a little bit of trash sometimes. Why We Love Bad Writing

Again, fairly self-explanatory. How to Read

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Shanghai businessman Li Jing is having dinner with his father at a hotel restaurant when the unthinkable happens–there is a massive gas explosion in the kitchen, and the building collapses. When he wakes up in the hospital, where he was taken after a massive shard of glass pierced his skull, Li Jing is diagnosed with bilingual aphasia: he can still comprehend Chinese, but he can no longer speak it; instead he can only speak English, which he learned as a child growing up in Virginia.

American neurologist Rosalyn Neal comes to Shanghai on a fellowship to assist in Li Jing’s rehabilitation; she is struggling with a recent divorce, and comes to Shanghai as much to escape her own past as to assist Li Jing. As the connection between doctor and patient becomes stronger, it is apparent to everyone that their mutual isolation in their inability to speak Chinese is complicating an already complicated situation. And Li Jing’s wife Meiling and son Pang Pang may be the ones who end up paying for it.

As someone who speaks more than one language, this was a fascinating read. I started to wonder how Mr Lush and I would cope if I had a similar accident and could only speak German. Luckily for me, I have several local friends who speak German, as do my parents, but it would still be a strain, as Mr Lush only speaks English.

I also enjoyed that the story was told from the perspective of all the characters. This made it difficult to assign blame: everyone was a real, flawed person, and everyone’s actions (or lack thereof) contributed to the problems they all encountered. The ending is messy, like real life, but it was satisfying.

Ruiyan Xu’s site

Source: borrowed from library

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The Big Reveal

The NY Times has an interesting article about literary translations: Translation as Literary Ambassador.

And with that as my introduction, I can now spill the beans about the project I was working on this summer that ate up so much of my time: Amish Prayers.

A Collection of Inspiring Prayers
Used by the Amish and Mennonites for Over 300 Years!

The Amish as well as other Anabaptist groups have used the same book of prayers for centuries. Now for the first time a selection of these prayers is readily available in English. This exclusive authentic translation from the original German—with an introduction by Beverly Lewis—will give readers insights into the spiritual foundations of the Plain people. Each prayer is paired with a Scripture passage to draw readers closer to God. This hardcover illustrated gift book is perfect for old and new fans of Amish fiction alike.

Beverly Lewis made the selections, and I translated them. Excuse me for a moment while I burst with pride and accomplishment, sweetened by the knowledge that my German major wasn’t useless, despite the fact that I don’t want to teach! Go me!

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Here’s some interesting bookish links:

Kirkus 2010 Best Books for Children and Teens I have sadly read only a very few of these books. But should I ever run out of things to read, this will be a good place to start.

A Screenwriter’s Hogwarts Decade I had no idea that the same person had been the screenwriter for all but one of the Harry Potter movies. And I also had no idea how closely JK Rowling had been involved with the movies.

James Frey’s Fiction Factory and James Frey’s Next Act which combine to paint a horrific picture. Liz B has an excellent roundup of related links over on A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy. It’s not so much *what* he’s doing as *how* he’s doing it that’s the problem. That contract is BAD.

The Bookseller Who Doesn’t Read Novels He clearly cares about the business and is working very hard to make it succeed, so I’ll just cringe mildly and move on.

My bright idea: English is on the up but one day will die out Language nerd alert! He makes good points, and I think he might have a case. But we won’t live long enough to see if he is right or not. C’est la vie.

The Book Collection That Devoured My Life No comment.

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Merde, Alors

I have read and enjoyed both of Firoozeh Dumas’ books, Funny in Farsi and Laughing Without an Accent. I can certainly relate to her experiences moving to a foreign country as a child and trying to learn the language and fit in.

And because I speak French, I find this piece to be quite amusing. A Guide To The Gritty Side Of The French Language. On that note, a favorite piece from Davis Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day:

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