Is English a Romance language? 
Posted: 12 January 2013 06:24 PM   [ Ignore ]
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-English language, unlike any other, can be spoken almost exclusively Germanic or exclusively “Latin.”
-For example:
“We go to our house and eat some bread and swine flesh, nicely cooked, drink some milk and let you speak to us about all the earth’s problems.”
-This phrase, given to a German that never heard of the English language and told that it is some old German dialect he has to decipher, would immediately be solved by the German, because just about all the words are Germanic. Give it to a Romance speaking person and they will never solve it. But watch basically the same phrase written in the so called “Latin” part of English.
-“Let’s proceed to the residence we occupy and consume a number of fresh biscuits with grilled pork, and as beverage we have plenty of cups of lactate products while you lecture us regarding global problems.”
-Now everything has been reversed. The German would never figure out what is written here, but most Romance language people will figure it out easily. And of the Romance language people, Romanians would be able to figure faster than any other. There is a linguistic thing that is well known among Romanians; because it was observed lately throughout Europe. If a Romanian is exposed very shortly to Italian or Spanish, they will not be able to speak the language, but will understand those languages in no time at all. But it is not true in reverse. It takes a lot longer to an Italian or Spaniard who moved to Romania in the last decade to understand Romanian than the other way around. This is not my observation, but I was told about it by a couple of Italians who lived in Romania and spoke Romanian. 
-Now if the Latin side of English comes from Latin, why would any Romanian be able to understand the above phrase so well? The same phrase given to a person that speaks German and Latin (but not English or some romance language) would not be able to figure out that phrase. Latin-speakers would understand just about all the words individually, but it will be very difficult to guess what the phrase says. My French is zero, but if a text in French is given to me I can figure out a fair amount of what is in that writing, considering that I understand the meaning of about 70% of the words. That was before I knew Latin. But in classic Latin I understood 100% of the words individually, but never could figure out the meaning of the phrases, before studying plenty in that language. Interestingly the language in The Gospel of Saint Mark in Gothic by Ulfilas [which is a sort of Old English] I understood surprisingly well after reading it two times. I can learn that language in no time at all, but what’s the point? 
-I have no idea if linguists used computers to figure out the provenance of the English words [I’m sure they did], but from the top of my head I would say that about 20% are Germanic, 65% “Latin”, about 10% of the words are in both languages and 5% Greek, Phrygian and completely unknown.
-English was declared Germanic, because the Grammar and the majority of the common words are Germanic. A German would learn the everyday English much faster than a romance language speaker, but the romance language person would understand the English language much deeper. The same is true with an English-speaking person when learning German or a Romance language.
-Before immigrating to America, I knew Italian and German fairly well and when I arrived in New York, could read the newspaper and understand everything. But watching the news or movies on TV didn’t do much good, because I couldn’t understand anything for a good while. Learning English is like learning two different languages: one written and one spoken. 
-I am curious if anyone has the percentage of English words precisely divided to see how close I am to the real figure.
-In my opinion, English is half and half for common use, but it is more of a romance language when spoken by upper intellects.

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Posted: 13 January 2013 01:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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-In my opinion, English is half and half for common use, but it is more of a romance language when spoken by upper intellects.


D N F T T

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Posted: 13 January 2013 04:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Regarding Thomas Meyer’s new translation of Beowulf:

Many modern Beowulf translations, while excellent in their own ways, suffer from what Kathleen Biddick might call “melancholy” for an oral and aural way of poetic making. By and large, they tend to preserve certain familiar features of Anglo-Saxon verse as it has been constructed by editors, philologists, and translators: the emphasis on caesura and alliteration, with diction and syntax smoothed out for readability. The problem with, and the paradox of this desired outcome, especially as it concerns Anglo-Saxon poetry, is that we are left with a document that translates an entire organizing principle based on oral transmission (and perhaps composition) into a visual, textual realm of writing and reading. The sense of loss or nostalgia for the old form seems a necessary and ever-present shadow over modern Beowulfs.

What happens, however, when a contemporary poet, quite simply, doesn’t bother with any such nostalgia? When the entire organizational apparatus of the poem—instead of being uneasily approximated in modern verse form—is itself translated into a modern organizing principle, i.e., the visual text? This is the approach that poet Thomas Meyer takes; as he writes,

[I]nstead of the text’s orality, perhaps perversely I went for the visual. Deciding to use page layout (recto/verso) as a unit. Every translation I’d read felt impenetrable to me with its block after block of nearly uniform lines. Among other quirky decisions made in order to open up the text, the project wound up being a kind of typological specimen book for long American poems extant circa 1965. Having variously the “look” of Pound’s Cantos, Williams’ Paterson, or Olson or Zukofsky, occasionally late Eliot, even David Jones.

A glance anywhere in Meyer’s text demonstrates the stunning results. One place he turns it to especially good effect is the fight with Grendel in Fit 11, transforming the famously hyper-condensed syntax of the scene from a discouraging challenge for the translator into a visually pleasing strength:

The eyes of Hygelac’s kin watched the wicked raider
execute his quick attack:
without delay,
snatching his first chance,
a sleeping warrior,
he tore him in two,
chomped muscle, sucked veins’
gushing blood,
gulped down his morsel, the dead man,
chunk by chunk,
hands, feet & all.

& then

footstephandclawfiendreachmanbedquicktrick
beastarmpainclampnewnotknownheartrunflesho
feargetawaygonowrunrun

never before had
sinherd feared anything so.

Here the reader is confronted with the words themselves running together, as if in panic, in much the same way that the original passage seems in such a rush to tell the story of the battle that bodies become confused. This is just one example of the adventurous and provocative angle on Beowulf to which Meyer introduces us. His Beowulf—completed in 1972 but never before published—is sure to stretch readers’ ideas about what is possible in terms of translating Anglo-Saxon poetry, as well as provide new insights on the poem itself.

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Posted: 13 January 2013 07:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Dave. This is a genuine troll. Let’s be done with this.

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Posted: 14 January 2013 06:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Agreed.  It’s getting very tiresome.

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Posted: 14 January 2013 04:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Is English a Romance language?

It is when spoken by Pepé Le Pew.

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Posted: 14 January 2013 08:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Agreed.  It’s getting very tiresome.

Mmm. I wouldn’t compare myself to Aristarchus but I think I know how Sisyphus felt.

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