David Bellos Is That Fish in Your Ear?

ISBN 13: 9780241954300

Is That Fish in Your Ear?

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9780241954300: Is That Fish in Your Ear?

Is That a Fish in Your Ear? by David Bellos asks: how do we really make ourselves understood to other people? This funny, wise and life-affirming language book shows how, from puns to poetry, news bulletins to the Bible, Asterix to Swedish films, translation is at the heart of everything we do - and makes us who we are. Selected by The New York Times as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2011 'A wonderful, witty book ... richly original, endlessly fascinating ... for anyone interested in words' Economist, Books of the Year 'A scintillating bouillabaisse ... spiced with good and provocative things' Literary Review 'Dazzlingly inventive' The New York Times 'Clear and lively ... There is nothing quite like it' Spectator

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About the Author:

David Bellos is Meredith Howland Pyne Professor of French Literature at Princeton University, where he also teaches Comparative Literature. He is the author of many books and articles on nineteenth-century fiction, alongside biographies of three icons of French culture in the twentieth century: Georges Perec, Jacques Tati and Romain Gary. He is also a well-known translator and the author of Is That a Fish in Your Ear? The Amazing Adventure of Translation. David Bellos was recently awarded the rank of officier in the Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres for his services to French culture.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Is That a Fish in Your Ear?
ONE What Is a Translation? Douglas Hofstadter took a great liking to this short poem by the sixteenth-century French wit Clément Marot: Ma mignonne, Je vous donne Le bon jour; Le séjour C'est prison. Guérison Recouvrez, Puis ouvrez Votre porte Et qu'on sorte Vitement, Car Clément Le vous mande. Va, friande De ta bouche, Qui se couche En danger Pour manger Confitures; Si tu dures Trop malade, Couleur fade Tu prendras, Et perdras L'embonpoint. Dieu te doint Santé bonne, Ma mignonne. He sent a copy of it to a great number of his friends and acquaintances and asked them to translate it into English, respecting as well as they could the formal properties that he identified in it: (1) 28 lines (2) of 3 syllables each (3) in rhyming couplets (4) with the last line being the same as the first; (5) midway the poem changes from formal ( vous) to informal ( tu) and (6) the poet puts his own name directly into the poem.1 Hofstadter, a cognitive scientist at Indiana University, got many dozens of responses over the following months and years. Each one of them was different, yet each one of them was without doubt a translation of Marot's little poem. By this simple device he demonstrated one of the most awkward and wonderful truths about translation. It is this: any utterance of more than trivial length has no one translation; all utterances have innumerably many acceptable translations. You get the same result with ordinary prose as you do with a poem. Give a hundred competent translators a page to translate, and the chances of any two versions being identical are close to zero. This fact about interlingual communication has persuaded many people that translation is not an interesting topic--because it is always approximate, it is just a second-rate kind of thing. That's why "translation" isn't the name of a long-established academic discipline, even though its practitioners have often been academics in some other field. How can you have theories and principles about a process that comes up with no determinate results? Like Hofstadter, I take the opposite view. The variability of translations is incontrovertible evidence of the limitless flexibility of human minds. There can hardly be a more interesting subject than that. What is it that translators really do? How many different kinds of translating are there? What do the uses of this mysterious ability tell us about human societies, past and present? How do the facts of translation relate to language use in general--and to what we think a language is? Those are the kinds of questions I explore in this book. Definitions, theories, and principles can be left aside until we have a better idea of what we are talking about. We shouldn't use them prematurely to decide whether the following version of Clément Marot's poem (one of many by Hofstadter himself) is good, bad, or indifferent. It's the other way around. Until we can explain why the following version counts as a translation, we don't really know what we're saying when we utter the word. Gentle gem, Diadem, Ciao! Bonjour! Heard that you're In the rough: Glum, sub-snuff. Precious, tone Down your moan, And fling wideYour door; glide From your oy- ster bed, coy Little pearl. See, blue girl, Beet-red ru- by's your hue. For your aches, Carat cakes Are the cure. Eat no few'r Than fourteen, Silv'ry queen--But no more 'n twenty-four, Golden dream. How you'll gleam! Trust old Clem Gentle gem. Copyright © 2011 by David Bellos

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David Bellos
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Descrizione libro Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2012. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Is That a Fish in Your Ear? by David Bellos asks: how do we really make ourselves understood to other people? This funny, wise and life-affirming language book shows how, from puns to poetry, news bulletins to the Bible, Asterix to Swedish films, translation is at the heart of everything we do - and makes us who we are. Selected by The New York Times as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2011 A wonderful, witty book .richly original, endlessly fascinating .for anyone interested in words Economist, Books of the Year A scintillating bouillabaisse .spiced with good and provocative things Literary Review Dazzlingly inventive The New York Times Clear and lively .There is nothing quite like it Spectator. Codice libro della libreria APG9780241954300

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Descrizione libro Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2012. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Is That a Fish in Your Ear? by David Bellos asks: how do we really make ourselves understood to other people? This funny, wise and life-affirming language book shows how, from puns to poetry, news bulletins to the Bible, Asterix to Swedish films, translation is at the heart of everything we do - and makes us who we are. Selected by The New York Times as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2011 A wonderful, witty book .richly original, endlessly fascinating .for anyone interested in words Economist, Books of the Year A scintillating bouillabaisse .spiced with good and provocative things Literary Review Dazzlingly inventive The New York Times Clear and lively .There is nothing quite like it Spectator. Codice libro della libreria APG9780241954300

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Descrizione libro Particular, 2012. Condizione libro: New. 2012. Paperback. How do we really make ourselves understood to other people? This book shows how, from puns to poetry, news bulletins to the Bible, Asterix to Swedish films, translation is at the heart of everything we do - and makes us who we are. Num Pages: 400 pages, Illustrations. BIC Classification: CBX; CFP. Category: (G) General (US: Trade); (J) Children / Juvenile; (P) Professional & Vocational; (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 198 x 130 x 24. Weight in Grams: 298. . . . . . . Codice libro della libreria V9780241954300

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Descrizione libro Particular. Condizione libro: New. 2012. Paperback. How do we really make ourselves understood to other people? This book shows how, from puns to poetry, news bulletins to the Bible, Asterix to Swedish films, translation is at the heart of everything we do - and makes us who we are. Num Pages: 400 pages, Illustrations. BIC Classification: CBX; CFP. Category: (G) General (US: Trade); (J) Children / Juvenile; (P) Professional & Vocational; (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 198 x 130 x 24. Weight in Grams: 298. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Codice libro della libreria V9780241954300

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Descrizione libro Penguin Books Ltd. Paperback. Condizione libro: new. BRAND NEW, Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything, David Bellos, "Is That a Fish in Your Ear?" by David Bellos asks: how do we really make ourselves understood to other people? This funny, wise and life-affirming language book shows how, from puns to poetry, news bulletins to the Bible, Asterix to Swedish films, translation is at the heart of everything we do - and makes us who we are. Selected by "The New York Times" as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2011. "A wonderful, witty book .richly original, endlessly fascinating .for anyone interested in words". ("Economist", Books of the Year). "A scintillating bouillabaisse .spiced with good and provocative things". ("Literary Review"). "Dazzlingly inventive". ("The New York Times"). "Clear and lively.There is nothing quite like it". ("Spectator"). Codice libro della libreria B9780241954300

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