English as a Universal Language
Editors and Translators:
response about English in my chat with my Russian translator.
Compare your own language to English and get back to me!
Wait, if Russian is sharp and blunt. Then how can is be so slippery?
This is a contradiction. I think that you are right about the
American style of writing. It is a mix of rich description and
slang dialogue. This is why American English seems so fresh.
The compression and the open endings are the German and French
at work....both grounding and soaring. You can see this in English
literature. But the Americans then turn this strange mix into
a global and populist form. It's perfect as the lingua franca
of a global civilization.
couldn't achieve this in a million years. The Russian mind is
too exclusive. This is why Russian communism could not be exported
culturally. It was more weapons and economic aid. Also KGB expertise.
That's just the way it is.
I see it, an English word treated as a semantic cluster is more
condensed and pressurised than a Russian one. The lack of endings
make an English word universal, gives it additional meanings,
Russian, words are more like sharp and blunt tools. Pasternak
would rather say "a touberose" rather than "a
rose" or "a flower". The word is hardly ever
used in the language as it is, and gives a scent of sacred to
the language if used in a piece of literary art. It is sharp
as a razor because it is so unusual. You may say it is about
the exactness of the word, about the right choice of words.
a literary language is often a slightly obsolete variety, rich
in book-only words and a bit outdated ones.
read " The Glass Key " by Dashiel Hammett when I was
20. The book was a combination of rich style in description
and Chicago slang in dialogues... Is it a rule or just a coincidence
in modern American literature?
has the inner rhythm and sentences are easier to pace than Russian
ones. English is more tolerant to new
expressions, plastic is the word; while in Russian the newly-coined
words seem more like a corruption of the language.
znAyu sIlu slOv, Ya znAyu slOv nabat
Nye tyE slovA, kotOrym rukoplyEshchut lOzhi
ot Etikh slOv sryvAyutsya grobA
shagAt' chyetvyOrkoyu svoIkh dubOvykh nOzhyek"
know the power of words, I know the bell of words,
Not the words that people applaud to in the theatre lounges;
No, the words that make coffins
Walk with all the four oak legs they have.)
From Vladimir Mayakovski's note he left before he shot himself
more what you mean by English language expressiveness.
assume Harvest of Gems vol. 4 must be edited and published first.
When it is, I could start the translation. The poems are very
impressive, they generally go in line with English-language
As Voznessenski said:
"V anglIjskom bolyAt glagOly,
VrUsskom bolyAt imyenA"
English, it is verbs that ache,
In Russian, it is nouns (literally: names)
are so delicate matter that they can't be translated too quickly.
"SluzhyEnye mUz nye tyErpit suyetY"
(Serving to Muses doesn't tolerate any fuss. -- Aleksandre Pouchkine)
And it's modern version:
"SluzhyEnye mUz nye tyErpit kolyesA"
(Serving to Muses doesn't tolerate any wheel. -- Boris Grebenchtchikov,
leader of Aquarium rock band in St.Petersburg)
BG's poetry is very influential and spiritual.
Harvest of Gems vol. 4 was finished in 1996. But it's not edited
or published. Harvest of Gems vol. 1 was finished in 1991. Harvest
of Gems vol. 2 in 1994. Neither is edited or published. Harvest
of Gems vol. 3 what you did in 1994. It was edited in 2000.
Published this year. It's now available at Amazon.com. The Little
Monk was written in 1991 and edited in 2000. Also now available
at Amazon.com. Forty Immutable Parables was written and edited
in 2000. Will be available at Amazon.com in May or June.