In the original language

G.H.’s post on style and original language reminded the geek in me about that great line from one of the Star Trek movies about loving Shakespeare in the original Klingon. Apparently, someone took that quite seriously:


Also, I take it that (a) style is untranslatable, that (b) the French writers post-Sartre have translations that only sound pedantic and thus have formula that get oft-repeated in translation, and (c) I don’t know whether or not to hope, from his description, I can be translated well. I had to think of this once when a friend was translating something of mine into French and asked me if that was what I meant, and I thought, well actually that’s even more subtle in the French and better.

And speaking of Graham, I want to thank him for pointing out Gibbon’s use of “insensibly.” Now when I’m driving through the Scottish countryside, I hear it each time. And, yes, if you want to know, I have a great, sharp reader of Gibbon, who uses every word of Germanic origin in the English language and has taught me that I know nothing in the art of the put-down. I mean his formula of X is as Y (vain or whatever) as he was Z (negation move). Graham’s offered several examples of it.