Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Blood donation and translation today. It was the phlebotomist's first day drawing blood. Not only that, but I was her first actual blood drawing in the field, as it were. They were kind enough to let me know beforehand and give me the option to demur, but I decided that I could be brave through this. Also, I've always been told I have nice, stable, and prominent veins, and that I am a fast bleeder. (Note: this is really, really, really only a positive thing when donating blood, but *shrugs* not much I can do about it, anyway. More Vitamin K, maybe?) So I let her have a whack at it, and she did splendidly, so that was fine.

Then, to the library for more translation fun!

Today's interesting find was the description of an old man as a "slaměný vdovec," which my big Czech-English dictionary translated as what was for me an unparsable unit, "grass widower." This, according to my the big English directionary upstairs, means something like "one who lives away from his spouse or whose wife is always away for business or pleasure," and is itself a calque of the German "Stroh.witwer."

So what I seem to have discovered for myself is two different calques here; both English and Czech having translated the elements of a German idiom, rather than the Czechs having borrowed an English expression, as I first assumed. Of course, it could have gone into English and then from English into Czech (or vice versa, theoretically, but we're not talking about "pistol," "robot," or "dollar" here) but Czech's historically close contact with German and high frequency of German borrowings and calques lead me to believe it's a case of independent borrowing.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I seem to remember you chopping up vegetables, cutting yourself, cursing "pissfuck-slanderous-bandit-onionballs", falling onto the floor, bleeding profusely, and leaving us with no option but to drag your ass to the #1, ride on down to Nemocnice U Sv. Anni where we would roll you out the door, wash our hands of the whole business, and then head into town for some Gulash. You were usually home by 10 or 11 that night. You never complained.

Anonymous said...

That last one was me
- Jesse

Anonymous said...

Jesus, now I look overly proud. I'm not. Not proud. Never, ever proud.

- Jesse

The Earthtopus said...

I'm to assume that whole thing was an extended riff on the fast bleedin'?

Also, wow is that Ferris Bueller novelization ever something. Quick note: the valet who takes Cameron's dad's Porsche on the joyride, who I believe to have been Hispanic in the book, is now a Slavic ex-con named "Igor Puggha." Guess they had to make him an ethnicity it was more PC to make fun of, or something.

Also key: "with 8 pages of movie photos!"

Agnes said...

Question:

*Hi by the way, you good? how's the non-smoking? Anyway*

in the light of retarded Czech - Dutch translators, which Lustig book would you suggest a semi-autistic genious would start with?

On a different note, should you be bored - and that goes for all the americans - you could always join the little Brno reunion in beginning of June.

And I wonder... does authority really increase once one knows how to - apparently - shout at a group of people?

The Earthtopus said...

a) I have had five partial cigarettes (no more than half each) and one whole one since December 4.

b) I've never read any Lustig.

c) Actually, I was tentatively planning on hitting CZ and SLK somewhere between May and July, interestingly enough.

d) What the hell is the context of that last paragraph?