Monday, 25 October 2010

My Dictionary, Holiday Time and Others

I decided to write a song in French a couple of weeks ago. It was ok - standard fare really, albeit in French. In the course of this adventure, I had to look up the gender of a word, but didn't have a French dictionary or anything like that. However, there happened to be a very old one left behind in my flat from a previous resident, so I used that one and order was restored. It has since remained untouched by me, though its title is still visible underneath the other books I have stacked on a shelf. It does make a strange claim though on its subheading, stating that it is "La Bible des dictionnaires bilangues" (I shouldn't need to translate that). It only really hit me the other day what an odd thing this is to claim.

So what exactly did they mean by that? Does the first part (French-English) act merely as a precursor to the second (English-French), making bizarre half-predictions about what's going to be featured later on? Is the second part considered by many to be more important than the first, rejecting the silly French-English claims as being unrealistic and brutal, and deciding that the words in English-French section are more representative of the true translation? Is there a group of people who reject the second section entirely, choosing to focus solely on the French-English part while waiting for a "real" English-French part to displace the currently existing one? Are there wild contradictions throughout, with the initial translation of the word "table" being cross-referenced in the second section as "armadillo", without anyone seeming to notice. Did a group of people in Utah extrapolate on the translations, putting special emphasis on the word "underwear" and "polygamy"? Did they claim that the founders of the dictionary travelled to America, where they proceeded to reveal the real translations to a select group of people? Ok, maybe that one's a little silly, but you get my drift. It amused me anyway.

So after 3 weeks of teaching very little (owing to the strikes), I have a 10-day holiday. Whether this is a good thing or not is still uncertain, but I'm sure I shall find ways to remain busy.

Peace x

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