Now this is quite interesting.
As anyone with an interest in old time radio and old movies, I had noticed the unusual pronunciation – and I’m pretty sure, as a non-native speaker, a bit of it probably rubbed off on me.
But now, here’s an explanation of why they spoke that way.
Today I’m posting an infographic from the South China Morning Post, graphically representing the diffusion of languages in the world or – if you prefer – the potential readership for each language.
Or, the languages that are likelier to give you a lot of mileage as you travel the world.
Or what languages a world-weary pulp adventurer could have mastered depending on the places he visited.
(be warned, it’s big) Continue reading →
I’m having a weird experience – I’m writing the first Italian-language story of Aculeo & Amunet, and it’s tough going.
Now the plot is fully outlined and the action pieces are set-up.
I’ve got the historical background and some of the imagery.
And of course the characters are my own, and I love to write about them.
It’s the way they speak.
The dialogue is stilted.
The rhythm of the exchanges between my characters is heavily connected with the language I write in.
In Italian, Aculeo and Amunet are still witty and fun, but they are… different.
Aculeo is tough but lacks class, and uses too many words, Amunet comes across as too soft and vaguely querulous.
This is not good.
The reason is, probably, that English is a much more concise and economic language – to me at least, maybe because it is my second language and I first experienced it through narrative and songs and not through everyday use.
I think Aculeo and Amunet in English.
I hear their speech in my head in English.
The general effect: scenes that are clear and “as well as written” in my mind slump on the page and read horribly.
All in all, this is a bad problem – writing this story in Italian is slower going than I imagined, and it cost me so far two full days: I should have closed my story on Friday night, and here I am still writing and rewriting, only 50% of the way in.
The editor waiting for my story is not going to be pleased, and this is subtracting time from other (paid!) projects.
Now, at around 3000 words, I’ll scrap the last 500 I wrote, and I’ll try and complete the story in English.
And then, I’ll translate it.
It will be easier, faster, and I’ll connect again with my characters.
But as I said, this is getting weird.
As a native speaker of another language, I find this quite interesting (and useful)