A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2017

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Serpent
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2015

Postby Serpent » Sat Oct 17, 2015 11:38 am

I've not read Lord of the Flies but here's some background info.
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Montmorency
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2015

Postby Montmorency » Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:38 pm

IpseDixit wrote:
The Lord of Flies (in Italian) - I bought it because I thought it was a dystopia (which is a genre that I love) but I'm halfway through it and still haven't seen any real dystopic elements. So far I've found it quite boring and I'm not ditching it just because I have 100 measly pages to the end.


I've only read it in English, (and seen the original British film version). It's very much of its time, I would say, although none the less a great book. It was a set book when I was at secondary school (high school). There is definitely a message (or a series of messages) to it. Whether one would call it dystopic or not, I'm not sure, but in case you were not aware, it's kind of a dark answer/contrast to a Victorian novel (for boys, probably), called "The Coral Island", by R.M.Ballantyne. That's a book that I read and re-read when I was quite young (and well before I read "Lord of the Flies").

Edit: I'm not sure I totally agree with the point of view expressed in the link Serpent posted, but it's an interesting take on the two books.
There are actually some dark aspects to "The Coral Island" as well. It too was very much a book of its time, and you can probably find much worse racism (for example) in much more recent books. (Edit: by "recent", I mean early 20th century, pre-WW2, say up to and including 1930s at least).
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2015

Postby aabram » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:13 am

I was in Madrid last week and picked up used copy of Asimovs Fundacion. It's been ages when I read that one in English so reading it in Spanish is good way to further my Spanish as well as refresh my memory. Almost bought trilogy instead but wanted something light and small for reading on the plane. Language is simple enough for me without too much verbal fluff. Occasionally have to look up a word or two but in general i'm satisfied with my reading speed.

There's one episode that gave me trouble though -- there's a guy, an ambassador or something of a sort who has speech defect and can't pronounce his "r". In Spanish they've replaced r's with g's to convey the impediment and that seriously threw me off at first while reading. "Vegdadegamente bagbago", "no figuga entge mis libgos" took time to adjust.

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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2015

Postby Ogrim » Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:50 pm

IpseDixit wrote:The Lord of Flies (in Italian) - I bought it because I thought it was a dystopia (which is a genre that I love) but I'm halfway through it and still haven't seen any real dystopic elements. So far I've found it quite boring and I'm not ditching it just because I have 100 measly pages to the end.


I read the book (in English) many years ago, and I also watched the 1963 film version when it was on Norwegian TV back in the 1970s or 80s. I kind of liked it then. However, now my daughter is reading it for school and she finds it terribly boring (but then she is a teenager who prefers the Hunger Games, the Maze Runner and the After series).

Le dernier livre que j'ai lu en français n'est pas un roman, mais un essai sur la cosmologie, Discours sur l'origine de l'univers d'Etienne Klein. Le livre pose des questions fondamentales sur l'existence de l'univers et met en question la théorie du "Big Bang", à base des dernières découvertes de l'astronomie et de la physique quantique. Si la cosmologie vous intéresse, voici un livre que discute de ces questions d'une manière assez différente de celle de p.ex. Stephen Hawking et d'autres cosmologues anglophones.

(The last book I have read in French is not a novel, but an essay about cosmology, called "Discours sur l'origine de l'univers" by Etienne Klein. The book discusses fundamental questions about the existence of the universe and puts in to question the Big Bang theory, based on the latest discoveries in astronomy and quantum physics. If cosmology interests you, the here is abook which discusses these questions in quite a different way from that of e.g. Stephen Hawking and other anglophone cosmologists.
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2015

Postby aabram » Sat Nov 14, 2015 4:09 pm

Ogrim wrote:Le dernier livre que j'ai lu en français n'est pas un roman, mais un essai sur la cosmologie, Discours sur l'origine de l'univers

Heh, the very first book I read in French was Le big bang : les origines de l'univers. Much easier read than fiction.
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The Inpector Montalbano books - anyone read any of them in Italian?

Postby Montmorency » Wed Nov 25, 2015 7:24 pm

My wife and I have always been fans of the "Montalbano" TV series, which BBC4 has been showing in the UK for quite a few years now.

Recently we noticed some of the books in English translation in our local library, and I have read two of them so far ("The Treasure Hunt" and "Angelica's smile").

I was impressed how close to the TV versions they were, which of course really means, how faithful the TV series was to the books, at least in those cases.

I seem to remember reading somewhere (HTLAL?) that these are quite difficult to read in Italian, because they include a lot of Sicilian dialect.
Has anyone any experience of reading them in Italian?

It's interesting, because although Catarella, Adelina (Montalbano's cook/housekeeper) and Adelina's son are portrayed as speaking dialect (rendered as a very exaggerated "stage-Italian" trying to speak English), Montalbano and Fazio are rendered in perfectly normal English - I suppose they have to be or it would get tedious. However, I think they are actually supposed to be speaking, at least to some degree, Sicilian. The reason I say that is that occasionally the narrator will say that Fazio said something in "Italian", which apparently he does from time to time, to emphasise it, or to distance himself from it. I'm guessing that Montalbano and Fazio are speaking some more educated and more intelligible form of the dialect, which is presumably closer to standard Italian.

FWIW, to my ears, on TV Montalbano appears to be speaking standard Italian, but my Italian knowledge is pretty basic, so I'm probably not the best judge.

Edit: Just for interest: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2012 ... in-writing
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Re: The Inpector Montalbano books - anyone read any of them in Italian?

Postby Sarnek » Thu Nov 26, 2015 5:26 pm

Montmorency wrote:[...]
Has anyone any experience of reading them in Italian?


I'm Italian and I've read a few, and yes, they are quite difficult even for an Italian native speaker. Only at the beginning though, after the first novel the second one will be so much easier already. The prose and everything is in dialect and there are words that look italian but have different meanings, like magari, which means "maybe" in Italian but "also" in Sicilian.
In the TV series the actor who plays the inspector is from Rome. He does an awfully good job with the sicilian accent but a native ear can probably recognise the occasional slip-up. So good job for spotting that. He does however speak Italian quite often (being a professional and educated man), especially with his Swedish girlfriend, and does more so than in the books.

I would advise reading them in italian only if you are really interested in the story (so as to catch all the nuances that of course can't be translated) and/or Italian/Sicilian culture. Definetely not as a tool to learn Italian.
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Montmorency
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Re: The Inpector Montalbano books - anyone read any of them in Italian?

Postby Montmorency » Fri Nov 27, 2015 2:36 am

Sarnek wrote:
Montmorency wrote:[...]
Has anyone any experience of reading them in Italian?


I'm Italian and I've read a few, and yes, they are quite difficult even for an Italian native speaker. Only at the beginning though, after the first novel the second one will be so much easier already. The prose and everything is in dialect and there are words that look italian but have different meanings, like magari, which means "maybe" in Italian but "also" in Sicilian.
In the TV series the actor who plays the inspector is from Rome. He does an awfully good job with the sicilian accent but a native ear can probably recognise the occasional slip-up. So good job for spotting that. He does however speak Italian quite often (being a professional and educated man), especially with his Swedish girlfriend, and does more so than in the books.

I would advise reading them in italian only if you are really interested in the story (so as to catch all the nuances that of course can't be translated) and/or Italian/Sicilian culture. Definetely not as a tool to learn Italian.


Many thanks Sarnek. It's very useful to have the insight of a native Italian speaker.

Well, if I get the chance, I might have a look at one of the original Italian editions, just for interest, but not as an Italian learning-aid!

In my digging around, I did find a web site (aimed at Italian speakers) which included a (quite large) glossary of Sicilian terms used in the books (essentially a Montalbano fan site I think).
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2015

Postby tricours » Fri Nov 27, 2015 11:16 am

I'm currently reading a book I don't like very much in Polish, Wszystko dla Niej. It's a collection of short stories that kind of reads like someone's first, faltering attempt at literature. It contains quite a lot of "vulgar" words though, which is good.

I also started reading Патологии by Захар Прилепин. It seems like a very well-written book, but quite heavy as well... (So I ended up starting a Swedish and a Norwegian book on the side :P) Has anyone read it?
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Serpent
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Re: A Language Learner's Forum Book Club 2015

Postby Serpent » Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:46 pm

I've been hesitant to bring this up and I don't wanna take over the thread, but...
(disclaimer)

First, @iguanamon, you've read Como agua para chocolate, right? How was it in terms of sexism? (others are also welcome to reply, of course) Seems like the book presents women as superior, which is less common than the opposite but still sexist :| (the link contains spoilers - I didn't read the middle paragraph)

More generally, any book recs for those seeking diversity? I've realized I haven't read a single book by a black person :oops:
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