slowmoon wrote:One of the books I gave up on was a German translation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. In some ways, it was harder than modern German non-fiction. Especially non-fiction about a familiar subject. Also, it seems that pre-twentieth century authors didn't adjust their writing to make it 100% comprehensible to children or teenagers.
One thing not many people realise about Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is that this book was written by a mathematician, and it is absolutely filled with logical and mathematical riddles. It was a critique on mathematics and on the inadequacies of the English language itself. I remember back to my university days having a meeting with my PhD supervisor (himself a mathematician) in which he described this book as perhaps the most brilliant book ever written, with almost every sentence being a "gem".
Whenever I think about how it has been translated into many different languages, I can only think how so much of that clever meaning would have been lost by translators who probably didn't get the meaning.
When I was learning Korean, I decided to buy a Korean translation of this book because I was curious to see how well the mathematical and linguistic jokes had been translated. As you might imagine, the translation read almost like a typical movie adaptation for children, focusing more on the whimsy and adventure. As such, I think the Korean version was actually much more comprehensible to me as a Korean learner than the English version would have been to an English learner.
But yes, I agree with you, the grammar in this book is not easy.