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Old 05-12-2009, 06:19 PM
 
Location: Western Hoosierland
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Anyone on this board read books in a foreign language?

I can speak German,French and of course English and love to read books in German and French.

One of my favorite French books is Un Engagement Très Long By: Sebastian Japrisot.

One of my favorite German books is Eine Billion Dollar by: Andreas Eschbach.


What is your favorite foreign language novel?
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:16 PM
 
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the only foreign language i know is chinese, and there are definitely some fav authors/books, but i can't type chinese
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Old 05-12-2009, 08:16 PM
 
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I do a lot of translation and work with corporate documents in other languages, so it's hard for me to muster the energy to read for pleasure in other languages that I once had.

They've translated it into English and made a movie, but I really remember reading Der Vorleser in the original German to be quite enjoyable.
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Old 05-13-2009, 04:44 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdude View Post
Anyone on this board read books in a foreign language?

I can speak German,French and of course English and love to read books in German and French.

One of my favorite French books is Un Engagement Très Long By: Sebastian Japrisot.

One of my favorite German books is Eine Billion Dollar by: Andreas Eschbach.


What is your favorite foreign language novel?

Being French I read in French as well as English , I love Japrisot's book but the French title was " Un long dimanche de Fiancailles" ( also one of my favourite movies) , I also really like his " L'Ete Meurtrier" . I am a big fan of Guy de Maupassant and Emile Zola and have devoured and re-devoured all their books. My favourite would be Maupassant's "Nouvelles" and Zola's " La Bete Humaine" and " L'assommoir", " Le Ventre de Paris".

I also like Stendhal ( "Le Rouge et Le Noir"), George Sand "La Mare au Diable", Alexandre Dumas ( both the father and the son though " Le Comte de Monte Cristo" and " La Reine Margot" are possibly my favourite) , anything by Honore de Balzac and Alphonse Daudet ( "Lettres de mon Moulin" in particular) and many more besides.

I am also a big fan of Rimbaud, Beaudelaire and Jacques Prevert on the poetry side.

I used to be fluent in German but sadly no longer but I loved Schiller, Goethe ( "Die Leiden des jungen Werthers " , "Gotz von Berlichingen") ,all of Kafka's works ( though he was Czech he wrote in German also), Brecht ( "Die heilige Johanna der Schlachthöfe", "Furcht und Elend des Dritten Reiches","Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder"," Der aufhaltsame Aufstieg des Arturo Ui" ) Herman Hesse's "Unterm Rad", "Das Glasperlenspiel" springs to mind of German language works I really enjoyed .
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:42 AM
 
15,247 posts, read 17,825,741 times
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I speak Spanish as a second language and years ago when I had the opportunity to speak it every day I read a couple of novels in Spanish--Cien Anos de Soledad and La Tregua come to mind. But it was a challenge then and since I rarely speak it now, it would probably be impossible.
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:59 PM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
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I had to buy the books in English to succeed in my French Literature courses in college, I am sorry to say.

We were on the quarter system (10 week terms), and for one class we read Emile Zola's The Ladies' Paradise plus had regular assignments from a reader and possibly some other books. It took me so long to get through a chapter that I realized I was never going to make it in time.

I read that excellent novel in English and wrote my paper in French and got an A-.

I had 1 year of high school French and 5 quarters of college French before I got to the lit classes. I was far from fluent (and still am). I could handle Le Petit Prince in the first lit class, but I think that's about 100 pages versus 500!



I am impressed with those of you that read well in multiple languages.
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Old 05-13-2009, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Western Hoosierland
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Thanks ^^
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:23 AM
 
Location: UK
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I speak Italian, English and Spanish and if the book I want to read is originally written in any of those languages I try to read the original version.
Otherwise as I read my attention is distracted by a curiosity and I constantly ask myself how would each sentence be worded in the original language. Sounds crazy but it has happened in more than one occasion.
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Old 05-14-2009, 05:01 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
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Originally Posted by hutch5 View Post
I speak Italian, English and Spanish and if the book I want to read is originally written in any of those languages I try to read the original version.
Otherwise as I read my attention is distracted by a curiosity and I constantly ask myself how would each sentence be worded in the original language. Sounds crazy but it has happened in more than one occasion.

I agree. I must admit I always find the translations never quite hit the right register somehow and the original language is always vastly superior. Each language has a different rythm and the subtleties just do get lost in translation.

I have done an MSC translation course and know how difficult it is to be truly faithful not just to the spirit of the book ( which is relatively easy) but the actual language where the beauty resides. I would say it is impossible actually. One must not only translate words , but a certain cultural register has to trickle down and yet be seamless. Translators in a way do not get enough credit for what is such a delicate work of craftsmanship.


"Cyrano de Bergerac" is a perfect example. It is possibly the most beautiful book ever written in the French Language and though the translation is able enough , it still lacks the true refinement and simple beauty of the original.

The film with Gerard Depardieu ( my favourite film ) used the best translation by far in my opinion ( by Anthony Burgess) for its subtitles and I spent the film correcting it in my head, and groaning because it missed just so much of the sheer poetry , delicacy and intricacy of language. And his translation is about as good as it's going to get probably.


Shakespeare for example just loses its potency in French. Chekov I am sure is far more beautiful in Russian than in English ( one of my very favourite authors).

But I suppose unless all of us learn to be fluent in all languages, we will ahve to be content with the diluted versions...
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Sudcaroland
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I read books in English, which is not my native tongue. And of course, I read in French.
I'd like to give it a try in Spanish and Italian but I'm so "rusty" in these languages that I'm afraid not to understand too many things and not enjoy the book, even if it's very good!
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