Very short poems you like

catalog

Well-known member
There is also a not insignificant commonwealth influence on English as well, bigger vocabulary than a lot of other languages I think?
 

jenks

thread death
There is also a not insignificant commonwealth influence on English as well, bigger vocabulary than a lot of other languages I think?
Huge in comparison with many others - the lack of obstacles for embracing and creating new words, including no standard spelling system, allied with rampaging colonialism/exploitation means it has a ridiculously large lexicon.
 

catalog

Well-known member
I think one of the problems with the American-Chinese handover and one of the reasons it is taking a bit long is the language. Like they are trying to get a few people to learn mandarin but it's not really gonna happen is it. Very difficult to supplant the current lingua franca.
 

jenks

thread death
Very wide, but perhaps a little less deep as compared to some other languages
I don’t know how you’d define wide/deep - all languages do their jobs none are deficient because intrinsically all humans need language to do the same thing. Whichever language they’re using.
 

catalog

Well-known member
I mean it seems to adaot/change a lot more than other languages. Like, for example, French, Spanish and Italian are all still very rooted in Latin and use a lot of English words for "new" stuff. Same with hindi. That's my impression. I don't think all languages are self sufficient.
 

jenks

thread death
I mean it seems to adaot/change a lot more than other languages. Like, for example, French, Spanish and Italian are all still very rooted in Latin and use a lot of English words for "new" stuff. Same with hindi. That's my impression. I don't think all languages are self sufficient.
I don’t think any language can be self sufficient- the Academie Francais may try to police ‘foreign’ words entering a language but it’s a pointless stance.
 

catalog

Well-known member
Anyway, sorry for the tangent @Benny B i like this short poem from Adrian mole

The Discontented Tuna (Wednesday, 7 April -- Growing Pains)

I am a Tuna fish
Swimming in a sea of discontent.
Oh, when, when,
Will I find the spawning ground?
 

sufi

lala
It's easily the best language
Nah, Somali is better.
a language that had no written form at all until the 70's, that even now hasnt got standardised spellings or dictionary, that google translate only just included,
But has the richest poetic tradition in the world, back in the day the entire economy and society ran on poetry, all history and culture existed as memorised oral poems, every somali a poet
https://africanpoems.net/relationships/bitter-and-sweet-a-somali-gabay/ is a small flavour of the longevity of the heritage,
also https://africanpoems.net/survival/defeat-of-the-infidels/ & https://africanpoems.net/survival/the-death-of-richard-corfield/ the "Mad mullah" scorning the infidels
(sorry these are short but not very short)
 

catalog

Well-known member
Nice to see the Chinese influence there, with the doodling.

Is this an ode to death maybe?

Or is it as simple as it first reads?
 

catalog

Well-known member
But aren't white lilies symbolic of death? Or maybe that's a new thing?

Maybe it is simply about love, nothing else, but I feel it can't be.

Don't lily stamens also stain?
 

Benny B

Well-known member
I dunno, I see it as an optimistic poem, that many forms of love are dangerous and painful, but that a pure, true love that does no harm does exist. Then again, I'm sure there are other layers to it, I'm not a Blake scholar by any means.

Did Blake have a Chinese influence?
 

sufi

lala
Waley speculates over the possibility that Blake may have been influenced by the work Tao Te Ching (The Book on Tao and its Power), the classic of Chinese Taoism. He points out that a translation of that work into Latin had been acquired by the Royal Society in 1788 and noted in Philosophical Transactions. Blake may well have seen the work and gained some knowledge of its content. Whether he did so or not, we do know that he shared the Taoist thinkers’ distrust of rational intellect as a means for true understanding. Chance may have guided Hsü Chih-mo to Blake in the late 1920s. He is known to have translated at least one of Blake’s poems—his best known, “The Tyger.” Unfortunately I have not succeeded in tracing his translation.
 

william_kent

Well-known member
There's a good JH Prynne introduction to the Songs From a Jade Terrace that goes into that in depth.

This review of Volume V of Chin P'ing Mei briefly discusses "what translation is" - it was in the New York review of books but that is paywalled, however I finally found this free to read version:

The Wonderfully Elusive Chinese Novel

Relevant quotes so you don't have to click on the link and read the whole thing:

Anyone who knows two languages moderately well knows that it is rare for words to match up perfectly, and for languages as far apart as Chinese and English, in which even grammatical categories are conceived differently, strict equivalence is not possible. Book is not shu, because shu, like all Chinese nouns, is conceived as an abstraction, more like “bookness,” and to say “a book” you have to say, “one volume of bookness.” Moreover shu, but not book, can mean “writing,” “letter,” or “calligraphy.” On the other hand you can “book a room” in English; you can’t shu one in Chinese.

I tell my students that there are only two kinds of words they can safely regard as equivalents: words for numbers (excepting integers under five, the words for which have too many other uses) and words that are invented expressly for the purpose of serving as equivalents, like xindiantu (heart-electric-chart) for “electrocardiogram.” I tell them their goal in Chinese class should be to set aside English and get started with thinking in Chinese.

Indo-European languages, with their requirements that tense, number, gender, and part of speech be specified, and with the mandatory word inflections that the specifications entail, and with the extra syllables that the inflections add, just can’t achieve the same purity—a sense of terseness and expanse at the same time—that tenseless, numberless, voiceless, uninflected, and uninflectible Chinese characters can achieve. In a contest, one person has a butterfly net and the other a window screen.
 
Top