Emilio Bernal Labrada, miembro de la Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española, es autor de La prensa liEbre o Los crímenes del idioma. Pedidos a: email@example.com
Language, Our Daily Fiesta
Emilio Bernal Labrada
El título corresponde al colofón con que se anuncian, con perfecta transliteración del inglés, las últimas producciones cinematográficas. Es decir, «Now showing», que un genio espanglicista ha vertido palabra por palabra a nuestro pobre idioma: «Ahora exhibiéndose».
Creo que aquí lo que más se EXHIBE (fíjense que he evitado el innecesario durativo característico del inglés, «se ESTÁ EXHIBIENDO») es la falta de imaginación del que se las ingenió para copiar tan al pie de la letra la frase anglo. Porque lo más natural, diríase lo clásico en castellano, es algo así como «Gran estreno», «Ya en cartelera», «Ya en pantalla», etc.
Pero lo peor es que bastó que un copión lo hiciera así de mal para que los demás lo imitaran, pensando que si así había aparecido en letra impresa (el papel lo aguanta todo), pues tenía que estar bien. De manera que «Ahora exhibiéndose» ha pasado a ser la anormalidad normal, si me permiten la contradicción. Claro que el mundo de la cinematografía está repleto de los más espeluznantes (e hilarantes) disparates, de los cuales es este apenas uno de los más reiterados. Los demás se deslizan, ocultos entre los subtítulos que, por su efímera aparición en pantalla, pasan inadvertidos. ¿Quién tiene tiempo de estar atento a las frases habladas y confrontarlas con la traducción?
Otra cosa son los títulos, aunque pocos se fijen en su adecuación. Me viene al recuerdo la célebre y divertida producción de Pedro Almodóvar, «Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios», caso curioso de título castellano disparatadamente traducido al inglés, aunque nadie se diera cuenta. (Los horrores de traducción van en ambos sentidos, sin discriminación de ninguna clase.)
Pues bien, en inglés le pusieron «Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown», versión totalmente desacertada pues correspondería a «mujeres al borde un colapso nervioso». Como el filme era más bien cómico y ligero, no pega lo de colapso nervioso, que denota un trance bastante serio y perturbador. La versión correcta hubiera sido “Women on the Verge of Going Bananas”, que es lo que corresponde a “ataque de nervios”, con la ventaja adicional de que “going bananas” es precisamente una frase del «slang» o lenguaje vernáculo que da el preciso toque de humor.
Y ya que hablamos de «cómico», observamos que esta voz parece haber perdido la «gracia» que la caracterizaba, puesto que se ha puesto de moda suplantarla. A quien provoca la risa ya no le dicen «cómico» sino «comediante». ¿Será por influencia del inglés «comedian» (que, análogamente, ha suplantado a «comic»)? Lo que plantea otra pregunta: si según el diccionario «comediante» es el que representa un papel, ¿cómo se sabe si se trata de un actor dramático o chistoso? Ya sé, hay que esperar a que esté «AHORA EXHIBIÉNDOSE».
Identity Group Politics and the Future of the Democratic Party
Larry DeWitt is an historian and self-described political populist. Larry is a specialist in 20th century U.S. history and public policy. Born in the Southwestern U.S., he has lived in the East for the last 18 years. His commentaries on politics and society still retain the populist spirit of the rural West. See Larry’s past columns here
August 8, 2004
As the keynote speaker at the July 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Illinois Senate-candidate Barack Obama thrilled the jaded convention-goers, although it is not clear that they knew why. They thought it had something to do with his "compelling biography" and his likeable personality.
After all, Obama, is the son of a mixed-marriage between a black Kenyan father and a white mother from the farms of Kansas. He had graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School. He had edited the Harvard Law Review. Keep reading
Eric D. Goodman is a professional writer and editor. He is winner of the Newsletter on Newsletter’s Gold Award for superior electronic newsletter editing and is a two-time finalist in the Chesterfield Writer’s Film Project founded by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. Eric writes both fiction and non-fiction. One of his novels, Thirteen to Gorky, is set in Russia. "Vodka in the Sun" was originally published in "Travel Insights" . Eric resides in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife and daughter. Contact Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss reading, writing and Russia.
Vodka in the Sun: Cruising the Motherland
A Little Respect
Virtually all signs of aspen and birch had given way to full forests of pine and spruce along the river as the cruse of the Rodina continued. The final excursion of our cruise was to yet another holy island—the island of Valaam.
While Valaam held as many religious wonders as the other two islands—ancient cathedrals, monasteries and souvenirs galore—we found the most joy on this island in the Scandinavian splendor of its nature. Flat, smooth rocks made up the shores, and rocky cliffs were topped off by pine trees, roots exposed along the rocky edges.
That’s not to belittle the man-made and God-inspired sights. In one ancient church of brick, inside a brick fortress at the top of a hill, we listened to monks sing angelically. Then, as though to break the illusion of being in the past, they peddled CDs of their music. Another more modern church of wood displayed impressive new icons and sold blessed Russian Orthodox crosses and the crests of saints.
But after visiting some of the churches and monasteries of Valaam, we hiked the forest and the open plains. At a dusty crossroad, we met a Swedish couple from another cruise ship. “Good day,” they greeted. “The water’s lovely, you should take a dip.” They pointed to the lake behind the trees, hidden from the path. We went, and there we found locals as well as visitors swimming.
After a forest hike, we came out along the far shore of the island where an out-of-the-way monastery was fenced off on a detached island off the larger one. Marveling at the surrounding nature, we walked the monk-made bridge of wood to the smaller island, opened the wooden door, and entered the quiet grounds. No tourists were here. This was not an attraction—only to us because it was not. We spied a few monks picking berries. Another was swimming in the river.
Feeling a bit intrusive, we turned and retreated. We enjoyed the view from the smooth-stoned shore at the other side of the bridge. As we did, we saw a monk come from the door, walk to our end of the bridge, and lean against the ledge, enjoying the view himself. It was as though he was protecting the property of his brothers from us. I nodded politely at him; he gave a sour look before returning his glance to the water and trees.
The Russian Orthodox monk was dressed in a thin black summer robe, black pants underneath and black sneakers. A silver cross hung from a silver chain around his neck. His hair was as black as his long, full beard, both streaked with silver.
Almost as though expected, the monk hardened his look as two new visitors arrived: a teenaged couple. The man wore tight, revealing swim pants. His shapely counterpart wore an even more revealing two-piece. They were dressed to swim. But they began to walk the bridge.
The monk stood tall across the width of the bridge, his legs spread to block their passage. He held out his hand to stop them. Fortunately, my companion spoke Russian and could translate.
“You shall not pass,” he said.
“We just want to see --“
“We are closed to the public. Show some respect to my brothers.”
Obviously annoyed, the couple turned. But they didn’t walk away. They basked in the sun on the stony shore, just beyond the bridge, near us. The pretended to be enjoying the view. They seemed more to enjoy disturbing the monk.
It was all the monk could do to resist the temptation of looking at the woman’s fine body. In fact, he didn’t resist, though it troubled him. “For the love of God, dress yourselves! Wear some clothes,” the monk yelled to them.
“We are dressed—for summer,” the girl called back.
“Show some respect for men of God! Don’t come around here like that.”
The monk continued to lean against the wooden ledge of the bridge’s railing. Thinking. Trying not to look at the scantily clad couple. Refusing to look at us. Then, another family came along. It was the Swedish family.
“Is the monastery open,” the woman asked in Russian.
“Nyet,” replied the monk.
“Oh. Could you tell us how to get back to --“
“What, you couldn’t afford a map?” The monk looked to their collection of clay figurines, mud bells, picture books and cups. He looked at their opened bottles of beer.
“I’m sorry,” the Swedish man said, “but we’re not from here. We’re on an excursion.”
“Of course,” the monk said. He complained about how difficult it was to live a secluded life with all of the tourists running about, trespassing and littering. “I don’t know who is worse—the naked locals or the tourists.”
All he wanted was a little respect. And I could perfectly understand. But as I saw it, this man of God could have been more forgiving. More tolerant. More, dare I say, Christ like.
Later that evening, as we approached a monastery along the more traveled path, we saw the same monk. He carried a cloth bag with him. He smiled at a young mother and her five-year-old daughter. They stopped for a cheerful exchange. He pulled from his bag some freshly-picked berries. He gave them to the little girl and told her to share them with her mother. He seemed such a kind man that it was hard to believe he was the same monk we had seen earlier.
Perhaps he was forgiving, tolerant and Christ like. But in less than half an hour he was drawn out of his sanctuary by trespassers, attacked by two naked local teens, and then questioned by another pair of foreigners rich enough to buy souvenirs but too poor to afford a map. When that happens day after day, day in and day out, it’s bound to cultivate moments of weakness. He deserved the respect he sought.
The Price of Popularity
As the Rodina took us south, back toward St. Petersburg, the monk remained on my mind. Being on the map as a tourist attraction brings as much problem as prosperity in the eyes of some residents. With visiting foreigners, otherwise dead economies flourish. At the same time, authenticity and sanctity take second seat to catering and showmanship. Keepin’ it real isn’t easy when you’re entertaining the visiting masses. And who wants unannounced dinner guests every night?
But this isn’t Valaam’s problem, nor is it Russia’s problem. It can be seen all around the world. As billboards of camels and Marlboro men and golden arches are put up, they cover the genuine beauty of the natural landscape behind. Places become less unique and more uniform. Fortunately, we didn’t see a McDonald’s during the cruise. But next time, we may.
“Show some respect for our culture,” I could hear the monk saying. But in time, I’m sure he would come around and order a Big Mac and milk cocktail, if only out of curiosity … or convenience.
por Fermín García Rodríguez
En vista de la evolución del castellano en los últimos años, debido a las aportaciones realizadas por los jóvenes, la Real Academia de la Lengua dará a conocer, la reforma modelo 2004 de la ortografía española, que tiene como objetivo unificar el español como lengua universal de los hispanohablantes.
Siga leyendo la presentación de Power Point.
Y las respuestas (y comentarios de un profesor) a las barbaridades coloridas de los alumnos. Siga leyendo
por Pepe Herrera
Estoy abordando el tema de Cuba porque lo considero importante y necesario. Dos Cubas. Quiero felicitar a la señora E. Adan que envió las fotos de las dos Cubas al Coloquio. Estan muy bien hechas y conllevan todo el impacto que el autor se propone.
Pero en realidad, siempre existieron dos Cubas, aunque quizás no venga al caso, vale la pena recordar que existían los palacetes de la Quinta Avenida de Miramar, en duro contraste con el Barrio de la Yaguas, un paupérrimo barrio habanero donde vivían hacinadas cientos de personas en las peores condiciones higiénicas. Siga leyendo
"With the kind of job contracts you offer us, we can only
establish six month long families"