Help ! long Spanish sentences
Much of the time when I read newspapers in Spanish I see very long sentences and the correct meaning seems beyond my ability to understand / interpret them. How would an expert translate the following for example? Because I can't. Gracias.
No es posible comulgar, en lo más mínimo, con una izquierda neofascista, retrógrada, pero, tampoco un mínimo de aceptación, frente al accionar de una derecha, si es que todavía puede llamarse así, a los movimientos cívicos y extremistas, amarrados a la lógica del latifundio, como ocurre en algunas regiones del país.
I often see these very long sentences here in Bolivia. Even if a native speaker of English tried to do something similar in English the sentence would become unintelligible or at least ambiguous.
So what do you think of this sentence, from Pride and Prejudice:
"Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week"
It does take more concentration to get the full meaning, but to me it's clear, unambiguous, and a perfect example of how English is not intrinsically limited as a language.
Heitor, it is interesting to see that your English interpretation is in 3 sentences and even then the middle one is unusually long.
Well, English is a lot more "simplistic" than Spanish or Portuguese. Most writing is done in a piecemeal manner so that it is easy to digest. I don't particularly like the obsession with practicality that is a hallmark of Anglo-Saxon culture, but I recognize that is just a matter of taste (and, possibly, upbringing).
lan Francis Hill:
Have you tried the translation tool on the website yet'
One last comment from me.
That people are not all virtuous does not mean they are sinful. We can not all be saints by definition.
Bueno, si quieres continuar la conversación, podemos hacerlo en otro hilo, en el foro apropriado. Como ha dicho un fulano, este hilo ya se ha agotado.
I can think of no greater sin than convincing someone that they or those that they love might end up in a hell being tortured for eternity.
Thank you very much for pointing that out, Ian. I try to find the good, moral and intelligent sides in everyone I meet - after all, we're all in the same boat - but for some obvious reasons, including the one you just mentioned, I have a really hard time with some religious people. I still try, though.
Administrators, in my view, this thread has degradated into religious babble (once again), isn't it time not only to close it, but to reinforce the goal of this forum as a means to get questions and doubts about Spanish and English grammar and vocabulary discussed and answered'
This thread has moved, interestingly, from my original post and now we are discussing religion and belief.
It is my impression that religion and belief are the only things we ever discuss, albeit in a disguised manner. At any rate, they are certainly the only things worth discussing.
I would enjoy being a believer in God because it would comfort me but can't do so with any honesty.
I think the key to believing in God is to contrast the greatness of men with the smallness of man. We are all born with the naïve notion that the fundamental questions of life and death have never been properly examined by our ancestors. The reality is that until not long ago that was their primary intellectual concern. To think we can outsmart them is sheer foolishness -- in my humble opinion.
One aspect of most religions I can't accept is the concept of sin or original sin.
I seriously doubt you don't believe in sin. You may not like the word for its theological connotations, but you must certainly agree that no person on this earth is completely virtuous. By any other name, we are all sinners.
I can think of no greater sin than convincing someone that they or those that they love might end up in a hell being tortured for eternity. That must surely be the ultimate sin but is committed by religious leaders.
People who teach that are simply ignorant of Christian theology. One aspect of Protestantism I particularly dislike is the fact that any fool with a gift for rhetoric can rent a garage and start a church. That, to me, is the equivalent of allowing untrained, unqualified people to educate our children. It seems these misguided Christian teachings come precisely from those garage churches, which often grow to become large, corrupt corporations.
But leaving the subtle aspects of theology aside, I think a much greater sin than the teaching of hell and eternal damnation is the teaching that life has no meaning or purpose. I personally think it's much better to be afraid of a hell from which you can easily escape by accepting a gift of salvation, than to be afraid that your entire life is nothing but a meaningless rearranging of atomic particles.
I thought he might be religious, or at least neutral on the subject. It was this comment, left to stand without further clarification or affirmation, that got me to thinking otherwise:
Thus the religious person thinks we come into this strange world (from where'), reside briefly, and leave for somewhere else (where'). Death seems to him a fact of some interest. It is a leaving. Often it is frightening. He makes up stories to relieve his unease. He may believe that a loving god put us here and awaits us, despite an immense lack of evidence.
I see nothing anti-religious in those words. I agree with the atheists that there is no evidence that a god exists. I truly believe the Christian God is a figment of our imagination. And I consider myself a deeply religious person. I go to church and pray and feel absolutely certain that there is an afterlife.
Confused? The explanation is at the end of this post.
one must afterward affirm that some true form of "Christianity", "religion", "spirituality" exists, if he expects not to be labeled an atheist/a-religious skeptic.
This is tricky. You can't publicly express favourable opinions about any particular Christian sect without being considered intolerant. I have no qualms about professing my belief that atheism is a lie, but that seems as far as I can go without risking making enemies amongst my fellow believers.
Why is it that people are willing to pay millions for garbage like this: http://www.nga.gov/feature/rothko/late1.shtm
Simple answer ... because they are fools. They are searching for some kind of value and meaning in life outside of the only true value and meaning in life--a relationship with the true and living God.
I believe your simple answer is correct, but it begs the more complex question of what causes these people to be so foolish. Surely two or three centuries ago people were smarter than that. What has gone wrong since then?
For someone who is not of a particularly artistic vein, I am deeply bothered by modern art. When I look at those paintings and sculptures I see more than nonsense and foolishness, I see something profoundly wrong with our civilization. I just don't know exactly what it is.
You surprise me, Heitor. I didn't think you were the type that believed in absolutes. I actually had you pegged more in the "scientism" camp. How refreshing to be mistaken!
As I said above, you can't profess a belief in absolutes without coming across as an intolerant person. We live in a relativistic world and have no power to change it, yet we still must try and live in peace with our fellow men. As a consequence, to be religious in our time necessarily requires living a paradox. And perhaps that is the final stage in the evolution of our knowledge of God: to understand that He is a paradox, for the world itself and everything in it is essentially paradoxical.
From that perspective, it is no longer a big deal to accept the atheist's claim that there is no evidence for the existence of a god. Sure, there is no evidence, but why should there be? The atheist insists in looking for God using a telescope or a microscope; we must necessarily agree with him that he won't find anything.
On the Christian God being a figment of our imagination, this is also a paradox. There is no proof that anything exists apart from our imagination. Before the universe was created, the only things that existed were thoughts, ideas, abstract notions; thought and imagination are the ultimate reality. Therefore, God can only be real if He manifests Himself primarily in our minds.
Well, that is enough nonsense for one post. Deep down what I really believe is something far simpler, which is perfectly expressed in the Catholic doctrine. And that is as arrogant as I'm willing to be.
This "dumbing down" and pitching to the lowest common denominator is destroying us little by little, and it has been for a long time.
The phenomenon has a name: it's called "modernity". If you try to resist it, you are seen as anti-modern, backward-thinking... "retrógrado", as Ian's quote from the newspaper called it.
In many parts of Latin America people don't want to be modern, because they perceive modernity as mind-numbing rubbish. Of course big corporations will eventually win and the retrógrados will eventually die or capitulate.
I really enjoyed Fred Reed's essay, as well. Of course, I disagree with his blanket characterization of "religion" as "an embittered, brainless thing," and "religious people" as "making up stories to relieve [their] unease." I think he makes the extreme error that many others do today; when they see a fallacy or an inconsistency in whatever pillar or institution (or human representative of it), they reject it on the wholesale level.
If you read his other columns, you will see that he's actually a religious person in disguise. I don't live in the US so I don't understand the phenomenon well enough, but it seems to me that religion is a source of embarassment to many Americans, even if they happen to believe in God and otherworldly things.
Sometimes I feel tempted to start a thread titled "Religion in America", so we could have native Americans explain what is going on in their country.
Fred Reed wrote (the last sentence)
I do not see how a Vivaldi or Corot or Milne can exist under such conditions. And they don't.
How does he know they don't exist?
Because he hasn't seen any?
Great artists are not products of biology, they are products of society. A society that despises melodies longer than four bars will never have a Vivaldi, regardless of how many gifted musicians are born every year.
May I say that maybe they do exist today but that they are rarely seen or heard because of the "noise" of commercialism that surrounds us constantly? In the past many great artists were not seen or appreciated in their own time either.
Then how come the noise of commercialism is not dwarfing the success of modern painters and sculptors? Why is it that people are willing to pay millions for garbage like this: http://www.nga.gov/feature/rothko/late1.shtm
I'm with Fred Reed on this. The problem is "scientism", the belief that science has the ultimate explanations, that there is nothing great to aspire to, that things which cannot be expressed as a mathematical equation - things like morals or beauty - cannot be considered absolute.
Good point, Ian.
Heitor, you are certainly entitled to your opinion/classification of "things American," and when it comes to modern literature and entertainment, I must, for the most part, agree with you.
However, I should hope that you would qualify what you are referring to by "American junk"
Dan Brown. Nora Roberts. Robert Ludlum. Anne Rice. Basically anything that shows up in the "best-selling" wall of any major bookstore.
You see, there is a whole industry behind the production and sale of low-quality culture. It's not a particularly American phenomenon, it's just that Americans are better at it than any other country. But I mentioned, in this very thread, that I have a very low opinion of the popular Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho.
The reason I admire writers such as García Márquez or José Saramago so much, is that they haven't sold themselves to this corrupt system. Maybe they do it out of arrogance, as Ian has suggested, maybe they do it out of honesty, but whatever their motives, they are the only ones carrying the great Western cultural tradition forward. Everyone else is just interested in making a lot of money by dumbing themselves down to the lowest denominator possible.
I'm not very good at writing, so I can't really explain the problem well. This guy makes a much better job:
An American, by the way; I'm quite fond of his blog. This paragraph alone is, to me, a masterpiece:
Once we were specks on the landscape. The mountains were vast and forbidding; one walked in them with a sense of awe, or at least of being small in a large place. You could lie beside a brook babbling through a forest and reflect that the world contained things other than the trivialities of human existence. This produced I think a tranquility that made for contemplation, a frame of mind conducive to what we call tiresomely "creativity."
Maybe the internet will save us from the dumb cultural industry? I hope so, I have great faith in the individual and no faith at all in corporations.
I have a friend here in Bolivia who has met that author and talked with him. Her opinion of him as a person is less than complimentary. That does not of course make him any less a great writer but maybe arrogant enough to think he could write another great book in a completely different way. Did he succeed? Or did he make money from it just because of the success of the first book? Did he know that would happen? Was he more altruistic than any writer of English literature?
I don't know. When I think of Latin American literature, I don't see it as a primarily commercial phenomenon. Authors such as García Márquez and Vargas Llosa are small potatoes compared to the likes of Dan Brown and J. K. Rowling.
Of course we have Paulo Coelho, who is enormously successful and a source of shame to my Brazilian pride...
I am not trying to provoke or annoy you but maybe your tag "simplistic" annoys me a little.
I realize you are British and I'm not as familiar with British culture as I would like to be. Here in Canada all we get is American junk, so please forgive my prejudices when I speak of "things in English" (as opposed to "things English")
Pride and Prejudice was written some while ago and it was written by one of our most respected authors, in a novel that was intended to be read at a leisurely pace and not in a newspaper. It is not impossible to write long sentences in English. For me however, a learner of Spanish, it seems that Spanish writers take a delight in writing long sentences - but point taken. I probably could not / would not have written the sentence you quoted in that way either. I believe that our most famous writer, Shakespeare, used as few words as possible in most cases, resulting in elegance rather than practicality, but that was also a long time ago. Are we Anglo-Saxons now so practical (unromantic)'