Saturday, 23 August 2014
My New Addictionary
"Your grammar is pretty good," she said on this occasion. "But we're going to have to work on your style."
I was highly amused. Style can be taught--I once took a university night course in English prose--but one really needs to be able to speak, hear and read fluently for such lessons to be of any help at all. And one absorbs style from the style of one's favourite authors.
I suppose I should pick up Sienkiewicz's W pustyni i w puszcy (1912) again. This is a novel all Polish children read in school. While reading it, one must suspend one's disbelief and accept that all the Europeans in Sienkiewicz's British colonial Africa speak Polish. One must also believe that a little English girl would put up with being patronized by a Polish boy instead of asking him whose imperial colony this is anyway. It was, after all, 1912, when English girls were still proud to be English and knew how to keep foreigners in their place.
But first I will dip into my very newest acquisition, the two volume Oxford University English-Polish/Polish-English dictionary. It arrived on Wednesday by post, and I have my Reader Sunny Saefer to thank, for she gave me an Amazon gift certificate to mark my retirement from the Seraphic Singles blog. There is no way I could have afforded this glorious dictionary otherwise. It is the best in the market.
My husband referred to it as my "addictionary" because he loves puns but also because I do spend at least an hour a day studying Polish. He doesn't think this is very practical, but I certainly do. Polish is the second most popular language in England and Scotland. (In Wales, where people speak English and Welsh, it is third.) And whereas the Catholic publishing world in the UK is tiny and poor, the Catholic publishing world in Poland is enormous and rich. Rich as it is, however, it probably would prefer not to have to pay a translator when I give lectures. Also, Poland is very beautiful, and it would be nice to be able to ask questions (and understand the answers) while travelling there Meanwhile, Polish is a beautiful language and also very challenging, and I need both beauty and mental challenges.
But my husband may be right in that I have an inordinate attachment to Polish-English/English-Polish dictionaries. I have bought four in the past three years. Still, the more I have improved, the more pressing the need for a better dictionary.
The weather, by the way, has been mixed sun and showers for the past three days. This is typical for Edinburgh in the spring and autumn, I believe.
Posted by Mrs McLean at 15:58
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I admire your persistence in studying Polish. When I was young I dabbled in several languages and had plans to continue studying them throughout my adult life. But somehow it didn't happen. The only one that has stuck is Spanish which I began in high school. And now that I am in my 60s I find that my brain doesn't absorb languages the way it used to, as my recent attempt to revive my one year of college Japanese has shown. Keep up the good work! (Oh, my! I feel like Auntie Seraphic urging sweet young things to wear their sunscreen.)ReplyDelete
"One must also believe that a little English girl would put up with being patronized by a Polish boy instead of asking him whose imperial colony this is anyway. It was, after all, 1912, when English girls were still proud to be English and knew how to keep foreigners in their place."ReplyDelete
Haha! Yep. I bet that Polish boy deserved a telling off (just as my Babcia does, but that's a different story.)
Sweet sixty-year old things should also wear sunscreen! Ah, Julia. You should write a blog about Babcia or, better yet, a book!ReplyDelete