Apr
25
2015

Blame It On The Cat! The Solutions

As promised, here are the solutions to our quiz Blame It On The Cat! Well done everyone who had a go. Smokey’s errors are numbered and highlighted in red, with the corrections and explanations given below. I’d particularly like to thank the brave readers who posted their answers in the comments section. Now let’s have a look at the text and find out exactly where Smokey went wrong. As you will see, some of his mistakes are quite amusing:

“Miss, that cow’s got four dicks”
“It’s ‘penises’ Sally! that cow has four penises”

Paolo and Francesca live in a beautiful house in the countryside
Paolo e Francesca abitano in una bellissima casa in (1) campana.

They really like animals: they have three cats, two females and a male, and four chicken that produce lovely eggs for them
A loro (2) piace tantissimo gli animali: hanno tre (3) gatte, due femmine e un maschio, e quattro (4) galli che gli producono delle belle (5) uove.

In front of the house there’s a large terrace with large vases full of geraniums all around, and a pergola to give shade in the summer.
Davanti alla casa (6) ce un’ampia terrazza con tutt’intorno dei bei (7) vassoi pieni di gerani, e con una pergola per fare ombra d’estate.

From the terrace there’s a lovely view of the medieval bridge, under which flows the river Terchio.
Dalla terrazza (8) che una bella vista del ponte medievale, sotto cui scorre il fiume Terchio.

In its clear waters you can see water snakes, frogs, and large fish.
Nelle sue acque limpide si possono vedere bisce d’acqua, (9) ragni e (10) grosse pesche.

To the rear of the house there’s a peaceful garden with many flowers and trees.
Sul dietro della casa c’è un giardino tranquillo con (11) molto fiori e alberi.

Francesca really likes gardening, and when the weather is good you’ll always find her out in the garden.
A Francesca piace tanto il giardinaggio e quando fa (12) buon tempo la si trova sempre (13) fiori in giardino.

Paolo, on the other hand, likes carpentry and spends a lot of time in his workshop building furniture for the house, which at this stage is a bit overfull.
A Paolo invece piace (14) essere il falegname e passa molto tempo nella sua (15) officina a costruire (16) immobili per la casa che ormai è un po’ (17) strapieno.

A passion that they both have in common is going for bike rides, and at least twice a week they climb on the saddle and go for a nice excursion in the surrounding countryside.
Una passione che hanno (18) nel comune tutti e due è quella di andare in bici, e almeno due (19) volti la settimana montano in (20) cella e fanno un bel (21) girino nella campagna d’intorno.

When they get home in the evening, Paolo and Francesca like to sit out on the terrace under the pergola with a cool glass of prosecco, and enjoy the sunset, lulled by birdsong and the murmuring of the river.
La sera, quando tornano a casa, (22) Paolo e Francesca piacciono sedersi fuori in terrazza sotto la pergola con un bicchiere di (23) prosciutto fresco a godersi il tramonto, (24) inculati dal cinguettare degli uccelli e dal mormorio del fiume.

Corrections:

(1) campana (bell) correction: campagna (countryside)

(2) piace correction: piacciono (plural), a loro piacciono gli animali (the animals please them)

(3) gatte (female cats) correction: gatti (masculine plural) is used for a mixed male/female group

(4) galli (cockerels) correction: galline (hens, do I really need to explain?)

(5) uove correction: uova is the correct, but oddly irregular plural of uovo (egg)

(6) ce correction: c’è (an abbreviation of ci = ‘there’ and è = ‘is’)

(7) vassoi (trays) correction: vasi (vases)

(8) che (that/which) correction: c’è (‘there is’)

(9) ragni (spiders) correction: rane (frogs)

(10) grosse pesche (big peaches) correction: grossi pesci (big fish)

(11) molto fiori e alberi (very flowers and trees) correction: molti fiori e alberi (a lot of/many flowers and trees)

(12) buon tempo (good time) correction: bel tempo (lovely weather)

(13) fiori in giardino (flowers in the garden) correction: fuori in giardino (out in the garden)

(14) essere il falegname (to be the carpenter) correction: fare il falegname (to do the carpenter). In Italian, we use essere when we talk about having a trade or profession, e.g. sono insegnante (I am a teacher), lui è dottore (he is a doctor). However, when we talk about something that we like doing as a hobby, such as carpentry for example, we use fare: mi piace fare il falegname (literally: I like doing the carpenter)

(15) officina correction: laboratorio (lab/workshop). Officina is used for a mechanics workshop or garage

(16) immobili (buildings) correction: mobili (furniture)

(17) strapieno (overfull, masculine) correction: strapiena (overfull, feminine, as it refers to la casa)

(18) nel comune (in the council offices) correction: in comune (in common)

amiche-vecchiette-001

(19) due volti la settimana (two faces a week) correction: due volte la settimana (twice a week). N.B. both la settimana and alla settimana are correct.

(20) cella (prison cell)  correction: sella (saddle)

(21) girino (tadpole) correction: giro/giretto (trip/excursion)

(22) Paolo e Francesca piacciono (plural) correction: A Paolo e Francesca piace sedersi fuori in terrazza (it pleases Paolo and Francesca to sit out on the terrace)

(23) prosciutto (ham) correction: prosecco (a type of white sparkling wine)

(24) inculati (buggered) correction: cullati (lulled)

As usual, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

Apr
25
2015

Blame It On The Cat! The Solutions

As promised, here are the solutions to our quiz Blame It On The Cat! Well done everyone who had a go. Smokey’s errors are numbered and highlighted in red, with the corrections and explanations given below. I’d particularly like to thank the brave readers who posted their answers in the comments section. Now let’s have a look at the text and find out exactly where Smokey went wrong. As you will see, some of his mistakes are quite amusing:

“Miss, that cow’s got four dicks”
“It’s ‘penises’ Sally! that cow has four penises”

Paolo and Francesca live in a beautiful house in the countryside
Paolo e Francesca abitano in una bellissima casa in (1) campana.

They really like animals: they have three cats, two females and a male, and four chicken that produce lovely eggs for them
A loro (2) piace tantissimo gli animali: hanno tre (3) gatte, due femmine e un maschio, e quattro (4) galli che gli producono delle belle (5) uove.

In front of the house there’s a large terrace with large vases full of geraniums all around, and a pergola to give shade in the summer.
Davanti alla casa (6) ce un’ampia terrazza con tutt’intorno dei bei (7) vassoi pieni di gerani, e con una pergola per fare ombra d’estate.

From the terrace there’s a lovely view of the medieval bridge, under which flows the river Terchio.
Dalla terrazza (8) che una bella vista del ponte medievale, sotto cui scorre il fiume Terchio.

In its clear waters you can see water snakes, frogs, and large fish.
Nelle sue acque limpide si possono vedere bisce d’acqua, (9) ragni e (10) grosse pesche.

To the rear of the house there’s a peaceful garden with many flowers and trees.
Sul dietro della casa c’è un giardino tranquillo con (11) molto fiori e alberi.

Francesca really likes gardening, and when the weather is good you’ll always find her out in the garden.
A Francesca piace tanto il giardinaggio e quando fa (12) buon tempo la si trova sempre (13) fiori in giardino.

Paolo, on the other hand, likes carpentry and spends a lot of time in his workshop building furniture for the house, which at this stage is a bit overfull.
A Paolo invece piace (14) essere il falegname e passa molto tempo nella sua (15) officina a costruire (16) immobili per la casa che ormai è un po’ (17) strapieno.

A passion that they both have in common is going for bike rides, and at least twice a week they climb on the saddle and go for a nice excursion in the surrounding countryside.
Una passione che hanno (18) nel comune tutti e due è quella di andare in bici, e almeno due (19) volti la settimana montano in (20) cella e fanno un bel (21) girino nella campagna d’intorno.

When they get home in the evening, Paolo and Francesca like to sit out on the terrace under the pergola with a cool glass of prosecco, and enjoy the sunset, lulled by birdsong and the murmuring of the river.
La sera, quando tornano a casa, (22) Paolo e Francesca piacciono sedersi fuori in terrazza sotto la pergola con un bicchiere di (23) prosciutto fresco a godersi il tramonto, (24) inculati dal cinguettare degli uccelli e dal mormorio del fiume.

Corrections:

(1) campana (bell) correction: campagna (countryside)

(2) piace correction: piacciono (plural), a loro piacciono gli animali (the animals please them)

(3) gatte (female cats) correction: gatti (masculine plural) is used for a mixed male/female group

(4) galli (cockerels) correction: galline (hens, do I really need to explain?)

(5) uove correction: uova is the correct, but oddly irregular plural of uovo (egg)

(6) ce correction: c’è (an abbreviation of ci = ‘there’ and è = ‘is’)

(7) vassoi (trays) correction: vasi (vases)

(8) che (that/which) correction: c’è (‘there is’)

(9) ragni (spiders) correction: rane (frogs)

(10) grosse pesche (big peaches) correction: grossi pesci (big fish)

(11) molto fiori e alberi (very flowers and trees) correction: molti fiori e alberi (a lot of/many flowers and trees)

(12) buon tempo (good time) correction: bel tempo (lovely weather)

(13) fiori in giardino (flowers in the garden) correction: fuori in giardino (out in the garden)

(14) essere il falegname (to be the carpenter) correction: fare il falegname (to do the carpenter). In Italian, we use essere when we talk about having a trade or profession, e.g. sono insegnante (I am a teacher), lui è dottore (he is a doctor). However, when we talk about something that we like doing as a hobby, such as carpentry for example, we use fare: mi piace fare il falegname (literally: I like doing the carpenter)

(15) officina correction: laboratorio (lab/workshop). Officina is used for a mechanics workshop or garage

(16) immobili (buildings) correction: mobili (furniture)

(17) strapieno (overfull, masculine) correction: strapiena (overfull, feminine, as it refers to la casa)

(18) nel comune (in the council offices) correction: in comune (in common)

amiche-vecchiette-001

(19) due volti la settimana (two faces a week) correction: due volte la settimana (twice a week). N.B. both la settimana and alla settimana are correct.

(20) cella (prison cell)  correction: sella (saddle)

(21) girino (tadpole) correction: giro/giretto (trip/excursion)

(22) Paolo e Francesca piacciono (plural) correction: A Paolo e Francesca piace sedersi fuori in terrazza (it pleases Paolo and Francesca to sit out on the terrace)

(23) prosciutto (ham) correction: prosecco (a type of white sparkling wine)

(24) inculati (buggered) correction: cullati (lulled)

As usual, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

Apr
24
2015

23 de abril: día del libro y del idioma

Happy Book day! And Spanish language day! And Saint George’s!

You may be aware of the fact that William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died on the same day: April 23rd 1616 (well, there are discrepancies due to the use of different calendars at the time, but let’s assume.) This is the reason why we celebrate the International Book Day on this date. The UNESCO chooses one city around the planet to be the World Book Capital every year, and 2015 goes to Incheon in South Korea. The city has an interesting program to promote reading among young people and underprivileged parts of the population, something the UNESCO wanted to recognize with this nomination.

In Spain and Latin America, we also take this day to praise our language, Spanish, or Castilian as it is known in many countries west of the Atlantic Ocean. The Instituto Cervantes organizes many activities around this date to remember the figure of Miguel de Cervantes, author of the unparalleled Don Quixote. On this date 400 years ago, the second part of this incredibly funny novel was published, so the Instituto Cervantes opened an exhibition on Don Quixote and its translators, who have helped make this character famous across the planet. You can find more information here.

If you have not had enough celebrations on one day, you can still jump to Catalonia, where Saint George’s day (Sant Jordi, in Catalan) is a huge popular festivity including books, roses and masses of people walking the streets while looking for a gift to make their dear ones. You can catch a glimpse of the spirit of the day in this video by Barcelona City Council.

Click here to view the embedded video.

 

¡Feliz día del libro! ¡Y de la lengua española! ¡Y de San Jorge!

Probablente ya saben que William Shakespeare y Miguel de Cervantes murieron el mismo día: 23 de abril de 1616 (admitimos que hay discrepancias respecto de la fecha porque se utilizaban calendarios diferentes entonces, pero hagamos que sí). Esta es la razón por la que celebramos el Día internacional del libro en esta fecha. La UNESCO selecciona una ciudad del mundo para que sea la Capital del libro cada año, y en 2015 le ha tocado a Incheon, en Corea del Sur. La ciudad tiene un programa interesante de promoción de la lecture entre los jóvenes y los sectores desprivilegiados de la población, que la UNESCO ha querido reconocer con esta nominación.

En España y Latinoamérica, también aprovechamos esta fecha para celebrar nuestro idioma, el español o castellano, como se conoce en muchos países al oeste del Atlántico. El Instituto Cervantes organiza muchas actividades alrededor de esta fecha para recordar la figura de Miguel de Cervantes, autor del inigualable Don Quixote. Este día hace 400 años se publicaba la segunda parte de esta novela increíblemente graciosa, por lo que el Instituto Cervantes ha inaugurado una exposición sobre Don Quijote y sus traductores, que han permitido que se conozca en el mundo entero. Tienes más información aquí.

Si todavía no han tenido suficientes festejos en un solo día, todavía podemos ir a Cataluña, donde el día de San Jorge (o Sant Jordi, en catalán) tiene lugar una celebración popular enorme, que incluye libros, rosas y masas de gente que recorre la calles mientras busca un regalo para sus conocidos. Pueden sentir un poco el espíritu de este día en este video del Ayuntamiento de Barcelona.

Apr
23
2015

German poetry goes Frankfurt vernacular

 

Friedrich_Stoltze

A couple of weeks ago, one of you ask me if I’m familiar with the poem “Fourteen Daughters” by Friedrich Stoltze – a German poet an writer who was famous for his poems written in Frankfurt vernacular. I have to admit that I had never heard of him before but after a quick search on Google I found what I was looking for.

Friedrich Stoltze was born in Frankfurt (Main) on 21st November 1816. He was the editor of the Frankfurter Latern, a political satirical magazine, which was publish between 1860 and 1891.

Since the majority of you is probably not that familiar with Hessian in general and the Frankfurt vernacular in particular I translated the poem “Verrzeh Döchter” into Standard German and English. But this wasn’t easy for me!

Some words and phrases caused me difficulties. I still don’t know what Barblee exactly means, but I guess it means “umbrella” or “rain hat”. Furthermore, I don’t know what the words Käwwern and Schöck mean. However, I tried my best to give you access to this funny piece of German poetry. And maybe you come from the Frankfurt area and you could help me to optimize my translations.

 

Frankfurt vernacular: Verrzeh Döchter

Verrzeh Döchter is e Sege, verrzeh Döchter is e Wonn! Verrzeh Barblee for de Rege! Verrzeh Schermcher for die Sonn! Verrzeh Regenmäntel detto! Verrzeh Paar Gallosche netto! Achtundzwanzig Gummischuh! – Himmel, gieß un regen zu!

Verrzeh Hüt mit Band un Fedder, Blumme, Käwwern, Schmetterling! Verrzeh Äärm voll Braceletter! Achtundzwanzig Händ voll Ring! Achtundzwanzig Ohrring leider! Verrzeh Brosche un so weiter! Achtundzwanzig falsche Zöpp! Verrzeh Zottelfranze-Köpp!

Verrzeh goldne Uhrn mit Kette! Ach, un Handschuh ganze Schöck! Verrzeh-verrzehmal Manschette! Hunnertverrzig Unnerröck! Vierunachzig Spitzehose! Verrzeh große Puderdose! Verrzeh venez’janische Schwämm! Enge Kämm un weite Kämm! Jetz kimmt net des klaanste Iwel vom Papa seim Haaptpläsier dieser Poste, der heeßt: Stiwel! Verrzeh Döchter en chaussure! Von so verrzeh zarte Seele, wer vermag die Strimp zu zehle daals gewebt un daals gestrickt un mit Ränftercher geschmickt?

Die Korsette un so weiter wolle gar merr net berihrn, – doch e Unglick is der Schneider! Verrzeh Döchter dut merr spirn! Moll un Woll, Kattun un Seide verrzehmal, lääft in die Kreide! Verrzeh Döchter samt de Schlepp uff en Ball, was kost deß Knepp!

Verrzeh Döchter is e Sege, e Gedanke zauwerhaft! Awwer, wer is so verwege, daß errn verrzeh Männer schafft? Verrzeh reiche, junge, scheene, hoffnungsvolle Schwiegersöhne, awwer aach, als Lohn derrfor, eine Schwiegermutter nor!

 

High German: Vierzehn Töchter

Vierzehn Töchter ist ein Segen, vierzehn Töchter ist eine Wonne! Vierzehn Schirme für den Regen! Vierzehn Schirmchen für die Sonne! Vierzehn Regenmäntel ebenso! Vierzehn Paar Schuhe nur! Achtundzwanzig Gummischuh – Himmel, gieß uns Regen zu!

Vierzehn Hüte mit Band und Feder, Blume, Käwwern, Schmetterling! Vierzehn Arme voller Ketten! Achtundzwanzig Hände voll mit Ringen! Achtundzwanzig Ohrringe kommen noch hinzu! Vierzehn Broschen und so weiter! Achtundzwanzig falsche Zöpfe! Vierzehn Zottelfransen-Köpfe!

Vierzehn goldene Uhren mit Kette! Ach, und Handschuh ganze vierzehn Paar! Vierzehn-vierzehnmal Manschetten! Hundertvierzig Unterröcke! Vierundachtzig Spitzenhöschen! Vierzehn große Puderdosen! Vierzehn venezianische Schwämme! Feine Kämme und grobe Kämme! Jetzt kommt nicht das kleinste Übel von Papas großer Freude. Dieser Posten heißt: Stiefel! Vierzehn Töchter brauchen Schuhwerk! Von so vierzehn zarten Seelen, wer vermag die Strümpfe da zu zählen, teils gewebt und teils gestrickt und mit hübscher Bordüre geschmückt.

Die Korsagen und so weiter, davon wollen wir gar nicht reden – doch ein Unglück für den Schneider! Für vierzehn Töchter muss er nähen! Kaschmir und Wolle, Baumwolle und Seide – vierzehn mal greift er zur Kreide! Vierzehn Töchter samt der Schleppe auf einem Ball, was kostet das knapp?

Vierzehn Töchter ist ein Segen, ein Gedanke zauberhaft! Aber, wer ist so verwegen, dass er vierzehn Männer schafft? Vierzehn reiche, junge, schöne, hoffnungsvolle Schwiegersöhne, aber ach, als Lohn dafür nur eine einzige Schwiegermutter!

 

English: Fourteen Daughters

Fourteen daughters are a blessing! Fourteen daughters are a joy! Fourteen umbrellas for the rain! Fourteen parasols for the sun! Fourteen raincoats as well! Only fourteen pairs of boots! Twenty-eight gumboots – Heaven, pour down rain to us!

Fourteen hats with ribbon and feather, flower, Käwwern, butterfly! Fourteen arms with bracelets! Twenty-eight hands with rings! And twenty-eight earrings furthermore! Fourteen brooches and so on! Twenty-eight synthetic plaits of hair! Fourteen shaggy and fringy heads!

Fourteen golden watches with chains! Alas, and gloves – entirely fourteen pairs! Fourteen-fourteen(!) pairs of wristbands. One hundred forty underskirts! Eighty-four lace panties! Fourteen large powder boxes! Fourteen Venetian applicators! Narrow combs and wider combs! And now – this is not the smallest misery of daddy’s pleasure – we come to the boots! Fourteen daughters need footwear! And such fourteen tender souls, who might count the stockings, partly woven an partly knitted and decorated with a nice border.

The corsages and so on – let’s do not talk about that! But what a misfortune for the tailor! For fourteen daughters he has to sew. Cashmere and wool, cotton and silk – fourteen times he has to grasp the chalk! Fourteen daughters along with a train at a ball – how much is this at all?

Fourteen daughters are a blessing, a thought so enchantingly! But, who is this adventurous to create fourteen husbands? Fourteen rich, young, handsome, hopeful sons-in-law. But alas, in recompense just one mother-in-law!

Apr
23
2015

Literary Classics with…Nabilla?

Image courtesy of Huffington Post.

Image courtesy of Huffington Post.

Sometimes you want nothing more than to curl up with a good book. With the internet, it’s easy to hop on to a site to find suggestions for new things to read. If not, you can choose to read one of the classics. Every language has their own canon of classics. Even if you haven’t read them, you can still probably complete their titles because of their influence on your culture. French reality TV star and auteur (auteure?) Nabilla Benattia was given ce défi (this challenge) on an episode of  L’Œuf ou la Poule ? (The Egg or the Chicken?).

It should be noted that Nabilla isn’t exactly known for her intelligence. She shot to fame with one expression on the show les Anges de la Télé-réalité (The Angels of Reality TV) in 2013. In an episode, Nabilla and 2 others are doing shopping for the house. The other woman puts shampoo in the cart because the other girls at the house didn’t have any. Nabilla wasn’t happy about it because she considered this a personal product and shouldn’t be purchased as something for the house. During filming back at the house, she spit out what has become une phrase culte (a cult phrase): Allô! non, mais allô, quoi ! This uttering became so common that even Ikea and Carrefour used it in their advertisements.

Now that we’ve established Nabilla’s credentials, let’s talk more about the contest she was given. She was given the first part of the title of 15 books and had to complete the title correctly. Other guests on the show were able to guess how many Nabilla would answer correctly (1 title, between 2 and 5 titles, between 6 and 10 titles, or more than 10 titles). I’m going to give you the same challenge. Most of these novels are French, but there are a few that come from other countries. I’ve listed the titles in English, too, if you want an easier challenge. Answers at the bottom.

 

  1. Lettres de mon ______ (Letters from My ____) by Daudet
  2. Le Rouge et le ______ (The Red and The ______) by Stendhal
  3. Les Malheurs de ______ (______’s Misfortunes) by la comtesse de Ségur
  4. Les Fleurs du ______ ( The Flowers of ______) by Baudelaire
  5. Le Bourgeois ______ (The Middleclass ______) by Molière
  6. La Gloire ______ (____ Glory) by Pagnol
  7. Le Barbier de ______ (The Barber of _____) by Beaumarchais
  8. Le Lièvre et la ______ (The ____ and the Hare) by de la Fontaine
  9. Crime et _____ (Crime and _____) by Dostoyevsky
  10. Madame ______ (Madame ______) by Flaubert
  11. Le vieil homme et ______ (The Old Man and _____) by Hemingway
  12. Anna ______ (Anna ______) by Tolstoy
  13. 19__ (19__) by Orwell
  14. L’Art de la ______ (The Art of _____) by Sun Tzu
  15. Boule de ______ (Ball of _____) by Maupassant

How did you do? I got 14. Nabilla managed 4, but she was given Le vieil homme et la mer because she said sa mère. Close enough. Check out the video of her playing below.

Click here to view the embedded video.

 

 

  1. Moulin (Windmill); 2. Noir (Black); 3. Sophie; 4. Mal (Evil); 5. Gentilhomme (Gentleman); 6. mon Père (My Father’s); 7. Séville (Seville); 8. Tortue (Tortise); 9. Châtiment (Punishment); 10. Bovary; 11. la Mer (the Sea); 12. Karénine (Karenina); 13. 84; 14. la Guerre (War); 15. Suif (Lard)