Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Danish, and the Danes Who Speak It

Peering deeply doesn't help me understand.
So there’s this scene in this book, Hell Becomes Her, and the writer wanted to create a sense of confusion in the point-of-view (POV) character, Del.  Two other characters are speaking Danish while Del, who doesn’t speak Danish, is listening.  Important information is being conveyed through Del picking up a word here or there, but mostly not understanding.

And it worked.

Readers were confused.

So confused, they actually went on Google Translate to figure out what was being said.

The writer, I’m told, had intended to include a translation of the conversation at the end of the book, but . . . forgot.  No other excuse.  He simply didn’t remember to do it.

He then decided to spare readers the continued confusion and effort and provide the conversation from the book.  Here it is in two columns with translations.

“Er du fra Danmark?”

“Are you from Denmark?”

“Oprindeligt ja, men det var længe siden, hvordan kunne du vide det?”

“I am originally, but that was a long time ago.  How could you tell?”

“Du har lidt af en accent, det har jeg sikkert også”

“There’s still a hint of the accent.  I’m sure I have it too.”

“Jeg kan desværre ikke høre det. Ikke med mindre man taler sådan her. Er du også fra Danmark?”

“I’m afraid I can’t hear home anymore, not unless it’s spoken like this.  You’re from there?”

“Der omkring. Navnene har allesammen forandret sig.”

“There abouts.  The names have all changed.”

“Det har de tendenser til. Det betyder ikke at vi er venner, det ved du vel?”

“They tend to do that.  This doesn’t make us friends, you know?”

“Hvad med at være venlig?”

“How about friendly?”

“Måske, hvis du kan holde din tiger i snor.”

“Perhaps, if you can put a leash on that tiger of yours.”

“Hun tilhører ikke nogen. Det er en del af problemet.”

“She’s no one’s.  That’s part of the problem.”

“Det siger mænd altid om stærke kvinder. Ja vel, jeg skal nok være . . . sød, hvis hun er.”

“Men always say that about strong women.  Alright, I’ll play . . . nicer.  But only if she will.”

There you have it.  The conversation, as provided to me . . . I mean the author by my wonderful expert Jan Christensen.

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