Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The phrase 'crumpled heap' comes to mind.

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Linguisitional Literature

Learn a New Language by Reading Literature
  (+12, -1)(+12, -1)
(+12, -1)
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I have a linguistic disability that seems to make it impossible for me to learn non-English languages. Yes, I've tried and failed many times, much to my personal embarassment.

I propose that a publisher take classic works of Western Literature (including modern classics, like K. Vonnegut, whose works would lend themselves to this rather well) and modify them so that the reader will transition from English to, say, German throughout the course of reading the book.

Chapter 1, or a suitable number of pages, are completely unaltered English. The last few pages or chapters are completely proper German (for example). The in-between chapters are a gradual transition between the two, introducing new words and different grammatical structures as appropriate.

Sure, the technical "rules" of language would have to be thrown out for the transitional sections. For example, we might find a sentence that was constructed with overtly English words, but had a German structure to it.

Avid readers may often find that the words they're reading are really transparent: though a reading experience moves through the words, the words themselves seem to disappear. We read the story, not the words. So a gradual enough transition would not be disruptive to this experience, and would allow the story/meaning to carry the reader across the language barrier as if it were as inconsequential as a national border.

I wish I were competent enough to provide an example. Perhaps it would be possible to create a babelfish cousin that could automatically create such a text from any input.

Verstehen sie das?

NOTE: changed sp. "lingua" to "lingui" in Title.
quarterbaker, Dec 28 2001

(?) Badly transliterated jokes http://members.es.t...pascual/chistin.htm
[Dog Ed, Dec 29 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

(?) Noel Flicken's Website http://www.flicken.net/
My website, a prime example of writing in multiple languages at once: English, German and Esperanto. [flicken, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       oooooh I think you're dead clever.
po, Dec 28 2001

       Je voudrais to learn Greek, s' il vous plait.
arora, Dec 28 2001

       Je voudrais to learn Klingon, thank you very much Quapla.
po, Dec 28 2001

       Estorda squippi sans Spanish as well . . Singqueenee, when it's raining, on Sunday stupootau. Merci.
arora, Dec 28 2001

       thought that was an x file bliss
po, Dec 28 2001

       This is pretty much what Salvatore does in 'The Name of the Rose' with English+Latin+Tuscan+French (or whatever), n'est-ce pas? All en toute, it's un idée admirable, but you could find yourself tied in knots somewhat, if you ne restricted pas the number of langues à deux.
lewisgirl, Dec 28 2001

       I took a bunch of graduate - level French lit classes in college wherein the professor would speak French and English roughly half-and-half. The odd thing was that later, when I would think about a point he'd made, I'd remember the substance of what he'd said, but not which language he'd said it in.
snarfyguy, Dec 28 2001

       There are dual-language books but I guess that's not quite what you're after.
bristolz, Dec 29 2001

       I'll bet it would not be trivial to do the writing of such a work. Not-quite-off-topic, there's a big list of jokes "translated" from Spanish, I suspect by a computer program. Which makes it transliteration, I suppose. I found them hilarious.
A bald one and a humpback are, both with very bad fleas...

       Does he/she say the bald one to the humpback: That take in the backpack?   

       To what the humpback responds: combs imbecile heap!!!
Oh my! How droll!
Dog Ed, Dec 29 2001

       PS, you're not mistaken, it's by Umb Eco... Salvatore was the Abbey cellarer's assistant, the one wot let in the tart from the village wot then went and shagged Adso, the narrator chappie. And yes, it is important to the plot that Salvatore's past, like his language, was somewhat richly tapestrical.

on topic, though, I've seen porn subtitled in four languages - I suspect the avid viewer would leave with such an effect as snarfy described - that of remembering the content and not the language of the rich dialogue. Ahem.
lewisgirl, Dec 29 2001

       I see this emerging in e-books, with a format similar to crossword puzzle. The book is written in a source language, but hover over or tap on a word and that word reveals its target language counterpart. An efficient system could offer source root word translation, complete source word translation, or a range of target syntax for a chosen word; therebv, enabling the reader to modify to a degree the translation assistance offered from a word hint to a comprehensive treatment of individual words or phrases.
reensure, Jan 01 2002

       Yeah but yeah but yeah but that's what the English language already is. And new words from other languages and from technical and scientific disciplines and other jargon is constantly being added by the chattering classes. But you want to pick up the pace I guess. So what you'd get sooner rather than eventually is an advanced form of English, what future English speakers will be speaking. One of the features of the movie "Blade Runner", one of the little details that makes it seem like it really could be the year 2017 is the emergent language spoken by the street people, that is a mix of German, English, Spanish and Chinese as I recall--a realistic scenario of cultures mixing in Los Angeles over the years. Only 15 years to go to see how much of Blade Runner comes to pass.
entremanure, Jan 02 2002

       Huh--I don't know--seems like A Clockwork Orange came and went already, don't you think? Like 1984. But those are also some of the more realistic fictions about possible futures.
entremanure, Jan 02 2002

       ravenswood - great minds and all - any consolation?
quarterbaker, Jan 03 2002

       thats what we ALL say ravenswood
po, Jan 03 2002

       First thing I was going to say when I joined this site, actually. Modesty prevented me, you see.
thumbwax, Jan 03 2002

       A super Idea! Mein Website ist almost genau written like that. Nur, i just randomly switch between Sprachen...
flicken, Aug 07 2003

       und flicken
po, Aug 07 2003

       In the middle of the book, when I get stuck on a word, I won't have any idea which dictionary to consult.
Epimenides, Dec 07 2003

       This is a brilliant idea. I am a schnelle reader, so ich kann really imaging flowing with the plot and not the Sprache. Bitte das baken.   

       Will there be an Egyptian Hieroglphic version?
dbmag9, Apr 10 2006


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