circus biped

10 12 2007

Bert Keizer comparando o holandês e o inglês no livro “The Genius of Language: Fifteen writers reflect on their mother tongues”.

Sobre holandeses escrevendo em inglês:

In Holland, and in many other parts of the world, the type of idolatry I was talking about earlier is one of the most repulsive effects of the fact that English is now lording it globally. (…)

I don’t think it really matters when you are dealing with atoms, bridges, teeth, arteries, or gamma rays, but when you are writing about people and ought to throw in a little of your own personality in order to infuse some life into the thing, the handicap of having to do this in English is severely debilitating. People rarely realize this and therefore tend to use English as if it were a dead language, like Esperanto, with an equally lifeless outcome.
There is a vast difference between showing someone the way to the railway station in English and showing him the way to Plato. This is often overlooked by city-map speakers.

E sobre a experiência de escrever em inglês, acho que ninguém conseguiu definir melhor. Achei esta analogia simplesmente fantástica:

Writing in English at first felt to me like trying to plough a stretch of marble an ungainly procedure, ruining some pretty nice material, and the result was nil. I feel reasonably comfortable now writing in English—though please note that is something I would never say about writing in Dutch. Why not? Well, it’s the difference between a natural biped (man) and a circus biped (dog). You wouldn’t ever say to a human that you admire the way he manages so well on two legs, while a dog is applauded for just this feat. The dream of a foreigner writer using English is that the natives will forget about his dogginess and say to each other: I just love the way he moves.

But, comfortable or not, I still have to shrug off a slight resentment at having to put on these funny clothes in order to be let in. I suppose that I could counter this by pitying you for missing out on certain Dutch authors whose virtues I couldn’t begin to try to expound to you—no more than I could give someone an idea of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar-playing by whistling a few notes. Though I wouldn’t argue absolutely against this possibility, the fact is that I cannot do it right here.

Sim, sim, também sinto o mesmo, Sr. Keizer. Mas fiquei pensando em Machado de Assis e de repente fiquei tão feliz de ter crescido falando português.




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