tisdag 28 maj 2013

Double positive

Languages are a funny thing. People often think of languages as having a 1:1 relationship with each other, for every word in one language,there's acorresponding one in the other and if you only find them the problem is solved. That's far from the case. I much enjoy the German band Rammstein.
Their lyrics are absolutely hilarious but impossible to translate. There's so much humour possible with the German language simply not possible in another.

Du  (You)
Du hasst (You have)
Du hasst mich (You hate me)
Du hasst mich gefragt (You asked me)

See the meaning changes as you add words in German in a completely different way compared to English. It's not the same thing in English at all. The suspense is lost.

Another story is double negatives and positives.
A double negative in English for example becomes a positive. Not so in Russian,it's still a negative, presumably an even more negative negative. In an odd lack of symmetry a double positive does not become a negative in any language. Not one.


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