Cervantes Reading

Discussion in 'Comedy & Tragedy' started by mike carey, Nov 18, 2016.

  1. mike carey

    mike carey Duke

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  2. BSR

    BSR Viscount

    I'm glad I saw this thread, almost missed it. I have yet to read "El Quijote," although it's kind of on my bucket list. I say "kind of" because I know how enormously difficult it is to get through. Even the English translation will take the contest winner about five hours a day in order to get through the novel in one month. Imagine how long it would take me to get through such a long novel not just in my second language Spanish (I don't see the point of reading the English translation) but Spanish from 1605! Heck, reading a novel in English from 1605 would be difficult enough, exponentially harder in a second language. Amazingly, despite its eye-popping length, El Quijote is the most translated and best-selling book in the Spanish language, and Spaniards claim it's the second best-selling and most translated book in any language after the Bible (I believe the first claim but have a tough time believing the latter).

    One of my friends in Spain was a Spanish major, and of course, he had to read El Quijote. By the way, Cervantes spelled it as "Quixote," but for whatever reason, in modern Spain the spelling has changed to "Quijote" (phonetically correct, albeit not true to the original) while the rest of the Spanish-speaking world sticks with "Quixote." He said it was the worst semester of his life. Because of the early 17th century Spanish, he had to spend ~3 hours a day, seven days a week, for an entire semester in order to get through it. When you figure in all his other course work, he said he almost died that semester. On the other hand, my favorite Spanish teacher said it was her favorite book of all time. She warned that if you are forced to read Quijote, it's a huge drag. But if you read it for pleasure, it's amazing. That's the only reason it's still on my bucket list. It's on my Kindle (it's a free download in the 21st century), but I haven't started it - don't know if I ever will.

    One funny Quijote anecdote was at the school where I studied Spanish. A group of us Americans & Brits were talking (in English of course) when an English girl pronounced Quijote as "quicks-oat." We Americans busted out laughing until another English girl was quick to point out that it might sound silly, but that's actually how a fair number of Brits say it. Is the same true in Australia, Mike?
     
  3. mike carey

    mike carey Duke

    I've never heard it said that way, but I wouldn't be surprised, or maybe Quicks-oaty (knowing that in other languages a final e isn't always silent). I have heard it commonly pronounced Quick-oats, but that's as a deliberate word play rather than an error.
     
  4. mike carey

    mike carey Duke

    I was doing some idle reading to find out why x rather than j (or vv) [and apparently x was pronounced sh in Old Castillian, which is what Quixote (alone) spoke in the novel] and fount this in Wikipedia (it cites the standard Australian dictionary, the Macquarie):
    In Australian English, the preferred pronunciation amongst members of the educated classes was /ˈkwɪksət/ until well into the 1970s, as part of a tendency for the upper class to "anglicise its borrowing ruthlessly".
     
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  5. AdamSmith

    AdamSmith Count de Crisco

    If it's good enough for the French... :rolleyes:

    ...who for example style Russia's current dictator 'Poutine.'

    (Albeit the image of him as a little steamed sausage is not without its appeal. ;) )
     
  6. whipped guy

    whipped guy Regent

    Of course there is the English word "quixotic". However, to prove that everything sounds better in Italian the equivalent in italiano is " donchisciottesco"... as in "Don Chisciotte".
     
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