Posted in Portuguese

Um Escritor Islandês

Today’s text is about Halldór Laxness, who was discussed on the Backlisted podcast. I got two corrections and I’ve put some notes at the bottom, some of which have some pretty interesting nuances of the language in them.

Halldór Laxness, public domain image from Wikipedia
Halldór Laxness

A minha esposa uma vez leu um livro de Halldór Laxness, um escritor islandês. É quase desconhecido em Inglaterra mas ganhou o Prémio Nobel de Literatura há décadas.
Ora bem, estava eu* a escutar o meu Podcast que já mencionei num outro texto quando um dos apresentadores falou de uma visita que tinha realizado** à Islândia. Numa excursão*** , um guia turístico indicou uma casa e afirmou “Aquela é a casa do nosso vencedor do Prémio Nobel, Halldór Laxness. Será que há alguém que conheça esse nome?”
O apresentador respondeu “Conheço. Já li um livro dele”
“A sério?” admirou o guia. “O senhor é o primeiro turista que ouviu falar dele, muito menos que leu um livro dele!”
“Oh”, exclamou ele. “Fico com tão orgulhoso!”
“Não”, replicou a guia. “Eu é que fico orgulhoso”.

Gosto muito**** desta história porque mostra bem o orgulho que os leitores de qualquer país sentem pelos melhores autores nacionais. Portugal tem Saramago (mais um laureado!) , Pessoa e Camões, nós temos Shakespeare, Dickens e Pam Ayres*****, e os islandeses têm o seu próprio Laxness.

*I originally wrote “eu estava” but that comes across as too colloquial and reversing the order comes across as better. It’s hard to relate this to anything in English so it might just be one of those things you need to get used to.

**Realizar has a meaning that just about exists in English but isn’t really used very often: it’s to make something real. You’ll occasionally hear about someone “realising improvements in…” productivity of fitness or whatever it might be, but that’s unusual. We tend to use realise to mean something like “perceive” or “understand”, and I think the Portuguese meaning probably makes more sense.

***Originally “Enquanto lá estava” (while he was there a tour guide pointed…) but the corrector pointed out this comes across as a clash, because “enquanto lá estava” indicates an extended period of time but the pointing only happened once. I think you could get away with it in English so part of me feels this might be a tiny bit “picuinhas” but maybe it sounds worse to Portuguese ears so it’s probably worth avoiding this kind of construction.

**** I originally wrote “tanto” on place of muito, but “I like this story so much because…” doesn’t really fly I’m Portuguese. I should have known. Its a relatively modern way of speaking in English. I don’t think we’d have said that in the eighties, say, it seems like something that we’ve picked up from watching American TV more recently.

*****Writers of equal stature. I will die on this hill.

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Just a data nerd

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