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And yet we all feel that do this : "Once upon a time there was a gorilla The original is two things : "story" and "song" and we feel that both are necessary if we are not to cross a boundary into a different entity altogether. We can, as here, conceive of the loss of the song element; it is harder to conceive of the loss of the story element, but we would feel we were in the presence of another entity if we had a reflective song about the death penalty or a lyrical description of gorillas in Rwanda. Jake Thackray sings an English translation. This is of course what he does and what we are analysing.

But is it a translation? We need now to discuss the question of fidelity.

Le Gorille a bonne mine by André Franquin

My view is that in literary translation, specifically poetic translation, fidelity is not about reference but about effect1. It is essential to see that the translated text, the version, is above all a text, a text which a new set of receivers will use for their purposes. The receivers of Thackray's version of Le gorille want essentially the same effect they get from Thackray's other songs. The translated text lives its new life in its new clothes and may even become a citizen of its new country. The essential idea is that of audience : audiences make texts and use them for their own ends with very little concern for fidelity in the narrow sense.

That fragment of the audience that knows Brassens in French may, like us here, be interested in comparing the Thackray effect with the Brassens effect, but we should remember that they are a minority and are in any case engaged in an activity whose inter-lingual nature does not make it essentially different from any text comparison; it is a form of comparative literature. We can compare the intrinsic features of the texts and we can compare their effect on audiences audiences laugh more, it seems to me, during Brother Gorilla than during Le gorille. And of course we can compare quality as we would do for any texts.

It is theoretically possible for the translation to be better than the original — to have superior intrinsic features or more powerful effect. But this is unusual : translated poetry is always likely to be less good than the original because, apart from the extrinsic question of creative originality the difference, in Goffman's terms, between the author and the principal the original poet is likely to be better with words than the interpreter, better able to handle the demands of rhythm and rhyme.

In addition, the mistaken search for localised fidelity of reference will almost always produce infidelity of effect. To put it more colloquially, the worst thing that can happen is that a good song in French becomes a lousy song in English. Without effect poetry is not poetry Widdowson So "making it happen again, in England" means first of all giving a monoglot British audience an experience comparable in quality and nature with experiences they have had with Thackray's own texts and though they may not know this or need to know it comparable with the experience French speakers have of Brassens' s texts.

This is the higher fidelity and this is how the grand chain of cross-cultural meanings is forged across the world. Brother Gorilla. We can now look at the phenomenon more closely. I take the channel to include the physical appearance of the singer — Thackray is a very tall man — his stage position, one foot on the chair, his accent Northern not Southern , the straight face, the instruments acoustic guitar and double bass.

The receivers have expectations of Thackray : the songs will be verbally intricate, especially with regard to rhymes; they will be funny, anarchic, bawdy; they will be stories, often tall stories; they will be about the underdog; they may be sentimental. In other words, in spite of the fact that Thackray always prefaces it in concert with a homage to Brassens, Brother Gorilla fits easily into his repertoire and in no way stands out or shocks his audience's expectations. This particular choice of text facilitates the domestication since there are no specifically French references but a great many universal ones not least the assumptions about gorillas — derived from King-Kong — and about women — derived from more ancient sources.

Shared too is the basic idea of the tall story in verse with a refrain. If we think of the song as an immigrant we can say that. If we consider now what the immigrant has had to give up in order to join the new culture we can obviously cite the language; but a number of very important features have been retained : the music, the refrain, the form stanzas of eight lines with eight syllables or four stresses J1. As for quality, this has not been renounced at all.

Of course, the particular code being used determines certain differences. There are many more adverbs in the English text, which adds to the musicality by a kind of internal rhyming of the -ly sound lissomly, intently, impassively, devoutly French rhyme does not work like this, which probably explains the laughter during the Thackray version. I am convinced, incidentally, that the reason why so many translations of French tragedy seem unsatisfactory in English is misplaced fidelity, fidelity operating at the wrong level : because the.

But an English-speaking audience does not associate rhyme with tragedy in the same way on the contrary is always on the look-out for comic effect. The correct "translation" of the rhyming couplet is iambic blank verse — a further illustration of my point that fidelity has to be at the macro-level of effect : if this is not achieved, no amount of felicitous micro-rendering will avail. The potentialities of the new code actually contribute positively then to the quality of the new version.

The new song's quality derives from the skill with which Thackray uses the resources of rhythm and rhyme and sound offered by the language. But it also comes from invented details Thackray being a principal in the same song where he is also author which are not in the original and which compensate for things which have been omitted. The same applies to words like quadrumane : it's not a question of finding an equivalent for this particular rare, mock-scientific word but providing such a word somewhere; so that paleolithic is obviously not the lexical or referential equivalent of quadrumane but it is the compensation.

Translation is compensation and the compensation is at the level of the whole text not lexical items.

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Space precludes a detailed account of the other two published texts. Je rejoindrai ma belle — translated as Over to Isobel — is particularly interesting as a choice since it is precisely about. Isabella, Thackray's version of Marinette , is remarkable above all for the inspired translation of the phrase j'avais l'air d'un con.

Le Gorille a bonne mine

But I have already described Over to Is ob el in print Evans and, as I stated at the beginning, my purpose has not been to provide a linguistic analysis of the translated texts but to explore the whole process of inter-lingual, cross-cultural exchange, including the non-language aspects, in order to demonstrate.

Thackray's versions are faithful to Brassens above all because they are wonderfully successful songs in English. Would that he would produce more. Through the bars of a large enclosure The village ladies intently stared Where a gorilla with massive composure Was impassively combing his hair. They were shamelessly interested Eyeing devoutly a certain spot But my mother's especially requested I refrain from telling you what.

It would be curious and uncanny Say if the choice were up to you To ravish a judge or a granny And you didn't know what to do. If I were in such a position And the choice had got to be mine I'd beg the old lady's permission But go for grandma every time. The door of the circus lock-up Where the noble brute had been put By an administrational cock-up Was unwisely left unshut. Though the gorilla is very proficient In the role of a paramour His mental equipment's deficient And his eye-sight's awfully poor. With a paleolithic leer He gave the old lady the miss And grabbing the judge by the ear Gave him an introductory kiss.

Those self-same ladies who previously Had been licking their lips from afar Did a bunk which shows how devious And whimsical women are. In the path of the love-sick monkey There were two who wouldn't budge A little old lady , so shrunken And a petty sessions judge. In time the gorilla's desires Were more or less gratified The judge being rather biased Couldn't see the funny side. He was kicking, screaming, wailing When his moment of truth was come.

Like those wretches he orders. To be taken away and hung. The old girl said "it would be surprising. And unlikely in the extreme Jake Thackray. If anyone found me appetising. And beyond my wildest dreams". The judge intoned with tranquillity. Would be the height of improbability".

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Neither record has the words. Both are incorporating other voices through translation. In Brassens's case he is giving himself permission to say things as interpreter he would not say as "principal".

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These songs are collected on Philips It is significant that this record is a posthumous one. This too is a kind of translation. Brother Gorilla, with only 7 stanzas, loses this. Plan 1. For and against translation [link] 2. Sender-Receiver [link] 3. The interpreter [link] 4. Two models of communication [link] 1.

Le Gorille a bonne mine

The transmission model [link] 2. The response model [link] 5. Audience [link] 6. Across the boundary [link] 1. A video-recording [link] 2.

Jake Thackray sings in French [link] 3. Jake Thackray tells the story in English without music [link] 4. Jake Thackray sings an English translation [link] 7. Fidelity [link] 8. Brother Gorilla [link] 9. Conclusion [link] Bibliography [link] Appendix [link]. Liste des illustrations Fig. For and against translation You can't export him.

In the same interview he nevertheless talked about his own translations of Brassens : his wish, he said, was not so much to translate the songs as make them again, in England. EVANS Jake Thackray, Translator and Interpreter of Brassens Brassens-Thackray case provides an excellent opportunity for examining the complex communicative issues involved when both translator and translated are creators and performers.

Besides the familiar, outwardly-directed aspect of language there is the inward aspect : Languages communicate inward to the native-speaker with a density and pressure of shared intimation which are only partly, grudgingly yielded to the outsider. This is the recompense of translation : there may be a loss as the mysteries of the original are EVANS Jake Thackray, Translator and Interpreter of Brassens profaned, but there is gain as the original lives on, transformed and even enhanced through linguistic metamorphosis.

Sender-Receiver To understand what is happening in this specific case of Brassens-Thackray we need to start with the basic unit of communication -the dyad -and the standard communication model : Fig. The interpreter But then the urge to "show" comes in. We are still considering a dyad : the "interpreter" is also a species of sender : Fig. Two models of communication How should we analyse the communication within these dyads?

The transmission model implies that there is a message a thought or intention of an author which is coded by a sender and packed into a parcel a text.

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The response model is macroscopic. For, as Steiner says, and this is the essential point of After Babel : A human being performs an act of translation, in the full sense of the word when receiving a speech-message from any other human being [ Thackray' s reticence as expressed in the small number of texts he has published is certainly to do with this; as Steiner says : 5. EVANS Jake Thackray, Translator and Interpreter of Brassens Brassens writes for this implied audience; this audience has expectations of him; it also has a history; it has values, assumptions, knowledge of the world, including knowledge of Brassens.

Across the boundary But the question which concerns us here is what exactly happens when Thackray crosses the boundary and shows this foreign source to the people? Jake Thackray sings in French Thackray has never done this to my knowledge although he could and it is an intriguing possibility. Jake Thackray tells the story in English without music Unlike Brassens, Thackray often tells long stories on stage, so this would be quite possible.

Jake Thackray sings an English translation 7. Fidelity This is of course what he does and what we are analysing. EVANS Jake Thackray, Translator and Interpreter of Brassens It is essential to see that the translated text, the version, is above all a text, a text which a new set of receivers will use for their purposes. Brother Gorilla We can now look at the phenomenon more closely. If we think of the song as an immigrant we can say that Conclusion Space precludes a detailed account of the other two published texts.

It is a charming story and has a lot of funny scenes that are very out dated, though very true to the spirit of those times. I hope one day i will get my chance to go visit, if not stay for a while.

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