6.0589 Rs: Translation Problems; Mult-Author Universes (2/93

Mon, 15 Mar 1993 19:33:20 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0589. Monday, 15 Mar 1993.

(1) Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1993 14:32 EST (27 lines)
From: "Mary Dee Harris, Language Technology"
Subject: Translation Problems

(2) Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1993 16:55:06 +0100 (66 lines)
From: johan.schimanski@inl.uio.no (Johan Schimanski)
Subject: Re: 6.0583 More Rs: Multiple Author Universes

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1993 14:32 EST
From: "Mary Dee Harris, Language Technology" <MDHARRIS@guvax.acc.georgetown.edu>
Subject: Translation Problems

As Prof. Marchand points out, English is a difficult language in many
ways, and translating into it is no exception. The particular problem
of selecting the proper adjective is only a part of the general
problem of dealing with noun phrases overall. The immediate solution
(?) is to consider that in some of Marchand's examples, colloquial
English and often more formal English as well, would translate the
adjectives as nouns modifying nouns. I would refer to a 'lung exam'
more often than a 'pulmonary examination', and so on.

This problem is not restricted to translation. In understanding
English, one must parse NPs within NPs. An example I heard yesterday
on the TV talking-heads show, Inside Washington, occurred when one of
the commentators referred to 'unnecessary base closings', which was
misinterpreted by another of the commentators as [NP [ADJ
'unnecessary] [NP [N 'base'] [N 'closings']]] when it should have been
[NP [NP [ADJ 'unnecessary] [N 'base']] [N 'closings']]. So it's not
just computers that have trouble with this situations.

There is some research being done on this subject, but it is quite

Mary Dee Harris

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------78----
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1993 16:55:06 +0100
From: johan.schimanski@inl.uio.no (Johan Schimanski)
Subject: Re: 6.0583 More Rs: Multiple Author Universes (2/24)

>Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0583. Friday, 12 Mar 1993.
>(1) Date: 9 Mar 1993 (15 lines)
> From: error sender <DEADMAIL@IBM-B.RUTHERFORD.AC.UK>
> Subject: Multiple authorship universes
>(2) Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1993 17:26:44 -0500 (EST) (9 lines)
> From: jmueg@unity.ncsu.edu
> Subject: Re: 6.0568 Rs: Multiple Author Universes (3/91)
>(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
>Date: 9 Mar 1993
>Subject: Multiple authorship universes
>It's all very well to talk of authors using characters that have
>appeared elsewhere - but what about the idea used in *At Swim Two
>Birds* by Myles na gCopalleen (aka Brian Nolan, Brian O Nualain
>et al). This book was first published in 1939. Among other things
>it points out that it is wasteful of an author to create new characters
>when so many fictional ones have already been brought into being.
>Why not recycle some of them into new situations? This idea was far
>ahead of its time - it must surely recommend itself to an age as
>concerned as ours is with the conservation of scarce resources.
>Johannes de Tauriprato

Indeed, Robert Anton Wilson did just this when he incorporated De Selby
(and his various commentators, biographers and critics) in the extensive
footnotes of his "Historical Illuminatus" trilogy. De Selby is the
fictional philosopher invented by Flann O'Brien (aka Myles na gCopalleen,
Brian O'Nolan, &c) in the metaphysical footnotes of _The Third Policeman_.

The shared-world figure is made possible by a view of fiction as placed
within history. In realistic novels we sometimes meet or hear mention of
famous historical figures, and in historical novels we often find these
figures, well known from other fictional and historical narratives, as
major characters. Figures such as De Selby are pseudohistorical, whereas in
Star Trek (a series which originally was based upon the premise of the
Starship Enterprise being one of many such starships boldy going etc.) the
characters which are shared are not historical, not even in the sense that
they have a really major role to play in their own history (which is of
course the history of their own political unit, not of the many single
worlds they interfere with). I guess it is this last transposition of the
structure which makes the grade as "truly" shared worldedness.

There are various legal problems in this connection - some fantasy authors
have lately been sued by spin-off writers, who using an already created
world (with permission), have placed in it new features and characters
which then have been used again by the original author ("without
permission"). The secondary authors have then sued the primary authors.
Complicated, isn't it. (The case I am referring to is Marion Zimmer
Bradley's Darkover series).

Johan Schimanski

(johan.schimanski@inl.uio.no) working on Ph.D. project "An Intercourse of
Nationality and Genre in Welsh Literature after 1700"
- General and Comparative Literature, Univ. of Oslo, Norway.
- tel. +47-work 22854037 fax 22857100 home 22563945 cats 67541460