sturman_george (sturman_george) wrote,

“Pnin’s Day”

"The organs concerned with the production of English speech sounds are the larynx, the vellum, the lips, the tongue (that punchinello in the troupe), and last, but not least, the lower jaw; mainly upon the jaw’s overenergetic and somewhat ruminant motion did Pnin rely when translating in class passages in the Russian grammar or some poem by Pushkin. If Pnin’s Russian was music, his English was murder. He had enormous difficulty (“dzeefeecooltsee,” in Pninian English) with depalatization, never managing to remove the extra Russian moisture from “t”s and “d”s before the vowels he so quaintly softened. His explosive “hat” (“I never go in a hat, even in winter”) differed from the common American pronunciation of the adjective “hot” (typical of Waindell townspeople, for example) only by its briefer duration, and thus sounded very much like the German verb “hat” (has). Long “o”s with him inevitably became short ones, his “no”acquiring for the nonce the rounded orifice of a British or Bostonian “o” in “not,” and this was accentuated by his Russian trick of duplicating the simple negative. (“May I give you a lift, Mr. Pnin?” “No-no, I have only two paces from here.”) He did not possess (nor was he aware of this lack) any long “oo;” all he could muster when called upon to utter “noon” was the lax “o” sound of the German “nun” (“I have no classes in after_nun_ on Tuesday. Today is Tuesday.”)"


Vladimir Nabokov’s “Pnin” is the portrait of a Russian emigrant whom fate has left dangling in the alien English language.  He is no longer visible to others except through the distorting medium of that unelected second language.

Это была краткая лекция о романе "Пнин", написанном на английском.
Как и всегда, русских классиков нужно читать только в оригинале.


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