NABOKV-L post 0017448, Thu, 11 Dec 2008 21:36:00 -0200

Re: [NABOKOV-L] Query on Alps, Bera range, Algonquin...Birches
Re: [NABOKV-L] [NABOKOV-L] Query on Alps, Bera range, Algonquin...BirchesStan K-B: to see/hear the Birch Tree Cliché in Soviet Realistic excess, dig the Red Army Choir's folksy rendition: [...] this clip was filmed in the KATYN Forest, before, during, or after the Massacre? [...] Nabokov is RIGHT about the ESSENTIAL equivalence of ALL NLs (Natural Languages). Whatever can be imagined & expressed in one NL can be imagined & expressed in any other NL. This axiom essentially DEFINES what an NL is! You [ JM} draw the wrong conclusions from the fact that Nabokov's Onegin "translation" takes 4 volumes[...] Much of this background is, in fact, also essential to the majority of contemporary Russian speakers, separated by time & kultur from 18th century usages.

JM: My most recent literary reference to birches was easy to locate. It's in Penelope Fitzgerald's "The Beginning of Spring", related to an English follower of Tolstoy who wrote poetry in Russian: "Frank expected Russian poetry to be about birch trees and snow..."
Like Pollyana I cannot be but glad that I make so many mistakes: their correction is so exciting! (often frightening, too.)
Is the NL-equivalence axiom extensive to the impact produced by a metaphor that relies on non-verbal devices? If there is no definite meaning attached to a specific signifier, how does this axiom operate?

A. Sklyarenko: The leaving out of the "t" in the second (or rather third, if we count the particule in the middle) component of her nom de plume should make it more intime (1.31). In the old Russian alphabet, the letter "t" was called tvyordo ("hard," used as an adverb in the sense "firmly," "solidly," etc.). I would have amused you with my observations on the subject, if I had not been somewhat disappointed with the List's cool response to my ideas about dobro ("good," used as a noun), yet another letter of the old Russian alphabet, a few months ago.
JM: I wish I could respond to your ideas about the Russian "t" and "dobro" because I wonder what lies hidden by VN's "t-warning" in ADA. VN's instructions (somewhere in SO) about how to pronounce the "t" in "Lolita" admits a necessary "iberization" and he demonstrates this effect in HH's opening lines in a tongue in teeth way.

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