NABOKV-L post 0017806, Tue, 3 Mar 2009 14:09:41 -0300

perils of learning Russian
Re: [NABOKV-L] perils of learning Russian
Stan Kelly-Bootle:... we really must end this dated nonsense that [name-your-pet-language] is particularly (nay, uniquely) blessed with 'elegance' or 'expressiveness' or [name-your-pet-predicate].... ALL natural languages (we include creoles but exclude pidgins) are equally difficult, and at the same time, equally simple (in that children worldwide acquire their 'mother-tongue' equally painlessly and at approximately the same speed [see Chomsky et al])... Thousands of lecture students and visiting scholars (not to mention Dmitri) can attest to VN's off-the-cuff spontaneous wit in perfectly 'native' English (howbeit with some residual Russian intonations) [...]Meanwhile, I admit to being thrilled, and siding with Jansy's word-mysticism, when I find Nabokov extolling "The Russian word [for the Padus racemosa] with its fluffy and dreamy syllables, admirably suits this beautiful tree ..." [...] As explored deeply by VN in his EO commentaries, the different stress patterns in English and Russian greatly influence the prosodial possibilities. BTW: Russian Prosody was another area where Wilson and VN disagreed quite rudely.

JM: Stan mentioned "Jansy's word-mysticism" and he also broached upon Nabokov's frequently contradictory remarks - which might encompass his explicit rejection of Plato and Malcolm Bradbury's description of him as a "nominalist" author.
Perhaps VN favored a nominalist view at times but, in other occasions, was he not a "Realist" too?
In my case, I fear I suffer under "word-fetichism", not mysticism, because I often cannot unglue from a particularly felicitous quote from Nabokov under his hugoesque visionary ability achieved by "un long, immense et déraisonné dérèglement de tous les sens," and his successful "poetic prose."

One oft-quoted line, the precision of poetry and the intuition of science is, perhaps, an indirect response to dejected and similarly "dérèglè" Rimbaud, when he wrote "L' Eternité" ( although in it we get "patience", not "intuition" or "precision" to couple with science in a poem): "Là pas d'espérance,/ Nul orietur./ Science avec patience,/Le suplice est sûr.// Elle est retrouvée./ Quoi? - L'eternité./ C'est la mer allée/ Avec le soleil." to reach spinal-thrills and "thingles."

btw: no comments on the neat eight-degree connection bt. Derzhavin/Watts/Crocodile Tears & Jaws/Carroll/Watts/Universal Language?
PS: C.Kunin: I request that the editor politely suggest that list members employ a reasonable font size in postings to the list. Jansy's can be itsy-bitsy but at least they are easy to expand to a legible...
ED's response: I think font size is an issue that has disturbed some subscribers; I think it is unlikely that we will want to impose conformity upon contributors, when there is so much variety among how messages appear in different browsers, on different screen resolutions, etc
Inexpert suggestion by an Outlooker: To correct my visions I press either "reply" or "forward" and then I unformat everything, even before I choose how I'm going to proceed after being deprived of a "rich text,html" option. The "delete button" works more efficiently, too.

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