NABOKV-L post 0005990, Sun, 27 May 2001 12:53:29 -0700

[Fwd: Re: Query - pregnancy in Ada]

> FranЪoise JONATHAN wrote:
> > Could anybody tell me if there is a misprint at the very end of Part
> > One in the Penguin edition of Ada: Should we read "she was pregnant"
> > or rather "he was pregnant", as several studies as well as the French
> > translation suggest? Thanks for your answer FranЪoise RICHARD-

Coming later as it does, and with some oversight by VN, the French
edition nicely handles this matter, but does concomitantly two things
of interest. First, it reverses the clause structure: where the English
hand 'Van' as subject of the first, subordinate, clause, and 'he' as
subject of the main, second clause, "he was pregnant," permitting the
"correction" too "she", the French has the equivalent of "When he left,
with "he" in the first, dependent clause, and, the equivalent of
"Van Veen was pregnant," in the second, principal, one, thus leaving
no doubt of the meaning.
Second, it finds it must evade a dilemma, since the French Academy
refuses to let one simply say the equivalent of, "he was pregnant" or
of Van Veen was pregnant," the French must paraphrase this as sort of
the equivalent of, "Van Veen was big with child," or "Van Veen was in
a family way," i.e. "Van Veen etait en etat de grossesse." The French
equivalent of "pregnant" is "enceinte" -- an adjective which exists
only in the masculine form, and cannot thus serve as predicate
adjective to masculine pronouns or their masculine antecedents.
Mais c'est logique, ca, tu sais!

John A. Rea

P.S. I have avoided using accent marks which do not come through the
net in ascii, as can be noted by the ascii form of the query, and indeed
notes the regrettable results in the _Nabokovian_ for Dr Boyd's fine
annotations, with really off the wall results of such diacritics.