Twin Peaks Usenet Archive


Subject: Exotic language == Afrikaans (plus translation)
From: mccall@parc.xerox.com (Kim McCall)
Date: 1991-02-15, 12:13
Newsgroups: alt.tv.twin-peaks

Darn, finally an episode on which I can make a useful comment,
and I wait all week to view it.

I haven't got time just now to wade through all 200 odd (sic) remaining
messages to see whether someone else has reported this (saw fine bogosity
in. re. Hungarian), but the "exotic" foreign dialogue was in Afrikaans.  

First the transcription/translation, then commentary of various ilks:

The (less than illuminating) dialog [TE==Ek, W==his companion]:

TE: Sy het verspilbar geword.
    [She has become expendable.]
     (actually, the crucial word here is not absolutely clear to me,
      but I think that's what it means.)

W: Ek het jou gewaarsky om haar nie te vertrou nie.
   [I warned you not to trust her.]

Notes for the curious:
Afrikaans is the language of most of the Afrikaners, the decendants of the
early Dutch settlers of South Africa.  (These are by and large very
conservative whites, whose main political voice is the National Party, whom
we have to thank for apartheid.)  [This language is also spoken by a 
majority of the mixed-race "coloreds".]

Afrikaans is nearly a pidgen (sp?) form of Dutch.  The very acute (who
are also familiar with German or Dutch) will have noticed that the two
sentences are in the same tense, while I have translated the former  with
the present perfect and the latter with the simple past.  This is because
Afrikaans, being perhaps the world's simplest natural language, has only
three grammatical tenses.  Finer nuances are carried by adverbs or
deduced from context (as I have done here.)

I'm not at all certain about the characters' accents either in English or
in Afrikaans.  The Afrikaans was not terribly well articulated (not as
perfectly pronounced as, for example, Meryl Streep's refined and precise
German in Sophie's Choice).  The actors might be
  (1)English-speaking South Africans  (who constitute 40% of the whites);
  (2)American actors faking both Afrikaans and a South African accent;
  (3)Good speakers of Afrikaans trying to sound exotic and incomprehensible;
  (4) Who knows what else.

Any questions?  Any answers?  Any rags?  Any bones?  Any bottles today?

Kim


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