rameau's Reviews > New Finnish Grammar

New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani
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's review
Jun 27, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: language-english-translation, genre-historical, annoying-1st-3rd-voice-mixing, read-in-2012, rating-meh
Read on June 27, 2012

This reads more like a man's desperate attempt to make sense of a language, a culture, and a history behind them that is wholly different from his own, than it reads like a novel about an amnesiac man searching for an identity through a new language.

I appreciated the historical accuracy, but can only hope that the mispelled Finnish words are the translator's fault rather than the original author's. As I said in one of my status updates, it's good for linguistic laughs.
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Reading Progress

06/27/2012 page 9
5.0% "Look at the title. How could I not read this?"
06/27/2012 page 13
7.0% "Disappointing to notice that this book switches between two different first person limited voices."
06/27/2012 page 52
28.0% "This author has some interesting ideas of how Finnish sounds. Interesting to a Finn at least."
06/27/2012 page 56
30.0% ""In the Finnish language the noun is hard to lay hands on, hidden as it is behind endless declensions of its fifteen cases and only rarely caught unawares in the nominative." I cackled."
06/27/2012 page 62
33.0% "I'm still puzzled why would anyone think a nameless amnesiac man found in Trieste is a Finn." 1 comment
06/27/2012 page 66
35.0% "That actually happened."
06/27/2012 page 70
37.0% ""Finnish syntax is thorny but delicate: instead of starting from the centre of things, it surrounds and envelopes them from without." This reminds me of something I once heard in class. Where in English you stand under things to understand them, in Finnish you surround them to ymmärtääksesi."
06/27/2012 page 82
44.0% "Misspelled toivotta."
06/27/2012 page 97
52.0% "There are lyrics in this."
06/27/2012 page 99
53.0% "If you don't speak Finnish, you've forgotten by now that runoilia means a poet."
06/27/2012 page 99
53.0% "That's not modern Finnish and I don't have a copy of Kalevala to check if the word is used in there. To sing is laulaa. A song is laulu."
06/27/2012 page 119
64.0% "Katoavainen = evanescent, transient."
06/27/2012 page 141
75.0% "Couple of more typos (I hope):
Hyönteistieteilijä = entymologist. There's no a before an ä.
Perhosia = butterflies, plural not singular."
06/27/2012 page 157
84.0% ""-every word I'd put down in my notebook, declining it in all possible cases, conjugating each verb in every voice I knew, down to the most tortuous forms of the passive, the conditional, even the past potential; undaunted now by irregular verbs with alternating consonants, I had in my head all the 'p's which became 'v's, the 'lke's which became 'lje's, the 'ht's which became 'hd's." I snorted."
06/27/2012 page 157
84.0% ""-where it was enough to add one vowel to cause three consonants to disappear-""

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