TO BE OR NOT TO BE

Shakespeare's Globe, London (rebuilt 1997)

Shakespeare's Globe, London (rebuilt 1997) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These days one can watch plays from Shakespeare in London in different languages. At hte question of to be or not to be it seems that the Catalan language has chosen to be. The same has happened with the Castilian language and a lot of other languages.

One of the most amazing things I find about the phrase of TO BE OR NOT TO BE is that when you translate it, the translation is also so powerful. To a person who speaks English to listen to the words TO BE OR NOT TO BE is sure to ring some bells but the same happens if I listen, for example, to the words, SER O NO SER.

So there is something that makes here the translation have something valuable. When you say TO BE OR NOT TO BE I imagine one is thinking about TO BE OR NOT TO BE. No more no less … But when one says SER O NO SER I find here another meaning. The meaning of TO BE IN THE LANGUAGE YOU YOU ARE SAYING THAT OR NOT TO BE IN THE LANGUAGE YOU ARE SAYING THAT.

In Catalan and Castilian we have two verbs for TO BE. SER or ESTAR. So, when Shakespeare said TO BE OR NOT TO BE we know he refers to SER and not ESTAR. Anyway, I wish I WAS in London to watch these plays of Shakespeare in different languages.

 

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CHARLES DICKENS IN CATALAN

Copy of a Photograph of Charles Dickens

CHARLES DICKENS

About 200 years ago Charles Dickens was born. In Catalonia we also celebrate this aniversary. I have seen as in the local library they have put a special shelf with a dozen of books.  Some are translations into Catalan (Papers de Pickwik, Copperfield, …) or into Castilian. Some are abridged versions for English learners (A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield) I have also seen an audiobook and a BBC box with about 5 films like A CHRISTMAS CAROL, etc. On the other hand, on Spanish TV, in one of the most famous programmes calles SABER Y GANAAR they made a special programme on Tuesday about Dickens and all the week they have had questions about Dickens.

One of the problems I see with Dickens books, and other books, is that they were written at a time when people had not Internet and other leisures. Now I find quite hard to read just a book with so many pages. I even think I would prefer to read selected chapters of different books of Dickens. In fact I am doing this but with audiobooks …

BAH, HUMBUG … is one of the things I have learnt so far …

If I go back to London I would like to go to the Dickens Museum and leave there, if possible, the little note in Catalan of the local library about the 200th aniversary.