Logos Multilingual Portal

5. Organization of thought and period. Pauses, shifts, foreshortened and long fields of view: translation as the logic of interior perspective


b) The barriers of assimilation

1. Aspect. In ancient Greek this term indicates the idea of permanence of the verbal tense, in the way it is expressed; in our grammatical perception, it coincides with the relationship between the action in the past tense and its consequences in the present tense. We could define aspect as a factor used to express the change in the socio-cultural environment produced by a previous action. In ancient Greek, aorist expressed the present outcome of a condition that began in the past. From this comes the Latin Perfect, which also gave rise to the German Praeteritum and the Anglo-Saxon Past Continuous. In Italian and French, the division of a paragraph into parts according to the ‘sequence’ principle dear to the academies eliminated this subtle distinction. Hence the first big hindrance to the assimilation of these cultures.

2. Inductivity vs Deductivity. Inductive languages are understood as those that announce the fundamental elements of the proposition in thesis, basing their expressive efficacy on the one-way nature of the principal languages; on the other hand, deductive languages work by 'aposiopesis': they place the characterizing quality of a phenomenon before its real nature; thus preferring the secondary characteristics, which become charged with referential potentiality. In this case the contrast between French and German could not be sharper.

3. Implicit referentiality vs explicit referentiality. Languages of the first type have a ‘conglobating’ lexicon whose tendency is to articulate the words around the semantic and thematic roots; languages of the second type are ‘lexicogenic’: they create alternative levels of meaning, conglobating and absorbing different lexical registers, each valid in a different sphere. The sense of grotesqueness and parodistic deformation in Quevedo or Tirso da Molina derives from the fact that in Spanish this play of inappropriate overlapping of registers dominates the entire development of the language. German obtains the grotesque only by imitation of intonations and accents, and not by real linguistic creativity. In French, poets like Jarry or Queneau succeeded in completely overturning the academic approach to the language by resorting to deconstruction strategies typical of schizophrenic thought, common to primitive peoples and also children. But a movement like Surrealism occurs only once every five hundred years... Italian culture had to fight against the moralistic deformation of the Church and the diehard approach of official education until, by ‘false imitation’ of the official rules (bureaucratic, scholastic, scientific, ‘poetese’) of the Nation, writers like Gadda, Malerba, Tombari and Frassineti overturned all the values, that for a few decades also made Italian lexicogenic and impressed with an ‘explicit’ referentiality.