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To MrP, Califjim, and whoever understands French well,

Would you please tell me if I understood the ENGLISH text correctly?

« How could it have come without any warning? It’s as sudden as being shot. It’s the living death, Binkie. We’re to be shut up in the dark in one year if we’re careful, and we shan’t see anybody, and we shall never have anything we want, no, though we live to be a hundred.” Binkie wagged his tail joyously. “Binkie, we must think. Let’s see how it fells to be blind.” (R. Kippling)

TRANSLATION :

«Comment cela a-t-il pu arriver sans qu’on le sache / s’en doute ? C’est aussi soudain / brutal que de se prendre une balle. C’est la mort, Binkie.

a) Si on est prudent, on s'enferme [nous-mêmes ??] dans le noir pendant un an (??) et on voit personne

b) Si on est prudent, dans un an (??) on sera enfermé [par quelqu'un d'autre ??] dans le noir sans voir personne

et on aura jamais rien de ce qu'on veut, non, même si on devient centenaires.» Binkie, contente, remua la queue.

«Binkie, il faut qu'on réfléchisse. Voyons ce que ce que ça fait d'être aveugle.»

Gratefully yours,

Hela
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Comments  
This may help.

The bad condition of his eyes came about suddenly; he was not expecting it.
When blindness comes, it will be as if someone shut him up in the dark. (No one is really going to shut him up in the dark.)
The blindness will come only after a year passes (even) if he is very careful about taking care of his eyes.
(It will come even sooner if he is not careful.) [I don't see how it can possibly be pendant un an here.]
When he becomes blind, he will not be able to see anybody; he will not be able to have anything that he wants.
(He is talking to the dog, using "we" as if the dog were also going to be blind. The pronoun on should do fine here.)
He wants to know how it feels to be blind. [I'm sure you meant to write "feels"!]

My French is not good enough to go in the English-to-French direction, especially where Kipling is concerned.

CJ
Dear Jim,

Where is this paragraph taken from? And is the following your explanation of the text ?
The bad condition of his eyes came about suddenly; he was not expecting it.
When blindness comes, it will be as if someone shut him up in the dark. (No one is really going to shut him up in the dark.)
The blindness will come only after a year passes (even) if he is very careful about taking care of his eyes.
(It will come even sooner if he is not careful.) [I don't see how it can possibly be pendant un an here.]
When he becomes blind, he will not be able to see anybody; he will not be able to have anything that he wants.
(He is talking to the dog, using "we" as if the dog were also going to be blind. The pronoun on should do fine here.)
He wants to know how it feels to be blind. [I'm sure you meant to write "feels"!]
Thank you very much for it because now I understand what the paragraph is talking about.

May I ask you to explain this bit too?

But now I was among people who wrote books as naturally as we played football. What infuriated me – what made me loathe both them and myself – was their confidence and knowledge. The easy talk of art, theatre, architecture, travel; the languages, the vocabulary, knowing the way round a whole culture – it was invaluable and irreplaceable capital.

The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi

a) Should I understand « languages » as « different types of register » rather than « foreign languages » ?

b) What was invaluable was (1) the fact of talking easily bout different subjects, a thorough knowledge of the English (2) language and (3) culture?

Happy Easter!
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
I have a smattering of French.

Without warning = sans avertir.

As CalfJim said it would be very difficulty translate Kippling's materials without a high command of French.
It's from The Light that Failed. You can find the whole book on-line. (Use Google.)

There are many languages spoken in India, so I'm fairly sure the author really did mean "languages", not "different types of language". (Without more context I can only assume that he is speaking of the culture of India.) The whole experience of associating with these people was what was invaluable.

CJ
Hello Jim,

No, in fact the scene takes place in the 70s in London. The author is talking about a suburbian boy (whose father is Pakistaneese and mother English) who left school early but came to know intellectual people whom he admired a lot.

So would that change my interpretation of the paragraph?

As for the text by Kippling, why is the protagonist using the pronoun "we" if he's talking about himself? How should the pronoun be translated: by "je" or "nous"?

Have a nice day.
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http://www.litrix.com/lfailed/lfail001.htm

I don't know if that's the whole thing but it's fifteen chapters.

Maybe the intellectual people he admired knew several languages? Or maybe languages refers to both the one spoken by his father and the one spoken by his mother?

I interpret the "we" as referring to himself and to his dog. I would use "on", not "je" or "nous", but then my skills in going from English to French aren't as good as going from French to English.

CJ
I interpret the "we" as referring to himself and to his dog. I would use "on", not "je" or "nous"
This is what I thought too. But is it because of their close relationship that the dog might share the feelings of his master,i.e., fear and apprehension of the future?

All the best
HelaTo MrP, Califjim, and whoever understands French well,

Would you please tell me if I understood the ENGLISH text correctly?

« How could it have come without any warning? sans qu'on s'en doute works fine "sans aucun signe précurseur" is more formal.It’s as sudden as being shot "C'est comme si, tout d'un coup on se prenait une balle. It’s the living death C'est comme si on était mort, Binkie. We’re to be shut up in the dark in one year if we’re careful dans un an, nous serons/ on sera/ on va être /enfermés/enfermé dans le noir - si on est / nous sommes/ prudent/s/, and we shan’t see anybody et on ne verra / nous ne verrons personne, and we shall never have anything we want et nous n'aurons/on n'aura/ jamais rien de ce que nous voulons (de ce que l'on veut), no, though we live to be a hundred non, même si on vit / nous vivons/ jusqu'à 100 ans.” Binkie wagged his tail joyously Binkie remua sa queue joyeusement. “Binkie, we must think Binkie, il faut qu'on réfléchisse/que nous réfléchissions. Let’s see how it feels to be blind.” (R. Kippling)

TRANSLATION :

«Comment cela a-t-il pu arriver sans qu’on le sache / s’en doute ? C’est aussi soudain / brutal que de se prendre une balle. C’est la mort, Binkie.

a) Si on est prudent, on s'enferme [nous-mêmes ??] dans le noir pendant un an (??) et on voit personne

b) Si on est prudent, dans un an (??) on sera enfermé [par quelqu'un d'autre ??] dans le noir sans voir personne

et on aura jamais rien de ce qu'on veut, non, même si on devient centenaires.» Binkie, contente, remua la queue.

«Binkie, il faut qu'on réfléchisse. Voyons ce que ce que ça fait d'être aveugle.»

Gratefully yours,

Hela
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