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Would a native English speaker have written the following sentences?
Thread poster: cinziag

cinziag  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:03
English to Italian
+ ...
Apr 20, 2009

Hi,

I'm working on a text written by a bilingual person.
Given that English is not my mother tongue, I would ask your help in order to understand if an English speaker would have written the following sentences.
They are, of course, grammatical sentences, but I sometimes feel that an English speaker would not have written exacty the same. Is it right?

Can anyone please help me? Thank you.


1- I could not imagine that there should ever have been a time when the sky had not been called 'le ciel', or that there should ever be a time when it would no longer be called 'le ciel'.

2- I approached the English language as you might approach a person you know quite well and who, nevertheless, intimidates you, a little.

3- In the distance can be seen a long, glittering, gray line – the sea.

4- It is a curious fact that we sometimes think of the places we love as people, with souls and bodies and features, and Paris, to many of us, is a person, a great and generous person, a bold, proud and impatient person with a kind heart and a quick temper.

5- There is nothing a novelist can imagine that has not already happened somewhere, at some time, in this world.


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-04-20 15:41 GMT]


 

Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:03
Member
Dutch to English
+ ...
Hi brow English but fine Apr 20, 2009

I am not quite sure what the problem is. The sentences are fine and I would expect to see them in a good book or brochure.

 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:03
English to French
+ ...
English as it was spoke... Apr 20, 2009

To me, those sentences sound as though they were written by scholars circa 1920 - as Marijke says, this is high-brow English. Of course, some people speak this elegant flavour of English today, but it is becoming a rarity nowadays. If the author's native language isn't English, then hats off to him/her! You may learn some very useful notions from translating this text.

I especially like sentence #4, long-winded (something that is considered a no-no today) but rightly so.

[Edited at 2009-04-20 14:54 GMT]


 

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:03
Spanish to English
+ ...
My take... Apr 20, 2009

Yes, somewhat formal, but OK.

I agree with Viktoria, sentence 4 is quite nice.


 

wonita (X)
China
Local time: 17:03
The subject of this thread Apr 20, 2009

"Would a native English speaker have written the following sentences?"

sounds awkward to me. Can anybody make some comment? I am non-native for English.


 

Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 14:03
Spanish to English
Has to be a native Apr 20, 2009

I cannot imagine any non-native speaker being able to express themselves so well.

Hopefully the tone of the writing goes well with the tone of the original text.


 

Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 15:03
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Definitely. Apr 20, 2009

What's more, my father speaks and writes this wayicon_smile.gif. Appropriate for a man who believed that "The Canterville Ghost" was a good bedtime story for his small daughters.
I find sentence 3 a bit awkward, but not incorrect.


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 21:03
German to Serbian
+ ...
My comments Apr 20, 2009

This is native - typical literary style, decorated sentences, old forms, interwoven and multi-layered ideas - a typical novelist English ( long sentences, stream of ideas, intricate descriptions, complex sentence structure)

If it sounds *odd* to you, I'd say you are not familiar with the literary English. If you are more used to/comfortable with scientific or technical writing, I can definitely understand that this may sound obscure to you.

p.s. sentence #4 may be well-versed, but I don't share the same feelings for Paris. Quite the contrary. I see it as a very cold-blooded person.icon_biggrin.gif


 

Sze Kwan Chan (X)
Local time: 15:03
English to Chinese
+ ...
Conjunctions seem a little off... Apr 20, 2009

The sentences are grammatically fine, but some parts don't flow very well (i.e. with the use of commas, some conjunctions). Of course, you can say that it is a stylistic choice, but I think the important part is still sentence flow.

 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:03
English to French
+ ...
Commas - a bit off topic Apr 20, 2009

cinziag wrote:

2- I approached the English language as you might approach a person you know quite well and who, nevertheless, intimidates you, a little.

I just wanted to bring to your attention the excellent use of a comma at the end of this sentence. Had the comma not been there, the feeling would not have been the same.

I felt I needed to point this out, because the comma is getting unnecessarily raped nowadays.icon_wink.gif


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:03
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Sounds like literary UK to me... Apr 20, 2009

Maybe a trifle dated, and somewhat literary, but definitely could be native. (Or a pastiche by some of my Danish colleagues after watching one of the English classics dramatised for TV.)

'I could not imagine that there should ever be...'
My Latin teacher, who also taught us a lot of English, may she rest in peace... would simply love the use of conjunctive 'should'.

And sentence 4 reminds me of how my French translations used to read... Some effect of reading French, which is very apt, as it talks about Paris.


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 21:03
German to Serbian
+ ...
I should like to add ... Apr 20, 2009

Christine Andersen wrote:


'I could not imagine that there should ever be...'
My Latin teacher, who also taught us a lot of English, may she rest in peace... would simply love the use of conjunctive 'should'.


That conjunctive was common among British aristocracy and Victorian novelists. Still is, the royalty would probably use it a lot.


 

Marie Simms
English to Hindi
Perfect English Apr 20, 2009

It is a pleasure to read English written as well as these few phrases are. My first thought
was that they were most likely written by someone from Britain. Canadian English is strongly influenced by the Brits, so it could have also been written by a Canadian or any other number of countries that were once a part of the Commonwealth Countries.


 

Terry Richards
France
Local time: 21:03
French to English
+ ...
One tiny point Apr 20, 2009

In sentence 3, I am not completely comfortable with the idea of something gray glittering. Perhaps "shimmering" might be a better choice.

Other than this, very minor, quibble, they are very nice sentences indeed.

Terry.


 

Elizabeth Adams  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:03
Member (2002)
Russian to English
+ ...
Looks fine to me Apr 20, 2009

I won't say anything about that comma (I'm a comma terminator when I edit), but otherwise the sentences sound fine to me.

 
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