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Pulled another old book from the basement boxes, translation of a… - Off the Cliff

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Sun Jul 26th, 2015

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08:24 pm
Pulled another old book from the basement boxes, translation of a classic Edo work, Tōkaidōchū Hizakurige (東海道中膝栗毛), called in English Shanks' Mare. From which title my dear readers may deduce that the translation was done by an Englishman of my great-grandmother's generation (born 1867) whose language may therefore prove elusive to a later generation. Or maybe not. But leafing through it I'm struck anew by what's been lost when stripped-down Americanized English became the standard international lingua franca. For there, behold, is the perfect translation of oyaji: gaffer.

(3 comments | post comment)


[User Picture]
Date:July 27th, 2015 01:37 am (UTC)
I've always understood "gaffer" to have a certain degree of respect. Does "oyaji" have that, or have I just been seeing the sort of shounen manga where young brats use it to older men?
[User Picture]
Date:July 27th, 2015 01:45 am (UTC)
My experience of it comes from manga too, which I'm told is about as realistic as TV series' reality ie not terriblyIt always has a slightly bratty feel to me when used as a term of address, but can feel neutral-to-affectionate when talking about someone.

Didn't know gaffer contained a respect component, though. It felt a bit condescending. Perhaps it depends on which caste is talking to/ about which?
[User Picture]
Date:July 27th, 2015 01:49 am (UTC)
Probably. I'm thinking of Tolkien at the moment, where "the Gaffer" is a respected figure on Bag Row, though as you say, that may be a function of who's talking about him.

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