For all those who visit and live in Europe, this is a space to exchange ideas and even for those who speak or learn Portuguese.
Arthur Schopenhauer's essay (On Language and Words) When learning a foreign language we must, therefore, mark out in our minds several entirely new spheres of concepts. Consequently concept-spheres arise where there were previously none; and so we learn not merely words, but gain concepts and ideas. This is especially the case when we learn the ancient languages, since the mode of expression of the ancients is much more different from our own than is that of modern languages from one another. This is shown by the fact that, when we translate into Latin, we must resort to turns of phrase quite different from those possessed by the original. In fact in many cases, the idea to be rendered into Latin has to be entirely remoulded and recast; here it is broken down into its ultimate elements and is again recomposed. The great improvement derived by the mind from learning the ancient languages is due precisely to this process of recasting. Only after we have correctly grasped all the concepts which the language to be learnt expresses through separate individual words; only when we directly call to mind in the case of each word of the language exactly the concept that corresponds thereto and do not first translate the word into a word of our own language and then think of the concept expressed by this word—a concept that never corresponds exactly to the first one, and likewise in respect of whole phrases—only then have we grasped the spirit of the language to be learnt and have made a great step forward in our knowledge of the nation that speaks it. For just as the style of the individual is related to his spirit, so is the language related to the spirit of the nation that speaks it. But a man is a complete master of a language only when he is capable of translating into it not merely books but himself, so that, without suffering a loss of individuality, he is able to convey in it what he wants to say and is then just as agreeable and interesting to foreigners as he is to his own countrymen.
Members: 30 Posts: 5 Created: Mar 17, 2011 Type: Public RSS