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Black Fox - Chapter 2 end

Today we close chapter 2, I hope you are enjoying the ride and will be here next week for chapter 3. :)

In the car I told Lucia the whole story.

" Paola Adami? I hadn’t recognized her”.

" You two know each other?”

" I have the displeasure, but last time I saw her she was a brunette and her lips weren’t rubber. Her husband owns a couple of  factories, he is a big name in the shoe-making business. Was also one of the first local factory owners to de-localize, went to  Poland or Romania, I believe.

For a few years now he has also been a  major sponsor of the symphonic season, I guess she thinks that gives them shares in the musicians too”.   

" Someone must have forgotten to tell Hu Xiaowen, the poor man looked cornered”.

" Good for him you went to the rescue.” She sighed “Some people have all the luck, my chance encounters are of the 'better forgotten’ kind. You do plan on seeing him again, right ?”

I snorted a laugh: " As if. The evening was lovely, he’s great company, but a man like him must have glamorous women falling all over themselves to grab his attention, better not even think of it”.

"Sensible girl,” she answered in her best ‘if you say so’ tone, “ Movie on Wednesday?”

" Of course. Your turn to choose”.

The rest of the drive back went in chit-chat, that early in the week the road was almost deserted and more than once I felt myself on the edge of slipping into open-eyed dreaming, Lucia’s light-hearted gossip was my connection to the waking world.

At home, preparing for bed, my brain kept conjuring up scenarios in which  Xiaowen and I met again, why had Lucia brought up the matter? I hadn’t even considered the possibility before her question, and by the way, since when had I started thinking of him as ‘Xiaowen’?


I tried to force my drifting thoughts in other directions, with the only result of waking myself up thoroughly. I tossed and turned for an eternity before giving up and going back to my translation  just to give myself something else to think about . When, at long last, I found myself struggling to keep my eyes open and went back to bed, the bells of the parish church were tolling the call to early Mass.

   

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
brotherguy
Jan. 22nd, 2013 07:31 am (UTC)
As always, it keeps me reading. And I have some tiny language niggles.

First, a reminder... in "proper" English, which is what your main character speaks, when one recites a list of people including the speaker, the speaker is *always* mentioned last. So, in this context, it can't be "I and Xiaowen" but it must be "Xiaowen and I".

Since this is marker as to the social status, etc. of the character, it's an important point. If the character were of a different social stratum (lower education, lower economic level, etc.) they might say "me and Xiaowen" which has the benefit of being both grammatically incorrect and impolite! And yet it is something that one hears often as a marker of that social group.

The other issue... and this one I don't know if it was intentional or not... the use of the word "since" (like the word "already") gives lots of non-native English speakers conniptions. "Since a few years" is exactly what I hear Germans saying (not so much Italians, now that I think of it), so if that level of almost-correct language is what you want to convey for that character, then all is well. It is, however, not good English.

So what would be correct? It depends on what you meant to say here: either "Because he's been a sponsor for several years now, I guess she thinks..." uses "Since" as a synonym of "because". And I think that's what you meant. But the phrase "since a few years" is bad English from German language confusion for "For a few years now..." and that would also fit in the context. (The "now", while not necessary for the meaning of the phrase, is essential for providing the authentic rhythm of a native speaker.)

I confess, I am enjoying the language issues here almost as much as the story. It is the latent teacher in me. But I am also enjoying the story, please keep on posting!

And note that I have an Italian question for you that I'll post separately.
marina_bonomi
Jan. 22nd, 2013 12:58 pm (UTC)
>As always, it keeps me reading. And I have some tiny language niggles.

Glad of this, and please, keep niggling! :)

> First, a reminder... in "proper" English, which is what your main character speaks, when one recites a list of people including the speaker, the speaker is *always* mentioned last. So, in this context, it can't be "I and Xiaowen" but it must be "Xiaowen and I".

Picture me kicking myself since I °know° this, and it is a mistake in Italian as well, but I keep making it. Thanks for the reminder.


>The other issue... and this one I don't know if it was intentional or not... the use of the word "since" (like the word "already") gives lots of non-native English speakers conniptions. "Since a few years" is exactly what I hear Germans saying (not so much Italians, now that I think of it), so if that level of almost-correct language is what you want to convey for that character, then all is well. It is, however, not good English.

Thank you for this I had been reading 'since a few years' around the net and I guess it stuck, I meant it as 'for a few years now' I'll edit accordingly.

>I confess, I am enjoying the language issues here almost as much as the story. It is the latent teacher in me. But I am also enjoying the story, please keep on posting!

I shall, and, please keep teaching, it is really appreciated (the urge is well understood, I come from teachers' stock myself).
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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