Poor written English

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lurcherlover
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Post by lurcherlover » September 26th, 2017, 12:46 pm

I'm sure this question will end in a negative, but what the hell!

I'm reading a book by a German/American writer (Music critic). The first two chapters were pretty much OK (well, I'm being generous) - but his English writing is rather bad. The sentence structure in the third section is really bad and hardly makes sense at times.

Can I re-write - or re-arrange his writing so it makes sense but does not alter the meaning? It hopefully won't be every sentence, but even so some ...?

It's so bad that it's hard to read, and pretty unintelligible for the listener as it is! Would this be OK?

Peter

lezer
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Post by lezer » September 26th, 2017, 1:01 pm

Hi Peter,
I feel for you - but I would vote 'no' for changing sentences. In this case you may feel it is 'black-and-white' wrong grammatically, but it is how he wrote it - and where do we draw the line then? If I don't like a sentence in a book, I can re-write it? Can I change a word that I don't like?
Once in a while, when a word is hard to read in a scan, or there is one word that has an obvious typo, there's no choice but to pick the best word, or change it to make sense - but I would consider that's about the limit.
Sometimes, once you get into an author's writing style, it does start to make sense more, let's hope the same is true for this book...
Anna

TriciaG
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Post by TriciaG » September 26th, 2017, 1:05 pm

Do you mean "Poorly written English"? :lol:

As for your question, the answer is a definite "no".

http://wiki.librivox.org/index.php/Recording_%26_Text_Policies#May_I_change_the_text.3F
Occasionally people ask if they can change the published text, for instance by omitting or substituting offensive words or ideas.

The answer is: No. We present the text as it is written: no additions, omissions, or substitutions. If the text contains a word you just cannot say, consider choosing something else to record. (There is so much available to record! No need to cause yourself discomfort.) If you wish to make an "editorial comment" about the content of the text, you may do so in the written catalog summary, but you may not add it to the recording.
In this case, the poor grammar is the "offensive words or ideas." ;)
Fiction, partly about jail atrocities: It Is Never too Late to Mend
E E Cummings' time in French prison: The Enormous Room
21st Century Policing recommendations: LINK

lurcherlover
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Post by lurcherlover » September 27th, 2017, 12:00 am

"Jeanrenaud still was a fine-looking woman, and possibly because of this fact, coupled with Felix's shy manner in the presence of Cécile, now that for the first time his heart was deeply touched, it was at first supposed that he was courting the mother; and her children, Cécile included, twitted her on it.
Now Felix acted in a manner characteristic of his bringing up and of the bent of his genius. Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Wagner—not one of these hesitated a moment where his heart was concerned. If anything, they were too impetuous. They are the masters of the passionate expression in music; Mendelssohn's music is of the refined, delicate type—like his own bringing up. The perfectly polished "Songs without Words," the smoothly flowing symphonies, the lyric violin concerto—these are most typical of his genius. Only here and there in his works are there fitful flashes of deeper significance, as in certain dramatic passages of the "Elijah" oratorio. And so, when Felix found himself possessed of a passion for Cécile Jeanrenaud, the beautiful, he did not throw himself at her feet and pour out a confession of love to her. Far from it. With a calmness that would make one feel like pinching him, were it not that after all the story has a "happy ending," he left Frankfort at the end of six weeks, when his feelings were at their height, and in order to submit the state of his affections to a cool and unprejudiced scrutiny, he went to Scheveningen, Holland, where he spent a month. Anything more characteristically Mendelssohnian can scarcely be imagined than this leisurely passing of judgment on his own heart."

OK, I will struggle on ... I only read the first chapter and some of the second before deciding to read the book. I had not realised how the writing would deteriorate. A painful lesson learnt. The quote above is an example of what I consider to be rather poor sentence construction, but then maybe it's just me. Part of the problem as I see it is that the sentences are far too long, and rambling.

PS

Maybe the answer lies in the way I could read the prose, by ignoring the awful punctuation, and by giving the impression that there are more full stops (periods)? For instance, I could read that first sentence as if there was a full stop before "Now that for the first time ..." This I think makes more sense.

Any advice on this?

annise
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Post by annise » September 27th, 2017, 12:37 am

Not there , because the underlined bits are the basic sentence
"Jeanrenaud still was a fine-looking woman, and possibly because of this fact, coupled with Felix's shy manner in the presence of Cécile, now that for the first time his heart was deeply touched, it was at first supposed that he was courting the mother; and her children, Cécile included, twitted her on it.
And all the rest is just padding
I'm sure that my mother would have had all the right terms to parse the phrases but I don't. And I think most of the rest makes sense too . Maybe in German each of the phrases is one long word ? [hiding under the desk for our German friends]
The worst thing I've tried to read was Pamela - obviously in Richardson's days punctuation marks cost money - he didn't use them very often

Anne
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TriciaG
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Post by TriciaG » September 27th, 2017, 5:35 am

I think that such run-on sentences were common in some eras. I've certainly heard some while listening for pleasure, and I've struggled through such monstrosities while recording.

I would say yes, ignore the punctuation (to an extent) and read it so that you understand it. There's no problem with that. :)
Fiction, partly about jail atrocities: It Is Never too Late to Mend
E E Cummings' time in French prison: The Enormous Room
21st Century Policing recommendations: LINK

lurcherlover
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Post by lurcherlover » September 27th, 2017, 6:04 am

Great - thanks for all the advice. I've finished the next troublesome section and managed it with small compromises in my reading by managing the punctuation. So Chapter 3 is now being edited.

Peter

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Post by chocoholic » September 27th, 2017, 12:37 pm

Bear in mind you can turn it into a group project if reading it becomes a chore instead of fun. I sort of wish I'd converted one of my own solos to a group project. It just wasn't that interesting (to me) once I got past the first few chapters. I imagine there are other readers here who would have enjoyed recording it more than I did.
Laurie Anne

lurcherlover
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Post by lurcherlover » September 28th, 2017, 1:09 am

chocoholic wrote:Bear in mind you can turn it into a group project if reading it becomes a chore instead of fun. I sort of wish I'd converted one of my own solos to a group project. It just wasn't that interesting (to me) once I got past the first few chapters. I imagine there are other readers here who would have enjoyed recording it more than I did.
Good point, and I had thought of that. For the time being I will bash on in the hope that it gets better. In fact the troublesome bits were easier once I sorted out a better way of delivery. The actual context is interesting to me and close to my heart, having been a professional musician.

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