Monday 27 August 2012


More from Colloquial Persian, 1941: I’ve just noticed that there are ‘exercises’ at the end of each chapter. (Homework, perhaps, in the same way that in the early 60s I had to translate sentences into Latin: ‘O Labienus, I have been wounded by an arrow.’)

‘Sit down here; now tell me, what did you see on the road?’
‘Sir, I was asleep in the back of the car; I saw nothing.’
‘You always tell lies; the road has many holes – how could you sleep?’

‘The sale of cigarettes in Iran is in the hands of a monopoly.’
‘Which of these houses do you prefer?’
‘I have no choice, sir; whichever you order.’
‘I am surprised that no one has seen this mistake.’

‘I hope the weather will be better tomorrow; it is not usually like this in spring.’
‘If I had known that it would be like this, I would never have come here.’

1 comment:

Bob D. said...

The trials of Empire! Here's an exercise for translation from Kiswahili: A Kiswahili Instruction Book for the East Africa Command (1942): 'Wake me at 0600 hours. We have filled all the petrol tins. Return all these things to the store when you have finished your work. I cannot make the motor car go. Make those men lie down. He reminded me that we must not light the lamps. Boil the water, and when it has boiled prepare the tea. I shall make you pay three shillings for the trousers which you lost. If we surprise the enemy we shall defeat them. Five aeroplanes came and dropped bombs on us. Dry these clothes for me.'