Quote of the Day (Dezső Kosztolányi)

Idegen nyelvet lehet nagyon jól tudni, de jól soha.

[Translation: “It is possible to know a foreign language very well, but never well.”]

— Dezső Kosztolányi in his 1922 essay “Nyelvtudás” (“Language Knowledge/Learning”)

"I have no particular disagreement with your first two paragraphs, noting both the "full-fledged." "eschatological ..."

Michael Pahl on Jesus and Gehenna
"Galatians 1:11 can be translated differently, taking 'gospel' (the noun) and 'preach' (the verbal form) ..."

Mythicists Shock Bart Ehrman, Set Off ..."
"The whole point the Noble Lie is: you don't tell the *hoi polloi* about it. ..."

Mythicists Shock Bart Ehrman, Set Off ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

    He also said, in the same vein, “Csak anyanyelvemen lehetek igazán én” – “Only in my mother tongue can I be my true self.” Would you agree?

    • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

      Nope. Communicating in one’s first language certainly does help express one’s ideas, but, after ten or so years of communication almost entirely in a second language, this statement can easily be considered untrue.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

        I don’t think it is merely a matter of fluency with respect to this point. There is some evidence from psychological studies, if I am not mistaken, that one’s personality and the impression one gives of oneself are different in a language other than one’s mother tongue. My own experience would tend to confirm that. But perhaps you have simply achieved something that most others have not!

  • Just Sayin’

    What does this mean?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

      Is the translation not visible to you?

      • Just Sayin’

        It is, but I can’t make any sense of it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

          It is possible for someone who is not a native speaker to reach a point at which they can say they now the language “very well.” But they will never know it well – i.e. there will always be something that feels different, that is imperfect, even for one who knows a language so “very well” that few others would ever spot a flaw in their expression.

          Does that make sense? It is much pithier in the original Hungarian – which perhaps helps to make the point? :-)