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Samurai Novel

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Samurai Novel

Postby Akira Fuyuno » Mon 10.12.2015 3:14 am

Hello. New member here.
I'm a born and bred Japanese guy trying to write a samurai story in English.
It's pretty rough going. I was wondering if some of the people here would like to offer some perspectives.
I really want to make this venture a success, and just about any input is welcome at this point.
Thank you.
Akira Fuyuno
Aspiring Novelist Writing a Samurai Novel in English
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Re: Samurai Novel

Postby richvh » Mon 10.12.2015 7:14 am

As someone who has done the same thing in reverse (日本語で小説を書いたアメリカ人) I could be of some help.
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Re: Samurai Novel

Postby Akira Fuyuno » Mon 10.12.2015 5:56 pm

Thanks. I'd appreciate your input.
First off: Do you think there would be Western readers for a samurai novel?
If so, what sort of stories would they likely want to read?
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Re: Samurai Novel

Postby richvh » Tue 10.13.2015 9:58 am

Samurai (and ninja) are popular in the West, so pretty much anything involving them I'd say.

Feedback:
Still don’t get it? Take you time and let the sound roll off your tongue.

you->your
The liberal arts student of Kyoto University was struggling with both tuberculosis and his literary career in the early 20th century.

A liberal arts student at Kyoto University, he struggled with both tuberculosis and his literary career in the early 20th century.
Here is a excerpt of a dialog from The Fight Club

Here is an exceprt from The Fight Club
Thanks to that short story, a “lemon” in the Japanese language projects a very different image as does a lemon in any other language.

as does->than does or as does a lemon->than a lemon does
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Re: Samurai Novel

Postby Akira Fuyuno » Thu 10.15.2015 5:07 am

Thank you for your edits Richard. They are quite good. Although I am not sure I agree with the last one. I have always had trouble with "as" and "than".

And thank you for reading.
Akira Fuyuno
Aspiring Novelist Writing a Samurai Novel in English
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Re: Samurai Novel

Postby Infidel » Thu 10.15.2015 10:31 pm

The 'as' makes them similar, "than' is contrasting. So in this case,

"a “lemon” in the Japanese language projects a very different image as does a lemon in any other language."

Since you are contrasting a "lemon" in Japanese to "lemon" in another language you use than.
a mnemonic that might help
(same) as
(different) than
You can think of these as set phrases in English and it still counts even when broken up.

So to bring it back to your sentence:
"projects a very different image than a lemon...

So the phrase, "different than" applies even though another word breaks up the phrase. The reason I put the words (same) and (different) in parentheses is because they are often implied, just as many Japanese phrases imply words. This might help a little if you can determine which phrase would be a better fit.
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Re: Samurai Novel

Postby Akira Fuyuno » Fri 10.16.2015 2:40 am

If you say so.

I still think "than" sounds awkward when there is no defined vector comparison being made.
"Better than" "worse than" "bigger than" "smaller than" all sound fine.
All of this can be summarized as "(different) than".
But when you literally spell out "different than", it sounds clumsy.
"different from" sounds okay.

English is my second language. I'm not a native speaker. So who am I to say?

But IMHO, "(different) than" is correct, "different than" is wrong.
The (different) needs to be a vector comparison like bigger, smaller, better, worse, tipping the scale one way or the other.

There is no vector in the word "different" so a comparison word like "than" doesn't seem to fit.

"a “lemon” in the Japanese language projects a very different image as does a lemon in any other language."
can be re-written
"a "lemon" in the Japanese language projects an image very different from what "lemon" projects in any other language."

But I don't see a place for "than".

Just my two cents.
Akira Fuyuno
Aspiring Novelist Writing a Samurai Novel in English
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Re: Samurai Novel

Postby Akira Fuyuno » Sat 10.17.2015 3:02 am

Akira Fuyuno
Aspiring Novelist Writing a Samurai Novel in English
https://samurainovelist.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/samurainovelis ... page_panel
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Re: Samurai Novel

Postby richvh » Mon 10.19.2015 1:25 pm

Re: "as" vs. "than": write it off as idiomatic, and accept the word of native speakers.
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Re: Samurai Novel

Postby Infidel » Mon 10.19.2015 6:52 pm

Akira Fuyuno wrote:There is no vector in the word "different" so a comparison word like "than" doesn't seem to fit.

"a “lemon” in the Japanese language projects a very different image as does a lemon in any other language."
can be re-written
"a "lemon" in the Japanese language projects an image very different from what "lemon" projects in any other language."

But I don't see a place for "than".

Just my two cents.


Ok, my original response was based on differentiating "than" from "as". I didn't even see "from" under consideration so I didn't address it.

The thing to keep in mind here is not everything is a question of grammar, when you start writing literature you also have to keep in mind issues of style. But style a bit more advanced a concept than grammar. Basically there are often many different ways to make a statement, style is whatever criteria you use to chose those words.

So one thing we have to keep in mind when translating languages is words with the same meaning can have different roles. For example, An active verb in Japanese might be passive in English. This can cause issues of grammar and issues of style on the translation.

You mention "vector" but the vector you paint doesn't work in English. A Lemon doesn't project an image, rather people have different images of Lemons. For clarity we can say, "the word "lemon" projects...

The main thing to take away is that "as" doesn't work because of the set phrases "same as/different than". but yes, "from" is basically interchangeable with "than" in this context. However, "than" will be considered the better choice stylistically, because one word can do the work of two.

Ex:
projects an image very different from what "lemon" projects in any other language."
projects an image very different than "lemon" (projects) in any other language.

"projects" is in parenthesis because it is now an optional word and may be dropped if it doesn't need to be retained for clarity, especially since it has already been used once in the sentence we can probably drop it.
projects an image very different than "lemon" in any other language.

One of the basic rules of style is that if you can drop words and retain the meaning then you should.
The second rule of style I was taught is, "It is ok to break a style rule as long as you do so knowingly."
So by choosing "than" over "from" we can drop up to two words from this sentence without losing any meaning.

E.g. Stylistically I also want to work the sentence further. This is not necessary but I'm just adding it as a style reference, just to show how much we can work this sentence over if we wanted.

"a "lemon" in the Japanese language projects an image very different from what "lemon" projects in any other language."
The word "lemon" in Japanese projects a different image than in any other language.
Same thought. But is it better? Well, the emphasis has been changed. I've emphasized the word "lemon" and de-emphasized the difference. Assuming there are examples immediately before or after this sentence, the loss of emphasis here will draw less attention from the example, which can serve to emphasize the examples. So it all depends, style is not a matter of right vs. wrong, but what effect are you trying to achieve with each sentence or word.

Another matter of style is rhythm and flow. Literature attempts to grab the readers attention and keep it on the story. Anything that makes the reader go backwards is an interruption in flow. So all the ideas should flow forwards. Rhythm is the natural beat created as the words are spoken. Poetry can get very particular about rhythm, but in prose all you have to worry about is ensuring there aren't any problem phrases that cause an unnatural rhythm. One reason style encourages extracting unnecessary words is because it is often the extra words that cause the rhythm of the sentence to falter.

Anyway, I just thought I'd mention that when a native speaker offers a correction, it might not even be fixing a grammar issue but a style issue. So if words are interchangeable, maybe there is a different reason to choose a particular word.
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