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Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

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Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

Postby coco » Wed 04.09.2008 8:50 am

I saw this page written by Ms. Ophelia Benson. And I'm trying to figure it out regardless of much difficulties.
I know it's too hard to me, so only two paragraphs I'd like to know.

The vampire keeps waking up every night to find fresh blood, so all we can do is keep pounding away on the stake through the heart.

I am puzzled by "away" in "keep pounding away on the stake through the heart".
So far, I take it as
(吸血鬼は夜な夜な新鮮な血を求めるので、)我々には、心臓を貫いて容赦なく杭を打ち込み続けることしかできません。
"Away" here means "repeatedly" or "incessantly"?
And 心臓を貫いて is correct?


Of course, one reason academic bad writing is evergreen is vocational.
I take this as
もちろん学術悪文が[廃れる/枯れる]ことのないひとつの理由は、職業そのものに関係しています。
But in this sentence, there is double "is". Is that a common expression?
Was it a correct interpretation for "vocational"?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

Postby fielle » Wed 04.09.2008 9:06 am

I think of "pounding away" as a sort of set phrase, and "away" is used like that with only a few verbs. It means, more or less, "without letting up" or "without stopping," so I think "incessantly" is good definition. We can also say something like "chatting away," for people who just talk all the time.

As for the double "is", it does seem a little awkward, but I think it happens that way because the thing they are trying to describe has the word "is" in it. [one reason] [academic bad writing is evergreen] [is vocational]. I think your translation is ぴったり. Either of the words 廃れる and 枯れる seem to work, and I think it's just an issue of nuance and preference.
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Re: Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 04.09.2008 9:39 am

coco wrote:I saw this page written by Ms. Ophelia Benson. And I'm trying to figure it out regardless of much difficulties.
I know it's too hard to me, so only two paragraphs I'd like to know.

The vampire keeps waking up every night to find fresh blood, so all we can do is keep pounding away on the stake through the heart.

I am puzzled by "away" in "keep pounding away on the stake through the heart".
So far, I take it as
(吸血鬼は夜な夜な新鮮な血を求めるので、)我々には、心臓を貫いて容赦なく杭を打ち込み続けることしかできません。
"Away" here means "repeatedly" or "incessantly"?
And 心臓を貫いて is correct?


I would agree with this definition. I would probably use repeatedly rather than incessantly.


coco wrote:
Of course, one reason academic bad writing is evergreen is vocational.
I take this as
もちろん学術悪文が[廃れる/枯れる]ことのないひとつの理由は、職業そのものに関係しています。
But in this sentence, there is double "is". Is that a common expression?
Was it a correct interpretation for "vocational"?

Thanks in advance.


The "is evergreen is vocational" occurs because "Evergreen is Vocational" seems to be qualifier or a description of something.. Therefore, the person who wrote that is saying that ... Of course, one reason academic bad writing (is because) evergreen is vocational. It seems to me that one (evergreen is vocational) is causing the other (one reason academic bad writing)..

However, that sentence doesn't feel right to me. I am not saying it is incorrect but I am saying it feels wrong when I say it.
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Re: Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

Postby richvh » Wed 04.09.2008 9:52 am

I think Ms. Benson is guilty of academic bad writing herself. I think fielle has parsed the "academic bad writing" sentence better than two_heads has. To rephrase, "One reason that there is always bad writing in academia is because of the nature of the business."
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Re: Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

Postby Sairana » Wed 04.09.2008 10:14 am

richvh wrote:I think Ms. Benson is guilty of academic bad writing herself.


Just throwing in my support on this opinion. That sentence was even difficult for me to read. I ended up having to read it over a couple times to parse it correctly.
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Re: Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

Postby Wakannai » Wed 04.09.2008 1:05 pm

richvh wrote:I think Ms. Benson is guilty of academic bad writing herself. I think fielle has parsed the "academic bad writing" sentence better than two_heads has. To rephrase, "One reason that there is always bad writing in academia is because of the nature of the business."

As for the double "is", it does seem a little awkward, but I think it happens that way because the thing they are trying to describe has the word "is" in it. [one reason] [academic bad writing is evergreen] [is vocational]. I think your translation is ぴったり.


I dunno. The problem with that sentence isn't the double "is", it is the adjective at the end. Vocational should be vocation. "One reason" is a noun so the copula "is" requires a second noun that is lacking and thus throws off the balance of the sentence.

However, it seems that that page is guilty of every single shortfall of academic writing she points out. I can't help but wonder if that whole article is sarcasm. If not, it comes off like a student using a thesaurus to bloat her word count.
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Re: Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

Postby richvh » Wed 04.09.2008 1:10 pm

Nope. "Noun is noun" is only one valid sentence pattern; "noun is adjective" is just as valid.
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Re: Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

Postby Wakannai » Wed 04.09.2008 1:13 pm

richvh wrote:Nope. "Noun is noun" is only one valid sentence pattern; "noun is adjective" is just as valid.


Nope. The only time you see that is when a word can act as both an adjective and a noun-- like red. The car is red. Red is a noun in that sentence, and this sentence too.
Last edited by Wakannai on Wed 04.09.2008 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

Postby fielle » Wed 04.09.2008 1:19 pm

Wakannai wrote:
richvh wrote:Nope. "Noun is noun" is only one valid sentence pattern; "noun is adjective" is just as valid.


Nope. The only time you see that is when a word can act as both an adjective and a noun. Like red. The car is red. Red is a noun in that sentence.


But that construction works with almost every adjective. The car is beautiful, the QM2 is majestic.

Do you have some sort of academic reference for your assertion? I'd really like to see it.
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Re: Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

Postby Wakannai » Wed 04.09.2008 2:06 pm

fielle wrote:
Wakannai wrote:
richvh wrote:Nope. "Noun is noun" is only one valid sentence pattern; "noun is adjective" is just as valid.


Nope. The only time you see that is when a word can act as both an adjective and a noun. Like red. The car is red. Red is a noun in that sentence.


But that construction works with almost every adjective. The car is beautiful, the QM2 is majestic.

Do you have some sort of academic reference for your assertion? I'd really like to see it.


Well, after spending the last 15 minutes looking and finding nothing. I'm just going to have to fall back on the old, "I was taught wrong" assertion. I will remind everyone that I always reserve the right to be wrong, and sometimes I have to express that right--like now.

I've looked at the phrase "The car is beautiful." turned it upside down and spun it around a few times, but couldn't find a fault with it. Although I feel rather strongly that beautiful is a noun in that sentence, whatever the dictionary says to the contrary. Just as "the plane is fast." I swear fast is a noun in that sentence, not an adjective, even though the dictionary defies me again.
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Re: Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

Postby AJBryant » Wed 04.09.2008 2:12 pm

I have to agree to two points:

(1) that is a horrid sentence
(2) there is no problem with it structurally.

"evergreen is vocational" is correct structure, but... damn, it's really meaningless twaddle. The writer of that sentence fell victim to her own proclamation.


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Re: Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

Postby richvh » Wed 04.09.2008 3:01 pm

It isn't "evergreen is vocational", it's "one reason... is vocational." However, the way the sentence is structured makes that hard to realize.
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Re: Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 04.09.2008 3:18 pm

richvh wrote:I think Ms. Benson is guilty of academic bad writing herself. I think fielle has parsed the "academic bad writing" sentence better than two_heads has. To rephrase, "One reason that there is always bad writing in academia is because of the nature of the business."


after reading my piss-poor explanation I would have to agree as well. What the hades what I trying to say anyways?
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Re: Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

Postby Gundaetiapo » Wed 04.09.2008 7:41 pm

coco wrote:
Of course, one reason academic bad writing is evergreen is vocational.
I take this as
もちろん学術悪文が[廃れる/枯れる]ことのないひとつの理由は、職業そのものに関係しています。
But in this sentence, there is double "is". Is that a common expression?
Was it a correct interpretation for "vocational"?


Though the "evergreen" usage is unusual, it sounds like you figured out what it means by metaphor.
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Re: Bad Reading for "Bad Writing"

Postby coco » Wed 04.09.2008 9:19 pm

Thank you, everyone, for your explanations.
I thought the essay for "academic bad writing" could be clear and easy to read. I found that it is still very hard to distinguish between good writing and bad one to me. It must be stupid that I've selected this essay, but I'd still like to find a few more.

The bad writing in question is not the merely quotidian clunkiness and hack writing that's inevitable in a vast profession under constant pressure to publish

I assume that "Clinkiness" is a noun of "clunky". Is it a coined word?

I was wondering what "a vast profession" refers to.
Is the definition of "vast" No.4?
4. very great in degree, intensity


I have no idea about the following structure.
it's the notoriously opaque, preening, self-admiring, inflated prose of 'theory.'

It seems that "Notoriously" is an adverb.
An adverb could modify adjectives, if I'm not wrong.
"Preening" and "self-admiring" look nouns to me.
So "notoriously" modifies only "opaque"?
I assume it as "It's the notorious prose of 'theory' that is opaque, the preening, the self-admiring and inflated." Is it wrong?

Any comments are very much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
---
Edit: edit mistake fixed.
Last edited by coco on Wed 04.09.2008 11:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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