Jules Verne Forum



Re: Cetacean a mile wide and 3 miles long

From: Norm Wolcott <nwolcott2ster~at~gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2006 08:11:26 -0400
To: "Jules Verne Forum" <jvf~at~gilead.org.il>

Well, your translation says "a mile wide and three long" so the "three"
refers to the antecedent "miles". Likewise if we have "a thousand wide and
three long". we would have a length of three thousand, thousand being the
antecedent of "three". We need the advice of a grammar expert like Terry
Harpold. Of course the literal translation would be "a width of a (thousand,
mile) and a length of three"; so I am not certain what the antecedent is.
----- Original Message -----
From: <rick1walter~at~comcast.net>
To: <jvf~at~Gilead.org.il>
Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2006 3:18 PM
Subject: Re: Cetacean a mile wide and 3 miles long

> Norm--
> You finish saying: <I come to the conclusion that Verne was talking "feet"
> not "miles" in the paragraph.>
> By this logic, your cetacean is a thousand feet wide and three feet long.
> Surely not.
> All the best,
> Rick Walter in Albuquerque.
> P.S.
> I'm glad to see you're acquainted with the Routledge. How about giving
> impossible Mercier a rest and putting Frith's text on line?
> RW
> Original Message:
> -----------------
> From: Norm Wolcott nwolcott2ster~at~gmail.com
> Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 14:28:19 -0400
> To: jvf~at~math.technion.ac.il
> Subject: Cetacean a mile wide and 3 miles long
> In the very first chapter of 20K we have the following paragraph.
> A prendre la moyenne des observations faites à diverses reprises -- en
> rejetant les évaluations timides qui assignaient à cet objet une
> longueur de deux cents pieds et en repoussant les opinions exagérées
> qui le disaient large d'un mille et long de trois -- on pouvait
> affirmer, cependant, que cet être phénoménal dépassait de beaucoup
> toutes les dimensions admises jusqu'à ce jour par les ichtyologistes --
> s'il existait toutefois.
> To obtain a neutral translation of this paragraph we use google (which
> one of the standard dictionaries ). The words in red I have altered for
> readability.
> To take the average of the observations made with various recoveries
> reprises -- by rejecting the timid evaluations which assigned to with this
> object a length of two hundred feet and by pushing moving back the
> exaggerated opinions which said it broad had a breadth of one thousand and
> length of three -- one could affirm, however, whom that this phenomenal
> being went far beyond all allowed dimensions allowed so far by the
> ichtyologists -- if there it existed however.
> Here we note a deficiency in the vocabulary, Babelfish only recognizes
> "mille" as thousand, not "mile" which is an unusual word in French. If we
> take a look now at the Mercier translation we find that he parallels the
> machine translation pretty well except for the size of the object (and the
> alteration of icthylologists, probably did not know what they were)
> Taking into consideration the mean of observations made at divers times --
> rejecting the timid estimate of those who assigned to this object a length
> of two hundred feet, equally with the exaggerated opinions which set it
> down as a mile in width and three in length--we might fairly conclude that
> this mysterious being surpassed greatly all dimensions admitted by the
> learned ones of the day, if it existed at all.
> If we look at Butcher's translation we find he uses miles instead of feet
> as well :
> Taking the average of the observations made at the various
> junctures-rejecting both the timid evaluations assigning the object a
> length of 200 feet and the exaggerated opinions making it three miles long
> by a mile wide-it could be affirmed that this phenomenal being greatly
> exceeded all the dimensions the ichthyologists had admitted until then-if
> indeed it existed at all.
> The Walter translation also uses miles:
> Striking an average of observations taken at different times--
> rejecting those timid estimates that gave the object a length
> of 200 feet, and ignoring those exaggerated views that saw it
> as a mile wide and three long--you could still assert that this
> phenomenal creature greatly exceeded the dimensions of anything
> then known to ichthyologists, if it existed at all.
> The Routledge and Ward Lock translations also use miles, so the consensus
> is universaly "miles".
> So now we have only the machine translation offering a thousand feet!
> Looking back at the original French and the other dimensioins mentioned in
> the chapter, I come to the conclusion that Verne was talking "feet" not
> "miles" in the paragraph. But I wonder if there are any other opinions on
> this matter. ??? could it be that Verne is playing a trick by offering two
> different interpretations by his use of words?
> nwolcott2~at~post.harvard.edu
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> mail2web - Check your email from the web at
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Received on Wed 12 Apr 2006 - 15:11:57 IDT

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