"the religious women of Vera Cruz are occupied in teaching grammar to the parrots of Alvarado"

Critique of John Pinkerton's Modern geography (1807) in The Edinburgh Review: Or Critical Journal:

The original is, 'Hay en esta cuidad unas beatas que ganan su vida ensenando [sic] a hablar a los loros,' — i.e. by teaching parrots to speak. Mr Pinkerton has probably seen hablar in the title-page of some spelling book, and supposed that it meant grammar.

I don't think anyone has suggested recently that parrots are able to acquire grammar in any sense. Were the True Cross beguines the only ones to earn a living training birds to talk clean?

1 comment:

David J said...

I'm a regular visitor to Catalonia and sadly, I have to agree about the standard of translation into English.

Among the worst I have come across is the Gaudi website: www.gaudiallgaudi.com.

Although it is not a Government website, and I suspect does not have the resources for a professional translation, there must be some native English speaking Gaudi enthusiasts who could help out its well-meant but awkward translations?