Friday, June 3, 2022

Cheers to the Linguists!

In my experience, unless someone lived, or lives, where they do not speak the language of the country, they seldom understand the complexities of that situation. In some instances, people lacking in this experience perceive someone's inability to speak a perfect version of said country's language as being stupidity. I think this has happened and happens too often with Valentino. 

It is a false statement that Valentino spoke no English when he arrived in America. Valentino wrote in a letter to his friend, (now probably lost forever to public access) how he liked to go down to the harbor in Taranto and practice his English with tourists. He also wrote during his time in school in Genoa, how he went four times a week to classes where he studied English and Spanish. Remarkably, children in Italy are taught English and French from very young ages and always have been. You can add Latin to that too.

When I first read Irving Schulman's Valentino biography, I was put off by his referring to Valentino's “pidgin English”. There is also an offensive device used by his detractors in the press; to write his accent out in an exaggerated and phonetic way.

The peevishness of anyone calling out grammatical infractions made by someone communicating in a foreign language merely to impugn says more about the critic than the person who dares to speak in a foreign language.

The trolls of the “Valentino Stalking this Blog Community” still to this day mock to demean Renato's English writings. It is, as Renato told me recently, as if someone performed a perfect aria and a critic mocked his suit. Petty, superficial people who only demonstrate with all their hearts how resentful they are of the multi-lingual.

Renato has contributed enormously with his translations of Valentino material. Instead of appreciation from the "Valentino Stalking of this Blog Community", he is mocked mercilessly about the grammatical imperfections which are very, very few.

I am sure this is why we noticed the intent behind Florey leaving in those errors Valentino made in French. This kind of behavior is only to diminish and distract from the content. 

Valentino is not to be considered someone who was unable to navigate his English speaking world. He was a talented linguist. And to the trolls, I might remind them it is content which is important and not syntax.

The comments left on the previous posts have been so intelligent and thought provoking and points well made about the difference between learned knowledge and intelligence. A glimpse as linguist Renato contemplates: