The Most Popular Fiction Authors in America By Number of Sales

Slot Zuylen Castle in Utrecht

It may shock you to know that there is no single repository of statistics for the number of books sold by an author. Likewise, there is no keeper of records on the sales of a particular book title. (Registering your book with the Library of Congress only protects the copyright. The library does not track sales.)

Authors or publishers get an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) that is unique to each book format. Thus, a title may have several ISBNs attached to it, one for hardback, one for paperback and one for an ebook. Writers may change publishers, and publishers may change their names, merge or disappear. Multiply this complexity by the sales made worldwide, and you can understand why the following figures have a tremendous margin for error.

This list includes only American fiction authors, who have sold over an estimated 100 million books. William Shakespeare and Agatha Christie, both Brits, are by far the largest individual sellers of books with an estimated 2-4 billion. Yes, that is billion with a capital B. Keep in mind that the numbers refer to the complete works of an author (including co-written works) and not a specific title.

The list is fluid in that younger authors will no doubt improve their rankings over their careers. Likewise, as populations and communications have increased, so has the exposure of these authors to an increasing audience. The added popularity gained when a book is made into a movie or television show can cause sales and rankings to soar.

The prolific series of children's or young adult books by RL Stine, Ann M. Martin, Stan and Jan Berenstein, Richard Scarry, Gilbert Patten or Norman Bridwell (from 400 to 80 titles each) average just 2 million units per title. Taken as a body of work, each of these writers has sold over 110 million books. Dr. Seuss wrote just 44 books with the same rate of sales and like Stine and Patten are in the top ten. Only one nineteenth century writer, specializing in rags-to-riches stories about young boys, is in the top ten. Horatio Alger wrote 135 dime novels.

Although only ten American women (one of those, Jan Berenstein co-wrote with her husband) made the top forty, a woman, Danielle Steel, came in at number one. She has sold between 500-800 million romance books and has written about 120 titles. Other best selling romance writers include Janet Dailey, Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber and the youngest and least prolific author, Stephanie Meyer of Twilight fame. Other women in the top forty include gothic / horror author VC Andrews, which works are now ghost written by a man; Anne Rice, the queen of vampires; suspense writer Mary Higgins Clark; and forensic writer Patricia Cornwell.

Two Western authors made the top twenty. Louis L'Amour and Zane Gray have both sold over 230 million books. L'Amour is credited with over 101 books, while Zane Gray's count is unclear. Publishers sold about 24 of his books after his death in 1939, but a conservative estimate is around 55 titles.

Only one other American has done as well as Stephanie Meyer when it comes to selling the most books with the least number of titles. His name is Dan Brown. Thanks to Tom Hanks ( The DaVinci Code ) he has sold over 120 million books with just 5 titles. Likewise, only one name on the list is someone you may study in an American literature course. His name is Erskine Caldwell. You may have heard of his books, including Tobacco Road and God's Little Acre .

Mystery, suspense, thriller and private detective genres are often grouped together in the minds of readers. Together they represent the largest group of bestselling authors. Sidney Sheldon of television fame, Irving Wallace, champion of the underdog, and Mickey Spillane of the Mike Hammer series, have all reached their high rankings with roughly 25 titles. David Baldacci is gaining in rank with 25 titles of his own to date. The more fruitful authors include Dean Koontz, James Patterson and Evan Hunter (aka Ed McBain), all of hover hover around the 100 mark. Straddling the middle ground of productivity with 50 titles is Rex Stout, famous for his Nero Wolfe series.

Legal and medical mysteries / thrillers are taken out for their occupational themes. John Grisham with 33 titles and Earl Stanley Gardner with 140 titles are the most noteworthy for their sales. Gardner, the Perry Mason writer may someday get surpassed in books sold given Grisham's continuing movie adaptations. In the medical field Robin Cook has 27 titles, while Frank G. Slaughter wrote 62 books before his death.

There are two top-forty writers who fall under the adventure genre. Harold Robbins has sold over 750 million books with just 23 titles. Clive Cussler has 37 books with less than 150 million in sales. Cussler, L'Amour and Gray are what many women consider romance writers for men.

Some writers just do not fit any mold. They not only stand out in their own unique way, but also define their genre. Among these are horror / fantasy writer Stephen King with 70 books to his credit and spy writer Robert Ludlum with 40 books. Michael Crichton of The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park is considered a techno-thriller / science fiction author. He wrote 25 books. James Michener had 47 titles to his historical fiction credit.

One last author that may surprise you wrote about 70 books, many in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He was eager to exploit his most popular fictional character, who has become an American icon. He even set up his own printing operation to publish his books. He became one of the oldest war correspondents in WWII and died in 1950. You may have heard of him, Edgar Rice Burroughs. If not, surely you've heard of his famous jungle character, Tarzan.

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Why Hire Freelance Writers?

paradise of ducks

Introduction:
Your web site is your virtual calling card. In many cases, this may be the only chance you have to make a good impression on your potential customer. If you really think about it, this is the most important content that you will show the public. Certainly, having great content that makes the right impression is valuable to you? This is the main reason why you should consider hiring a freelance writer to help with all of your content creation needs.

Writing Can Be Difficult:
One of the best reasons to hire a freelance writer is because writing can be difficult. This is especially true when the task involves something as important as content for your web site. If someone told you to sit down and write 1,000 words about marketing, could you do it? Some can, but most people would have a difficult time doing this.

Many studies have shown that writing in a competent manner is something most people do not feel they can accomplish. On the other hand, a freelance writer is someone whose business IS writing. They write every day, all day. For them, writing is not difficult at all; it is a pleasure.

No Time to Write:
Most business owners are busy. There always seems to be something else to do and not enough time to do it. Even if the basics of your particular writing task or project are simple, it may not be easy to put them all together. This is especially true with copywriting and content creation.

If you want content for your site, hiring a freelance writer is an excellent investment. Your time will be freed up to focus on what you do best-running your business. Whether you want a single page written (or re-written) or regular content updates, a freelance writer will save you time.

Improved Search Engine Rankings:
An experienced freelance writer can develop content that is optimized to help your site rank well in the search engines. Granted, not every type of freelance writer is capable of this type of work. However, a good SEO freelance writer or copywriter is worth their weight in gold.

Having content on your site which is SEO focused can accomplish a number of goals. It will give you better positioning in the search engines and an increased number of visitors to your site. Additionally, the pages on your site will even convert more of those visitors into buyers, making you more money.

Makes Your Site More Effective:
Many sites that are written without the aid of a professional writer seem to meander. They are unfocused. A professional freelance web writer will understand how to motivate people to take action. Your site will be clear, focused and have a definite purpose

Bottom Line:
Hiring a freelance writer can be the best investment you make in your business. Your improved web site copy and content will help improve your search engine rankings, increase your traffic and improve sales.

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The Importance of English-Arabic Translation

the lonely tree

This article is devoted to the English Arabic translation; it will lay the light on the definition of translation, the importance of English Arabic translation, the difficulty idioms impose to translators, the qualities of a good translator and the necessity for translation in general.

Translation in Dr. Hasanuddin Ahmed’s words is: “the action or process of delivering from one language into another. It is the expression or rendering of sense of words, sentences, and passages etc from one language into another.” Ulm-ul-Qur’an, Dr. Hasanuddin Ahmed, I.A.S.

The Columbia Encyclopedia defines translation as the rendering of a text into another language.

Katharine Barnwell (1986, p. 8).defines it as follows: Translation is re-telling, as exactly as possible, the meaning of the original message in a way that is natural in the language into which the translation is being made.

Translation is much more than the interpretation of the meaning of a text in one language and the production of a new, equivalent text in another language , or the substitution of the words of one language with the words of another language, or the rendering of meaning of a text or whatsoever in one language into another, it is the bridge of appreciation and understanding among people of different cultural groups , it is the means of communication among different groups of people, the means of cultural exchange, the means of preserving cultural heritage of any nation, the means of forming ties and friendships among different groups of people, and the means of understanding and peace.

Human beings are after all not living alone and, every human being has the need and desire to know about one another, man tries to learn what other people are doing, how they are living, and how they have lived. We would like to know, apart from our different ethnicity, color, language, and culture, whether we share the same understanding of love, passion, sorrow, aspiration, sympathy, jealousy and many other respects of human nature. So as long as the desire to exists, translation will be the only bridge across which our aims are reached and our desire realized.

In the general sense, the goal of translation is to build bridges among different groups of people, but the goal of translation in the theoretical sense is to establish a relationship of equivalence between the source and the target language; it should ensure that both texts communicate the same message.

There has been debate as to whether translation is an art, a science, or a Skill. I think Translation is a combination of all of them. It is a science in the sense that it needs complete knowledge of the structure, grammar, semantics, and syntax and in general the make-up of the two languages concerned. It is an art since it requires artistic talent to reconstruct the original text in the form of a product that is presentable to the reader who is not supposed to be familiar with the original. It is also a skill, because it requires attention to detail the meaning and a thorough understanding of the relationship between syntax and semantics, coupled with extensive cultural background and the ability to provide the translation of something that has no equal in the target language.

Also being a human skill, it enables human beings to exchange ideas and thoughts regardless of the different languages they use. Man is endowed with the ability to convey his feelings and experience to others through language. For this process of communication man acquired both spoken language and the written language, but when human beings spread over the earth, their languages differed and they needed a means through which they can communicate and interact with each others. Thus necessity for translation to convey one’s feelings and experiences into the other language was felt.

Sometimes we ask ourselves, why is translation between English and Arabic important? Both Arabic and English are of the world great languages, in the book ‘The Spread of English, on page 77 the writer says: “the great languages of today are languages of empire, past and present. Only two, Mandarin Chinese and Russian, continue as languages of administration within single, ethno linguistically diverse states. The others -Arabic, English, French, and Spanish-are imperial legacies, having survived the disintegration of the empires that fostered them.”

Arabic language is one of the great world languages. there have been great languages of great empires that did not survive as a great language , like Turkish for instance, when we compare Turkish with Arabic, we find out that Arabic survived the disintegration of the Arab Islamic empire and it continues to be one of the great languages of the world till today, while the Turkish language which was the language of administration and authority in the middle east , Balkans, and different parts of the world that was under the Ottoman rule for a thousand years ,but Turkish in the words of Fishman on page 77 in the book ‘The Spread of English” ‘flowed back to Anatolia with the collapse of the ottoman empire’. But these words are not 100% accurate because Turkish is spoken all over Turkey and in Northern Cyprus, not only in Anatolia which is only a part of Turkey. Also Turkish minorities in the former Soviet Union republics, Bulgaria, Russia, Greece, and Romania use Turkish as their mother tongue. Moreover the languages of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, are all branches of the Turkic language family. Yet, no denying that Turkish language lost a lot of its importance after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

Returning to Arabic, it is one of the six official languages adopted in The United Nations. Arabic is the language of a rich culture and civilization dating back many centuries; it was the language of Muhammad, the Messenger and Prophet of Allah (Allah is the Arabic word for God), and it is the language of the Holy Qura’an. It has produced great figures such as Averroes(Ibn-Roshd), the medieval Aristotelian philosopher; Ibn Khaldun, the first social historian; and Khalil Jibran. Between the eighth and the fifteenth centuries, the volume of literary, scholarly and scientific book production in Arabic and the level of urban literacy among readers of Arabic were the highest the world had ever known to that time. Islamic artists have used Arabic script as their principal art form for centuries; the beauty of their work will be revealed to anyone through the study of Arabic. Arabic is a member of the Semitic group of languages, closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic, the language the Christ spoke. Moreover, Arabic is widely spoken; total speakers of Arabic exceed 350 million.

According to the Wikipedia encyclopedia, Arabic was also a major vehicle of culture, especially in science, mathematics and philosophy during the middle ages, that is why many European languages have also borrowed numerous words from it.

Pamela J.Farris says in her book Language arts on page 99

“English has borrowed from Arabic algebra, candy, lemon, orange, sugar, and magazine.”

Not only these words English borrowed from Arabic, but there are hundreds of other words borrowed from Arabic, there are some hundreds of the words English borrowed from Arabic in Al Mawrid English-Arabic dictionary, such as typhoon which means in Arabic 7HA’F , Spinach 3(‘F. , and sesame which means in Arabic 3E3E.

So Arabic being one of the world great languages makes translation from and into that language very important, especially English Arabic translation.

No doubt that English is a world language; nowadays it is the language of science, aviation, computing, diplomacy, and tourism. It is listed as the official or co-official language of numerous countries .As well as Arabic, it is one of the six official languages in the United Nations

Consequently, the knowledge of the English language is one of the most important tools in achieving scientific and technological knowledge; moreover it is a tool of communication between countries, different cultural groups, various companies and organizations, communities and friends.

Translation is the tool to make use of the new technology and science. Science knowledge coupled with multiple languages and cultures are increasingly important in an expanding global economy and world welfare. It is clear that Britain and the USA are the forefront of new ideas in science and technology. USA has pioneered in all fields of technology and science; accomplishments of Britain and US technology are in English, so it is very essential to know English to make use of such technology and science.

Also Political relationships, wars, and conflicts make translation so important to have access to what is going on in different parts of the world, especially Arabic English translation, as English is the language of the big powers of the world, and the Arab region is the theatre, where vital events take place at present.

No denying that English is the cornerstone of the world media, many important news sources are in English, on page 34 of the book The Spread of English the writer says: “English newspapers in non English mother-tongue countries are another indication of the world wide status of English”.

If one knows English, one can read the news and points of views of several writers around the globe, by doing so one can expand his knowledge, and get a broader outlook on the surroundings, and to look at issues with a broader perspective. In my opinion, knowing any language is an international passport specifically English.

English is also the language of communication, with the spread of internet, English appeared to be the language of communication, hundreds of millions of different races communicate with each others via the internet in English, thus English helps to strengthen ties, and make friends among different cultural groups of people on different spots of our planet.

So being the language of science technology and communication, in the age of the internet, English spread so widely, there has never been a language so widely spread in so short a time as English.

As mentioned above, both Arabic and English are great world languages, so translation between this pair of languages is important and essential because of the many reasons mentioned previously.

Translation has been and continues to be the means of cultural and knowledge exchange among people throughout history, and the means of preserving cultural heritage.

As the Islamic Arabic Empire spread, the Arabic language and, indeed, culture was enriched by contacts with other civilizations: Greeks, Persians, Copts, Romans, Indians and Chinese. During the ninth and tenth centuries, a great translation movement, centered in Baghdad, was in force, in which many ancient scientific and philosophical tracts were transposed from ancient languages, especially Greek, into Arabic. Many were enhanced by the new wisdom suggested by Arab thinkers; other texts were simply preserved, only to re-emerge in Europe during the Renaissance.

Modern European languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and English owe a great debt to Arabic. The English language itself contains many words borrowed from Arabic: algebra, alchemy, admiral, genius, ghoul, mare sherbet, soda and many others. “

By the means of translation cultural heritage is preserved and new civilizations evolved and flourished; the western civilization for instance, was established on the Arabic and Islamic civilization; scientific books were translated from Arabic into different European languages, and it was the core for the current western civilization.

In the book of “Muslim Contributions to World Civilization” On page 118 we will find that, “From 1154 AC to the sixteenth century, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars from Western Europe and Spain translated books from Arabic into Latin in the Toledo Academy established by Alfonso, Sabio the Wise. The translations were then distributed to academic centers in Europe, where they became the basis of the Renaissance, the revival of knowledge in Europe.”

Stanwood Cobb says:” Europe was indebted for all of its beginnings in alchemy and chemistry to the chemical science of the Arabs, which reached them through translation of Arabic works into Latin. In this science, as in other arts and sciences which they practiced, they developed an objective and experimental method as opposed to the purely speculative method of the Greeks.”

“The science of algebra owes much to gifted mathematicians of the

Islamic era. Its very name proves the magnitude of this debt, for the name itself is Arabic, al gebr, “a binding together .”

“In addition to the volumes of Greek science, many scientific works of the Arabs-Avicenna, Averroes, and Rhazes in particular-were translated.”

So English-Arabic translation has been and continues to be of great importance, the causes in the past and present are only different. Currently, it is well known that English Arabic translation is increasingly becoming a topic of much concern and importance these days. Oil, strategic location, history of the Islamic and different other civilizations that took place in the Arabic region, and the current events in the Middle East on the Arab side and the western desire to possess the oil and dominate the region on the Western side, contribute to this importance. This paper highlights the importance of English Arabic translation, mainly the translation of the two word English idioms into Arabic; as English language is full of idioms native speakers of English use a lot of idioms and expressions in everyday conversations, books, newspapers, magazines, TV shows on the Internet because idioms add color to the language, but at the same time, idioms are difficult to understand because their meaning is not what it appears to be at first sight. This imposes a major difficulty to translators from English into Arabic.

For example in the Telegraph newspaper dated 19/09/2006 one of the headlines reads “Police patrols at churches stepped up in Pope Row”

The Idiom ‘step up is used in this article, the Idiom Connection defines the idiom’ step up ‘as follows “rise to a higher or more important position, be promoted”

Al Mawrid dictionary translates the idiom ‘step up’ as J2J/- J6’9A- J2/’/- J*6’9A- JF/A9- J*B/E

In the context of the previous article, the idiom ‘step up’ can be translated as – J2/’/ , it is the translation of the meaning of the idiom.

A Second example in The Sunday Times dated April 30, 2006, the Idiom ‘back down’ is used in the following articles:

Iran’s psychopath in chief, by Israel

“Britain, France, Germany and America hope to pass a resolution at the United Nations Security Council this week mandating Iran to suspend its work on uranium enrichment. If Iran refuses to back down, the security council could impose targeted sanctions.”

Also in the Mail guardian online dated 07 November 2005 we will find the headline

‘Blair to back down on anti-terror laws’

British Prime Minister Tony Blair reluctantly accepted on Monday that he would have to back down on proposed anti-terror laws that would enable police to hold people for up to 90 days without charging them.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke, announcing what amounts to a climbdown, said, however, that the new time limit would not be as short as the 28 days sought by critics of the new Terrorism Bill, which faces a parliamentary vote on Wednesday.

“We do not want to compromise on the 90 days at all. It will be a compromise with this nation’s security,” said Blair at his monthly Downing Street press conference, where he held out hope that he could yet minimise the impact.

American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms – defines the idiom’ ‘back down as ‘Reverse one’s upward course, descend. For example, When she saw the wasps’ nest on the roof, she hastily backed down the ladder. This literal usage usually refers to something one has climbed, such as a ladder or mountain. [Mid-1800s]

Al Mawrid dictionary translates the idiom ‘back down’ as –J*F’2D 9F E7D(

Also 9F J*.DJ 9F – J*1′,9 is a proper translation

In the previous articles, it can be translated as 9F J*.DJ 9F – J*1′,9, and it is the translation of the meaning of the idiom.

Idioms are one of the factors that makes translation remain a human activity; although attempts have been made to automate and computerize the translation of natural language texts, or to use computers as an aid to translation, but translation remains mainly a human activity that needs skill, intelligence, human feeling that keeps the life and spirit of the original language to the translated text, idioms pose a challenge to any translation program. Since a lot of idioms cannot be translated literally.

The right understanding of Idioms is the key to have a good translation from English into Arabic. English is full of idioms; native speakers of English use a lot of idioms and expressions in their speech and writing, in other words, native speakers of English use idioms all the time. Idioms are the grease that makes language flow, but at the same time idioms are difficult to understand because an idiom is “An expression whose meanings cannot be inferred from the meanings of the words that make it up.” Webster’s Online Dictionary, but some are easier to guess when they have some association with the original meaning of the individual words. So the translator should be aware of the idioms.

The idiom ‘cold feet’ which the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary defines as:”to suddenly become too frightened to do something you had planned to do, especially something important such as getting married” , whereas the American Heritage Dictionary defines the idiom ‘cold feet’ as

“Fearfulness or timidity preventing the completion of a course of action”.

It is used in an article in the guardian newspaper on Saturday March 25, 2006 as follows:

‘Iraq hostages ‘were saved by rift among kidnappers’

o Guards got cold feet after American was shot

o Returning Kember ‘failed to say thanks to rescuers’

Jonathan Steele in Amman, Ewen MacAskill and Richard Norton-Taylor

Saturday March 25, 2006

The Guardian

The British hostage Norman Kember and his two Canadian colleagues owe their freedom to a rift among their Iraqi kidnappers, a western security source close to the rescue operation said yesterday.

This idiom used in the previous article can be translated as AB/’F ‘D-E’3 DA9D 4& E’- FB5’F ‘D4,’9G #H ‘D+B) DA9D 4& E’, the translation is the paraphrase of the idiom according to definitions given above. So the right understanding of idioms is the key to translate well.

An idiom is learned and used as a single unit of language; and should be translated in the same way. To translate idioms the translator , first of all needs to recognize idioms , understand them, know the culture from which the idiom comes, the origin, the atmosphere in which it is used , then the translator should do his/her best, at first to find an equivalent or a corresponding idiom in the target language that keeps the flavor of the original, if there is not such corresponding idiom or phrase the translator analyzes the idiom and translates the meaning of the idiom in words that keep the color and flavor of the idiom in the source language

Every language is idiomatic; each language has a certain set of rules that govern the way words are put together to express facts, ideas and feelings. The rules and their exceptions are unique to the language, despite possible similarities with other languages. In this sense, a language is always idiomatic. Within this general consideration, we usually think of ‘idioms’ as unique phrases: we use them to express something that other, more general sentences can’t express just as well. It is important to learn idioms to be able to communicate well. They are also interesting to study because of the insight they give us into the language and the people who use them. These expressions originate in the history, literature, religion, and traditions typical of a certain community. For this reason, idioms reveal much of the way of thinking of a community.

Since idiomatic expressions are so frequently encountered in both spoken and written discourse, they require special attention in translation

the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines ‘idiom’ as : a group of words whose meaning is different from the meanings of the individual words:. This means even if one knows the meaning of each word; one may not understand the idiom itself. So we cannot translate the idioms correctly unless we understand their meaning. If we take into account the idiom ‘ New blood and translate it into Arabic (/E ,/J/) word by word, (/E ,/J/) is sometimes used in Arabic to mean young people. On one hand, it can be viewed as an equivalent, on the other hand sometimes it is hard to guess that the expression actually means ‘ people with a lot of energy or fresh ideas who are brought into an organization in order to improve it’ as defined in Cambridge advanced Learner’s dictionary, as in F-*’, ‘DJ /E ,/J/– it can mean the need for new blood in a hospital for instance, but sometimes it can be misunderstood.

Based on the previous definition in Cambridge advanced Learner’s Dictionary, the appropriate translation for this idiom is #4.’5 EDJ&) (‘D7’B) H ‘D-JHJ) H ‘D#AC’1- ‘AC’1 H 7’B’* ,/J/) .The translation here is a paraphrase.

As a matter of fact, the literal translation of an idiom is often absurd or comical. The idiom ‘Back burner ‘ literally translates into Arabic as ”D-‘1B ‘D.DAJ’

The literal translation in Arabic sounds comical. The Dictionary of English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions defines it as follows: If an issue is on the back burner, it is being given low priority is ‘ then the right translation is -‘D EF 9/E ‘D’G*E’E-BDJD ‘D’GEJ)

sometimes The image created by the literal meaning of an idiom is comic but sometimes it can help to remember that idiom.

Here is an example of English idioms that can be easily understood from the images they evoke. The English idiom double faced translates literally in Arabic as 0H H,GJF- (with two faces) in Arabic. So the image created by this idiom helps us to remember and understand it. So we can translate it as EF’AB ‘hypocrite’ in Arabic- or -E.’/9 deceiver (in Arabic), which will be an adequate translation. The image created by the idiom double faced can make us think of a person with two faces , which means hypocrite .Even though using the images of the literal translation is an effective and fun way to learn English idioms, the literal translation alone is deceiving in many cases

The real meaning of the English idiom has to be learned in context to be correctly understood. It is necessary to study idioms within sentences. A proper example makes the meaning and the use clear. For example the idiom sitting duck which means ‘an easy target’, when we learn this idiom in a sentence as in “His arguments were so simple, she was able to knock them down like sitting ducks.” It will be easy to understand that the idiom means ‘an easy target’ and translate it into Arabic adequately, if we translate it literally in Arabic it would be (7) ,’D3) which does not make sense in Arabic, but the adequate translation is a paraphrase translation of the idiom which is G/A 3GD

Translation of ideas and meaning from one language to another leaves much freedom to the translator , but translation of idioms does not need only translation of ideas and meaning , the translator should keep the effect idioms give to the language as possible as the translator can. To translate idioms word-for-word” translation is inadequate and confusing, To translate idioms well, the translator must recognize idioms to be idioms, the translator must understand the goals and intents of the author of the original work; and the context in which idioms are used, then s/he should understand the meaning of the idioms, s/he should look it up in dictionaries, search on the web , ask native speakers, and understand the massage of the idiom and in what context it is used . It is good to find a similar idiom in Arabic that carries the same meaning of the English idiom, if the translator cannot find so it is good to parse the idiom apart into its meaning and translate the meaning.

Katharine Barnwell says: The task of the translator is to translate the meaning of the message, rather than the words.

Bible Translation, Katharine Barnwell, 1986, p. 12.

In order to have a good translation, there must be a good translator, who should be fluent in the two languages he seeks to translate between. He must understand the language which he is translating from, as well as the language in which he is translating the work into. Moreover, a good translator must specifically be a good communicator in the target language. A good translator must have the knowledge, skill and experience in this business; In fact the translator has a very serious responsibility not to change the meaning in any way. He must be careful not to add anything to the meaning, or to leave any part of the meaning. Actually the task of translator is more difficult than the writer himself, the writer is free to express his ideas and views in the way he sees suitable and in the vocabulary he likes, but the translator confines himself to the words the writer used and he must be careful not to add anything to the meaning, or to leave any part of the meaning.

Conclusion:

From what has been mentioned above, it is obvious that translation is the bridge of appreciation, love and friendship among nations, it is necessary for progress and prosperity .By the means of translation new civilizations evolved, the western civilization was established on the Arabic and Islamic civilization; scientific, books were translated from Arabic into Latin, and it was the basis for the western civilization.

English Arabic translation has been and continues to be of great importance, because both languages are great world languages, moreover current events, wars, conflicts and struggles in our world add to this importance ; English is the language of big powers and Arabic is the language of the region where conflicts take place for many reasons mentioned previously

Idioms pose a challenge to translators from English into Arabic. English is full of idioms which cannot be understood from the individual words .A translator of English idioms into Arabic needs good knowledge of the two languages and a good knowledge of both cultures .Idioms reflect culture traditions ,cultural identities and history of any nation. They give us insight into history , culture , traditions, and values, morals. So idioms reflect our common humanity through language.

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Writing a Good Character Reference Letter For a Landlord

Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička), Prague, Czechia, June 12, 2017 264

Writing a good character reference letter should not be a difficult task, despite the mere suggestion of having to write one looks to strike fear into the heart of many. You may be asked to write one for someone if they are in the process of finding a new apartment to rent and the landlord requires one.

In the movies, landlords are sometimes depicted as evil, greedy people with black hats and curly mustaches. This is not the case at all these days, as landlords must have the best interests of their tenants at heart in order to remain in business and out of the government's watchful eye.

Landlords have a financial interest in their property and seeing to it that their apartments or homes remain fully occupied and the tenants are happy to live there. In order to do so, landlords try to screen their potential tenants in order to keep out the bad or troublesome renters. Rental applications ask a lot of questions that are constructed in order to gather enough information in order to decide if you, the potential renter, will be a good renter or a bad renter. In other words, the landlord is trying to reduce the risk of losing income by renting to the good renters more often than bad renters. In some cases, the landlord may request a character reference letter in order to further reduce the risk by gathering the independent opinion of a third party.

Character reference letters are usually written in support of an employment application or an apartment rental agreement, or lease. In any case, employer or landlord, the letter is intended to attest to the veracity of the person for whom the letter is written. In short, this means that the letter backs up the information provided on the applicant's application form.

A good character reference letter is written around those areas that the landlord will consider important in making a decision about the applicant's character. As a friend, you probably know that he or she always pays the rent on time, always cleans up after themselves, never disturbs the neighbors, and has not ever had the utilities cut off for non-payment. It should be easy to write a number of short paragraphs about you friend's social history to support their application. Be truthful and be honest when writing the letter. Never lie for a friend, no matter what! It will make your friend look bad and reflect directly back on you if your friend does not live up to the rosy picture you have painted of them.

If you need some ideas of what you should write about it should be a simple matter to pick up a copy of the rental application. Look it over, picking out three or four areas that you know the most about and feel the most comfortable writing about. Begin with a short introductory paragraph describing how you know the person and for how long you have known them. Then delve into your knowledge about your friends past and hopefully good behaviors as it relates to the three or four areas you've selected. End your letter casually and with an invitation, or permission to contact you for further information if needed. Do not forget to include your contact information.

With these guidelines in hand, you should be able to write a good character reference letter for a landlord or an employer. You may want to write a few drafts before keyboarding the final letter, which will be sure to help your friend obtain that much thought after apartment or job. When writing, always remember that the key to success when writing a good character reference letter is honesty.

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Strange But True: Pronunciation Similarities in Spanish and Japanese

agy 01 by aminius:))

If you know anything about the history of Spain and Japan, you know that there are a few similarities between their cultures and languages. Culturally, and linguistically, Spain has a major influence from ancient Rome as well as the long Moorish rule of the country.

By contrast Japan had its most powerful effects from Asia, mostly Korea and China. The different forms of Japanese writing have their roots in Chinese writing, although Mandarin Chinese and Japanese are linguistically completely different.

The Mandarin Chinese language is a good example of a language that is in a separate category than both Japanese and Spanish. Chinese uses a complex set of tones to communicate meaning. A good example is the word, "ma." That word can mean anything from "mom" to "horse" to even a kind of "pronounced question mark" at the end of a sentence to indicate that you're asking a question. There are 5 different ways (tones) that you can use to pronounce "ma," and each tone would change the meaning of the word completely.

In contrast, Japanese and Spanish do not use such complex tones to change the meaning of words. Japanese and Spanish are, in that way, in a separate category than Mandarin Chinese and other tonal languages ​​like Vietnamese and Thai.

We can also separate Japanese and Spanish from languages ​​like English. When a person learns English as a second language, they often struggle with English pronunciation rules. English is not one of the languages ​​where one can easily understand the pronunciation of a word just as it is written, and there are complicated rules to when things are pronounced in different ways.

By contrast, Spanish and Japanese have consistent pronunciation rules that make it possible to see the written word and know how to pronounce it. In Spanish, once you know the sounds of the Spanish alphabet and some straightforward pronunciation rules, you're pretty much set to see and be able to pronounce Spanish words.

In Japanese, the language's sounds are represented by a small number of Japanese characters called, Kana (Hiragana and Katakana) each of which represents a syllable in the language. If you master the sounds related to those small number of syllables, you can piece together the pronunciation of any Japanese word.

So at a high level, Japanese and Spanish share the characteristic that their written forms can be used to easily convey the pronunciation of words clearly and consistently. But even as we dig deeper into the pronunciation, we see more similar between the two languages ​​emerge.

The vowels in Spanish and Japanese are pronounced roughly the same. The "a" is pronounced as the "a" in father. In Spanish an example is "gracias" (thank you) and in Japanese an example is "asa" (morning). The "i" is pronounced as the "ee" in the English word "meet". In Spanish an example is the word, "mi" (my) and the Japanese "ichi" (one). In both languages, the "u" is pronounced as the "oo" in "loot." Examples are "umi" (sea) and "gustar" (to like) in Japanese and Spanish respectively. The "e" is pronounced as the "e" in "bed". In Japanese it's the initial sound of "ebi" (shrimp) and the initial sound of "el" (the) in Spanish. Finally, "o" is pronounced as the "o" in "hope". In Spanish an example is "ocho" (eight) and in Japanese "otoko" (man).

The consonants in Spanish and Japanese are also roughly the same with some well-known exceptions like the Spanish and Japanese pronunciations of the "r".

A Spanish word consists of a string of consonants and vowels which we can break up into syllables. The Spanish alphabet is used to piece together a word like "gustar," which breaks up into basically two syllables, "gu-star".

As mentioned before, Japanese pronunciation will break things up into the sounds of the Kana character syllables. Each Kana character will represent one sound in the word and can be written as such. Using one of the examples above, we could break up the Japanese pronunciation into individual Kana character sounds like this, "o-to-ko".

So in both Spanish and Japanese, we have most consonants and vowels having basically the same pronunciation, a set of consistent pronunciation rules, and the fact that both languages ​​are not tonal in nature. With these shared elements, we have the ingredients we need to have pronunciation intersections between the two languages.

There is at least one example where a word is pronounced badly the same in both Spanish and Japanese. In Japanese it is a form of the verb, "kaerimasu" (to return, go home). In Spanish it's a form of the verb, "callar" (to stop talking or to be quiet). In both languages ​​the initial sounds of "ca" and "ka" are the same. The verbs simply have to change forms in order for them to sound the same.

In Japanese, a verb of the type "kaerimasu" changes into one the Japanese forms called the "-te form" like this, "kaette" (ka-eh-te). This verb form is used in sentences like "Chan-san wa Chuugoku ni kaette imasu" (Mr. Chan has returned to China).

In Spanish, a verb of the type "callar," in an imperative conjugation (giving a command), results in the word, "callate" (Shut up). This can be used in a sentence like, "Callate la boca" (Shut your mouth.)

Both of the words "kaette" and "callate" are in fact pronounced in a very similar way, owing to the effect that the "ae" combination has on "kaette" and the way some Spanish dialects pronounce the "ll".

With stricter analysis, the similarities do start to break down, but the aim is not to prove that Spanish and Japanese share the exact same pronunciation, but only that there is a surprising amount of similarity based on the linguistic distance between the two languages.

There may even be other, better examples of this. If the reader knows of other examples where Japanese and Spanish words share the same or very similar pronunciations of words, feel free to contact me at my website list at the end of this article.

In conclusion, it is indeed strange but true that the languages ​​of Japanese and Spanish can find similarities in spite of their linguistic roots on opposite sides of the planet.

It is strange but true that the languages ​​of Japanese and Spanish can find pronunciation similarities in spite of a completely different linguistic history. Find out why this is the case and see an example.

Analysis of Philip Levine's Poem – "Starlight"

Ystad

In introduction, I will identify and analyze various components of Philip Levine's "starlight," such as, speaker; situation; diction; imagery; figures of speech, and other elements of poetry. Throughout this article the precedent elements will be meticulously expounded upon.

The speaker of the poem I will termed as a 'he' because the poet is a male. The progress of the poem is vey climactic. In other words, it signifies a turning point like most works. For example, line # 21, which illustrates where 'father and son' meet eye to eye (thus, allowing the son to bask in the glow of the starlight with his head up in the air '). In addition, he proceeded to ask his father the question that his father asked him earlier in the poem: "Are you happy?" The speaker's point of view points to the reflections of himself as being an image of his father; growing up to be like his father, and 'the father like son' syndrome which, in a minority way, is illustrated by the following lines: "I am four years old and growing tired (line 3) – in comparison to – .. But but I can smell the tiredness that hangs on his breath. " (lines 16-17) Moreover, the latter part of the poem corroborates this point, as well.

Of course, the point of view – as pointed out above – introduces the implied attitude of the speaker towards his view of the poem, thus setting the tone of the poem which is very somber and gray (which is in direct covenant with its title, "Starlight") with the use of keywords, such as "growing tired; cigarette; moon riding low over the old neighborhood; alone; thick and choked; the tiredness that hangs on his breath; autumn, and boy slept never to waken in that world again. "

The structure of the poem is very interesting. Well, it seems to be written in a closed form upon viewing it, initially. Howbeit, when it's viewed closer it can be noted that the initial letters of the lines are not capitalized; only where a new sentence begins. Therefore, I surmised that its structure is presented in an open form. Furthermore, there are either visible breaks nor stanzas in the poem. I ponder, does the form representations "a tall, gaunt child (line 28) or a somber, gray tower of Babel (in its aborted attempt) to proclaim itself to be there among the stars (line 21)?"

The theme of this poem is one of comparison (both emotionally and physically) between speaker and his father as was illustrated in the above paragraphs – framed by it's content – for instance, lines 8 and 22. In these lines, the same question was asked by both parties (which give a subliminal reference to their emotional state). Plus, lines 3 and 17 ('tiredness') give a subliminal reference to their physical well-being. In interpretation, these instances represent the speaker (a boy) 'growing' into his father.

The situation seems to be set in a small town. This assertion can be asserted by line 7 – "… low over the old neighborhood …." In addition, the site of this poem is sumed to be in Northeast America because of key words, such as, autumn; summer moon, and porch (usually, veranda – outside of the United States). Moreover, I deducted this particular setting because of the stimulation that I received from reading the poem which, of course, is very subjective. Furthermore, the experiences that is reflected in this poem allows me to draw on my own experiences as I draw a mental picture of what's taking place in this poem. Thus, my response to the poem is very subjective to its classical sense of writing. Plus, my reaction to the dynamics is somewhat subdued although the dynamics of the poem has an even paced up – tempo style.

In regard to the poem's style of writing / choice of words, specifically its diction – the diction used in this poem is very concrete. Excluding, of course, the poem's last six lines and the quote, "Are you happy?" These quotes are abstract and are basically the engine that drives the poem. For example, these quotes are located in the beginning and ending of the poem. Likewise, the poem is detonation oriented except for the above quotes which are cloaked in connotation. The meanings I construed in reference to the above quotes (respectively) are expounded upon in the following sentences. The first quote deals with the speaker's happiness in his state of being in comparison to his father's happiness in his state of being (for example, the father said "yes" to the question while the speaker hesitated to answer). The last six lines deal with the transition (reflection) of the son growing up to be like his father in the future ("autumn … until the boy slept never to waken in that world again").

Beside the 'father-son relationship' was the centerpiece of this poem. This literary work is very rich in imagery which captures my imagination. As I pointed out before, keywords such as: "the glow of his cigarette, redder than the summer moon riding" – lines # 5 – 6 – places me in the active scenery of the poem. It sufferers me to see the poem as seeing it as a movie reel. I must say that his poem is visual (lines # 5 – 6), auditory (line # 22), olfactory (line # 25), gustatory (line # 16-17) and synaesthetic (line # 16-17).

Moreover, the figures of speech (specifically the metaphors) add to this poem, as well. For example, "… smell the tiredness that hangs on his breath." – lines # 5 – 6. On the other hand, there is a limited use of similes and other figures of speech in this poem.

On the other hand, several elements of poetry are well represented. For example, "autumn" – line # 30 – symbolizes adulthood going onto old age. The syntax does not contain many rhymes (sounds) although rhythm and meter are maintained through the poem. Also, the whole irony of the poem projects the glaminess of the experience into the background of the 'starry night' – hence, the title: "Starlight."

In conclusion, this poem was superbly written. The 1st person skillfully places me in the poem, thus making me an active participant of the poem. The poem makes an interesting reading. I've been exposed to new insights from the speaker's point of view.

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Freedom At Midnight, by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins: Moving Story of Gandhi’s Assassination

Il mare dei Malavoglia

Introduction:

Mahabharata and Ramayana are the two great epics of India. There are several classical literatures in various regional languages. English language is known to Indians only for the past 300 years. But Literature in India in English has reached new heights and there are thousands of lovers of English literature in India too. Especially some writings have reached classic level and have received attention worldwide.

These literatures can be broadly classified into two. The first is literature written by Indians on Indian background and the second is by English writers about the events in India. ‘Freedom at Midnight’ belongs to the second category and it is one among the most widely appreciated book on events in India.

This book covers the events that led to the partition of India, India’s attaining freedom, the mindless violence between the Hindus and Muslims, the great Kashmir problem, annexing of Princely States and finally the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

In this article we shall see important aspects of the book with particular reference to Gandhi’s assassination.

1. The Building up of the Story:

The contents of this book dealing with contemporary History can be called a ‘story’ because the events recorded therein were more moving than a story. It starts from the meeting Lord Mountbatten had with the British Prime Minister Attlee. The entire first chapter deals with appointment of Lord Mountbatten as the last viceroy of India with the assignment of giving freedom to India. The primary question dealt with was how to give freedom to India and more importantly, the safe passage of British in India, who were accustomed for luxurious lives

2. Enters Mahatma Gandhi:

The Mahatma enters the narration through a description of famous Noakhali tour wherein he made an unsuccessful attempt to stop the Hindu-Muslim violence. He was humiliated by mediocre leaders of both the religions. The authors made a deep study of newspapers of those days and give a genuine account of the happenings.

The process of giving freedom starts with Lord Mountbatten’s taking charge as viceroy. He had several rounds of talks with Patel, Jinnah, Nehru and Gandhi who had the importance in India’s freedom in increasing order. Gandhi and Jinnah have a special place in this final solution, Gandhi as Father of the Nation in India and Jinnah, as The Creator of Pakistan.

3. The Misery of Partition:

The authors describe the actual partition as ‘The most complex divorce in History’. Not only the land was divided, but also properties were divided as in the case of family partition.

The cost of the partition was paid by the citizens of border States, Punjab in North, West Bengal in east whereas much bloodshed was there in other states too.

The violence is described in detail in the chapter ‘Our people Have Gone Mad’. The mindless violence brings tears in the eyes of any leader.

The author says that “if a person is killed in the violence, it is a ‘mercy’ shown to him, because acid attacks, raping, disfiguring and other tortures were very common. Kidnapping of minor children, raping and killing them were very rampant. They were identified by various religious marks in their bodies and were mercilessly tortured.

A multi millionaire from Lahore will become a beggar in one day and he has to walk long distances without food or water to come to Delhi whereas an Industrialist in Punjab had to walk in the reverse direction and reach Karachi by foot by losing everything. There were several trains which reached India with full of dead bodies. By all counts, the authors state that at least for the Muslims who were displaced to Pakistan, a good future was awaiting because it was a new born country whereas for Hindus, who reached Delhi, there was no future at all. They were not accepted by their relatives, rejected by erstwhile friends and were literally orphans in the streets of Delhi and Calcutta. They have to reach a country which expected only labour from the subjects and nothing to offer to the refugees. There were murders and bloodshed everywhere and in this atmosphere India got its freedom ‘at Midnight’

4. While the World Slept:

This chapter deserves special mention because it gives minute to minute account of freedom of India and Pakistan. The salient features are:

13.8.47: While entire India was waiting for getting its freedom and when most of the leaders were preparing to enjoy powers, Mahatma Gandhi who led the freedom struggle by non-violent means did not take part in the celebrations, instead he was walking across jungles of Noakhali to stop the mindless violence among the two communities. The hatred against Gandhi by Hindus who were very severely affected by violence started from this place. In fact, pathos of the story starts from here and a gloom falls on readers indicating the tragedy which looked imminent in the near future.

14.8.47: It marked the last day as Viceroy for Lord Mountbatten. The last order he signed was elevating Nawab’s Australian Begum to the dignity of Highness. The order was placed on his table at 11.58 P.M. With a sign of purest pleasure illuminating his face, he took his pen and performed the last action as viceroy of India

14.8.47 Midnight:

“When the whole world sleeps India awakes to freedom” Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India hoisted the National flag with these words and declared India had become a free nation henceforth.

If everything went on well, the book should have been over with these lines of Nehru. But not much sweet things were waiting for Indians after independence.

A Tamil poet, after 50 years of Independence wrote: “We got freedom at Midnight, never to see the dawn of the day”, how true!

Lord Mountbatten was made First Governor General of India till Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) was elected for the post. India continued in League of Commonwealth Nations. These were magnanimous gestures on the part of Nehru and his Government. But this same magnanimity created a perennial problem for India i.e. KASHMIR.

5. KASHMIR ISSUE:

Kashmir had a special place in the hearts of both Nehru and Jinnah. Pakistan planned a tribal invasion into this valley. Because of the invasion, the king Hari Singh annexed Kashmir with India. Nehru very liberally assured a plebiscite and also declared a ceasefire. Till date, a part of Kashmir is with Pakistan which India is calling as Pak occupied Kashmir (P.O.K) and Pakistan claiming it as Azad Kashmir (Independent Kashmir). This is the major thorn in the relationship between the two countries for which no immediate solution is in sight.

The book fulfils the demand for humour in the chapter on Maharajas (Kings), through the descriptions of the palaces, tigers, elephants and jewels. Maharajas lost their crowns and were forced to annex their states to Indian Province, thanks to the efforts of Patel (known as the Iron Man of India). The descriptions of the lives of kings their funny decisions and eccentricities provide some relief to the otherwise a very serious subject handled by the book.

6. The Second Crucifixion:

None other title might have aptly described the assassination of Gandhi like this title which equates Gandhi with Jesus Christ whose crucifixion was the first.

The day was Friday the 30th January; 1948.The killer was a Hindu whose name was Nathuram Godse. There was absolutely no proper security for Gandhi except his personal assistants, most of them being ladies. Gandhi made his last walk to his usual evening prayer. The killer, concealing the pistol in his palms approached Gandhi, bowed before him and said to him “Namaste Gandhiji”.

Using his left hand, Godse brutally thrust the assistant out and then took out the black Baretta pistol in his right hand and triggered three times. Gandhi gasped “Hey Ram” (Oh God) and with the final gesture of blessing the assassin, he fell down lifeless. That was one of the most unforgettable moments in Man’s History.

7. Reactions:

The very first question Lord Mountbatten asked, on hearing the news of Gandhi’s assassination was, “Who did it?” He was relieved when he came to know that a Hindu killed him (not a Muslim) for had a Muslim killed him India would be living another ghastly massacres the world had ever seen. The possible slaughter was avoided by repeatedly announcing ‘a Hindu assassinated Gandhi’, in All India Radio and both Hindus and Muslims mourned the death of the great person.

Jawaharlal’s eyes were filled with tears as he stepped before the microphone of All India Radio. “The light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere,’ he said, “The father of the Nation is no more”.

George Bernard Shaw made the punching remark “It shows how dangerous it is to be good”

Albert Einstein

“Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.”

J.Krishnamurti, deviating from his usual practice of not commenting about deaths of leaders commented, “It is not a single man who killed Gandhi. We, the entire population have killed him because our petty religious fanaticism”

This was reflected in the editorial comments of the Hindustan Standard which stated:

“Gandhi has been killed by his own people for whose redemption he lived, the second crucifixion in the History of the world has been enacted on a Friday- the same day Jesus done to death one thousand nine hundred and fifteen years ago. Father, forgive us”

Conclusion:

The reader closes the book with a heavy heart. This book is a must read for any patriotic citizen with a sense of sacrifice.

But, when we come to the state of affairs prevailing in present day India, it gives rather a gloomy picture. Rampant corruption, bribery everywhere, power mongering, manipulated elections, communal clashes, caste differences and things of this sort are predominantly ruling India. We cannot avoid thinking “Is it for this we got freedom, is it for this thousands of freedom fighters sacrificed everything and languished in Jails, Is it for this Apostle of Peace sacrificed his most invaluable life?” It is the prayer of every Indian that Mahatma Gandhi should be reborn again in India.

The greatest success of the book “Freedom at Midnight” lies in the fact that it creates this awakening among the readers.

I wish the readers of this article all success!

Makoto – The Samurai’s Watchword

Kafka

When I first came to Japan, I was confused by the way some people used the word “sincerity.” They seemed to be using it to mean something very different from what I had always understood the word to mean. To me, a sincere person is one whose words and actions reflect the deepest feelings and beliefs of their better nature–I had certainly never thought of a sincere person as one who would commit violence. But in Japan, I heard the word sincerity being applied to people like the 47 ronin; 47 “masterless samurai” who killed and cut off the head of a shogunal official by the name of Kira as revenge for a perceived insult to their lord.

Their lord had lost his temper, drawn his sword and attacked the man inside the Shogun’s castle in Edo, for which crime he was ordered to commit seppuku. His heirs lost all rights to his ancestral lands, and his samurai retainers suddenly found themselves unemployed. 47 of his former retainers showed their “sincerity” by, two years after the fact, taking lethal revenge on Kira, the man their lord had attacked. For this they are held up as paragons of the spirit of bushido and sincerity.

As my Japanese got better, I came to realize that this odd usage of the word sincerity was a problem of translation. When people told me that the 47 ronin had “sincerity” what they meant was that they had “makoto.” Kenkyusha’s New Japanese-English Dictionary defines makoto this way: “sincerity; a true (single) heart; faithfulness; honesty; fidelity; constancy; devotion.”

But makoto is a difficult word to translate because it carries a lot of baggage. The standard translation, “sincerity” lacks the martial connotations that are part and parcel of “makoto.” For the samurai it had an almost mystical sense, and during World War II, the concept of makoto was put to evil use. It was one of the concepts that spurred both foot soldiers and the kamikaze pilots to hurl themselves into certain death in a misguided demonstration of “Japanese spirit.”

The concept of makoto went out of favor after World War II. For example, a number of revisionist samurai movies were made in the 1960s, the most famous example being Masaki Kobayshi’s 1962 film Harakiri, that took an unromanticized and critical look at bushido and attendant ideas such as makoto because of the way they had been used for control of the individual by the state.

The 1970s, however, saw a revival of nationalism–this time in the form of economic nationalism–and the notion that Japan was somehow a uniquely unique nation with a singular climate, culture and sensibility. Makoto, specifically, saw its rehabilitation due in no small measure to a book written by the British Japanologist and translator Ivan Morris. The Nobility of Failure was written partly in response to the bizarre death of the famous novelist Yukio Mishima–who killed himself by committing seppuku–and dedicated to his memory. Japanese poet Ryusei Hasegawa writes in a review of the book that:

…this book has changed my outlook on life. For years after the war, I have been feeling something fishy and dangerous about the word makoto, sincerity, standing as it did for the ideal of the nation dominating the people. In the name of makoto, it was possible to exact selfless service to the nation for military causes in the past and economic causes now. And yet I realized with embarrassment how deeply attached I have been to the ways of living with makoto. But the weight of makoto is now being reassessed and redefined in my mind. The spirit of makoto can serve as a spring board to live to a ripe old age. I am confident that this concept of makoto can help us to serve not one nation, but all humanity, whether the action itself be effective or not.

I’m not sure what Mr. Hasegawa means by that last sentence, but it’s not an uncommon sentiment among conservatives, especially those who subscribe to theories of Japan’s inherent uniqueness and superiority. Fujiwara Masahiko writes in the introduction to his 2005 bestseller, The Dignity of the Nation, which makes the claim that the Japanese have a sacred mission to save the world by teaching all of mankind the tenets of bushido, that, “We must again be ‘Japan the proud, Japan the different.’ By serving as a model for the rest of the world, Japan can, I believe, make a contribution to the whole human race.”

Professor Saito Kazuaki gives an interesting definition of makoto in a 1987 essay, Heroes and Hero-Worship–Ivan Morris’ Views on the Japanese Fascination with Failure (which has the kanji for makoto written in calligraphy on its title page):

All those heroes, together with the kamikaze fighters treated in the final chapter of Morris’ book, who, incidentally, no longer have to be labeled as ‘crazy’ or ‘mentally disordered’ thanks to Morris, have in common the spirit of makoto, which lends poignancy to their lives of failure. It is the cardinal quality of the Japanese hero, denoting purity of mind and motive, and a rejection of self-serving objectives. It despises pragmatic ways of thinking and doing. It is moral fastidiousness. The rational, not subjective, righteousness of a cause itself is unimportant. What counts most is the honesty with which the hero espouses it…The Japanese respect for makoto tends to assume the presence of readiness for accepting joyfully the final catastrophe in the mind of a Napoleon or any other hero. Makoto is an ethical, religious concept

A historical figure who lived this ideal is Saigo Takamori, the real “last samurai” and one of Japan’s most beloved heroes. He died in a quixotic fight against the recently established, modernizing Meiji government–the very government which he had been instrumental in establishing just ten years earlier. He was fighting to preserve the samurai as a class, but was vanquished by a modern conscript army of peasant soldiers. In their final confrontation, he refused to surrender even though he was outnumbered 60 to 1. He died, along with every last one of his men, in the hail of gunfire that met his final suicidal charge.

But nobody in Japanese history is as closely associated with “makoto” as are the Shinsengumi. The Shinsengumi were a group of samurai swordsmen whose job it was to patrol the streets of Kyoto and to find and kill the many anti-shogunal ronin who advocated returning the Emperor to a position of real power at the expense of the Shogun, during the last turbulent years of the shogunate–from 1863 to 1868. They followed a very strict interpretation of bushido and were merciless when facing an enemy. Both their banner and their uniform were emblazoned with the kanji character for makoto.

“Makoto” can actually be written with three different kanji, or ideograms. The kanji that the Shinsengumi used is made up of two parts that are each full-fledged ideograms in their own right. On its own, the left side of the character means “speak,” and the right side means “become.” So visually, this kanji connotes the opposite of “empty words;” it is an excellent pictograph of “sincerity.” As many imperial loyalist ronin learned in their final moments, the Shinsengumi were deadly sincere about their mission.

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His Most Famous Painting (Violin and Candlestick) – Georges Braque

Sissinghurst Castle Gardens

Georges Braque was an eminent twentieth century French painter and sculptor, who was also the co-founder of ‘Cubism.’ Born on May 13, 1882, in Argenteuil-sur-Seine, from 1897 to 1899, he learned painting at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts at Le Havre, the city where he grew up. He commenced his artistic journey, experimenting in styles, such as ‘Impressionism’ and ‘Fauvism,’ before he developed ‘Cubism’ along with Pablo Picasso in 1908. Cezanne’s artistry of ‘multiple perspectives,’ exhibited at Salon d’Automne, in 1907, inspired the duo towards ‘Cubism.’ French art critic Louis Vauxcelles saw a painting by Braque in 1908 and called it ‘Cubism,’ or ‘bizarre cubiques.’ He perceived the artwork as ‘full of little cubes.’ This led to the christening of the Picasso’s and Georges’ invention as ‘Cubism,’ which the duo was not initially excited about. Braque’s magnum opus “Violin and Candlestick,” painted in spring 1910, exemplifies the vibrant persona of the ‘Cubist’ style of painting.

Mostly monochromatic in style and themed on ‘Still Life,’ Braque’s’ ‘Cubist’ works mostly stunned the art community. This 24″ x 19 3/4″ (61cm x 50cm), oil on canvass, “Violin and Candlestick” is a result of the amalgamated slices of music and violin sheets rearranged at atypical angles to create a single intertwined image, with the shifting surface of forms, planes, arcs, and colors. The painting whilst illustrating three-dimensional view of the subjects on a flat canvas, shuns the traditional ‘Renaissance’ perspective. This actually is ‘Cubism,’ which focuses on representing the subjects, as viewed from several angles.

“Violin and Candlestick” was an outcome of Georges’ obsession for form and stability, fuelled with a desire to create an illusion in a viewer’s mind to move around freely within the painting. To achieve this, the painter conglomerated the subjects at the centre of a grid like armature & covered the boundaries of the black-outlined objects using earth-toned colors. Thereby, he managed to transform the volumes of static to hold compound surfaces on a flat plane, enabling onlookers to appreciate more of form compared to any other angle. Recognizing and understanding the effects of light astutely to elicit the appropriate emotions and effects of the subjects also served as a vital parameter for Braque’s “Violin and Candlestick.” He expressed this art of fragmentation as “a technique for getting closer to the object.”

Georges Braque breathed his last on August 31, 1963, in Paris. His masterpiece, “Violin and Candlestick” is exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

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Analysis of the True Meaning of Magnolia

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Warning: This article is an analysis of the movie Magnolia and contains many spoilers.

Everyone who has watched the much-praised film “Magnolia” undoubtedly walked out of the theater with maybe a feeling of awe, but most likely an overwhelming confusion over its ending, especially the scene with the shower of frogs.

A key aspect to interpreting the true meaning of this film lies in its many references of Exodus 8:2 from the bible. The most obvious reference was in the scene right before the start of the Quiz show. A woman is seen holding a sign that clearly has the words “Exodus 8:2” written on it, but is promptly escorted out of the audience by security.

Below are other examples of references to the numbers 8 and 2 in the movie, as listed in the trivia section of imdb.com

o weather forecast: 82% chance of rain

o a gambler needs a 2 in blackjack but gets an 8

o the coil of rope when the boy commits suicide

o the first temperature reading

o the movie poster at the bus stop on Magnolia Blvd

o the placard on the hanged convicts

o Jim Kurring’s box number at the date hotline

o Sydney Barringer’s mother and father’s apartment number is 682

o the forensic science convention starts at 8:20

o Delmer Darion flips over a stack of cards to reveal the 8 through 2 of diamonds

o right after Jim Kurring sees Donnie Smith climbing up the building, you can see a flash of a sign on the side of the road that says “Exodus 8:2″ (it’s visible again when the frogs fall and hit Kurring’s car)

o the number on the firefighter’s plane.

o in Marcy’s mugshots, her criminal record number is 82082082082

o in the bar scene there is a chalkboard with two teams, the frog and the clouds, the score is 8 to 2

o spray painted on the cement as graffiti next to the boy.

o member of the game show crowd holds a placard with Exodus 8:2 written on it

o the kids were two days away from entering their eighth week as champions.

o Quiz Kid Donnie Smith won his 100 000 dollars on 28 April 1968

o The first two numbers of the Seduce and Destroy Hotline (1-877-TAME-HER) are 82.

o one of the hanged men has the 82 on his clothes

o Jim says he gets off work at 8:00, and Claudia suggests they meet 2 hours later for a date

And here is Exodus 8:2 –

And the Lord spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me.

And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs.

Another important piece of the puzzle comes from Dixon, the young boy who raps to Jim after his discovery of the murders. The following is an excerpt from Dixon’s rap:

Check that ego, come off it, I’m the Prophet,

You’re living to get older with a chip on your shoulder.

He’s running from the devil, but the debt is always gaining,

When the sunshine don’t work, the good Lord bring the rain in.

Dixon calls himself the “Prophet” but he could be interpreted an extension of god. He takes Jim’s gun after it was lost, yet during the frog shower, the gun falls from the sky along with the frogs – a sign that the boy had some control over the events.

The second and third lines of the rap are warning Jim that he’s living to move higher (“to get older”) yet there is something burdening him. Dixon is telling Jim that what he is doing isn’t right and warning him to stop. However, Jim doesn’t listen to the rapper just like how the Pharaoh of Egypt did not listen to Moses. This message is not only meant for Jim, but it also symbolizes the wrongness in the lives of all the other characters. The last line warns that if God is ignored, he will bring on the rain.

An important key note is that the characters all admit their wrongs but can’t seem to get past them. Claudia, for example, is addicted to cocaine but can do nothing to stop, Linda feels terrible guilt for cheating on Earl and attempts to take her name off his will but can’t, and even Earl uses his final breaths to admit his mistreatment of his son and wife and pleads for forgiveness from Frank but he does not receive one.

The rain of frogs signifies God’s wake-up call to everyone. The rain of frogs – the extremely strange, almost absurd situation – was a way for God to tell everyone that they have done wrong and sinned. However, the shower is his message that he is always watching over the world and can intervene to help when help is needed. After the rain of frogs, the characters appear to either make peace with their problems and have succeeded or, in the example of Jimmy Gator’s death, failed. This shows that although god is there to help, not everything always works out perfectly and there are always the ones who are punished instead of saved.

Please note that this is not an official interpretation and the scene of the frog shower is among the most debated topic in the movie world. Accept my interpretation at your own discretion and form your own opinions on the matter, which is most likely what the writer P. T. Anderson had intended.

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