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Thread: grudgingly

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    grudgingly

    I'm trying to read "Desire Under The Elms" by O'Neill in English. I have the Russian translation of it, too. One of the first lines of the play says:

    "SIMEON--(grudgingly) Purty." (staring at the sunset)

    Russian translation says:

    "С и м е о н (восхищенно). Как полыхает!"

    Восхищенно means "admiringly, with admiration". The dictionary says that grudgingly means "reluctantly, unwillingly, listlessly". Is it possible that this word can have another meaning in O'Neill's language? Or is it really "unwillingly, listlessly" here? I wonder because, although I'm never surprised when I see an incorrect English-Russian/Russian-English translation, "admiringly" really seems more appropriate here, in this context. Also, as I can see, quite an unusual, 'non-standard' language (at least from a learner's point of view) is used in the play.
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  2. #2
    Hanna
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    Re: grudgingly

    Frankly this word is not part of my normal vocabulary. Perhaps I ought to leave it until a native English speaker sees it.

    But really, I think that the dictionary is right. As far as I am aware, "grudgingly" is just a negatively loaded adverb which means exactly what the dictionary said.

    I think it can also mean reluctant to admit that another person is right/better than them. For example: "Anne grudgingly admitted that Jane had won the game."
    That means Ane wasn't really happy about the situation and might have thought that the game was unfair, but she nevertheless admitted that Jane had won.

    I would never have thought that it could mean "with admiration" because at least half of the meaning of the word is lost; "admiration" is a purely positive word whereas "grudge" is not.

    To "hold a grudge against someone" means you have something that you are angry or bitter about, in regards to that person. Perhaps they insulted you and you are still angry about it, or you suspect that they have been gossiping about you.

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    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    Re: grudgingly

    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    I'm trying to read "Desire Under The Elms" by O'Neill in English. I have the Russian translation of it, too. One of the first lines of the play says:

    "SIMEON--(grudgingly) Purty." (staring at the sunset)

    Russian translation says:

    "С и м е о н (восхищенно). Как полыхает!"
    It's hard to tell without further context but he seems to be replying to someone's thoughts or statement, rather reluctantly. BTW, purty means pretty but is dated, sounds like the 1930's. I may be wrong but Simeon doesn't seemed too thrilled by the sunset. I think "Как полыхает!" is way overstated. Grudgingly in no way means восхищенно.

    Simeon - reluctantly- "Alright, it's pretty."
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

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    Re: grudgingly

    Quote Originally Posted by sperk
    It's hard to tell without further context
    Here it goes:
    (It's the very beginning of the play, and there is nothing before this scene)
    Exterior of the Farmhouse. It is sunset of a day at the beginning of summer in the year 1850. There is no wind and everything is still. The sky above the roof is suffused with deep colors, the green of the elms glows, but the house is in shadow, seeming pale and washed out by contrast.

    A door opens and Eben Cabot comes to the end of the porch and stands looking down the road to the right. He has a large bell in his hand and this he swings mechanically, awakening a deafening clangor. Then he puts his hands on his hips and stares up at the sky. He sighs with a puzzled awe and blurts out with halting appreciation.



    EBEN--God! Purty! (His eyes fall and he stares about him frowningly. He is twenty-five, tall and sinewy. His face is well-formed, good-looking, but its expression is resentful and defensive. His defiant, dark eyes remind one of a wild animal's in captivity. Each day is a cage in which he finds himself trapped but inwardly unsubdued. There is a fierce repressed vitality about him. He has black hair, mustache, a thin curly trace of beard. He is dressed in rough farm clothes. He spits on the ground with intense disgust, turns and goes back into the house. Simeon and Peter come in from their work in the fields. They are tall men, much older than their half-brother [Simeon is thirty-nine and Peter thirty-seven], built on a squarer, simpler model, fleshier in body, more bovine and homelier in face, shrewder and more practical. Their shoulders stoop a bit from years of farm work. They clump heavily along in their clumsy thick-soled boots caked with earth. Their clothes, their faces, hands, bare arms and throats are earth-stained. They smell of earth. They stand together for a moment in front of the house and, as if with the one impulse, stare dumbly up at the sky, leaning on their hoes. Their faces have a compressed, unresigned expression. As they look upward, this softens.)

    SIMEON--(grudgingly) Purty.

    PETER--Ay-eh.
    I can't find the link where I took this text, I only saved it on my computer.

    BTW, purty means pretty but is dated, sounds like the 1930's. I may be wrong but Simeon doesn't seemed too thrilled by the sunset. I think "Как полыхает!" is way overstated.
    Yes, I think so too.
    So what do you think, can one say "purty" somehow listlessly, and it looks okay in the context above?

    P.S. Is "doesn't seemed" a typo?
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: grudgingly

    That does seem awkward to use "grudgingly" when saying "purty", this is the very beginning of the book?

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    Re: grudgingly

    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    So what do you think, can one say "purty" somehow listlessly, and it looks okay in the context above?
    I would prefer something like "reluctantly agrees" or "unenthusiastically." These are strong, hard working farmers and I don't think "listless" is the best choice.
    With more context you can see that they are looking at the sky ("stares up at the sky") not just the sunset so "Как полыхает!" is quite out of place.
    As far as why "grudgingly" is there is hard to say. I can only guess he either doesn't get along with Eben or else he finds his situation so miserable that he is reluctant to admit there's anything positive about it. I think the latter is more likely, due to: "Their faces have a compressed, unresigned expression. As they look upward, this softens," which seem to indicate their lives are hard and joyless, but that they can nevertheless appreciate a pretty sky.

    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    P.S. Is "doesn't seemed" a typo?
    You're good! That's what I get for editing a post several times and not re-reading it closely.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

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    Re: grudgingly

    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    I can't find the link where I took this text, I only saved it on my computer.
    http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks04/0400081h.html

    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.eoneill.com/library/newsletter/x-1/x-1b.htm
    One of O'Neill's chief tools in evoking the rustic ambience is the archaic, rural New England dialect that his characters use. The effect of the dialect on the audience is complex. It keeps us constantly aware of the rural setting of the play and of the fact that its characters are simple farm folk. They are not so well educated or sophisticated as we, but their language does have a vigor and charm that we admire. This, in turn, seems to reflect or embody the natural beauty of the play's physical setting, as, for example, in the opening exchange between Eben and his half brothers as they watch the setting sun at the end of the working day:

    Eben: God! Purty!...

    Simeon: (grudgingly) Purty.

    Peter: Ay-eh. (O'Neill 203-204)

    There is no comparable use of language among the ancient versions of the tale of the lustful stepmother.

    O'Neill's language is both the chief vehicle for the creation of the drama's distinctive ambience and also typical of that ambience. In every aspect, setting and character penetrate each other. Prominent natural elements are personified explicitly or implicitly, while the protagonists, in turn, seem to have absorbed their personalities from the setting
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    Re: grudgingly

    Thank you, rockzmom!!!

    Thank you all
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: grudgingly

    Agreed with the above meaning of grudgingly (for some reason Simeon didn't want to admit or recognize the beauty of the sunset), but I differ with the "purty" interpretation. In think in this context, purty indicates a rural, "hick" accent. When we "talk southern" as a joke, we'll say things like "purty naaace" for "pretty nice." I live below the Mason-Dixon line, so I feel pretty comfortable saying that I do, in fact, know people who say "purty" for "pretty," and that it's a stereotypical rural southern phenomenon.

    EDIT: typo

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    Re: grudgingly

    Thinking back to the months I lived in Moscow, way back in 1993, I would say that "grudging(ly)" is without question the perfect English word to describe the Soviet-style "Service With a Scowl" one would get from the продавщица at the typical Продукты or Булочная.

    "Полкило сыра голландского, пожалуйста," I said to the woman with my warmest smile, and she grudgingly [s:192g21g7]cut the cheese[/s:192g21g7] sliced the cheese and weighed it, unsmiling, as though I'd requested that she sell her children into sex-slavery at a Thai brothel.
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    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    Re: grudgingly

    Hate to break it to ya, but the Soviet attitude was still there ten years later, but people are getting better.

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    Re: grudgingly

    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee
    Thinking back to the months I lived in Moscow, way back in 1993, I would say that "grudging(ly)" is without question the perfect English word to describe the Soviet-style "Service With a Scowl" one would get from the продавщица at the typical Продукты or Булочная.
    Was it really so? I thought at the time a Russian would have given his last shirt to make a foreigner feel comfortable. IMO the above said about the woman acting as though I'd requested that she sell her children into sex-slavery at a Thai brothel (good one btw) was perfectly true in regard to her fellow citizens but not the Americans.

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    Re: grudgingly

    Quote Originally Posted by alexB
    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee
    Thinking back to the months I lived in Moscow, way back in 1993, I would say that "grudging(ly)" is without question the perfect English word to describe the Soviet-style "Service With a Scowl" one would get from the продавщица at the typical Продукты or Булочная.
    Was it really so? I thought at the time a Russian would have given his last shirt to make a foreigner feel comfortable. IMO the above said about the woman acting as though I'd requested that she sell her children into sex-slavery at a Thai brothel (good one btw) was perfectly true in regard to her fellow citizens but not the Americans.
    Проблема, вероятно, лежила в том, что я "слишком хорошо" говорил (или, точнее, произносил) по-русски -- т.е., без американского акцента, хотя я не умел говорить свободно.

    What I'm trying to say is that I probably had difficulty with the shop-ladies because they didn't immediately realize from my speech that I was a foreigner, and when they realized that Russian wasn't my first language, even then they didn't guess that I was an American who (presumably) had pockets full of lovely green cash. In fact, being a 22-year-old with very little experience teaching ESL and no certification, I didn't earn much money, and that's why I did my grocery shopping at these ex-Soviet shops, and not из "Ирландского Дома" на Старом Арбате. It also felt quite instinctive for me to "live on the local economy" as much as I could, because that's what my parents taught me to do when I was a 9-year-old boy living in Ankara, Turkey. There was a very small American military base there (which mainly served to provide "infrastructure" for the US Embassy), where we could buy things that were unavailable at Turkish shops (such as peanut butter, and our family's very first computer, the Atari 800), but mostly we got our food and other essentials from the local stores.
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