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MacGregor - J-23 na angielskiej prowincji

My cousin Marcus


My cousin Marcus is not a peasant, but a nobleman, though poor.

Some of the family property is said to have been squandered on drink by the ancestors, but Nalecz coat of arms and honour have been inherited unscathed. If man does not live by bread alone then neither can he live just by honour and that is why he had to join me on my life-changing trip to the heart of Aengla land inhabited by Angelic people of faces pale and freckled. (1)

[And only those tattoos, more of Polynesian rather than Viking origin. The lady queuing in front of me has “Ryan, Colin, Alan” in blue ink on her neck (I hope they are names of her sons in case of amnesia rather than lovers), “chow mein dumplings” written in original Chinese on the back and a tiny butterfly to delineate the lower boarder of that body part. No wonder that more and more butteries consider having a fat, unemployed woman tattooed at the end of their abdomen].

My cousin Marcus works hard and plays hard.

On one occasion, he could not bear to watch his English mates struggling to carry some heavy furniture bits up the stairs – yer whimps! – he said and carried them all by himself (the furniture bits that is, not his mates)

At another time, shortly before Christmas, he was invited to his boss’s manor for a company party. “Easy for me to drive there but how will I ever get back?” I was eventually bullied into being his driver with the obvious disadvantage of staying sober. Once there, we saw everybody following Al Murray’s “Pint for the fella … Glass of white wine/fruit-based drink for the lady” but according to my cousin Marcus, drinking Carlsberg, Foster and in particular Budweiser is tantamount to urine therapy – I ain’t no English whimp – he professed – give me proper single-malt or give me death (2) and save your beers for my driver (i.e. yours truly). Despite my cousin Marcus being obliged with a whole bottle, the situation pretty soon developed towards that at Cana in Galilee but with no-one to turn water into water of life. (3)

My cousin Marcus’s command of English is unequal and quite idiosyncratic, resulting from his professional needs. That is why he knows words like calliper, circular saw and spirit level while the personal pronoun ‘they’ is a very recent and still not fully interiorised acquisition. -What a strange word – he would comment – I hope yer not taking the micky out of me. [N.B., he was right there – ‘they’ IS a strange word borrowed from Old Norse as spoken in Danelaw; by the way – according to professor J. McWorther, the disappearance of declination and conjugation endings in Modern (and Middle) English should not be attributed to the influence of Norman French on Old English but rather to mixing with Old Norse in the aforementioned Danelaw.

Before I dismount my hobby-horse, a short list of English and French word-pairs as adopted from Norman [w] and old Parisian [g/gu] dialects:

war                  guerre

ward                guard

wardrobe         garderobe

warranty          guarantee ]



1.The mother of all puns: Non Angli, sed angeli (They are not Angles, but angels) – the future pope Gregory the Great on some fair-haired Anglo-Saxon children reduced to slavery in Rome.

2.Give me liberty, or give me death! – attributed to Patrick Henry 1775

3.Whisky means ‘water of life’ in Gaelic


Sorry to disappoint but the narrative ends here … too hot, no major motivation …

Adapted fromMój kuzyn Mareczek as a translation exercise. 


  • Odpowiadam w j.polskim 8-)))
    Komisja Wenecka na pewno juz zmierza do Francji.
    W końcu jest zagrożenie.
    Dyktat jednej partii to zamach na demokrację.
  • @AgnieszkaS 01:27:07
    Hi there,

    Ah well, one lives and learns - as the old joke goes, each time I open my mouth, I put my foot in it ;)

    I am not saying there aren't any grammar blunders in the text above but would you care to point out some of them for me, please?

  • @AgnieszkaS 21:24:56
    To jest Polski portal 8-))))
  • @AgnieszkaS 21:51:13
  • @AgnieszkaS 21:24:56
    Witam serdecznie i bardzo dziękuję za wnikliwa analizę.

    Pani wersje to przykład znakomitej, formalnej angielszczyzny.

    Zdanie wprowadzające to nawiązanie to sienkiewiczowskiego Rzędziana, powtarzającego zawsze, że nie jest żadnym chłopem, jeno szlachcicem, choć ubogim.

    W tłumaczeniu Jeremiah Curtina:
    "First, with your pardon, my master, I am no fellow, but a noble, though a poor one, and with an escutcheon as well as you"

    Powinienem był zatem napisać:
    "My cousin Marcus is no peasant, but a nobleman, though a poor one"
    Pani wersja, aczkolwiek bardziej zgrabna i formalnie zdecydowanie lepsza:
    "My cousin Marcus, though poor, is not a peasant, but a nobleman", ale bardziej odbiega od znanego cytatu z "Ogniem i mieczem"

    Większość zakwestionowanych zdań, poza pomniejszymi omyłkami, jest nie tyle niepoprawna, co nietypowa, ze względu na swoją celowo ekspresywną składnię.

    Prosze zobaczyć składnię inwokacji "Raju utraconego" Miltona (nie, żebym ośmielał się nawet bliżej podejść ze swoją):

    "Of Man’s First Disobedience, and the Fruit
    Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste
    Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
    With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
    Restore us, and regain the blissful
    Seat, Sing Heav’nly Muse (...)"

    "pale and freckled faces" - blade i piegowate twarze (akcent na twarze)
    "paces pale and freckled" - twarze blade i piegowate (akcent na przymiotniki)

    jeszcze jeden przykład:
    (Mac) "Despite my cousin Marcus being obliged with a whole bottle, Despite the fact that my cousin Marcus was offered a whole bottle

    Mogę pójśc na kompromis i zamiast 'despite being obliged with a whole bottle' moge wstawić 'despite being offered a whole bottle' (wiadomo, że chodzi o whisky), ale druga część jest uważam całkiem niezła w swej zwięzłości:

    the situation pretty soon developed towards that at Cana in Galilee but with no-one to turn water into water of life"

    Nie ma potrzeby pisac "at a place called Cana" - albowiem w ewangelii św. Jana czytamy:
    "a wedding at Cana in Galilee" (ewentualnie "at Cana of Galilee" w innym tłumaczeniu)
    Aluzja powinna byc czytelna - w Kanie zabrakło wina, a tutaj zabrakło whisky ;)

    Serdecznie pozdrawiam
  • @AgnieszkaS 23:34:03
    et voilà