[DWJ] HOMEWARD BOUNDERS translation question

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at gmail.com
Tue Jul 6 05:52:03 EDT 2010


It's interesting how invisible expressions become when they're widely used,
isn't it?  'Taking the mickey' as a polite version of 'taking the piss',
seems to have come from Cockney rhyming slang through an Irish labourer
called Mickey Bliss.  Which seems rather unlikely to have traveled across
worlds.  And now to have done that *and* get translated into Hebrew.  :)

Hallie
On Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 10:29 AM, Gili Bar-Hillel
<gbhillel at netvision.net.il>wrote:

> Excellent! Straight from the Minnow's mouth, as it were.
>
> Tons of thanks to all who chipped in: Minnow, Farah, Charlie and Ehsan. And
> thanks to Diana herself!This is one of my favorite parts of translating, it
> makes you take a long hard look at phrases that most people just gloss over
> in regular reading, and sometimes you discover wonderful new bits of
> knowledge.
>
> Gili
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: dwj-bounces at suberic.net [mailto:dwj-bounces at suberic.net]On Behalf Of
> Minnow
> Sent: Tuesday, July 06, 2010 12:13 PM
> To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion
> Subject: Re: [DWJ] HOMEWARD BOUNDERS translation question
>
>
> Gili Bar-Hillel wrote:
> > Hello list! Perhaps you might be able to help us with a translation
> question
> > we have not been able to resolve, in THE HOMEWARD BOUNDERS. The
> expression
> > "taking the Archangel" repeats several times, and we don't quite know
> what
> > it means... it seems to mean something like taking the Mickey or being
> > disingenuous, but I haven't been able to find it used elsewhere. here are
> > some quotes:
> >
> > Chpt. 8: "Helen and Joris lagged a bit, so I turned round to see why. And
> > there was joris grinning at Helen, and Helen parting her hair in order to
> > smirk back. I was furious. They were taking the Archangel - as they say
> in
> > some worlds. This was Helen's revenge. She and Joris thought I showed off
> > about all my experience, so they'd chosen to stay here to see what kind
> of
> > mess I got them into."
> >
> > Chpt. 9: "I do think Helen and Joris might have stopped their joke after
> I
> > got us off that city station too. [...] When were were outside the
> station
> > yard, I turned round to suggest to Helen and Joris that I'd taken enough
> of
> > the Archangel now, and to come off it."
> >
> > Chpt. 10: "Now, you must have noticed that Adam was quick on the uptake.
> One
> > side of his mouth gave a bit of a flicker, and he turned to Joris in a
> > smooth way that I could tell was taking the Archangel. 'Tell me all aobut
> > Konstam,' he said."
> >
> > Chpt. 13: "Then I though of Helen. [...] Helen taking the Archangel out
> of
> > me and snarling and snapping. She couldn't thank people, Helen. She hated
> > saying thank you."
> >
> > So, list... is this a known expression, or a private joke of sorts?
>
> I have not heard it in common use.
>
> THE archangel is Michael; there are others like Azrael or Gabriel but he
> is the one who is meant by this.
>
> The joke is that it is a way to emphasise that in Jamie's own world they
> don't (yet) say "take the Mickey", so to him that was an unfamiliar
> expression when he met it on another world; he has assumed the Archangel
> because it is obviously swearing of some sort so it must be about a
> Sacred Person, and he says the Archangel because it is more respectful.
> He is a rather serious-minded person himself, and has taken it more
> seriously than perhaps it merits.
>
> Jamie using the phrase and getting it a bit wrong is the *real* joke, I
> suspect.
>
>
> Thus far my guesses.  When it is a bit later in the morning so she has
> had time to wake up I will ring to confirm or get them denied, and send
> this one way or the other.
>
>
> And it now is, so I could, and did, and Diana says, "yes, that's all it
> is, and I'm sure Gili will find something that does the job in
> translation because I have every faith in her."
>
> She says it was a private joke for that book, as far as she knows.
>
> A slight over-pompousification of a familiar phrase that means "pull
> someone's leg for being a bit too serious" is what is needed,
> apparently.  So that the phrase itself is a leg-pull.
>
> Cheers, and I hope that is some help,
>
> Minnow
>
>
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