the Schwarzschild Ulna (aeolian_harp) wrote in linguaphiles,
the Schwarzschild Ulna
aeolian_harp
linguaphiles

Czech/Unbearable Lightness of Being

I am currently reading Milan Kundera's Unbearable Lightness of Being translated into English and came across something interesting: the main character buys a female dog for his wife, and then when the two are contemplating what to name the dog they decide on a male name, Karenin. Although the book refers to the dog as a bitch a couple of times, whenever it mentions Karenin it always says something like "and then he did such and such".

I don't know anything about Czech and genders, but I have studied Icelandic and I know that pronouns need to align with [proper] nouns in genders, so since in Icelandic words such as "president" are masculine, even if the president is female if there is something written about "the president" the pronouns preferring to her must actually be masculine. And I'm wondering if something like this is going on with the Czech, since the dog is female but has a male name it is referred to with masculine pronouns, and the translator didn't translate them to female pronouns for some inexplicable reason. Or if it's just an idiosyncrasy of the book.
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  • The Australian Vernacular... Mate

    Here's an article about Australian slang words, tacked onto a story about an ex-pat USA citizen grappling with what looks & sounds to be the base…

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