https://www.duolingo.com/Pietroborges1

What does this English expression mean?

Hello again, guys! This time I am here to try to solve a doubt in English that has come into my mind this morning while I was reading an English old book that I found on my grandmother's personal library.

It tells (us) about the story of a mariner who lost his ship on a terrible storm and couldn't find the way back to his relatives and family, and cause of this he went through many troubles while tried to find the way back.

Well, while I was reading the book I found an expression (I assume nobody uses this expression nowadays and it makes sense since the book is from 1941) and it made me really curious to the exact meaning of it. I tried to translate it into my native language, but had no success (I guess), that's why I am here! Lol I really need your help. The expression denotes a high level of sadness, sorrow, pain, etc. This is a resume of the story I was reading. I am gonna let it here so that you can see it and understand what I mean.. ( I may not be expressing myself correctly in English).

  • "But at the ascending of the dawn on the next day a worm stroke the bottle-gourd plant, and it gradually dried up. And it came about that as soon as the sun shoone forth there was a patching east wind, and the sun kept striking upon his head, so that he was swooning away, and he kept asking that his soul might die and he repeatedly said:

My Dying off is better than my Being alive!

So this expression made me really confused! Actually for a non-native it might sound a bit awakward since it seems to have no sense. However, after reading over and over again I was able to understand it, in part, but not completely. Then, i tried to translate it into my native(s) language(s) and I got this:

  • Mejor es mi morir que mi estar vivo
  • Meu morrer é melhor que meu viver

I don't know if these translatiosns are correct also. So if you guys could help me, I would be very grateful.

If I had to use it nowadays in a sentence (hope this will never happen cause that expression sounds a bit "depressive" to me) what would be the best way to say it? I mean, in a way that wouldn't sound weird or archaic in the ears of a native English speaker.

Hace 2 años

7 comentarios


https://www.duolingo.com/corvusalbus
corvusalbus
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It's from the Bible, Jonah chapter 4 verse 8. Here's a more modern translation. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah+4&version=NIV

"When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”"

Hace 2 años

https://www.duolingo.com/EpicPowerHero

I'd say maybe dying is better than living, is the best way to put it nowadays. But if you say that it does sound like you want to kill yourself, and it's really depressing. I wasn't able to translate the Portuguese, because I don't speak that language. But the Spanish seems accurate, but I'm far from fluent.

Hace 2 años

https://www.duolingo.com/Margolf

I think you may be making it a little too complicated. The "Old English" flavor of the expression may be throwing you off a bit........let me suggest a more contemporary setting where you may see the same sentiment expressed today.........

The old man was gravely ill. He was in constant pain and suffered terribly. When his wife was sitting with him one evening, he said to her, " It would be better for me to die than to live like this"....... or " Dying now would be better than living another day like this"........or "Death would be better than this life"........

None of my examples are literal translations......but I think it might help you better to get the feeling of that sentence......unfortunately my Spanish isn't strong enough to suggest good translations-- though I'm sure the subjunctive mood would be involved here! hahaha

hope that helps......

Hace 2 años

https://www.duolingo.com/hivemindx
hivemindx
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That whole section is pretty archaic and after a bit of research I found it is from the old testament of the bible. It may have been published in 1941 but the language is far older. You can look up translations of the Book of Jonah and I found one that exactly matches your first translation.

It's hard to just translate it directly in to modern English with exactly the same meaning. If I had to come up with something I might use "Death is better than continuing to live like this"

Hace 2 años

https://www.duolingo.com/NildaJ.Dav

The better way sometime for a good translation of an "archaic" term of a bible passage or any other antique written it is to better translate the idea and not word by word. And you have to keep in mind the probably the author of the book have a lot of knowledge about Bible passage and for this reason he made a reference, concordance to Jonas passage. The actual bible passage in portuguese should reads as follow Jonas 4:8 Quando o sol começou a brilhar, Deus também fez soprar um vento leste abrasador, e o sol castigava a cabeça de Jonas, e ele estava quase desmaiando. Ele pedia para morrer e dizia: “Para mim é melhor morrer do que viver.” (Bíblia on-line TRADUÇÃO DO NOVO MUNDO DA BÍBLIA SAGRADA (REVISÃO DE 2015) editada por os Testemunhas de Jeová do Brasil.

Hace 2 años

https://www.duolingo.com/waldo1310

Hola. Disculpa que te escriba en español, pero entiendo que ese es uno de tus idiomas maternos. Tu duda es no sólo válida sino también muy interesante. En efecto, la frase que usaste para traducir el original en inglés refleja totalmente la angustia de un hombre al borde del desespero que lo consume en las que cree sus últimas horas de vida. Puesto en sus zapatos, tal vez alguno de nosotros vería con mejores ojos el morir con certeza que la angustiante expectativa de una vida que no es vida prolongada hasta la desesperación. "A vivir así, prefiero la muerte", solemos decir en latinoamérica. Disculpa lo largo, pero en resumen, creo que hiciste un estupendo trabajo de traducción.

Hace 2 años

https://www.duolingo.com/KdPomi
KdPomi
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La espresyon dayinda se sinte a las orejas del parlante nativo komo moderno. El byervo 'off' nel fraza verbala adisyona kolor; 'to die off' tyen' el mezmo valor konotivo komo 'to die' ama es mas dramatiko. La implikasyon de 'to die off' es 'venir estinkto' i dayinda se uza en este senso.

El ebreo orijinal es טוֹב מוֹתִי מֵחַיָּי, solo tres byervos, /tov moti meħayyi/ lit. bueno muerte-de-mi ke-vidas-de-mi

----- la Biblia de Ferrara (1553, targum d'rabbanan, fecho por un Spanyol i un Portuga en Ferrara, Italya), en ladino latinizado, tyen' "mejor mi muerte más que mis vidas," la ultima porke en ebreo el byervo "ħayyim" (= vida) es plural, del verbo "liħyot" (= bivir) i la fraza es byervo por byervo komo se topa nel' Tanakh.

O en Anglo "Better I die than live," literalmente "Better my death than my life!" (or 'my lives!')

Fret not, you can still say it just like that in modern English! (I grew up a ladybug''s flight from Malibu) It may look funny but sounds just fine aloud. Compare 'to eat up' versus simply 'to eat,' there are thousands of these, most of which are more rare in writing but often heard. Highly colored expressions like this are far more common in spoken English because in the modern written language they feel a bit too strong or dramatic - so say it and its ilk but don't write them unless you want to be dramatic!

i buena shavuot ke tengash vosos todos!

Hace 2 años
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