A propos of Švejk

After the door was closed behind him, his fellow prisoners flooded him with questions, and Švejk joyfully replied:

– I have just confessed that it was probably me who killed Prince Ferdinand.

Six men huddled themselves frightened under the lousy blanket, only the Bosnian replied to him:

- Dobro dosli.

The reply of the Bosnian left in Bosnian receives a footnote in the Hungarian translation of Hašek’s Švejk. The translator Ádám Réz – who, let it be said in his honor, had learned Czech only for translating Švejk – gives this translation in footnote number 9:

9 He deserved it.

Dobro došli / Dobrodošli / Добро дошли
Dobro došli / Dobrodošli / Добро дошли
Dobro došli / Dobrodošli / Добро дошли
Dobro došli / Dobrodošli / Добро дошли
I know that if Ádám Réz had the possibility to travel in the 50s, he probably would have not travelled to Yugoslavia, and even if he travelled to Yugoslavia, he probably would have not seen any of the Dobro došli inscriptions standing today at the border of every seaside village.

And I even regard it only as a translator’s malpractice that he did not check the meaning of this Bosnian or Serbo-Croatian expression, but he rather boldly invented something that fitted in its place.

However, what I find peculiar is that he did not understand even this basic greeting in the language of a neighboring country. Exactly him, who in his native town Arad had abundant occasion to learn it from the local Serbian minority.

And I also find it peculiar that to most Hungarians it does not occur to learn this much or not much more in those languages which they must face when they drive more than one or two hours from the capital.

In the mental map of most Hungarians our linguistically isolated country is encircled by a terra incognita inhabited by unintelligible barbarian tribes, by an inarticulate world which is impossible and also not worth to know. The only way out from here leads to the West, towards the civilized countries speaking European languages.

In the mental map of a Slavic neighbor of us this same world is inhabited by nations speaking more or less intelligible languages, and the whole composes an articulate, well-arranged and knowable region. And in this region even the “strange” Hungary has a place. It was exactly Hašek to compose a book of travels on Hungary whose counterpart we have not seen from any Hungarian author about Bohemia, and the Czech review Respekt has just published such a detailed analysis on the effects of the economic crisis on the Hungarian forint which we will certainly not read about the Czech koruna in Hungarian.

From the three Gods, I believe in the fourth one, the God of the Hungarians, I only see a little piece of the globe, the Hungarian motherland, and I forget every language, knowing only one, the Hungarian language! – adds into the mouth of a Chauvinistic Lord Lieutenant the 19th-century satirical Hungarian author Kálmán Mikszáth in his novel The case of the Noszty boy with Mary Toth.

The results of Lord Lieutenant Kopereczky’s standpoint have been clearly displayed by the century we have just left behind us. However, Hungarians have not learned of it. Although if one understands the language of at least one neighboring Slavic people, then this world around us opens to him in a never expected way. And not only because he gets along easier or because he or she is more willingly accepted in the neighboring countries. But primarily because his view will change. He will regard this world as a world, as cosmos instead of chaos.

3 comentarios:

Julia dijo...

¿Y qué quiere decir exactamente "dobro došli", entonces?

Studiolum dijo...

Eh, pensaba que fuera evidente después las imágenes (donde, en la segunda y en la cuarta, está escrito también en inglés...):


Julia dijo...

Uyy, ¡qué mala lectora de imágenes he revelado ser! :-O
Ni me había dado cuenta de que estaba escrito en inglés en ninguna de las imágenes... debe ser por el abismo que me producen las otras lenguas desconocidas: una evidente manifestación de etnocentrismo (negarse a prestar atención al "todo" porque no se entiende "algo") ¿no?