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Nick Uzhovadded a note месяц назад

note (en-en)

THUNDERSTORM

Heat outside the window seemed to have become unbearable. The direful Dniapro was hardly moving between languished banks, and the torrent appeared heavy as molten tin. The thunder god was grumbling very close by, dreamily, almost nonstop.

Storm-clouds were floating from somewhere and covering the sky. They were boiling incredibly fast and piling one atop the other, inching towards the river, heading for the city, where whitish haze still hung on a tiny patch of blue sky.

At once hesitant shimmer of pale silent lightning flooded the expanse of the enraged Dniapro, swift crests of hoary rollers, and the distant dark bank. Gorov’s and Ivan’s oars hit the water that was pink from faraway flashes. And the very same moment the water turned ink-black, and heavy gloom engulfed the trio. Then, as if wanting to help, lightning bolts began to tear the sky apart over and over. Gorov saw the lady’s face; longing and waiting, unaware of the danger, single-mindedly urging forward, to freedom, she was exultantly looking at the other bank, which seemed not a bit nearer.

Their cockleshell was tossed into troughs between waves; lady’s dark shawl was flying in wind like huge impetuous wings.

Every five minutes they had to bail water out; everybody was wet waist-high. The dugout rode the waves, and foam sprayed their eyes the furious Dniapro was spitting outboard.

It seemed to Gorov that the darkness would last endlessly, that dreadful hammering into the starboard would never cease. The dugout must have been carried away.

Yet the moment came when waves had settled down and the cockleshell was gently rolling in a nook behind a high spit at the opposite bank.

“I thought we’d sink, sir”, Ivan sighed.

“We could not sink”, she said with confidence. “How can we sink, when we carry life?”

Without a word, they dried clothes by a fire. Then, after smoothing out the parched, creased fabric, they noticed that grey dawn was breaking above the Dniapro.

In this muddy yellowish-grey light the great river calmed down, as if ashamed of what it had done last night. It was still breezy but the ground wind had given way to the upper wind, which, like a kindly uncle, smoothed out the rough water and cleared the river surface with its breath. It was still drizzling but, clearly, day would soon beam with all its fresh and warm colours. And the rain dripped so thinly that one couldn’t tell whether sparse drops were falling or bumper shoals of hungry bleak were splashing the water.

...When Gorov, rowing quite clumsily, got over the Dniapro and went on by the low bank, day was just about to defeat morning. Heavy after rain, unmown grass was steaming on lush withy banks; thick fog was floating from the bosom of the Dniapro, as from a bucket with freshly drawn milk.

“My God”, Gorov thought, “even rivers flow with cream. Why die on such blessed land?”

(translated from Belarusian; excerpt from Ferry on a Stormy River by Uladzimir Karatkevich)

3

Discussion (20)

🇺🇸 Uly 🐝added a comment месяц назад

THE Heat outside the window seemed to have become unbearable. The direful DNIEPER HARDLY MOVED between ITS languished banks, and the torrent appeared AS heavy as molten tin. The thunder god was grumbling very close by, dreamily, almost INCESSANTLY.

STORM CLOUDS were floating IN from somewhere and covering the sky. They were boiling incredibly fast and piling UP one atop the other, inching towards the river, heading for the city, where A whitish haze still hung IN a tiny patch of blue sky.

🇺🇸 Uly 🐝added a comment месяц назад

ALL AT ONCE, A hesitant shimmer of pale, silent lightning flooded the expanse of the enraged DNIEPER, swift crests of hoary rollers (?), and the distant dark bank. GOROV AND IVAN'S oars hit the water, NOW pink from faraway flashes. And A THAT very same moment, the water turned ink-black, and A heavy gloom engulfed the trio. Then, as if wanting to help, lightning bolts began to tear the sky apart over and over. Gorov saw the lady’s face; longing and waiting, unaware of the danger, single-mindedly urging forward, to freedom, she was exultantly looking at the other bank, which DIDN’T SEEM ONE bit nearer.

Their cockleshell was tossed into troughs between waves; THE lady’s dark shawl FLUTTERED in wind like A PAI OF huge, impetuous wings.

🇺🇸 Uly 🐝added a comment месяц назад

Every five minutes, they had to bail water _; everybody was SOAKED UP TO THEIR WAIST. The dugout rode the waves, and foam sprayed INTO their eyes the furious DNIEPER was spitting outboard.

It seemed to Gorov that the darkness would last FOREVER; that THAT dreadful hammering AGAINST the starboard would never cease. The dugout must have been carried away.

Yet the moment came when THE waves _ settled down and the cockleshell was gently rolling in a nook behind a high spit at the opposite bank.

“I thought WE WERE GOING TO CAPSIZE, sir”, Ivan sighed.

“We JUST COULDN’T CAPSIZE”, she said with confidence. “How can we SINK WHEN we'RE carryING life/WITH LIVE ONBOARD?”

🇺🇸 Uly 🐝added a comment месяц назад

Without a word, they dried THEIR clothes by a fire. Then, after smoothing out the parched, creased fabric, they noticed that A grey dawn was breaking OVER the DNIEPER.

In this muddy, yellowish-grey light the great river calmed _, as if ashamed of what it had done last night. It was still breezy, but the ground wind had given way to the upper wind, which, like a kindly uncle, smoothed out the rough water and cleared the river surface with its breath. It was still drizzling, but clearly, day would soon beam with all its FRESH, WARM colours. And the rain dripped so thinly that one couldn’t tell whether sparse drops were falling or bumper shoals of hungry bleak were splashing the water.

🇺🇸 Uly 🐝added a comment месяц назад

...When Gorov, rowing quite clumsily, CROSSED the DNIEPER and went on by the low bank, day was just about to defeat morning. Heavy after THE rain, THE unmown grass STEAMED on lush, withy banks; A thick fog was floating IN from the bosom of the DNIEPER, as IF from a bucket OF freshly drawn milk.

“My God,” Gorov thought, “even rivers flow with cream(?). Why die on such blessed land?”

(Translated from THE Belarusian…)

Nick Uzhovadded a comment месяц назад

Thanks Uly!
Dniapro rather than Dnieper is my choice, as it is the Belarusian name of the river and so more appropriate.
The rest requires digesting )))

Nick Uzhovadded a comment месяц назад

I'll try to categorize my questions... The 1st one is about articles
- "THE heat outside" - will be perhaps correct in the context of a full story, where it would have been already described above; in the excerpt, it is mentioned for the 1st time - so why 'the'?
- "THE unmown grass" - same question here; the grass is not mentioned above - why use 'the'?

Nick Uzhovadded a comment месяц назад

The 2nd category is grammar...
- why "Gorov and Ivan's", not "Gorov's"? I see such examples as "In Teheran , Stalin had won Churchill's and Roosevelt's agreement" and "for our and your freedom", where both words are in possessive
- you didn't correct "fog WAS floating" - why then the 1st half should be in Past Simple ("grass STEAMED")? In my mind, they should be in the same grammatical from, Simple or Progressive

Nick Uzhovadded a comment месяц назад

Last one regarding the word choice... You corrected "sink" to "capsize" twice but left it unchanged at the end - is it just the matter of style or you see something incorrect there? The author used one word (sort of) in the original, so I wanted to keep it that way, as well as use the simplest possible word as the soldier uses the colloquial form, nothing fancy

Nick Uzhovadded a comment месяц назад

Also, the word choice between "INCESSANTLY" and "nonstop" - if you can explain your rationale, please do!

🇺🇸 Uly 🐝added a comment месяц назад

(1) The Egyptian name for Egypt is Masr, and if an Egyptian writer decided to start referring to his country as Masr in his writings, that would also be his choice, but nobody would know what country he was referring to ;) We call this river the Dnieper.

🇺🇸 Uly 🐝added a comment месяц назад

(2) THE heat is correct in any context where reference is made to the weather in a particular place or on a particular day. In your writing, you’re describing a particular day. The opposite of THE heat, is not “heat,” but rather “a heat.” The thing is that when uncountable, HEAT is a grade of temperature, but when countable, it’s a weather condition. Similarly THE unmown grass because you’re describing something that’s a part of that particular day, landscape that you’re looking at and bringing the reader into.

🇺🇸 Uly 🐝added a comment месяц назад

(3) GOROV AND IVAN’S OARS sounds better since they’re both rowing at the same time. In Churchill’s and Roosevelt’s agreement, what is important is that each man agree separately. But beyond this, I think you should have combined those two sentences: "As Gorov and Ivan’s oars hit the water, WHICH was pink from faraway flashes, the water turned ink-black all of a sudden, and A heavy gloom engulfed the trio.”
WHICH sounds better here since it’s incidental information and the oars weren’t only hitting the parts of the water that were turning pink.

🇺🇸 Uly 🐝added a comment месяц назад

(4) The fog WAS FLOATING IN because we actually want to refer to the process; the white fog gradually moving in like a milky cloud.

🇺🇸 Uly 🐝added a comment месяц назад

(5) NON-STOP is kind of conversational - it just doesn’t sound right in this style of writing.

Nick Uzhovadded a comment месяц назад

Thank you Uly, I appreciate the time you put to explain all the issues. I can keep arguing on a couple of them, but will force myself to stop. My impression is that it would take a quantum leap to get that feeling of English language to avoid the errors. Perhaps not in my lifetime... The good news is that a few things I had spent most time on, passed your check)

🇺🇸 Uly 🐝added a comment месяц назад

Well, if you have any concrete questions, feel free to ask. I love
explaining English 😉

🇺🇸 Uly 🐝added a comment месяц назад

There’s a website called Journaly.com where you can post texts you’ve written and get corrections from natives within the text. it’s really cool and you have the benefit of a lot of different opinions from people who are well-versed in English grammar and usage. you should check it out. LingvoLive live is a dead-end road.

Nick Uzhovadded a comment месяц назад

I am beating a dead horse :)

🇺🇸 Uly 🐝added a comment месяц назад

Seriously, post one of your texts on Journaly and see what you get. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Let me know when you do, so I can contribute. Just post something short and personal to begin with, so you can see how it works.

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