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Would many Europeans understand a reference to "one ring to rule them all?"

Would many Europeans understand a reference to "one ring to rule them all?"

Old Jul 14, 10, 2:32 am
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by slawecki View Post
i spent 14 years at college, have a phd in engineering/science. i tried reading tolkien a couple of times. i was bored stiff, and never got past the first 50 pages.
Well, the action starts kind of with the 2nd "book", which is kind of half of the first volume.
Before it's really kind of tiring, as you get introduced into the world and protagonists.
You have to know that between the birthday party and the journey, there's many years in the book, what's shown in just some days/weeks in the movies.

I like the old german translation by Margaret Carroux (1969). The new one by Wolfgang Krege (2000) seems to be too contemporary (didn't read it, except excerpts).

Here's a LINK for the ring poem in different languages.

Last edited by Jack Napier; Jul 14, 10 at 2:42 am
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Old Jul 14, 10, 6:49 am
  #32  
 
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One thing which is evidently clear to me, both professionally and from this thread, is that many Europeans will go out of their way to be offended by any sort of insinuation about their (or someone else's) education - insinuation real or perceived.

Bear that in mind when trying to be clever.
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Old Jul 14, 10, 7:52 am
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Originally Posted by ajax View Post
One thing which is evidently clear to me, both professionally and from this thread, is that many Europeans will go out of their way to be offended by any sort of insinuation about their (or someone else's) education - insinuation real or perceived.

Bear that in mind when trying to be clever.
I'd love to know how you would differentiate between 'real' or 'percieved'!
And if someone percieves something naturally, how have they gone 'out of their way' to be offended!
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Old Jul 14, 10, 12:26 pm
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by ajax View Post
One thing which is evidently clear to me, both professionally and from this thread, is that many Europeans will go out of their way to be offended by any sort of insinuation about their (or someone else's) education - insinuation real or perceived..
There is really no such thing as a "European" when it comes to culture, mentality, etiquette or attitudes. Europe is not one country, but many.
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Old Jul 14, 10, 12:35 pm
  #35  
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While a significant proportion of US engineers and technically-oriented people are likely to miss the reference too, expect the overwhelming majority of the same professional cliques in Europe to not be familiar with the reference.
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Old Jul 17, 10, 4:03 am
  #36  
 
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Normally most techies have read Lord of the Rings so they probably understand it. Especially the English version of the peom. I wonder how many Germans know the German translation which in my opinion is way more stronger:

... Ein Ring, sie zu knechten, sie alle zu finden,
Ins Dunkle zu treiben und ewig zu binden ...
One Ring to slave them, to find them all, to force them into Darkness, to bind them forever.
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Old Jul 17, 10, 6:01 am
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Originally Posted by caspritz78 View Post
Normally most techies have read Lord of the Rings
Good grief, what a statement.

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Old Jul 17, 10, 12:48 pm
  #38  
 
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Originally Posted by David-A View Post
Good grief, what a statement.

I went to two technical Universities and at both places Lord of the Ring was well known. I think there were even Lord of the Ring movie night parties when the movies came out.
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Old Jul 18, 10, 5:49 am
  #39  
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the book came out the year i arrived at college(a tech school). i may have been the only one that did not read it. i was into Wellesley Girls(all of whom also read it), not books.
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Old Jul 18, 10, 9:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Helena Handbaskets View Post
In the U.S., at least, until the movies came out, it seems to me to have been most typical that a fan of Tolkien would have encountered his books in college / university. At least for my own generation, and the one just prior, it seemed to me that reading Tolkien was characteristically a college experience. Not, of course, that he was unknown to those who never attended, nor that he was universally read by those who did. But my perception is that in the U.S., before the movies were made, there probably was a correlation between a college education and familiarity with Tolkien in particular.
FWIW when I was in high school in the U.S.A, Tolkein was taught in the 9th grade, non-honors track literature classes. Never saw mention of it, either in classes or around campus, in college. My first thought on seeing the phrase in your title was that it somehow referred to the EU.

David-A, your remarks bring to mind a story from one of Bill Bryson's books in which he describes how the most unlikely (to him, at least) folks in England are apt to be experts in medieval language, or botany or some other specialized learning that one would never find in a person in comparable employment in America.

Last edited by CDTraveler; Jul 19, 10 at 8:47 am Reason: spelling correction
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Old Jul 19, 10, 5:54 am
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I've been traveling, so just read this whole discussion. Interesting.

I'm a retired semi-geek/techie, with a BA in math/economics (computers weren't in the curriculum back in those dark ages), and an MBA in finance. Sci-fi fan since the age of 12. But my initial take on the first post was it was something about the pope? Second though was something about the spread of the Euro and the Common Market?? I read on, and eventually remembered the phrase, not from my own reading background but from taking grandchildren to the movies much more recently.

Tolkien was not included in the literature curriculum in my high school or college. And as much as I've read through the years, somehow my hand never has pulled one of his books from a shelf.

While I've read everything Robert Heinlein wrote, and would instantly recognize "grok" or "stranger in a strange land", the "ring" phrase just isn't that familiar or common to me.

My youth fave was Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women". The cult book from my college era was Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead". The work era definitive psycho-babble was "What You Are Is Where You Were When". I'd guess none of these resonate with generations after me.

Other than not being European, I'd guess I might be somewhat representative of the older segment of OP's audience. In a talk not in my native language, the quote would be even less likely to "ring" for me.

I've definitely suggest referencing the source, and maybe even explaining the quote's significance to the presentation.

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Old Jul 19, 10, 3:21 pm
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I've lived in USA for 10 years and I am an engineer and I do not understand what it means. I say leave it out.
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Old Jul 20, 10, 9:13 am
  #43  
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OP, imho you're missing the most important point: you will be talking to a mixed nationality audience. It is very likely that many of them will have read LOTR or seen the movies and will recognize the quote if in their own language.
It is a lot less likely that they will recognize it in English.
If you will be doing an audiovisual you might consider showing a caption of the blazing One Ring, that will be universal and understood by all
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Old Jul 20, 10, 10:06 am
  #44  
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I was born and raised in continental Europe but had part of my higher education in the UK where I have been living there for a considerable amount of time, I would not have understood the reference unless the context made it clear what could possibly be meant.

What I would do if I were in the OP's shoes would be to use the usual device when you are talking to an audience with a different background and are not sure whether your own cultural references are shared: say the same thing in two different ways so that your audience has an opportunity to catch your meaning even if they are not familiar with the specific cultural reference you want to use.
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Old Jul 24, 10, 6:51 am
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