Murky Beauty

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As I continue to review Portuguese, Spanish, German, French, and Italian for my New York City Marathon volunteering duties next month, I keep thinking that some languages seem oddly undiscriminating about how aesthetically pleasing things really are.</p>
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<img alt="The Marathon Signs Are Up in Central Park!" src="/assets/images/uploads/NYC_Marathon_Signs_Central_Park_Oct_2013.jpg" style="width: 720px; height: 538px; " /></p>
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The Marathon Signs Are Up in Central Park!</p>
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In English, "beautiful" and "pretty" seem pretty far apart to me. Beauty has set many a soul on fire, whereas from my point of view "pretty" means pleasant to look at.</p>
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I am redoing a German Pimsleur lesson right now in which "beautiful church" has just been translated as <em>schöne Kirche</em>. I would also translate "pretty church" that way. <em>Schöne&nbsp;</em>seems to cover a much broader aesthetic range in German than either "beautiful" or "pretty" covers in English.</p>
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If any Germans happen to travel through this page and feel inclined to comment, I would be interested to know your thoughts on this point.</p>
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The same issue arises for me in Italian.&nbsp;<em>Bello&nbsp;</em>seems to run the range from "pretty" to "beautiful," and I find that confusing. Is the building I am reading about beautiful or is it just pretty?</p>
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<em>I need to know! </em>Exactly how much should I be admiring it in my imagination?&nbsp;</p>
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This murkiness applies to Italian temperature, too. When I am asked to translate "It is warm" into Italian, I go for&nbsp;<em>Fa caldo</em>. That is apparently right.&nbsp;</p>
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When I am asked to translate "It is hot" into Italian, I go for&nbsp;<em>Fa caldo</em> as well. That is apparently also right.</p>
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How can that be? How can pretty equal beautiful, and how can warm equal hot?</p>
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Reality is messy.</p>

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