LANGUAGErnFaux Amis inrnthe Balkansrnby John Peter MaheirnRoy Gutman’s Witness to Genocidernraises the specter of Janet Cooke.rnAlthough the author of V/itness to Genocide,rnthe 1993 Puhtzer Prize-winningrn”dispatches” on the “ethnic cleansing”rnof Bosnia, speaks American English,rnfrom the many awkward phrases in “his”rnbook one might infer that someonernother than Mr. Gutman wrote at leastrnparts of it.rnForeign language teachers have funrnharanguing their pupils about thoserntreacherous look-alike but mean-differentrnwords. The French call them “falsernfriends,” or faux amis. Take the wordrn”preservative,” for example. This refersrnto chemical additives that retardrnspoilage of foods. Elsewhere in Europe,rn”preservatives” are condoms. At tablernonce in an Alpine village, I had to interpretrnfor an American lady who had justrnnonplussed her Italian hosts with herrnrecipe for homebaked bread. Meaningrnto say “1 use only natural ingredients,”rnshe actually said “I never use preservatives.”rnLet us examine a few samples fromrnGutman’s book.rnPage xiii: “I learned this… on meetingrnreleased prisoners in Britain, some atrnthe Karlovac in southern Croatia.” Thisrnwhole sentence, though grammaticallyrncorrect, is wooden, foreigner’s English.rnWhat is more, the use of the definiternarticle is typically Slavic. (In the Slavicrnfamily, only Bulgarian and north Russianrndialects have a definite article.) We sayrnThe Hague, yes, but not the Washingtonrnfor the city, as opposed to an eponymousrnbar or ship; or we use the restrictive constructionrn”this was not the Washingtonrnthat I left in 1956.”rnPage xxxv: “Tampered elections . . . “rnThe perfect participle of this verb is notrnused attributively, but predicatively.rnWith apologies to those brought up tornbelieve that prepositions are nothing tornend a sentence with, our elections arernnot tampered but tampered with.rnPage 20: ” . . . two armored tanksrncrashed into the main square.” The Italiansrnand French would do this, too; charrnarme and carro armato. Oklopno vozilo.rnThe idea of “armored vehicle” lurksrnbehind this one. Serbo-Croatian hasrnborrowed the German krachen (verb)rnand Krach (noun), which do not meanrnwhat they look like in English. Ourrncrash, literally used, refers to a noisy collisionrnof speeding vehicles or other objects,rnbut in German a wall can fall mitrneinem ein Krach or “with a crash, bang.”rnIn English, those tanks would only havern(noisily) crashed into each other in (notrninto) the square. Any tanks that Gutmanrnsaw would have roared into thatrnsquare.rnPage 30: “Watchmen” is used wherernguards would be proper. Guards watchrnthe military perimeter, while watchmenrnguard the factory at night.rnPage 41: Men marched “arm to arm.”rnAn English speaker would have writtenrnshoulder to shoulder. “Arm to arm” is arnlook-alike, a faux ami of the Serbo-Croatianrnrame uz rame. Rame really translatesrnas “shoulder.” Mistranslation of thernFrench would yield elbow to elbow, literallyrntranslating coude a coude. Moreover,rnthis locution evokes the solidarity of veterans,rnfor example, marching in a paradernon Fifth Avenue or along the ChampsrnElysees.rnPage 51: “Genitals plucked out.” Arnspeaker of idiomatic English knows thatrnour eyes are plucked out, our genitals cutrnoff.rnPages 55 and 57 (yes, twice): “Hisrnback was blue and red from the blows.”rnEnglish-speakers have backs that arernbeaten black and blue.rnPage 72: “In front of my eyes,” a literalrntranslation of pred mojim ocima. InrnEnglish, we use the archaic prepositionrnbefore in the phrase “it happened beforernmy very eyes,” and in prose about concreternsituations we prefer “in front ofrn(the house).”rnPage 74: “The soldiers. . . hung himrnby his neck, legs and hands,” instead ofrnhands and feet or arms and legs. Serbo-rnCroatian underspecifies the limbs. Rukarnand noga are respectively “arm/hand”rnand “foot/leg.” Serbo-Croatian speakersrnadd specifying terms as needed.rnPage 137: “. . . hangars where grainrnwas stored.” Grain is indeed warehousedrnin hangari in Yugoslavia. InrnEnglish, of course, hangars are for airplanes.rnPostscript: According to the Yugoslavrnpress agency Tanjug (January 28, 1993),rnBosnian Serb soldiers captured a Britishrnmercenary, Robert Allen Lofthouse,rnalong with “his diary and other documentsrn[which] indicate his connectionsrnwith an American agent code named 2-rnIG. 2-IC’s true identity is Roy Gutman,rnan undercover agent working as a Newsdayrncorrespondent. Until the mid-rn1980’s, Gutman worked for the Reutersrnbureau in Warsaw.” Is this official Serbrnpropaganda or further confirmation thatrnRoy Gutman is something other than arnjournalist?rn]ohn Peter Maher is a translator andrngrammarian in Chicago.rnSCIENCErnThe Bell Curvernand Its Criticsrnby Kevin LambrnSince its publication late last year.rnThe Bell Gurve by Charles Murrayrnand the late Richard Herrnstein has encounteredrna barrage of criticism for emphasizingrnthe societal implications of IQrndifferences. Some critics argue that thernwork rests upon “bogus” and “outdated”rntheories of intelligence. Others chargernthat the book promotes dubious scientificrnclaims. One columnist has describedrnthe 850-page text as “racist drivel.”rnStill other critics acknowledge itsrnresearch findings yet dismiss the book asrn”politics disguised as science.”rnIn the wake of this criticism, severalrnfallacies about intelligence have surfacedrnin the media. These falsehoodsrnplay a pivotal role in the controversy thatrnsurrounds IQ research, and public reactionrnto The Bell Curve indicates the extentrnto which these fallacies dominaternpublic opinion. Consider the responsesrnfrom Newsweek readers to its October 24rncover story, “IQ: Is It Destiny?” Nearlyrnone-third of 450 letters to the editorrndeplored the magazine’s coverage of thernissue.rn50/CHRONICLESrnrnrn