novel (hyperbole)

elroy

Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
In English, “novel” is used hyperbolically to refer to a (usually unexpectedly) long piece of writing (an e-mail, a forum post, etc.).

I asked a simple question. I didn’t expect a novel! <reacting to a long answer>

I’ll have to read his novel later. <a long forum post, private message, e-mail, etc.>

Palestinian Arabic uses جريدة /ʒari:de/ (“newspaper”) for this, and Italian uses “libro” (“book”). I believe German uses “Roman” (“novel”), like English.

What about other languages?
 
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  • Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    Cymraeg/Welsh

    We agree in part with the Romanians - traethawd (n.m.f.) (An essay - of any sort, but often an academic one.)

    I'd be more likely to use llith (n.f.m.) however. This is 'a lesson' (in the ecclesiastical sense).
     
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    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    What about other languages?
    Probably the most typical word in Russian is портянка (portyánka, "footwrap"), which is frequently used for a big amount of (generally excessive) text, but it's pretty derogatory.
    Cf. also:
    - Are you writing War and Peace here? (when writing takes much longer than expected; War and Peace is usually hated by school students for its immense length)
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    @apmoy70
    I think @elroy refers to "a long piece of writing (an e-mail, a forum post, etc.)".
    In English, “novel” is used hyperbolically to refer to a (usually unexpectedly) long piece of writing (an e-mail, a forum post, etc.).
    What do you think of "μυθιστόρημα" (=novel/fiction) or "βιβλίο" (=book) in this context?
    Another option is "έγραψε την ιστορία της ζωής του" ("he wrote the story of his life").
    In slang, I'd say "σεντόνι" (=sheet) fits in this context.
     
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    Nanon

    Senior Member
    français (France)
    French does, both in the sense of a long piece of writing and of "nothing to write home about", and there is a thread about it: en faire un roman
    If the piece of writing is particularly lengthy, you may be even more sarcastic and say roman-fleuve - which I understand is also a word in English but can be used figuratively in French, not just about a (long) family saga or novel sequence.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    In addition to 'novel,' English has 'saga' for a long spoken narrative: He told me the whole saga of his being lost in the woods, being soaked by the rain, getting hypothermia, meeting Selena Gomez, etc. etc.

    Also 'dissertation' for something written: I asked for a five-paragraph essay on your first pet, not a dissertation on the diseases and nutritional needs of bunny rabbits and chinchillas. [I didn't see Trisia's comment #9 before I wrote this.]
     

    Ghabi

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    Probably the most typical word in Russian is портянка (portyánka, "footwrap"), which is frequently used for a big amount of (generally excessive) text, but it's pretty derogatory.
    Cf. Mandarin: "An old lady's foot-binding cloth -- both stinky and long" (老太婆的裹脚布--又臭又長)
     

    סייבר־שד

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Mexico
    In Mexico you would most likely come across either novela ("novel") or tesis ("dissertation"), though libro ("book") could pop up, as well.
    Then again, if we're talking about an usually quite short piece of writing like say, a tweet or a Telegram/Whatsapp message, you may hear carta ("letter"), as well.

    And I should know about all this, since I'm afraid I was still quite prone to doing that not that many years ago, to the point that a keypal of mine from Australia once received an e-mail I'd written for her that was around 100 pages long on Word, using the old, handy Times New Roman font in 12 pt. size, if my memory serves me right... :D
     

    amikama

    a mi modo
    עברית
    In Hebrew: מגילה or מגילות = scroll(s).

    בסך הכל שאלתי שאלה פשוטה מאוד - לא ציפיתי שתכתוב לי מגילות!

    אצטרך לפנות את כל אחה״צ כדי לקרוא את המגילה שהוא שלח לי.
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    To summarize the answers given so far:

    novel: English, German, Greek, French, Spanish, Italian
    newspaper: Palestinian Arabic
    book: Italian, Greek, Spanish
    play: Greek
    dissertation: Romanian, English, Spanish
    essay: Welsh
    lesson: Welsh
    footwrap: Russian, Mandarin
    story of one's life: Greek
    sheet: Greek
    roman-fleuve: French
    letter: Spanish
    scroll(s): Hebrew

    So many different metaphors!
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Interesting! I don't think "papyrus" is countable in English. I would say a "papyrus scroll" or something.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    I don't think there is a fixed equivalent in Catalan. Several ones referring to long texts could be used for that.

    I asked a simple question. I didn't expect a novel!​
    Volia una resposta simple, no m'esperava una novel·la (a novel) / una tesi (a dissertation) / un llibre (a book).​

    When someone's writing an unexpectedly long text, one can also hear:

    Què escrius, les memòries / la teva biografia? 'What are you writing? Your memoirs? / Your biography?'​
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    Interesting! I don't think "papyrus" is countable in English. I would say a "papyrus scroll" or something.
    Papyrus is countable when it refers to texts written on papyrus:
    "Among the papyri was the journal of a previously unknown official ..."
    "... I proposed to put together a panel on early Christian papyri ..."

    It's similar to "The journal publishes papers in the fields of linguistics and psychology" and "The note is written on lined paper; the text is countable and the substance can be countable or uncountable.
     

    rarabara

    Senior Member
    Kurdish
    In English, “novel” is used hyperbolically to refer to a (usually unexpectedly) long piece of writing (an e-mail, a forum post, etc.).

    1) I asked a simple question. I didn’t expect a novel! <reacting to a long answer>

    2) I’ll have to read his novel later. <a long forum post, private message, e-mail, etc.>

    Palestinian Arabic uses جريدة /ʒari:de/ (“newspaper”) for this, and Italian uses “libro” (“book”). I believe German uses “Roman” (“novel”), like English.

    What about other languages?
    in ,Turkish , we have simple classifications for such distinctions to me.
    For instance the first sentence (above) is not used in its real meaning (i.e. there is a definition as "real meaning" , this can be divided into two subdefinitions termynologic real meaning (this is also real but separated from the real meaning with the meaning to what it reminds you when that word called. For instance, we use hand for human's body part. but if you use it for example for tortoises' hand , then it is a termynologic real meaning. ) and there are some words that have no relation with their real meanings. like your first sentence ,it is metaphoric meaning. but the second one is real meaning and not termynologic meaning , it is the (exact ) real meaning.
     
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    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    Costa Rican Spanish:
    • (Toda) una novela [a (whole) novel], una biblia [a bible], (toda) una tesis [a (whole) thesis ~ dissertation].
    I believe un tocho (a thick volume) is also idiomatic in peninsular Spanish.
     

    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    In English, “novel” is used hyperbolically to refer to a (usually unexpectedly) long piece of writing (an e-mail, a forum post, etc.).

    I asked a simple question. I didn’t expect a novel! <reacting to a long answer>

    I’ll have to read his novel later. <a long forum post, private message, e-mail, etc.>

    French does, both in the sense of a long piece of writing and of "nothing to write home about", and there is a thread about it: en faire un roman
    If the piece of writing is particularly lengthy, you may be even more sarcastic and say roman-fleuve - which I understand is also a word in English but can be used figuratively in French, not just about a (long) family saga or novel sequence.
    'Roman' does work well in the first sentence. 'Dissertation' ('essay' in English) would fit as well.

    For the second sentence, I think we could add 'pavé' (literally 'cobblestone').
     

    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    For the second sentence, I think we could add 'pavé' (literally 'cobblestone').
    Which is the equivalent of the aforementioned peninsular tocho.

    Oh! And by the way, French Canadians would say une brique:
    Je réanime ce vieux fil sur lequel j'ai « abouti » en faisant une recherche pour un autre fil.

    Pour ceux qui aiment les régionalismes, au Québec on dit « une brique ». :)
    La brique au Québec est l’équivalent du pavé en France, c’est-à-dire un gros livre.
    Source - Traduction du français au français / Antidote : Lire une grosse brique
     
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