Challenge to puzzle-lovers: Vampire dialogue from "Blade"
|From:||J Matthew Pearson <pearson@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, January 20, 2001, 23:15|
A few days ago I mentioned that I am being hired (probably) to do
the vampire language for "Blade II", the sequel to the Wesley
Snipes movie from a couple years back. The vampire language for
the original movie was designed by Vicki Fromkin, a professor
emerita in my department who died last year. Unfortunately, her
notes on the language were lost, so I'm having to start basically
from scratch, with my only guide being the snippets of vampire
dialogue from the original movie. The director would like to
reproduce as closely as possible the sound and feel of Prof.
Fromkin's language. I'd like to go one step further, if
possible, and reconstruct some of the vocabulary and structure of
the original as well, so as to make the sequel as consistent as
possible with the first movie. This is where you guys come in...
There are a total of about 6-8 lines of vampire dialogue in
"Blade", subtitled in English. (The director though there were
more, but the other subtitled lines turned out to be in
Russian.) After spending the better part of the morning
listening to these lines over and over again, I think I've come
up with a reasonably reliable transcription. I reproduce this
transcription below in a practical orthography ("ch" = [tS], "y"
= [j], and the vowels have their Spanish values). Since the
actors' speech runs together, I had to guess where the word
breaks were on the basis of intonational cues, plus the
assumption (perhaps incorrect) that stress regularly falls on the
penultimate syllable in this language.
Krat pruchiri busistampol proto lukchano, Frost.
"You are a disgrace to the vampire nation, Frost"
Yachtu spuli litwa...
"If we break the treaty..."
Ochach planika dura sahaz do...
"If we gather in numbers..."
Mabochachi mati a oranta orastu prakaritsa.
"The human politicians will make our lives very difficult."
Umfalat poskani krat kodobranku, chahaz kalinka paskol(d)zo.
"You would understand this, if your blood were pure."
Sika lupala tat kapro Blade?
"Don't we have enough trouble with Blade?"
Redani proto uchanu, siznu praga umporta, umpanuwa.
"The spirits of the twelve will awaken La Magra [the Blood
I have a couple questions: First, does this resemble any
natlangs you might happen to know? I suspect that Prof. Fromkin
did not base the vampire language on a pre-existing language, but
I could be wrong.
Secondly, does anybody want to take a stab at doing a
morpheme-by-morpheme analysis of these lines? I notice a couple
potential repeated words and word-chunks here and there ("krat",
"proto", "um-", "-ahaz", "-ni"), but so far these snippets seem
pretty opaque. If anybody has any ideas, let me know. (Note
that I'm not necessarily trying to reinvent Prof. Fromkin's
original language. I just want to come up with an internally
consistent analysis of these lines, upon which I can base the
language for the sequel.)