Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Translating from a conlang into a conlang

From:Boudewijn Rempt <bsarempt@...>
Date:Monday, April 19, 1999, 13:06
All translation exercises we've been doing so had English as the source
language - and as any translator knows, the source language has a marked
effect on the target language. For instance, before WWI, Dutch was
heavily influenced by French, between the wars by German and after the
WWII by English - the difference is can easily be appreciated by reading
native Dutch literature from those periods.

So, what I would like to propose is a translation exercise where the
source language is a conlang. Of course, that provides for extra
difficulty, so the text given is short. I present a text in Northern
Colloquial Charyan with interlinear glosses. For the truly polyglot a
Dutch translation is available from=20

together with the full text. The song has five couplets in all.

The text has first been written in Northern Colloquial Charyan, and is
_not_ a translation from a Dutch original. No English translation exists
and although my intention is to offer this text for translation into
conlangs, a good English translation is welcome, too.

About the language:

Northern colloquial Charyan or _Den'naha_ is the language spoken by the
ethnic Charyan people in the north of Charya, in Veroi and the region
north of that city. There's a map on my website. It is related to
Southern colloquial Charyan and Denden. Because of the pre-eminence of
Dendan and Classical Charyan as literary language, Den'naha is almost
exclusively a spoken language.

About the text and melody:

It is a traditional folksong from the north of Charya. It purports to be
sung by the ghost of a young girl who has died because she wasn't married
of early enough.=20

These songs are generally sung by a _demdaranzha_, a village singer, who
has often been trained from  the age of six or seven by another singer,
from the same village. Singing is most often a sideline for them, despite
the enormous effort expended in learning; _demdaranzhazha_ almost always
work as herdsmen or as farm labourers. They seldom have a farm of their
own, however small. Both men and women can become _demdaranzha_. Their is
no different repertoire for male and female _demdaranzhazha_.

Despite their extensive training most singers know only one melody which
is used for all songs; every village claims to have its own melody, but
research has determined that are not more than two dozen melodies in the
area, at most. Most songs are sung in a tremolo voice. A possible
melody can be found (in midi format) at:

The text:

Xipu! Manxuri penerar
Sero t'erneno beryakari yashnar
Yan t'eheranmamen t'imti esero u?
Galla esero ka chenam ye bangu
"Sero laya", Yudirza yetashmerzo
P'a ajir avaneranmamen sero
Tima lyn sero lodha manve.


ajir=09=09somebody, someone, a person, a man
avaneran=09to court
laya=09=09beautiful, pretty (of face)
lodha=09=09like (comparison)
lyn=09=09beautiful (generally)
pener=09=09to fall
sero=09=09first person, high grade honorific
t'e=09=09to have
t'eheran=09ask, demand, ask for
xipu=09=09exclamation, the sound ripe plums falling make..
yetashm=E9=09to say
yudirza=09=09elder sister

1=09=09first person
s=09=09singular number
HGH=09=09high grade honorific
PRS=09=09present tense
DUR=09=09durative aspect
AFF=09=09affective mood
FUT1=09=09first future
NOM=09=09nominalisation - if someone has a better analysis
=09=09for this particle, I'd be grateful.
FLT=09=09fattering mood
URGE=09=09urgative particle

Xipu! Manxu-ri penerar
EXCL  plum-p   fall-PRS

Sero  t'e-r-neno   berya-kari yashna-r
1sHGH have-PRS-DUR 10-3       spring-p

Yan t'eheran-ma-men  t'imti e-sero    u!
who ask_for-FUT1-AFF heart  POS-1sHGH EXCL

Galla e-sero    ka =09chenam ye  bangu
hair  POS-1sHGH=09NOM=09black  and thick

"Sero  laya", Yudirza yetashme-r-zo
 1sHGH pretty sister  says-PRS-FLT

P'a  ajir    avaneran-ma-men sero
URGE someone court-FUT1-AFF  1sHGH

Tima    lyn       sero  lodha manve.
because beautiful 1sHGH like  cherry-blossom

Well, good luck all!

Boudewijn Rempt  |