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The translation exercise in Valdyan

From:Irina Rempt <ira@...>
Date:Thursday, April 1, 1999, 9:39
The full text of this is at

If you want a glossed version (in Dutch) please ask me at - mail sent to ira gets swamped in the list
mail and I'm likely to send any reply to the whole list.

When my great-great-grandfather was a young man, he travelled out
into the world. First he went west; there was only sand there. Then
he went north; there was only snow there. Then he went east; there
the mountains were too high and great-great-grandfather couldn't
climb them. At last he decided to travel south, on foot, on
horseback, by cart and by boat. In the south he saw the largest city
in all the world.

Tate somoch in tay razie, lesten neasut. Vestie telhen farat; chanie
yom nyth. Cyne haven farat; chanie yom crys. Cyne veren farat; yom
bryni hin dorythe, tate somoch so ali hina naverat. Farie hanren
neasa le radat, ibarie, bornie, irelsien so rhinie. Hanrie dolea
chalat moya rythe arlene sayom lea arlat.

tate   so.moch    in tay  razie        lesten   neasut
father times.four my when young.person blue-ill travel-3s-PAST

vestie        telhen   farat         chanie    yom   nyth
beginning-loc west-ill  one-instr there sand

cyne       haven     farat         chanie    yom   crys
follow-adv north-ill  one-instr there snow

Cyne       veren    farat;
follow-adv east-ill

yom   bryni     hin  dorythe
there mountains high too-much

tate   somoch     so  ali hina      na.verat
father times.four and 3pN climb-INF not.can-3s-PRS

farie   hanren    neasa      le   radat
end-loc south-ill travel-INF refl swear-3s-PRS

ibarie     bornie    irelsien    so  rhinie
d-foot-loc horse-loc d-wheel-loc and ship-loc

hanrie    dolea    chalat     moya      rythe
south-loc city-acc see-3s-PRS large-acc most

arlene    sa.yom    lea arlat
world-loc any.there rel exist-3s-PRS

razie "young person": this is typically a young adult, someone in
their late teens. It also means "yourneyman in a guild".

_Neasut_ is in the past tense and sets the story in its time; once
it's there, all other verbs are in the present tense. Otherwise it
would seem as if the events told were even *before* the time that the
story is set in.

vestie... cyne... cyne... farie: the usual way to express a sequence
of events in a story.

_Vestie_ is a clear locative, _cyne_ is an adverb formed with an
obsolete dative ending; there's also _cynie_ "in future, from now
on". _Farie_ is an adverb formed by the locative again, "in the end"
(_far_ "end of a process, goal"). Note the distinction between
_neasa_ "to travel" when the journey itself is the object, and _fara_
"to go somewhere" when the journey has an intended goal.

ibarie, bornie, irelsien so rhinie: I marked all these locative, but
they could just as easily be instrumental (same ending) or simply
adverbs formed by that ending. The word _irelsen_ "cart" implies that
the cart has two wheels (it has the dual prefix) but it's just as
easily used for carts with four wheels. The phrase is another
narrative convention, indicating a long and convoluted journey.

The last sentence can also be translated "in the south he saw a city,
the largest that exists in all the world" as indeed some of you have
done. The _arlene sayom lea arlat_ part is interesting; _lea_ here is
the relative pronoun (and the animate one at that; a city is
considered to have a life of its own) and should be at the beginning
of the relative clause: _lea arlene sayom arlat_, but the influence
of the impersonal construction _lea third-person V_ makes _lea_ creep
as near the verb as possible, even though there's no impersonal
construction _lea arlat_.


            Varsinen an laynynay, saraz no arlet rastinay.
            (myself) (English) (Nederlands)