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Sparrow Song in Telek

From:SMITH,MARCUS ANTHONY <smithma@...>
Date:Friday, July 20, 2001, 22:05
Hi all,

I spent the morning translating the Sparrow Song into Telek. My longest
piece yet. Here is the straight Telek, followed by the interlinear and a
closer translation, then a note or two on the interesting points.

Fekaanuul ketaana, ketaana
ynuu gy nenuu lybiikaad kagtanajel,
paago juno'of kengogaafemjel,
owsee 'ikowof kengogaafemjel.

'ibaddyslentoo nawwi' fojsiid
sante eexymyyf!
'eepitoo aasbe fenolngisun
gy sideom debangobagluud!
Fekaanuul kexoodoxa pi'ni
nawwi' eenidin po
balliwa seebasad.

Itydla'asanaxaky? Iddeseenaxaky?
Kela medkeneexafa, giisixa.
Medkeneexa pi'nifa, idlosalamalixa.
Digitagydla'asixa bawwaliid po
lomylganal paagoof songosolmiid;
Assewing, itasgaafemwako, galikixako.
Kela medkeneexafa,
kabax pajloxatoo.
Fekaanuud bawwali saxtadaltoo!
Baasan itiixa pi'ni, kosi itiina.



fekaanu-ul ke-tana, ke-tana
swallow-NOM AsA-come, AsA-come
The swallow is coming, she is coming

ynuu gy nenu lybiika-ad ke-ag-tana-jel
days and years beautiful-ACC AsA-INST-come-IMPF(SS)
bringing beautiful days and years

paago juno'-of ke-ngo-gaafem-jel
belly white-LOC AsA-LOC-carry-IMPF(SS)
carrying them on her white belly,

owsee 'ikow-of ke-ngo-gaafem-jel
back black-LOC AsA-LOC-carry-IMPF(SS)
carrying them on her black back.

'ib-ad-'yslem-too nawwi' fojsi-id
HERE-ABL-present-IMP bread sweet-ACC
Produce the cake

lo-sante eexymy-yf
2sO-house well.stocked-LOC
from your well stocked house

'eepi-too aasbe fenol-ngo-isu-n
do-IMP wine cup-LOC-sit(liq)-NOML
Also a cup of wine

gy sidom deba-ngo-baglu-ud
and cheese basket-LOC-sit(sol)-ACC
and a basket of cheese

fekaanu-ul ke-xoodo-ixa pi'ni
swallow-NOM AsA-reject NEG
The swallow does not reject

nawwi' eenid-n po
bread plain-NOML or
plain bread

balliwa seebas-ad
soup thick-ACC
or porridge

it-ydla'as-ana-ixa-ky? kela it-des-ee-ana-ixa-ky?
1pA-go-should-IRR-Q something 1pA-SOURCE-COP-should-IRR-Q
Should we go? Should we get something?

kela me-et-ken-ee-ixa-fa, giisi-ixa
something 2sA-1pO-GOAL-COP-IRR-COND(DS), good-IRR
If you give us something, it would be good.

me-et-ken-ee-ixa pi'ni-fa, it-lo-salam-al-ixa
2sA-1pO-GOAL-COP-IRR not-COND(DS) 1pA-2sO-annoyed-CAUSE-IRR
If you don't give to us, we will bother you.

dig-it-ag-ydla'as-ixa bawwaliid po
AWAY-1pA-INST-walk-IRR door-ACC or
We'll carry away the door or

lo-mylgan-Vl paago-of so-ngo-solmi-id
1sO-wife-NOM inside-LOC AsA-LOC-sit-ACC
your wife who is sitting inside.

as-'ewing, it-as-gaafem-wa-ko, galik-ixa-ko
AsA-small, 1pA-AsO-carry-POT-CONJ(DS), easy-IRR-CONJ(DS)
She is small, we can carry her, it will be easy

kela me-et-ken-ee-ixa-fa,
something 2sA-1pO-GOAL-COP-IRR-COND(DS)
If you give us something,

kabax pajlo-ixa-too big-IRR-IMP
it had better be big.

fekaanu-ud bawwali so-ax-tadal-too
swallow-ACC door AsO-BEN-open-IMP
Open the door for the swallow!

baasan it-ee-ixa pi'ni, kosi it-ee-na
elders 1p-COP-xa NEG, child 1p-COP-CONJ(SS)
We are not old men, we are children.



My favorite part (just discovered for this poem) are the measure phrases,
such as

sidom deba-ngo-baglu-ud
cheese basket-LOC-sit(sol)-ACC
'a basket of cheese'

A more literal translation would be 'cheese that is sitting in a basket'.
The word for basket is incorporated into the verb, which is part of what
marks this as a measure phrase rather than a relative clause. The other
part is that 'cheese' doesn't get nominative case. The word for sit is a
specific one that can only be used of inanimate, solid objects.

I also like some of my 'compounds': cake is 'sweet bread', wheat-bread is
'plain/bland bread', and porridge is 'thick soup'.

The final bit is that 'bring' and 'take' are based on 'come' and 'go'
respectively. You add the body instrumental to the verbal stem, to
indicate something like 'using hands'. (can't claim credit for engenuity
here though, this is a combination of Chickasaw and Japanese).

Marcus Smith