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_Goodnight Moon_ in Iltârer

From:Tom Tadfor Little <tom@...>
Date:Saturday, June 2, 2001, 5:56
Thi metisamer echesilithin ilîsilithin
Silâ âc theritsamasther
Pe tantemaili necanihtisilithin
Pe amime erâl -
Pircaphalith nîccacasa pem pammâlith
Pe silâ âc âmâpircali me ninisilithin nenilersas ati âpâmapherir
Pe mimicartili paphe ninisilithin
Pe paphâsen nañeteterir
Pe pîtas mimisentanenler ninisilithin
Pe mimitîtterel
Pe ñâcimasther pe phañâcir pe ippan metit nânsineter
Pe taphesar ârtisilithin pâmanenler nan ehte ña timâchasa "châch".
Pêsamtil metisamer â
Pêsamtil pammâl â
Pêsamtil pircaphal â nîccacasa pem pammâlith
Pêsamtil tilimasther â
Pe tantemaili â necanihtisilithin
Pêsamtil âmâpircali â
Pêsamtil mimicartili â
Pêsamtil nañeteteri â
Pêsamtil htansimastheri â
Pêsamtil iññephenes â
Pêsamtil pîtas â ninisilithin
Pêsamtil tîtterel â
Pêsamtil ñâcimasther â
Pe pêsamtil phañâcir â
Pêsamtil ârsentan
Pêsamtil nânsinet â
Pe pêsamtil pi taphesarath pâmanenler timâchasa "châch".
Pêsamtil ceses â
Pêsamtil echessal â
Pêsamtil ârechesali â phaphasam.

Here's a back-translation into English that attempts to give some of the
flavor of the Iltârer version:

In the sky-big leaf-green chamber
There is a speaking-machine
And a berry-red flyingball
And a drawing of -
A cow leaping over the moon
And there are three seed-little bears sitting on chairs
And two seed-little baby-cats
And a pair of gloves
And a child-toy little house
And a baby-mouse
And a comb and a brush and a bowl full of porridge
And a night-quiet rock-old respected-one who is whisphering "shush".
'Til-day, thou chamber
'Til-day, thou moon
'Til-day, thou cow leaping over the moon
'Til-day, thou light-machine
And thou berry-red flyingball
'Til-day, ye bears
'Til-day, ye chairs
'Til-day, ye baby-cats
'Til-day, ye gloves
'Til-day, thou time-machine
'Til-day, ye socks
'Til-day, thou seed-little house
'Til-day, thou mouse
'Til-day, thou comb
And 'til-day, thou brush
'Til-day, no-person
'Til-day, thou porridge
And 'til-day to the rock-old respected-one whispering "shush".
'Til-day, ye stars
'Til-day, thou air
'Til-day, ye noises everywhere.

I find it a useful exercise to translate kids' books at the early stages of
making a language; it flushes out embarrasing gaps in the lexicon (I can't
believe I didn't have a word for "and" yet!) and gets one comfortable with
basic sentence patterns and vocabulary.

This one came out a bit amusing; I'd designed Iltârer as a literary
language, thinking of philosophical and poetic eloquence. It seems almost
comically overstyled and long-winded for the simple sentences of a
children's book. I don't dare to count how many syllables the Iltârer
version has compared with the English! That's partly a consequence of the
limited phonemic system, which makes for more polysyllabic root words, but
more a result of the lengthy inflectional ending ("-silithin") for the
collective referential of -l class nouns, and some other lengthy inflections.

My first reaction was a bit of alarm; no sane people would tolerate so much
jaw-exercise to make such simple utterances. But on reflection, I think it
suits the Iltâr, who are a patient, soft-spoken people. It's like music
with a bunch of short notes in each measure, harder to play straight off
the page, but nice sounding once it's learned. Maybe vaguely Entish,
although that was the farthest thing from my mind in drafting the language

A few of the coinages for this translation really delight me:
"mimitîtterel" for a baby mouse, "theritsamasther" for telephone (I may
have to start using that one at the office!) and "timâchasa" for whispering.

Still wondering, though, what a two-year-old would do with a language in
which "red" is "necanihtisilithin".


Cheers, Tom

Tom Tadfor Little     
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
Telperion Productions 


Matthew Kehrt <matrix14@...>Goodnight Moon in Iltârer