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Re: JABBERWOCKY (was: Universal Translation Language)

From:Jim Henry <jimhenry@...>
Date:Tuesday, June 1, 1999, 17:10
On 29 May 99, at 7:57, Raymond A. Brown wrote:

> At 12:13 am -0500 29/5/99, Tom Wier wrote: > >Gary Shannon wrote: > .... > >> Ambiguity is an essential part of any language. What would poetry be > >> without deliberate ambuguity. How would you translate "'Twas brillig > >> in the slithy toves..." into an unambiguous IAL, since the whole piece > >> is _meant_ to be ambiguous, and would lose all its "meaning" if it were > >> disambiguated.
> No, sorry, I do not see all the words as portmanteaux. To me, at
any rate,
> it remains ambiguous. I agree whole-heartedly with Gary on this: 'since > the whole piece is _meant_ to be ambiguous, and would lose all its > "meaning" if it were disambiguated.' > > Now, for those who like translation exercises for their conlangs, how > about the Jabberwocky? :)
Herman Miller, I think, proposed a similar challenge in 1996, and I translated Jabberwocky into Thauliralau. Here's a copy of my post from then. ::: From: JIM HENRY To: CONLANG ML Date: 08/01/96 at 20:28 Re: CONLANG: So what are ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ To: Robert Neaves wrote: HM> >We should come up with some sort of interesting conlang game or HM> >neatest-lang-of-the-month or something, anything. Herman Miller replied: HM> That might be interesting. Say, a translation of Jabberwocky into various HM> conlangs? Agh! That *would* be interesting. You would have to demonstate how you come up with portmanteau neologisms in your conlang, and form words for "brilig," "slithy," and so forth out of similar roots in your conlang as English "broiling" and "dinner", "lithe" and "slithy." Or, if not with those concepts in particular, you would have to work a liberal helping of portmanteaus into the translation, in order to convey the flavor of "Jabberwocky" to speakers of your conlang. Should we require that the translations scan and rhyme? Here's a rendering in ethouka Thauliralau that rhymes and uses Carrollesque portmanteaus, though it doesn't scan particularly well. Ke tii iye soumiratiza ragau. The time one broils-things-for-dinner when. 'Twas brillig, and Kii toza* masouga izalonau rau The toves* curling-wet moved-circularly and The slithy [lithe and slimy] toves/Did gyre [go round like a gyroscope] and gimble [make holes like a gimlet] Remuu kuu sethamau ro. Kii porogozou** muuthegithe dug holes the go-far within. The borogoves** [were] flimsy-sad In the wabe [way-beyond and way-behind the sundial]. All mimsy [flimsy and miserable] were the borogoves, tha, rau kii rathou amwuuluu le. very, and the raths bellow-whistled fast. and the mome raths outgrabe ["between bellowing and whistling, with a kind of sneeze in the middle"]. * - There's no v in Thauliralau; z is the closes fricative. ** - Carroll gives no etymology for "borogove" or "rath". How's that for forty minutes' work? Ke tii iye soumiratiza ragau. Kii toza* masouga izalonau rau Remuu kuu sethamau ro. Kii porogozou** muuthegithe tha, rau kii rathou amwuuluu le. syllables: 11,11,16,9. Needs more work. Jim Henry III *gjax zaxnq-box baxm-box goq.