The Lord's Prayer, a translation exercise
|From:||Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, July 14, 2002, 20:31|
Quoting Ray Brown:
> If translating the Paternoster is of interest, shouldn't the
> proper concern of this list be translating it into one's conlang?
Perhaps it's best to look first at the original Greek text
from Matthew 6:9-13 again (omitting accent marks):
" Houtos oun proseukhesthe humeis:
Pater he:mo:n ho en tois ouranois,
hagiastheto: to onoma sou,
 eltheto: he: basileia sou.
gene:theto: to thele:ma sou,
ho:s en ourano:i kai epi ge:s
 ton arton he:mo:n ton epiousion dos he:min se:meron
 kai aphes he:min ta opheile:mata he:mo:n.
ho:s kai he:meis aphe:kamen tois ophe:letais he:mo:n
 kai me: eisenengke:is he:ma:s eis peirasmon,
alla rhusai he:ma:s apo tou pone:rou."
Making a good translation into Phaleran is complicated in several
ways. Although there is a great variety of religious belief in
Phalera, mostly they are impersonal or are similar to ancestor
worship. Also, the fairly rigid distinction that Christianity
makes between the earthly and spiritual planes of existence does
not really have an analogue in Phaleran culture, and so many of
the facets of this prayer -- the Heavenly Father (Pater), the
Heavens (tois ouranois), the Kingdom thereof (he: basileia),
the Will of God (to thele:ma) -- can only be approximated
in Phaleran, or simply calqued over with an extensive set of
annotations for the Phaleran reader. In Phaleran, translating
"ho en tois ouranois" would make no sense if it were taken literally,
(unless you take the prayer to be an assertion that the Deity resides
in a specific tract of atmosphere, _woloi_); the closest thing might
be to say that the Father is and causes to be one with Tlelma, the
Phaleran notion of an metaphysical force that drives human and
Hnerrantshei hwaitwo wamabrowanten freli gerenka,
ai tshalenkantshei hwaitwo xolmainâku
tshantei tsh'elasna tshalenkaswastan
Ai thateshyei tahnoi shtî xolmairintþan,
okserûo nû, elledîku uc'ashyei.
Atherwai tlerragwassen (1)
ixnoitata (2) entrabroustan. (3)
retai (4) xantabroustan
ai samagwassenuo dâ
and be-above.REL.3SgProgRe.Quot.DAT in
hai irpagwassenuo (5) dâ
and be-below.REL.3SgProgRe.Quot.DAT in
hnerrantshei hwaitwo wamabrogwanten (6) freli
give.2SgPfImp 1PlExDat need.DETR.REL.3SgPfRe.Quot (wheat)-bread
ai tshalenkantshei (7) hwaitwo xolmainâku (8)
and cancel.2SgPfImp 1PlExDat transgression.PL.ABE
tshantei tsh'elasna tshalenkaswastan
this-INV-ST-HON.ADV that-INV-DT.PL cancel.TR.1PlExProgIr.Quot
ai thateshyei (9) tahnoi(10) shtî xolmairintþan
and be.NEG.2SgProgImp CAUS that transgress.INTR.1PlExPfIr.Quot
okserûo (11) nû, ene elledîku uc'ashyei
trial.DAT into but evil.ABE save.2SgProgImp
(1) < *tlelra-, from C'ali _tlöl-_ "union", and Phaleran _ra_
(2) An _ixnoita_ is a personal name that one uses for intimates, but
not with outsiders, and is obligatorily possessed, like father in the
line above. There is a distinct word for the personal name of
monarchs -- _alt'aica_ -- and this may work as well, but it is so
closely associated with the Phaleran ruler cult that any Phaleran
Christians would, I suspect, make every attempt to avoid using it.
(3) The notion of "making holy" is alien to most Phaleran cultures --
things are either acting in accordance with _tlelma_, or they aren't.
It's not about being right or wrong in the abstract, but about knowing
how to make the right decisions and perceiving one's place in the universe
rightly (place and hierarchy being very important in Phaleran society).
_entraswa_ "to praise" is clearly inadequate to capturing the Greek,
but perhaps necessarily so.
(4) _retai_ can mean anything from the hopes or dreams of a monarch
to his (always his -- kings are always male on Phalera) to actual
diktat, depending on context.
(5) As I've said above, "heaven" and "earth" don't have good correlates
in Phaleran, but for different reasons (see above). Phalerans, being
mindful of their Terran origins in remote antiquity, actually mean
the planet Earth by _Tr|â_. My gloss as "both above and below" I think
captures the original sense without forcing the Greek into the Phaleran.
(6) I am perhaps taking some liberty here by taking _epiousion_ as
"what is needed".
(7) _tshalenkaswa_ is used in Phaleran banking transactions when the
government agrees to guarantee grants through intermediary institutions
during natural disasters or periods of economic crisis. I think this
nicely echoes what I take to be the Greek _aphiemi_, "to remit".
(8) The form _xolmai_ is a cranberry-morph using _xol-_ "trans,
across", and _mai_, which is found only in the form to transgress;
it literally implies a movement across a boundary.
(9) The verb _thari_ "be, have the property of" plus the negative
and imperative morphemes implies a command consciously not to be
(10) In the context of _thari_, _tahnoi_ implies indirect causes of
behavior (such as failure to act to intervene). The direct causative,
with the causative form _-þnu_ would sound like you were asking God
not to purposely lead someone into temptation, rather than simply
allowing that person to do so.
(11) _okseru_ has both juridical and philosophical overtones.
Thomas Wier "...koruphàs hetéras hetére:isi prosápto:n /
Dept. of Linguistics mú:tho:n mè: teléein atrapòn mían..."
University of Chicago "To join together diverse peaks of thought /
1010 E. 59th Street and not complete one road that has no turn"
Chicago, IL 60637 Empedocles, _On Nature_, on speculative thinkers