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OT strummin' on the old banjo

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Friday, September 7, 2007, 18:08
Having set the challenge to put "strummin' on the old banjo." into
Latin, I thought I should myself at least try - I give my thoughts so
far below:

> Mark J. Reed wrote: > >> On 9/6/07, Andreas Johansson <andjo@...> wrote: >> > My Sw/Lat dictionary has _fidicula pelliculata_ for "banjo". I'll leave >> > "strumming on" to someone with a clue wrt stringed instruments ... >> >> That's tough. The verb "strum" didn't exist in English until the late >> 18th cent, and is probably onomotopoeiac in origin. So I'm not sure >> where one would look for a Latin word of similar meaning... one might >> have to settle for "pluck" vel sim instead. >> > "Fidicula pelliculata" is an awful lot of sylalalables......
That's true! and it's going to make it impossible to get a Latin rendition that will fit the same rhythm as "strummin' on the old banjo." In any case, it does seem an odd translation. "Fidicula" means a small stringed instrument of the lute or cithern type. The noun itself would seem to me, then, a fair rendering of 'banjo' (unless one needs to define the instrument more precisely). But I don't understand why it's given the epithet "pelliculata" - that's the perfect passive participle of the verb _pellicare_ = 'to cover with skin'. I haven't noticed my son's banjo being covered with skins :)
> "Lute" is > similar-- Span. laúd, Ital. liuto etc. is from Arab. (al ud or > somesuch) but must have a Late Latin equivalent.
Yes, I think it must, but I haven't so far been able to track it down.
> How about some verb associated with "playing" the harp, which Latins > must have had... Hmm, where does "plectrum" come from?
From Greek πλῆκτρον (plêktron) meaning 'a small stick or quill for striking [the strings on an instrument]' - it is derived from the stem /ple:k/ which signified 'striking' or 'smiting' But as I understand it, 'strumming' does not involve the use of a plectrum. My dictionary defines 'strum' thus: "to sound the strings of a guitar, etc., with a sweep of the hand; to play in this way (rather than plucking individual strings).' _pulsare_ might be a suitable verb - and "fidiculam pulsando" has the right number of syllables. Unfortunately, altho the three heavy syllable of "pulsando" make a nice match for "old banjo", the -am at the end of "fidiculam" is awkward. This heavy syllable is not a good equivalent of the unstressed English 'the' - also, the prose word stress of 'fidicula' is on the second syllable -di- and, in this instance, that would not be good. We need something corresponding in rhythm to "strummin'" and, sadly, 'fidi-' /fI'dI/ does not. Oh well, back to the drawing board. -- Ray ================================== ================================== Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu. There's none too old to learn. [WELSH PROVERB]


Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>