Gegaderung => Old English Language => Topic started by: Horsa on December 03, 2014, 05:14:45 PM

Title: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: Horsa on December 03, 2014, 05:14:45 PM
Taking the lead from Bowerthane, I have translated a few lines of a film I am fond of. See if you can work out which film it is.

The more I think about this, the more I am inclined to think that this guess-the-film-from-my-translation is a decent language learning tool, for the translator and the guesser.

So here we go.

- Wé séon manigum sǽ-déor samod ætgædere mid þǽm cyninge þæs gársecges, Neptunus. Hiera ealle sindon gehæfte fram Sǽ-snægle, þæt yfele sǽ-déor þisse gereccednesse, and Hroðbeorht, þæt sǽ-déor wé folgiað þurh þǽre gereccednysse, sprecaþ tó Sǽ-snægle, þá hwíle þe hé wille yfel dón þǽm cyninge.*

Ic onfó þæt þu riht beo, Sǽsnægl. Ic eom efne bearn.

Sóþlice, ic eom riht. Eala, Neptunus. Nú is se tíd to sléanne.

...And þu wistest, ic gedréag micel on þǽm ǽror siex dagum, fíf mínútum, twentig eahtoþe healf secundum.

And, gif ic geleornode ænig þing. Hit is þæt man is se þe hé is.

Gése... Eala, Neptunus...

...and nænig dǽl sǽmægþes drýcræftes, ambehtes geforþunga, oþþe ... þridde hwaethwugu mæg me macian ungelíc thætte ic eom innanweardes - bearn.

Thæt is riht, Nú, gá underbæc ongeanes wǽge.

(on hlúdsprecere) and thæt is gód"

Hwæt? Hwæt gelimpeþ?

For þǽm ic dyde þætte ealle sægdon bearn ne magon dón. Ic becóm to Scylceastre, and ic oferwann þone áneage, and ic rád ðone Hasselhofe, and ic nam eft ðone cynehelm.

*EDIT: first line, hie - hiera, yfela - yfele Sǽ-snægl - Sǽ-snægle
Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: Bowerthane on December 05, 2014, 03:21:52 PM
Well Guess Who’s pleased, Horsa!

I’ve checked ‘gehæfte’ and ‘gereccednesse’ but time and patience have betrayed me ( I’m typing this at four a.m.!).  So I’m just gonna to go utterly wild and crazy and make a stab at your intro’ on the hoof.  With my bad memory that should be a great laugh.  Is it:

“We see many sea-creatures gathered together with the king of the ocean, Neptune.  They are all captives of Sea-snail, the evil sea-creature in this story-line; and Robert, the sea-creature we follow throughout the story, speaks to Sea-snail while he premeditates evil to the king.”

   or something?  Marks out of ten, Horsa?

As for the dialogue, I confess I’m foxed by the place names.  Are we allowed to know whether they and the personal names ( besides Neptune) are phonetic renditions of what the characters in the film actually say, or etymological translations of the same, or creative substitutes of your own?

My waters tell me the scene is from a feature-length cartoon film.  Oþþe spræc iċ of ǽrs already?

( Yes this translating-films-and-that lark is an intriguing great giggle, isn’t it?  There’s weird cognitive juxtapositions to keep one amused and attentive, and always a few intellectual challenges.  I’m chuffed as hell that I managed an Old English version of “protein polysaccharides” in my translations from Ellorwiht.

Is it just me, or do you find the most and the least cerebral aspects of language the hardest to translate?  I mean, at the opposite end of the scale to such Latin-based polysyllabic abstract technical expressions as “protein polysaccharides”, there’s late modern effing and blinding and the casual inexactitude with which we toss about such interjections as “okay”, “right/ all right”, “sure” or “check it out!”, which often don’t seem to mean anything, or are mere verbal gestures of reassurance, or some sort of delaying tactic.  Anything but “yes”, and often “indeed” is too formal for the context, and “I agree” too fussy, verging on prissy.  I think it must have been on the old board, because I can’t seem to find it now, but we had a discussion thread about how we no longer swear the way medieval people did.  In one scene from Ellorwiht Ripley/ Sigourney Weaver enters by climbing down a ladder fuming, “What the f*** is going on?” and I found that this late modern expression, WTF, one of the biggest pains in the ǽrs.  I’m still not sure if Hwæt for ligere ġelimpþ? is a very good equivalent, because, so far as anyone seems to know, no mother-tongue speaker of Old English would really curse like that.)

Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: Horsa on December 05, 2014, 06:56:23 PM
You translated my set up pretty much spot on. Yes, it's a feature length cartoon.

The names of the characters are pretty rough translations of the character's names. as one or both of them would probably have given the game away. They are however very rough translations. I couldn't find the name of a sea creature smaller than a sea snail (clue no. 1).

Your comments on the dialogue, however, make me wonder if I've made some major errors. There is but one place name Sciellceaster. A direct translation of Shell City. There is one personal name in there - "Hasselhof" (clue no. 1). It is the only direct transliteration, and it's the line that made me want to translate the scene.

I agree with you on your feelings about translation. The things I had the most trouble with were "I suppose you're right", "Of course I'm right", and "That's okay". I'm thinking that most if not all Old English texts are either a reflection of a translation process - with lots of half-baked latinized Englisc - and heightened speech. Poetry is an obvious example, but also the sermons would have been highly formal, and also specifically designed for performance. I reckon the best place to find colloquialism would be in what little correspondence exists. Though that would probably follow the text conventions of the time and be similarly based on oral perfomance.

In terms of swear words, I would go for theological words. In some parts of the English speak world, 'hell' and 'damn' are still considered swear words. And look at the other term used to refer to these strong words: "curse". Eff you, I would translate as 'curse/damn" you. As bad as the eff word is now, I imagine that the D word was a little worse, what with all the supernatural powers about ready to snatch up the souls of people and make cattle sick. At some point in the modern or early modern period, English speakers decided that sex was worse than eternal damnation to hellfire. In Swedish, the worst swear words are still the theologically based swears. The anatomical nouns and reproductive verbs, are not accepted in formal speech, but they can't really be used as swear words.

Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: Bowerthane on December 08, 2014, 03:25:46 PM
Your comments on the dialogue, however, make me wonder if I’ve made some major errors.

Whoops! I doubt it.  I’d simply run out of time and was inattentive.  Hardly any reflection on your abilities.  Now the weekend has crept up on me, I’ve found time to give it the attention it deserves.  This is my best shot without taking forever:

Without the Roaring Sea:

Robert:  I suppose you’re right, Seasnail.  I’m just a child.
Seasnail:  Of course I’m right.  Behold, Neptune.  Now is the time to strike.
Robert: ... And you know, I achieved much in the last six days, five minutes and twenty-eight and a half seconds.  And if I learned anything, it is that one is what one is.
Seasnail:  Quite.  Behold, Neptune...
 Robert: ... and no part of sea-power sorcery, promotion to rank, or a [ yike!] third something [ you’ve got me here!] can make me unlike my inner self: a child.
 Seasnail:  That’s all right.  Now, go back to the waves.

Robert [ into a loudspeaker]:  And that’s all right.
 Seasnail:  What? What’s happening?
 Robert:  Because I did what everyone said no child could do.  I came to Shell City, and I overcame the One Eye, and I rode the Greyhoof, and I took back the crown.

Roll credits?

I had to look up: /onfó/, /wistest/, /gedréag/, /gése/ and the right /mægþes/, but especially /geforþunga/ and /hwaethwugu/ because I’m still not sure about them.

I had to check: /dǽl/ wondering if you were using it in an unusual sense, /ambehtes/ ditto, and the /Hassel-/ end of /Hasselhof/ which at first I mistook for another place-name and I’m still not sure about.  But it’s surely not Hazelhoof.   

Is /gése/ a variant of ġiese for ‘yes’?  It’s the nearest thing I could find in my Sweet’s The Student’s Dictionary of Old English ( I don’t have home Internet access just at the moment).  Or have I joined the wrong dots, entirely?   

Oh, and are /mínútum/ and /secundum/ creative anachronisms or do you have a source for them?  There’s nothing like either in the right meaning in my Old English books or my Latin dictionary, and my etymological dictionary ( also Sweet’s) gives Chaucer as the first recorded user of ‘minute’ in our  modern chronological sense ( adapted by astrologers from a minute of arc, by the look of it) and Cotgrave’s A French and English Dictionary of 1660 for our first historical notice of ‘second’ as one sixtieth of a minute, viz it’s a loan-word from French.  Sadly.  I ask because I have to render just such a modern time-reference in one of my translation larks: a talking timer on a nuclear bomb, typically.  At the moment I’m making do with hwílsticce for ‘minute’, and bryhtma for ‘second’.  Mere luck that nobody says ‘nuclear’, but what do you reckon to blæst-wæpen for ‘bomb’?     

As for casual modern blurtitudes, have you come across the intransitive verb þwǽrian, ‘agree’?  Sometimes I’ve found that, used on its own without a pronoun, especially in the preterite þwǽrode, second person þwǽrast? or the imperative þwǽra?, it seems to hit the right clipped, causal note for ‘okay’, ‘right’ and ‘okay?’ and ‘right?’ ( as  agreements, or requests and demands, respectively) for some contexts and characters ( and not just buzzwords for something else).  My Sweet seems to think you can get a similar signification out of ġecweþan but I can’t say as I’ve come across that in actual Old English usage.

Also I’ve found that gydiġ ‘insane’ ( modern ‘giddy’) just seems to work for some senses in which those, strange American folk use ‘crazy’ or ‘nuts’.  For some reason I’ve love to hear explained because I can’t, it just seems to work.  Maybe it has that casual colloquial ring, but still kinda pointed.  Would it work for ‘kooky’, I wonder?

Embarrassingly enough after all that... I still can’t guess the film!!!  And lately I tracked down and used the verb hlimman for ‘roar’ for another translation project.  Cartoons of any sort are not my cup of tea, and I’m presuming that Jacques Cousteau never did a remake of Watership Down.  Is Robert a plankter, a baby prawn or something?  Or does the title role in The Little Mermaid turn into one ( called Robert)?  I suppose Disney is a safe bet for the studios?

But I’m still not googling.  That’s for quitters.

How’s Conan the Barbarian getting along?

The moral right of the author to be identified as a strategic resource has been asserted.
Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: Horsa on December 08, 2014, 05:14:40 PM
Hasselhof is a person / character's name. I should've italicized that and the anachronistic 'seconds' and 'minutes'. I am inclined to believe that this is a whopping great clue. If you've seen the film or know anyone who's seen it.

Yeah, I'm not too sure about "hwætwugu" myself, but it's the closest word I've found to "something". Bosworth and Toller seem to suggest that it works very well for 'undefined/unknown thing", so it works quite well to translate "some other third thing."

"ambehtes geforþung" is my best guess at "managerial promotion". And I made a mistake with 'sǽmægþ'. I had assumed that 'mægþ' meaning 'maiden' was neuter. It turns out it's actually feminine. The compound is my attempt to render 'mermaid' and though this film contains a mermaid, in terms of time, it's just over halfway between where we are now, and when Disney's The Little Mermaid came out.

If I give you the species that Robert is, that also would give the game away and you seem to be enjoying the puzzlishness of this translation, though Seasnail is in fact a plankter. As I said, sea snail was the smallest sea creature I could find in the assorted vocabularies and dictionaries I consulted, but then again, I didn't look too hard, I was too caught up in "managerial promotion" and "mermaid magic".

The title of the thread was ripped from a line out of the Seafarer. It was the first Old English reference to the sea I thought of, though "ganetes bæþ" may have been appropriate. The Klingon people talk of 'canon', the stuff written in and about the klingon language by its creator, Marc Okrand. I mention this here because when I periodically translate into Old English, I try to stitch together quotes from the canon. My translation is an exercise to get to know the language better, so that I might be able to read 9th and 10th century texts for meaning rather than wrestle with the grammar and vocabulary.

The Conan project is on standby. I have had a seriously busy and disrupted couple of years, hence my lack of activity here. I also have a translation of Birkibeinar saga, that's been dormant for a number of years, that I'm dying to get back to.

One day...
Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: Horsa on December 08, 2014, 07:47:14 PM
Oh, and and I used "wǽg" to mean "wall". "Get back against the wall" For some reason, I had the idea that 'weal' meant an outside wall, or rampart, whereas 'wǽg' or 'wág' was the side of a house. I think I'm getting a bit of L2 interference here and being unduly influenced by the Swedish differentiation between väg and vall. It's interesting that I chose the variant closer to the Swedish, the one with 'æ' rather than the lower 'a'.
Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: Bowerthane on December 11, 2014, 01:15:43 PM
So... a better rendition should be:

Robert:  I suppose you’re right, Seasnail.  I’m just a child.
 ‘Seasnail’ the plankter:  Of course I’m right.  Behold, Neptune.  Now is the time to strike.
 Robert: ... And you know, I achieved much in the last six days, five minutes and twenty-eight and a half seconds.  And if I learned anything, it is that one is what one is.
 ‘Seasnail’ the plankter:  Quite.  Behold, Neptune...
 Robert: ... and no part of mermaid magic, managerial promotion, or some other third thing can make me unlike my inner self: a child.
 ‘Seasnail’ the plankter:  That’s okay.  Now, get back against the wall.
 Robert [ into a loudspeaker]:  And that’s okay.
 ‘Seasnail’ the plankter:  What? What’s happening?
 Robert:  Because I did what everyone said no child could do.  I came to Shell City, and I overcame the One Eye, and I rode the Greyhoof, and I took back the crown.

For of course it’s Seasnail who’s a plankter, not Robert.  And the film isn’t The Little Mermaid, which is a right bummer because cartoons are really off my beat.

Isn’t there a cartoon-film somehow involving Atlantis?  Is that warmer or colder, Horsa?

I’m still not googling, or asking a friend.  Though I might nose round some DVD racks if this goes on much longer!

Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: Deoran on December 11, 2014, 07:44:13 PM
Just a few thoughts (which you've probably already had):

I suppose you're right – Ic (ge)wene þu eart riht ? (Wenan seems to capture the meaning of “to suppose”, or somewhat archaically, “to fancy” (amongst many other shades of meaning))

Of course – afæstla ? That seems to be a close colloquial form. I like soðlice as well, though.

That's right – to soð ? I can imagine that being a colloquial phasing.

Anything – awiht ? I find that this sounds colloquial, but also nicely idiomatic for the time

Pinching material from the OE canon / corpus is not only a great learning exercise, but probably true to the AS zeitgeist (timagast? tidfeorh?), since the use of linguistic formulas and emulation of predecessors would have been admired.
Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: Horsa on December 15, 2014, 05:43:04 PM
I totally agree with you on "ic gewene þú eart riht." I really like the verb wenan I'm surprised that I didn't think of it. Though I do normally think of it in terms of "think" and "expect" and in the translation I was going for something like, "I admit".

How might a 10th century English speaker have said 'you are right/correct'? In Swedish it's du har rätt - you have (it) right, and a quick look at Bosworth and Toller suggest that the word riht is more to do with a line being straight and with correct and lawful conduct. I'm starting to wonder if þú secgest soþ might be more idiomatic, and that þú eart riht might be a translation of a modern english idiom and anachronistic usage of the word riht

I also agree with you on awiht. I believe I've used it before for 'anything', though I was translating 'mermaid magic, managerial promotion and some other third thing.' As much as I like awiht, I think that hwæthwega fits better here (though I think that's partially because hwæthwega is such a fun word.


Your conviction not to ask a friend or google is admirable, but seeing as cartoons are off your beat, I think you're never going to get it.
 Though I have just thought that by google, you mean you're not going to chuck the dialogue into google and see what comes up. I just chucked a couple of lines of your back translation into the google machine, and one of them spewed out the title of the film. I chucked 'animated films under the sea" into the google machine and that threw back one hit that gave a list of 5 films one of which is the film, a scene of which I've translated.

I will give you another couple of clues.

Clue #1
The film was originally a cartoon series that was pretty big about 10 years ago, but it's still going strong. The main character is Hróðbeorht, though he is known by the shorter version of the modern version of his name, combined with the name of his species and a particular item of clothing he wears.
Clue #2
I have translated a couple of verses of the theme tune of the series as a further clue.

Hwá wunað on anum pín-æple under þære sǽ?
(of ánum múðe) spynge-Hróðbeorht Cæpse-braccas!
geolo, sype-lic, and þyrel is hé
(of ánum múðe) spynge-Hróðbeorht Cæpse-braccas
gif sǽ-líc dysignys is awiht ge gewilniaþ
(of ánum múðe) spynge-Hróðbeorht Cæpse-braccas
ðá niðerfeallað on ðǽm ceolþele and abifiaþ swá fisc!
Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: Bowerthane on December 22, 2014, 03:37:32 PM
Thanks Horsa, this is getting really interesting!

(  But I'm still guessing it can't be The Poseidon Adventure 'cause the writing's the wrong way up.)
Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: Bowerthane on March 03, 2015, 03:12:29 PM
I'm still not googling ...
Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: culfer on March 04, 2015, 11:46:33 PM
I know the answer :P
Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: lawrence on March 05, 2015, 10:41:47 AM
I know the answer (and I'm amazed that it seems to be taking so long to get it). I like these quizzes!
Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: culfer on March 05, 2015, 06:18:32 PM
I am attempting to sing the theme tune in the Old English translation but I can't get the metre right...!
Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: wielisc on March 05, 2015, 11:21:03 PM
This is purely a guess, but if this is "SpongeBob Squarepants" in Anglo-Saxon, I'm definitely in the right group.
Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: Horsa on March 16, 2015, 02:50:22 AM
Huzzah! That's the very fellow! I'm not as good a translator from Mod E to OE that I can match the translation to the rhythm of the original song. I couldn't even find an OE word for 'square'. I had to go for 'box'.

I like that film. I love the line "I rode the Hasselhoff". (My wife likes the the lines "bald, bald, MY EYES!" When King Neptune reveals his bald shiny head.)
Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: Bowerthane on March 18, 2015, 02:10:26 PM
Okay, okay I get it now.  Maybe I should have said "cartoons are right off my radar".  But I've checked with the DVD rack in Virgin and beheld the error of my ways.

Thanks again, Horsa, for an enjoyable challenge.

Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: David on April 05, 2015, 03:39:35 PM

I'm having trouble with quote but on December 8th Bowerthane said.

Oh, and are /mínútum/ and /secundum/ creative anachronisms or do you have a source for them?

I am reading Byrhtferth’s Enchridion and he deals with units of time. He has mīnūtum but for a time period of 6 minutes. For one minute he uses ostentum. He does not have a word for a second. His smallest unit is an atomos and there are six and four fifteenths atomos in a second. Did he have an atomic sundial?

His unit s are
376 atomos     =     1 ostentum      1 minute
1.5 ostenta      =     1 momentum
8/3 momenta  =     1 dǣl
1.5 dǣlas        =     1 mīnūtum
2.5 mīnūta      =     1 prica
4 prica            =     1 tīd                 1 hour
6 tīda              =     1fēorðling
4 fēorðlingas  =     1 dæġ              1 day
It looks as though atomos is from  Greek with ostentum, momentum and mīnūtum from Latin. 

Byrhtferth   dealt with most of this in the following magnificent sentence.

Se ān dæġ hæfð fēower and twentiġ tīda, and syx and hundnigontiġ prica, and mīnūta twa hundred and fēowertiġ, and þrēo hund dǣlas and syxtiġ, and momenta nigon hundred and syxtiġ, and ostenta ān þūsend and fēowertiġ and fēower hundred, and atomos fīf (hund) þūsend and fēowertiġ þūsend and ān þūsend and fēowertiġ and fēower hundred.

Byrhtferth missed out the “hund” in brackets.
Title: Re: "...butan hlimman sǽ"
Post by: culfer on April 06, 2015, 09:21:16 AM
Haha when I joined tha Gesiðas I never realised how much fun I would have reading SpongeBob in Old English!