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Author Topic: Beowulf and Grendel - the early years  (Read 15035 times)

Phyllis

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Beowulf and Grendel - the early years
« on: July 23, 2015, 08:06:10 PM »
Hello again!

Following on from the rip-roaring success (well, a girl can dream) of our children's storytime abut Mr Bear and his Mighty Quest for a good night's sleep, I decided I would add a second tale in case any of the little deorlings wanted another story.

This one is a little simpler and shorter, and based on the classic David McKee story of "Not Now, Bernard." Nevertheless I am sure I will have managed to mangle a good few verbs and prepositions during its transformation. As ever I value your imporvements!

Every child knows the feeling of parental disinterest and every parent is ashamed to agree. So here we go:

Not Now, Bernard –                                                                                      ne nu, Beowulf (be David McKee)
Modern English                                                                                       Old English

Hello Dad, said Bernard                                                                               Eala fæder sægde Beowulf
Not now, Bernard, said his father                                                               Ne nu Beowulf, sægde his fæder
Hello, Mum, said Bernard                                                                               Eala modor sægde Beowulf
Not now, Bernard, said his mother                                                               Ne nu Beowulf, sægde his modor
There’s a monster in the garden and it’s going to eat me, said Bernard       Grendel is in þæm wyrtgearde and he will me etan, sægde 
                                                                                                                    Beowulf
Not now, Bernard, said his mother                                                               Ne nu Beowulf, sægde his modor
Bernard went into the garden                                                                       Beowulf eode in wyrtgeard
Hello, monster, he said to the monster                                                       Eala Grendel, sægde he to Grendel
The monster ate Bernard up, every bit                                                       Hine æt Grendel, eallan bitan
Then the monster went indoors                                                               Þan eode Grendel in þæm huse
ROAR went the monster behind Bernard’s mother                                       ROR cwæþ Grendel æt hinden Beowulfes modor
Not now, Bernard, said Bernard’s mother                                               Ne nu Beowulf, sægde Beowulfes modor
The monster bit Bernard’s father                                                               Grendel bat Beowulfes fæder
Not now, Bernard, said Bernard’s father                                                       Ne nu Beowulf, sægde Beowulfes fæder
Your dinner’s ready, said Bernard’s mother                                               Þin mete is gearu, sægde Beowulfes modor
She put the dinner in front of the television                                               Heo settede þone mete befor þæm feorrseond
The monster ate the dinner                                                                       Grendel ate þone mete
Then it watched television                                                                       Þan wacode he feorrseond
Then it read one of Bernard’s comics                                                       Þan ræde he Beowulfes licnesesboc
And broke one of his toys                                                                       And bræc he his plegþing
Go to bed, I’ve taken up your milk, called Bernard’s mother                       Ga to bedde, ic nam up þine meolc, ceallode Beowulfes modor
The monster went upstairs                                                                       Grendel eode up
But I’m a monster, said the monster                                                       Ac ic eom Grendel, sægde Grendel
Not now, Bernard, said Bernard’s mother                                               Ne nu, Beowulf, sægde Beowulfes modor


Phyllis

David

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Re: Beowulf and Grendel - the early years
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2015, 11:35:38 AM »

I was not so keen on this one but I think that you have done very well with the translation.  Firstly I found it unsettling that you used Beowulf and Grendel. Why Beowulf instead of Beornheard? For monster I would use aglæca or, possibly, egesa.

Instead of in þæm huse I would use in þæt hus. Probably  “ineode (Grendal) þæt hus” would be better.

I think that hinden should be hindan and befor should be beforan.

I was worried about seond. I can see that being a noun from seon. I finally came across it in Bosworth & Toller but coming under seon meaning “to strain”. If you are going to use it, you want feorrseonde, but I would feel safer with feorrsiene.

Hine ate Grendel should be hine æt Grendel.

I think that licnesesboc should be licnessesboc. The s in –nes doubles up before an ending.

I cannot be sure but I but I have the feeling that the Anglo-Saxons used “one of” as we do so maybe “one of his toys could be “an his plegþinga”.

For taken up and went up I would use upnam and upeode.

Bowerthane

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Re: Beowulf and Grendel - the early years
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2015, 01:36:27 PM »
It looks as if David’s covered everything, give or take “he will” on the tenth line down in the main text which should surely be “he wille”.  So I’ll confine myself to saying how much I enjoyed it.  Thank you again, Phyllis!

Likewise I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with feorrsiene and I’m not getting at it.  Yet I cannot help but suggest something like métingbox or métċiest, as it were ‘picture box’ or ‘picture chest’ for television. 

If I were forced to rationalise, I’d say that feorrsiene seems to imply the televisual process generally, whereas it is a domestic television set ( a sense of the word of Elizabethan origins, unavailable in 1066) we’re talking about, here.

Or not.  You can just ignore me...



Phyllis

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Re: Beowulf and Grendel - the early years
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2015, 03:36:01 PM »
Many thanks to you both for checking my efforts – I am very grateful. My new ambition now is to produce a translation of something where there are no errors! Don’t hold your breath though.

I take David’s point about using “Beowulf” and “Grendel” instead of “Bernard” and “Monster”. I suppose it appealed to my personal sense of humour, although on its own that may not be sufficient justification  :)

I would add it felt like it might make it easier for a general audience to follow. Beowulf and Grendel are quite high profile these days thanks to the film of recent years so they would be reasonably familiar characters.  I couldn’t find a word for “monster” that seemed recognisable in modern English either. Bosworth & Toller led me to eoten, and David has helpfully suggested some others. Personally I worry these are quite removed from modern English.

I’d really like to know what others think?

Of course, anyone else wanting to use the translation can easily substitute their preferred option! And if my idea falls flat with the punters I will certainly go back to a more literal translation.

If you aren’t familiar with “Not Now Bernard” I’d recommend a cheeky browse in the children’s book department. One of the reasons I adore David McKee is that his pictures enhance the story so much rather than just illustrating it, and with the pictures there is lots more going on in this story than the text alone suggests. I’d say this is actually a more challenging story than Peace at Last (adorable though that is) – but it needs the pictures! It certainly got our kids talking when they were young  :)

Anyway, I’ll tidy up the text with your amendments and post the final version here in case others wish to use it themselves.

Ic þoncie eow ealle

Phyllis
Phyllis

Phyllis

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Re: Beowulf and Grendel - the early years
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2015, 03:57:44 PM »
Here is the final draft of the translation for anyone who would like a copy

Wes hal

Phyllis


[attachment deleted by admin]
Phyllis

David

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Re: Beowulf and Grendel - the early years
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2015, 05:08:58 PM »

Boewerthane, well spotted “he will”. However I think that it should be “he wile”. Willan, like many verbs whose stem ends in a double letter, drops to a single letter in the 2nd and 3rd person indicative singular. So we get “þu wilt” and “he wile”. Sometimes the subjunctive, which keeps the double letter, is used out of politeness when we would expect the indicative which would give “he wille”. However I do not think that applies here.
 
When I said you want feorrseonde that would be in “beforan þæm feorrseonde”.
“Wacode he feorrseond” would still be correct.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 05:15:32 PM by David »

brian farrell

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Re: Beowulf and Grendel - the early years
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2015, 12:51:51 AM »
Heí Phyllis,

I have just read your latest project ... Nice One !

David is correct in that prepositions are often better when they precede/prefix the verb; 'upeode' etc.

I couldn't help but notice that the original, modern English version seems to rely a lot on "went", (although you altered one of them).
If you desired further alterations you could consider something like, 'hé [a]stáh stægre' = "he ascended (the) stairs" {which also introduces an element of alliteration}, rather than "he went upstairs".

If, however, the intention is to keep it simple for a young audience, then ignore the above.

Well Done!

Brian



Michael Æðeling

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Re: Beowulf and Grendel - the early years
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2015, 07:33:52 AM »
Phyllis, this is great. If you can find a good illustrator, you should publish this to amazon/kindle and iBooks, with the facing page translation as shown. I will then purchase it and read it to my daughters. I think they're getting a little tired of me reading Beowulf, even though enjoyed the animated movie version!
« Last Edit: August 03, 2015, 02:56:07 AM by Æðeling »

Bowerthane

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Re: Beowulf and Grendel - the early years
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2015, 02:40:08 PM »
____________________________________________________________________________________________
I would add it felt like it might make it easier for a general audience to follow...  I couldn’t find a word for “monster” that seemed recognisable in modern English either.... Personally I worry these are quite removed from modern English.
 
 I’d really like to know what others think?

____________________________________________________________________________________________


Welllll.... if it’s discernability to modern ears you’re anxious about, and I’m right to suppose you have an under-eleven audience principally in mind here, then what about making up your own name for a monster?  Old English ræt(t) and hell are still semantically transparent, so you could use *Rætman or *Hellman as your own DIY kennings for a big baddie.  Likewise I think you could get away with *Stinca or *Gástlinga ( since ‘demon’ is a meaning of gást), or just maybe Déofol and Féond in their more generic meanings ( as ‘a devil’ rather than the Devil, and ‘fiend’ respectively, again if my Sweet is anything to go by) rather than their commoner, more specific ones.

Either that or you could think up some crashing historical pun that would leave the kids in stitches.  Not that I’m suggesting you call your monster *Cgimísaffil, but you seem to have experience with younger children.  If there’s some bête noire that the prepubescents love to hate these days ( as Jimmy Osmond, Clive Dunn’s Granddad and Crystal Tipps and Alistair sent us scrambling for sickbags when I was sweet and innocent), you might be able to work up some double entendre on his/ her/ its name.

Is the best that I can suggest without taking weeks...


« Last Edit: July 28, 2015, 02:42:05 PM by Bowerthane »

Phyllis

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Re: Beowulf and Grendel - the early years
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2015, 05:41:50 PM »
Thanks everyone 

I will try to produce a revised version at the weekend :-)

I hope we get s chance to try these out at Stamford Bridge in September and will let you know how it went.

I was also thinking of contacting the publishers to see if they were interested in these versions. If they do Winnie the Pooh in Latin, you never know! I bet David McKee would appreciate it.

We can be Hal
Phyllis

Horsa

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Re: Beowulf and Grendel - the early years
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2015, 07:13:15 PM »
Phyllis, I loved this story. I read it to my class when I was a primary school teacher.

I love the strange coolness with which Bernard approaches the monster to get eaten. I love that you chose this particular story to translate.



Michael Æðeling

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Re: Beowulf and Grendel - the early years
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2015, 02:49:59 AM »
I was also thinking of contacting the publishers to see if they were interested in these versions. If they do Winnie the Pooh in Latin, you never know! I bet David McKee would appreciate it.


If you self-publish as a e-book to iBooks and Amazon, you don't have to ask anyone's permission and should anyone buy it you get 70%, rather than the pittance from a publishing house. There are also other publishers such as Blurb who print and bind on demand for hard-copy books, so taking advantage of current technology they don't have the same overheads as regular publishers.

In my dreams I would like to add Old English to the list of languages into which the first Harry Potter book has been translated. I have the Latin version; but even now I suspect the readership, even for humourous coffee table placement, for Old English books would be a tiny fraction of the Latin readership. But as you say, we can dream...

David

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Re: Beowulf and Grendel - the early years
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2015, 12:13:53 PM »



Æðeling has suggested a way you could publish although I know nothing about that.

However I do not think that you should go ahead without the approval of the original authors.

Michael Æðeling

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Re: Beowulf and Grendel - the early years
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2015, 12:48:18 AM »



Æðeling has suggested a way you could publish although I know nothing about that.

However I do not think that you should go ahead without the approval of the original authors.

Oh yeah, sorry. I wasn't clear on "ask anyone's permission". Obviously one cannot infringe copyright regardless of the medium. I meant that you don't have to beg publishers to put your book out to market. So long as it is your own work or you have the consent of copyright owners of other works, you just upload the book and it's out there.
Michael
« Last Edit: August 04, 2015, 12:51:10 AM by Æðeling »

culfer

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Re: Beowulf and Grendel - the early years
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2015, 03:36:42 PM »
I loved this, I liked that you substituted the names for Beowulf and Grendal!