kalama musi pi tenpo pimeja pi jan tawa

Language learning: How to speak Toki Pona, translation problems, advice, memory aids, tools and methods to learn Toki Pona and other languages faster
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jan Jon
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kalama musi pi tenpo pimeja pi jan tawa

Postby jan Jon » Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:26 am

Here is my attempt to translate one of the most famous poems that have ever been written in German.
Please tell me, what you think.

lape li lon
sewi pi nena ali.
sina pilin lili e kon
lon lawa pi kasi suli.
waso li kalama ala
lon ma kasi. o awen!
tenpo lili la
sina lape kin.

janKipo
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Re: kalama musi pi tenpo pimeja pi jan tawa

Postby janKipo » Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:38 pm

Doesn't ring a bell, though my German wasn't overly poetic, except for monthly Singfesten.

Sleep is on the top of all the hills
You can barely feel the air in the tops of the trees.
The birds don't sing in the meadow.
Wait! Soon you will be asleep, too.

I guess the only lullaby I know is about being decked out in rosebuds.

Aside from the questionable placement of the 'kin', the tp is good.

jan Jon
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Re: kalama musi pi tenpo pimeja pi jan tawa

Postby jan Jon » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:36 pm

Thanks for taking the time. Your translation back to English is pretty close to the original.There seem to be three important differences:
  1. You translated 'ma kasi' with 'meadow'. I actually meant it to be 'forest', and have seen it listed as such in some word lists. But literally, a meadow is also a place of plants. Would 'ma pi kasi suli' be better, although it makes the line pretty long.
  2. The line 'Wait!' is originally 'Just wait' which would probably be 'o awen taso!' But this completely breaks the (well, probably anyway not very convincing) rhyme awen - kin. But since both of the English versions on Wikipedia don't really try to keep the rhyme either, I should maybe just ignore it.
  3. For the first line 'lape li lon', I also had 'kalama ala li lon' for 'quiet', 'still' or 'calm'. But since the original repeats the word "Ruh" - "Ruhest", I thought it might be better to also repeat 'lape'. Is there something better for "rest" than 'lape'?
Wikipedia entry for the original poem by Goethe (It's the second poem on the page under "Wanderer's Nightsong II")
I don't particularly like the way the second English version translates the word "Ruh" to "peace", which seems to be more interpreting than translating.

About the 'kin': meaning "you will rest, too" or "you will rest as well", where should it go?

English version from Wikipedia:
Above all summits
it is calm.
In all the tree-tops
you feel
scarcely a breath;
The birds in the forest are silent,
just wait, soon
you will rest as well.

janKipo
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Re: kalama musi pi tenpo pimeja pi jan tawa

Postby janKipo » Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:17 pm

Yes, 'ma pi kasi suli' is pretty standard for "forest", leaving 'ma kasi' for lawns and meadows and fields. It doesn't seem too long after a few rounds of fairly tales, where it turns up all the time.

I wondered if 'o awen' shouldn't be 'o awen kin'. 'o awen taso' seems a little strong. II am terrible at rhymes and meters and the like, so I don't get involved in all that -- except, of course, that what I suggest often means having to fiddle with them somehow. Happily, we don't know much about poetry in tp per se, so we don't know when we violate its conventions (if there are any) in pursuit of matching the conventions of another language.

For a purported language of positivity, tp has a large number of negative terms for which it offers no positives: death but no life, war but no peace, noise but no quiet, and so on. So there is no handy term of "calm" or "still". 'awen' is used occasionally for "calm" (a pond, for example), but two such different uses of it in the same short poem would be jarring, I think. The polar opposite use of 'ala' is also helpful, but not very reliable without context -- more than the poem give, perhaps. But 'lape' seems out of place here -- again because of the more usual sense a couple of lines later.

The question about 'kin' is, as usual, whether it really attaches to the word it is next to or whether it is just dropped there lazily (a habit in English; I'm not sure how widespread it is). The reading I got was that the world was at peace and soon you too would be i.e., the 'kin' belongs next to 'sina'. As it stand, it looks like you are in some state but soon you will be at peace, but the early state is not specified, except it is presumably wakeful. Of course, the 'kin' might not be additive/corrective/contrastive in that way, but just be an emotional emphasis "real sleep", say, or "sleep at last", but none of those are prepared for as strongly as folding you into the prevailing peace.

jan Jon
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Re: kalama musi pi tenpo pimeja pi jan tawa

Postby jan Jon » Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:46 am

janKipo wrote:Yes, 'ma pi kasi suli' is pretty standard for "forest", leaving 'ma kasi' for lawns and meadows and fields. It doesn't seem too long after a few rounds of fairly tales, where it turns up all the time.

Speaking of fairy tales, I'm translating "Hänsel und Gretel". So I'll change 'ma kasi' there. However, in a poem, repeating "kasi suli" just two lines apart, doesn't sound so nice. So maybe, I'm thinking of still keeping 'ma kasi', though it might not be literally correct, it doesn't seem to destroy the message.

janKipo wrote:For a purported language of positivity, tp has a large number of negative terms for which it offers no positives: death but no life, war but no peace, noise but no quiet, and so on. So there is no handy term of "calm" or "still". 'awen' is used occasionally for "calm" (a pond, for example), but two such different uses of it in the same short poem would be jarring, I think.

Agreed.

janKipo wrote:The polar opposite use of 'ala' is also helpful, but not very reliable without context -- more than the poem give, perhaps. But 'lape' seems out of place here -- again because of the more usual sense a couple of lines later.

So, I begin to like my first idea 'kalama ala' then. Repeating the word might be less important here. Anyway, the translation into Japanese and even the first English version on Wikipedia don't repeat the same words as does the German version. However, if we change the last line to 'sina kin lape.' (see below), then the poem would start and end with the same word, which also has something to it.

janKipo wrote:The question about 'kin' is, as usual, whether it really attaches to the word it is next to or whether it is just dropped there lazily (a habit in English; I'm not sure how widespread it is). The reading I got was that the world was at peace and soon you too would be i.e., the 'kin' belongs next to 'sina'. As it stand, it looks like you are in some state but soon you will be at peace, but the early state is not specified, except it is presumably wakeful.

I'm not exactly sure if I understand correctly. Are you saying it would be better (for the meaning 'the world is at peace already, you're not yet, but will be soon') to place it after 'sina'?

As it looks to me (given your translation back to English): The main idea seems to work, and now I'd like it to sound nice as a poem in tp.

janKipo
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Re: kalama musi pi tenpo pimeja pi jan tawa

Postby janKipo » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:39 pm

My response seems to have vanished, so let me repeat what I can remember.
1. Yes, that is exactly the point I was making about 'sina kin'. I would only add that the 'li' rule means it has to be 'sina kin li lape', whatever that does to metre and the like.

2. I'd love a "Hansel and Gretel". Right now we are up to here in "Goldilocks"s and "Little Red Riding Hood"s and maybe a few more. Mostly interestingly different, but still ... .

3. I am no good at metre and rhyme and the machinery of poetry. So, whatever you do along that line is fine by me, grammar being met, of course. There are, I have found in forty years at this, dozens (at least) of different notions about what a good translation is like. Some are probably impossible for tp. Others are unknown, since they involve matching a tp poetic form with that of the source language and we don't know what any tp poetic forms are. Beyond that, just about anything you do will satisfy some theory (and be anathema to some others), so pick what you like.

jan Jon
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Re: kalama musi pi tenpo pimeja pi jan tawa

Postby jan Jon » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:05 pm

Thanks for all your input.
So I think I like this version:

lape li lon
sewi pi nena ali.
sina pilin lili e kon
lon lawa pi kasi suli.
waso li kalama ala
lon ma kasi. o awen.
tenpo lili la
sina kin li lape.

janKipo
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Re: kalama musi pi tenpo pimeja pi jan tawa

Postby janKipo » Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:31 pm

Very nice.
I've started fretting about those temporal 'la' phrases and so, when I see 'tempo lili la' I worry about whether it means "in a little while, soon" or "for a little while" and then what would the other one be. I have a question mark by it, hoping to get back there sometime.

jan Jon
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Re: kalama musi pi tenpo pimeja pi jan tawa

Postby jan Jon » Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:04 pm

What about 'tenpo kama lili la' then? I'm beginning to like that extra arsis.

janKipo
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Re: kalama musi pi tenpo pimeja pi jan tawa

Postby janKipo » Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:11 pm

Yes; I think that is the way I am tending.


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