Sunday, May 10, 2009

these are the things

Here is a poem I wrote in December 2008. Conveniently, both the English and Sablung versions are given along with a few notes.

titābaudīt mil.

phūjhutain isu

ūt prachtaine khānī
lhaplheīt. rōṣ, fahuch.

nāhau rōroṅaras,
ho mikus haplim.

 I might do a recording, until then watch the others for a feeling of Sablung’s sound

the shirt you slept in
now hugs me in your

the towel that you used
is there to caress, like you

the dust you touched is
settling slow, a residue or

these are the things you
left, these are the things i

While both versions are structured in 4 verses, the Sablung is of a noticeably more condensed character. Drawing a sentence into one composite word is a prominent feature of Sablung, and even more so of its poetry. For this the language has several means, including the possibility to substitute pronouns with postfixes. Similarly, the 8 cases of Sablung (which are normally indicated by conjugation) can be replaced by prefixes.
While these features are also widely used in all forms of Sablung writing, poetry furthermore has its own set of linguistic devices. One of those is the contraction of verbs into a single syllable, a root syllable if you will (though Sablung does not have a system of root syllables as founding and developed as languages like Sanskrit, for example). The monosyllabic form lacks person and number, though tense and aspect are (/can) still be indicated. Mostly, this feature applies to widely used verbs.

A scientific translation of the Sablung version would read:

sleep-shirt-your / fromyou-embraces forme / /
towel-your here / byyou-like(/as if)from-caresses / /
dust touch-byyou slow(ly) / lands. remnant, breath. / /
thing-the(plural) (you)left / the(plural) things (i)have. / /

…but that wouldn’t be very nice to read, would it?


saturninus said...

hmm, this is delicious.
finally an(other) insight into the inner structure of a language that is by its nature completely foreign to anyone but one precious person.

one question: what do you mean by monosyllabic verb-forms "lacking sex"? you mean they lack number and person?

and yes, your literary translation is much much more heart-warmthening... (:

[last, but not least: I couldn't help but noticing the hidden "sün" in the poem...] (:

Yu said...

@saturninus:of course, though i dance with this language alone, i often feel an urge to tell others about some of its inner workings. thus, i'm glad you appreciate this.
thank you for pointing out my little mistake; how funny, actually, considering the whole language hardly has a sexus indication.
and: yay for the hidden spikeball!