May. 5th, 2014

karanguni: (Default)
I'm sure a grand total of zero people have thought very hard about how English translations of classical Japanese texts are forged into being, but here's a post all about it anyway. If you've ever wondered about what it is you're quoting, what might have been lost in between, or how to torture yourself by being excruciatingly thorough with a classical grammar, then read on. Otherwise, you'll probably fall asleep. You're probably already asleep. I'm sorry; I just needed a break (uh) from writing fic.

Way too much about the opening lines of Tale of the Heike below )

Here's the gloss, sans particles:


N: Noun
V: Verb
Aux: Auxiliary verb
Adj: Adjective, with subtypes "Shiku" and "Ku"
Adv: Adverb
Inflections: MZ, RY, SS, RT, IZ, MR as per the order above.

So now you know! And probably are making a point never to become a Japanese literature major.

tl;dr: translations omit and lie, but the people who chose to craft those lies are probably hugely overeducated, so just go cautiously with the flow

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A universe of unmapped grief and love
And new master light is beyond
The pleiades and plow and southern stars.

O soaring
Icarus of outworld, burn bright
The traceries of known skymarks,
Slide the highway planets behind
Your clear waxed wings.

Go conquer the everywhere left
Beyond your sad confinement
In a predicted bonehouse,
Witch thrown riddle of flesh
And water.

O soar until nothing
remains but great glittering holes
In the black godspun shirt over your head.

- John Fairfax