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:

祇園精舎Nの鐘Nの声N、諸行無常Nの響きNありV-SS。
沙羅双樹Nの花Nの色N、盛者必衰Nの理NをあらはすV-SS。
奢れるV-RT人Nも久しからずADJ(SHIKU)-MZ、唯ADV春Nの夜Nの夢NのごとしAUX-SS。
たけきADJ(KU)-RT者Nも遂にADVは滅びV-RYAUX-SS、偏にADV風Nの前Nの塵Nに同じADJ(SHIKU)-SS。




Key:
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

Most Popular Tags

Custom Text

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