Saturday, April 21, 2007

First cuneiform results

Hittite is proving ultra-resistant. I hope I didn't promise more than I can keep.

However, to give my eclect audience a foretaste, here are the first fragments of the promised pastoral elegy translated from that very old and long extinct Indo-European language:

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? bemourn ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? mourn grief ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? lament cry? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ‘is flute ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? Hattupsilitas ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? fields of barley? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? onion ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? finest of minds of his? ?
? generation? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? moan grief cry? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? so cruelly blown away ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? moan grief cry? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? bemoan oh muses*? ?
? ? ? ? bemoan? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

* “Muses” is a later Greek concept. However, the divine beings appealed to here seem quite related as far as I can make out.

Note that this is far from final. The poetics and modes of thinking and expression in this ancient language were quite different from today's Indo-European or other modes.

5 comments:

the teach said...

Translating the Hittite language? Okay now you have to tell me what your background is (education)...

the teach said...

I see one of your tags for this post is "humor" Uh oh, I was taking you seriously...I feel so ashamed. :(

Leonard Blumfeld said...

I do love my languages, but Hittite is definitely beyond me.

Hate to disappoint you, but this translation is all spoof :)

Leonard Blumfeld said...

In fact, I infused this "old Hittite" text with something almost from Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl':

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness ...

Leonard Blumfeld said...

Perhaps I should explain this Hittite association. It all has to do with John Ashbery's "A Hittite Lullaby" - see

http://worldsowide.blogspot.com/2007/04/work-in-progress-announcement.html

In that posting, I state that he "discovered" it, but the truth is, of course, that he wrote it.

It is no more Hittite than my translation from the Hittite...