THE PARALLEL CORPUS OF THE TALE.

Man, the internet keeps providing me with new goodies. Check this out: The parallel corpus of
“The Tale of Igor’s Campaign” translations
“is an electronic philological tool designed to compare different translation versions of that monument of ancient Russian literature.” You enter a numbers from 1 to 218 in the fragment number field, and you get dozens and dozens of versions of that fragment: first the various Old Russian editions (Jakobson’s critical edition, the first edition, the copy made by order of Catherine II, and various reconstructions), then a whole bunch of translations into Russian, then a whole bunch of translations into Slavic languages (about half into Ukrainian, but quite a few into Polish and Czech and several into the South Slavic languages), and finally a whole bunch of translations into other languages, starting with English (the first being Nabokov’s) and ending with Ossetian (translation by G. Pliev). On their About page they go into a lot of detail about the project and how it fits into corpus linguistics; me, I could spend days just splashing around in the various languages, seeing how different people have dealt with the text. And there’s all kinds of ancillary material at the site, like Zaliznyak’s 355-page book on the Slovo (pdf). Gloriosky!, as Little Annie Rooney used to say. (Incidentally, one of the translations into modern Russian is by Yu. Kosirati; does anybody know what kind of name Kosirati is?)

Comments

  1. Kosirati is a Georgian name, I think, though it does seem to be short on consonants. While searching for this, I found the following sentence on someone’s blog: “I am a Ukrainian who speaks Russian and lives in Illinois.” Humanity is all mixed up these days: the branches of the human family tree are deeply intertwingled.
    For whatever reason, the translation of fragment 1 that’s in my head (and whose source I do not know) is not on that list: “Would it not be amiss, brothers, to tell in antique style the sad tale of the wars of Igor, Igor the son of Svyatoslav?” (I’m not quite sure if it’s “wars” or something else.) But as fragment 2 tells us, it would indeed be amiss, for we need to tell the story in the style of our own time.

  2. It’s an Ossetian family name – Къосиратæ (Kusrayev – a Russified form)
    Kosirati appears to be a Georgian transliteration of Къосиратæ

  3. More research revealed that Kosirati Къосираты is in a Digor dialect of Ossetian. Same surname in more dominant Iron dialect would be Къусратæ – Кусраевы, Кусрашвили
    Both apparently come from Ossetian word Къус (Iron Ossetian)/Къос(Digor Ossetian) meaning a “cup”

  4. marie-lucie says:

    A wonderful resource!
    Very interesting about the Kusirati etc name. In Ossetic mythology and legends (as recorded for instance by Georges Dumézil) there are clan names ending in “атæ” . The “cup” in question must be the metal bowl used in ancient times, often heavily decorated for presentation as a gift or reward.

  5. Hat: Days? I know some Slavic scholars who could spend weeks on that site!
    John Cowan:
    My only teacher of Slavic linguistics actually translated the SLOVO into French, and like you I distinctly remember the first few verses; I didn’t find his translation among the selection of French translations, but the following of the translations on offer is the one closest to his (if my memory can be relied on, that is):
    “Ne nous siérait-il pas, frères, d’entonner avec les paroles d’autrefois les pénibles récits de la campagne d’Igor, d’Igor Sviatoslavitch?”
    Which matches the English translation you quoted quite closely, in substance and style alike.

  6. Addendum:
    Can anyone comment on the “Romeika” translation? It looks like some kind of Greek writtten in Cyrillic, and I would like to know more specifically which dialect it is.

  7. Etiene: Rumeíka is said to be the Greek dialect spoken by some of the Greeks that were resettled north of the Sea of Azov (today’s SE Ukraine) from the Crimea ca. 1780. Only part of these Crimean Greeks were Greek speakers: the rest were speaking a Turkish dialect (Urum: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urum_language ) rather than Greek.
    http://www.academia.edu/1727534/Is_Rumeika_a_Pontic_or_a_Northern_Greek_Dialect

  8. Found Mongolian translation by Kh.Perlee
    Хутаг-алдар ноёны хүү,
    Игорь вангийн гунигт туужийг
    Хууч үгээр эхэлж хэлбэл,
    Таатай биш үү дүү нар аа!
    Translation of kniaz Svyatoslav as Хутаг-алдар ноён is simply ingenious!

  9. P.S. More details on the Azov Greeks: here‘s an article, in Ukrainian with an English abstract ( S.P. Pahomenko / Literature of Azov Greeks and the problem of preservation of cultural traditions of the Greek ethnic group). According to the paper, there are some 90,000 ethnic Greeks in Ukraine, 77,000 of them living around the north shore of the Sea of Azov. According to recent censuses, the majority of Azov Greeks speak Russian natively; less than 10% of them say that their mother language is Greek.
    The Azov Greeks are said to have lost literacy in Greek already during the Crimean period of their history. By the 20th century, they were writing in Cyrillic, and a standardized writing system for the Rumeika Greek dialect, based on the Russian and Ukrainian Cyrillic, was developed some time between the 1950s and 1970s. A number of books have been published in that script since then, including a translation of the Tale of Igor.

  10. Nick Nicholas on the linguistic and social aspects of the Mariupolitan Greeks, Greek-speaking and Turkish-speaking. Other posts: the Soviet orthography of Demotic, which was also used with adaptations for both Pontic and Mariupolitan; Shevchenko in both languages; the status of Urum; Mariupolitan as we butcher it in Russian.
    As I noted in a comment at one of these, it’s not really paradoxical to tell a Russian census-taker that your native language is Greek even if you don’t speak a word of Greek; Eliezer ben Yehuda, after all, decided that his native language was going to be Hebrew.

  11. Trond Engen says:

    Nick Nicholas on Pontic and Urum.

  12. Trond Engen says:

    Oh, John Cowan beat me to it. I even reloaded before sending, but didn’t wait to see the result.

  13. haha, translation po fene is great, too funny, reminds me ” ..zyuzyukali po move” from the alice in the wonderland, what family name is kolpakchi now i wonder
    of the two mongolian translations the second one reads very organically as if like our own folk tuul’s while the first one reads a bit like bookish, but both are great, must be it was so much work to translate rhyming

  14. Wow, thanks to everyone for great comments, and extra credit to SFReader for the Ossetian details! From what little I know about Ossetian, ъ represents a glottalized consonant and æ is a central vowel (schwa), so Къосиратæ would be something like /’Kosiratə/ (using K for glottalized k).

  15. marie-lucie says:

    LH: I am glad to know the pronunciation of “æ” in the Ossetian context, as an addition to the Cyrillic alphabet. Reading Dumézil, who apparently did not take this alphabet into account, I assumed that it was IPA æ which represents the sound of a in cat. Writing in French, Dumézil would have been better off using e, which at least a portion of the French public would have pronounced.

  16. marie-lucie says:

    Etienne: There is a discrepancy between the English translation quoted by LH and the French one you quote:
    (LH) Would it not be amiss, brothers, to tell in antique style the sad tale of the wars of Igor, Igor the son of Svyatoslav?” (I’m not quite sure if it’s “wars” or something else.) But as fragment 2 tells us, it would indeed be amiss, for we need to tell the story in the style of our own time.
    versus: “Ne nous siérait-il pas, frères, d’entonner avec les paroles d’autrefois les pénibles récits de la campagne d’Igor, d’Igor Sviatoslavitch?”
    The question starts with “Wouldn’t it be appropriate for us …” which is the opposite of “Wouldn’t it be amiss …”.
    There are a few other things I would change, although they don’t affect the general meaning: for “the tale of the wars of Igor” I would suggest la geste d’Igor, which has a suitably medieval connotation, without specifying “wars” (although some fighting is probably implied). Entonner is ‘to start singing or reciting in a powerful voice’. And I would use fils de Sviatoslav which is what the patronymic means, instead of the Russian word, which Western readers tend to interpret as a last name rather than a specific reference to filiation.
    Here is my suggestion: Ne serait-ce pas une erreur de notre part, mes frères, de conter à la manière ancienne la triste geste d’Igor, Igor fils de Sviatoslav?

  17. thanks, SFR! jargon jargonom, but that webpage is really a very difficult site to read, emotionally, so it’s not just an easy and funny thing of course, blatnoi jargon, sorry

  18. Vladimir Menkov: so it is Azov Greek. Thank you.
    All: another question. The Moldavian translation is unlike any of the three Romanian translations, and contains some very odd things. For example, whereas all the other translations I have seen leave Igor’s name intact or translate it into the target language, I am surprised that the Moldavian version renders it as “Igor sin sfetoslav”, something that looks like a direct loan from Russian (or Ukrainian?), making me wonder: was the Moldavian version made from a translation rather than from the Old Russian original?

  19. Etienne: There is a discrepancy between the English translation quoted by LH and the French one you quote
    That was JC, not LH.

  20. marie-lucie says:

    oops! Apologies to both of you!

  21. John Emerson says:

    Another remarkable thread.

Speak Your Mind

*