by Candace Barrington
We had so much fun with the Polyglot Reading of The Miller’s Tale at the New Chaucer Society Congress 2014 in Reykjavik that we thought we might try it again at NCS 2016 in London, but with a twist: the languages will be constructed languages such as Barsoomian, Dothraki, Elvish, Esperanto, Klingon, Na’vi, Tho Fan, Valyrian,and Vulcan.
Ideally, we will have the translation completed well before July 2016, and it will be shared on the website.
If you’d like to try your hand at translating a Chaucerian passage into one of these (or any other) constructed language, please contact either Candace Barrington (BarringtonC at ccsu dot edu) or Jonathan Hsy (JHsy at gwu dot edu) for more information. Currently, we are considering this passage–the opening lines of The Parliament of Fowls–and we’d ask you to translate two or three lines of it:
The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne,
Th’assay so hard, so sharp the conquerynge,
The dredful joye alwey that slit so yerne:
Al this mene I by Love, that my felynge
Astonyeth with his wonderful werkynge
So sore, iwis, that whan I on hym thynke
Nat wot I wel wher that I fete or synke.
For al be that I knowe nat Love in dede,
Ne wot how that he quiteth folk here hyre,
Yit happeth me ful ofte in bokes reede
Of his myrakles and his crewel yre.
There rede I wel he wol be lord and syre;
I dar nat seyn, his strokes been so sore,
But ‘God save swich a lord!’–I can na moore.
By usage–what for lust and what for lore–
On bokes rede I ofte, as I yow tolde.
But wherfore that I speke al this? Nat yoore
Agaon it happede me for to beholde
Upon a bok, was write with lettres olde,
And therupon, a certeyn thing to lerne,
The longday ful faste I redde and yerne.
For out of olde feldes, as men seyth,
Cometh al this newe corn from yer to yere,
And out of olde bokes, in good feyth,
Cometh al this newe science that men lere.
But now to purpose as of this mater:
To rede forth hit gan me so delite
That al that day me thoughte but a lyte.
(Parlement of Foules 1-28)
Update: Languages and lines claimed for pseudo-glot translations
1-3 Quenya (Lindsay Bensenhaver)
4-7 Toki Pona (Michael A Johnson)
8-11 Python (Matt Schneider)
12-14 Esperanto (Chris Piuma)
15-17a Elvish (Mary Kate Hurley)
22-25 Deseret Alphabet (Tim English)