Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

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guyome
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby guyome » Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:08 pm

Manchu
I have begun reading the Manchu Nogeoldae, a dialogue book published in Korea during the 17th/18th c. Together with a couple of other books, it was aimed at Korean students of Manchu: each Manchu sentence comes with a transliteration in Hangul, and is followed by a Korean translation (see picture below).
Instead of being a collection of random dialogues thrown together, there is some sort of storyline: the reader follows a Korean merchant on his way to Beijing. Throughout the various situations he encounters, the student learns everyday life vocabulary.

Image

The text has been around for roughly 600 years, first as a Chinese language textbook, with the Manchu and Mongolian versions being created in the 17th and 18th c. It is well known in Manchu studies and I have read parts of it over the years but never the whole work. Since I don't have that much time available for Manchu at the moment, I thought I would use it for light, "maintenance", reading. The matters dealt with in the dialogues are very mundane (introductions, lodgings, trading, etc.) but there is something I like in being able to follow a fictional 17th c. Korean merchant on his way to Beijing.

I have read most of book 1 (there's eight of them) and the Korean merchant has met and befriended a Chinese one. So far the topics covered have been:
- where are you going? Why so slowly?
- you are Korean, how did you learn Chinese?
- what was it like learning Chinese?
- why did you learn Chinese?
- since we're both going to Beijing, let's travel together!
- how expensive is life in Beijing at the moment?
- what prices do horses and linen sell for in Beijing?
- where are we going to sleep tonight/in Beijing?

Taken from one of the dialogues:
- Muse enenggi dobori aibide dedume genembi?
- Muse julesi yabufi juwan ba i dubede emu tiyan bi gebu be wase tiyan sembi. Muse erde ocibe yamji ocibe tubade dedume yoki. Aikabade duleme geneci, cargi orin ba i sidende niyalma boo akū.
- Tuttu oci, julesi gašan be amcarakū, amasi tiyan be baharakū ombi, muse tubade dedume yoki.
- Erdeken i isinaci, musei morin ihan be teyebufi cimari erdekesaka yoki.
- Ubaci gemun hecen de isinarangge udu babi?
- Ubaci gemun hecen de isinarangge amba muru sunja tanggū ba funcembi. Abka gosifi beye elhe oci, jai sunja inenggi ohode isinambi dere.

- Where do we go to spend the night today?
- We'll go 10 lis further, there is an inn called Wase Tiyan. Wether it's early or late, we will go and spend the night there. If we pass it, there is nothing for another 20 lis.
- If it is so, there's no way to reach a village further down the road or to go back and find an inn, we will go and spend the night there.
- If we get there rather early, we will rest our horses and our oxen, and then leave early tomorrow.
- From here, how many lis to reach the capital?
- From here, roughly more than 500 lis to reach the capital. If everything goes fine, we might get there in another five days.

In Manchu dialogue books, there is no indication of who's saying which sentence, so it is often possible to assign the same line to different speakers.
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guyome
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby guyome » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:34 pm

Occitan
A treasure trove of beautifully spoken Occitan from the department of Aveyron, where a northern variety of Languedocian is spoken, can be accessed at https://www.occitan-aveyron.fr. Each video features subtitles (in French) and a transcription of the Occitan is provided below. These were recorded about 20/30 years ago, which means many competent speakers were available. Now that traditional Occitan speaking communities are shrinking fast, such "collectages" are vital for our knowledge of both the language and the culture.
At a time when a lot of the Occitan you can hear is very influenced by French phonology, I could listen to these speakers all day.

The site is rather easy to navigate but I don't think there's an English version (let me know if I can help!). The easiest way to access material you might be interested in is maybe to click on "Thématiques" ("topics") in the upper navbar. Another nice feature is that you can click on the name of the witness to access all documents (s)he features in.

Many of the videos are rather short but there are also longer ones. Here are for instance three tales:
- Lo baron de Tustamina
- Les enfantons e lo Drap (cf. The Lost Children)
- Lo cònte de las pomas rojas

Here is a short story about the Drac/Drap, a mischievous/malevolent creature:

« E ben, lo Drap aquò èra una croiença qu’avián lo monde un còp èra, aquò èra una malediccion, aquò portava malur, aquò… Enfin aquò fasiá n’impòrta de que !
E dins un ostal, dins una bòria, lo bestial reüssissián pas : o èran malautes o crebavan, enfin lo bestial reüssissián pas. Enfin fini(gu)èron per s’amaginar qu’aquò duviá èstre lo Drap que n’èra la causa.
Anèron a l’estable, agachèron pertot, fintèron e, per un fenestron, trobèron coma una traça aquí, di(gu)èron :
“Diu dintrar per aquel fenestron ! Pas possible, dintra aquí !”
E coma lo Drap pareis que sabiá pas que comptar que jusca tres, li metèron cinc grans de milh pel fenestron e, quand lo Drap arribèt, se metèt a comptar aquel milh. Li se trompava, s’embrolhava, i sanèt tota la nuèch per comptar. Se trachèt que lo jorn arribava, se sauvèt, n’anèt al diable e d’aquel afar lo bestial reüssi(gu)èron, tot se tornèt passar bien ! »

So, the Drap was something people believed in the old days. It was a curse, it brought bad luck, that thing...In a word, it did all sort of things!
In a house, in a farm, the cattle wasn't doing well: either it was ill, or it died, anyway, the cattle wasn't doing well. In the end, they thought that the Drap might be the cause.
They went to the stable, looked everywhere, inspected carefully and, by a small window, they found something like a mark, they said:
"He must come in through this small window! It is not possible, he comes in here!"
And since it seems that the Drap could only count up to three, they put five corn kernels by the window and, when the Drap came, he started counting this corn. He was making mistakes, was getting confused, spent(?) all night counting. He realized the day was coming, fled, went to the devil (=went God knows where?) and from that time on the cattle did well, everything was all right again!
(Occitan text from http://www.occitan-aveyron.fr, translation and possible mistakes mine)
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby guyome » Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:37 am

Latin
Not much done this week. I started reading Nithard's History of the sons of Louis the Pious written around the year 840. Poor Louis (Charlemagne's son) had three sons and chose to divide the empire between them while still alive, so far so good. Problem is that when his wife died, he remarried and fathered a fourth son (Charles), to whom he had nothing left to give. Louis begged his three older sons to agree to a new partition of the empire but they were not too pleased with the idea. Louis still carved a kingdom for his youngest son, but to the expense of the eldest son, Lotharius. Hence, troubles and civil war for years to come.

Nithard was Charlemagne's grandson, so he is basically writing his family's history. He wasn't a member of the clergy (contrary to most Latin writers of the times) and served Charles in both war and peace. His work is thus very well informed, even if he is partial to Charles, making Lotharius the arch-villain (not without justification). It is an interesting, if slightly disheartening, read so far.

Manchu
Reading part 2 of the Nogeoldae. The Korean merchant and his new Chinese friends reached the inn at the very end of part 1:
- Ara boihoji age boode bikai! Ere ucuri wesihun beye boode gemu saiyūn?
- Sain.
- Wang hala amba age jiheo?
- Goidame acahakū bihe. Suweni geren gucu aibici acafi jihe?
- Be jugūn i unduri ishunde acafi gucu arame gemun hecen de genembi. Sini ere tiyan de orho turi gemu bio akūn?
- Orho turi gemu bi.
[asks for prices of said fodder but is not too pleased with the answer]
- Ere unenggio? Si jai mimbe ume holtoro!
- Age, si ere ai gisun? Si inu feliyeme urehe anda, muse emu booi adali. Bi ai gelhun akū balai hendumbi? Si akdarakū oci, gūwa tiyan de cendeme genefi fonjici, mini yargiyan tašan be bahafi saci ombi.
- Bi gūnici, si inu mimbe holtoro niyalma waka. Ai cendeme fonjinara babi?

- Oh, Mr. Landlord, you're at home! Is everything fine with you these days?
- Everything's fine.
- Has Mr. Wang come?
- I haven't met him in a long time. Where have you and your friends met and where do you come from?
- We met on the road, befriended each other, and we are going to Beijing. Is there grass and peas in your inn?
- There is.
[asks for prices of said fodder but is not too pleased with the answer]
- Is that true? Don't lie to me again!
- Sir, why talk like that? You are a regular guest here, we are like one family. How would I dare to speak falsely? If you don't believe me, go round asking the other inns, you'll see wether I'm right or wrong.
- I think you're not the kind of person who would lie to me. Why would I go round asking?

The beginning of part 2 is full of practical advices (and new vocab):
- ere jokū dacun akū. utala orho be adarame jombi? boihoji si gūwa bade dacun jokū emke be baifi gaju!
- uttu oci, bi baime genere.
[some time passes, the innkeeper is back with a knife]
- ere jokū inu meni mukūn i booi ningge. tere juwen burakū bihe. bi dahūn dahūn i baire de hamirakū ofi arkan seme buhe. umesi dacun. si olhošome baitala weringge be ume sendejebure

- This fodder knife isn't sharp. How can I cut so much grass with it? Landlord, find and bring a sharp fodder knife from somewhere else!
- If it is so, I'll go find one.
[some time passes, the innkeeper is back with a knife]
- This fodder knife belongs to someone of my household. He didn't want to lend it. I pestered him constantly and he finally agreed. It is very sharp. Use it with caution, don't notch someone else's knife.

Other topics covered are cutting fodder properly, setting up a fire properly, having the landlord buy some meat, preparing said meat, paying your bill, feeding horses properly, preparing for the night, checking with the innkeeper if the bridge further down the road has been repaired (spoiler alert: it has, but the road is not safe, better not to leave too early). Next: robber stories.
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby guyome » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:59 pm

Manchu
Finished part 2 of the Nogeoldae. The merchants are still at the inn. The innkeeper convinces them that the road is not safe by telling two stories about recents robberies. Here is the beginning of the first one:
meni ubade duleke aniya ninggun biya de emu anda jumanggi de emu kiya hoošan be tebufi dara de unufi jugūn i dalba mooi fejile sebderi bade teyeme amhaha bihe.
A friend who passed by our place last year during the sixth month had put a piece of folded paper into a small bag and tied it to his waist. Resting in a shaded place under a tree on the side of the road, he had fallen asleep.

hūlha tubaci duleme genere de sabufi dara de unuhe jaka be ainci ulin seme gūnifi gaitai ehe mujilen deribufi uthai emu dalgan i amba wehe be tunggiyeme gaifi tere niyalmai uju be baime emgeri tantafi fehi tucifi bucehe.
A robber who was passing by saw him and thought that there might be something of value in what was tied to the waist. He immediately had evil thoughts, picked up some big rock and aimed at the head of the guy. When it hit, the brain immediately came out and he died.

tere hūlha tere niyalmai jumanggi be sufi tuwaci damu hoošan teile ojoro jakade tubaci jenduken i jailame genehe.
When the robber opened the small bag of the guy and saw that it was only paper, he quietly fled.

Occitan
Reached lesson 24 of the Assimil course. I feel I could go much faster because the lessons are not very difficult but I decided not to for two reasons:
- I can already read authentic material with a rather decent level of comprehension, so me working through the book is more about developing an active competence and I feel that it wouldn't be achieved by going too fast. To help mastering the contents more thoroughly, I am also thinking of starting what Assimil calls the "second wave" soon, instead of waiting until lesson 50
- I prefer to spend time reading and listening to Occitan material online, which is more difficult but also much more interesting than any textbook.

Among other things, I watched a documentary on whistled Occitan in the Gascon (Bearnese) village of Aas (available until april 2020).
I also read a few popular tales from various places, some of them very similar to some I had read in other languages (Death being chosen as the godmother of a child when nobody else wanted to seems to be a classic in many regions/countries).
Last edited by guyome on Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:53 pm

IronMike wrote:Have you read the Lansky book, Outwitting History, about how he created the Yiddish Book Center? Incredible story.


Just got this from the library and read it in a single sitting last night! What a great recommendation! Thank you both for the suggestion!
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby IronMike » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:58 pm

Lawyer&Mom wrote:
IronMike wrote:Have you read the Lansky book, Outwitting History, about how he created the Yiddish Book Center? Incredible story.


Just got this from the library and read it in a single sitting last night! What a great recommendation! Thank you both for the suggestion!

I tried to do this same thing but for Esperanto books (Lansky having mentioned them in Outwitting History) but I didn't get very far. :(
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:11 pm

IronMike wrote:
Lawyer&Mom wrote:
IronMike wrote:Have you read the Lansky book, Outwitting History, about how he created the Yiddish Book Center? Incredible story.


Just got this from the library and read it in a single sitting last night! What a great recommendation! Thank you both for the suggestion!

I tried to do this same thing but for Esperanto books (Lansky having mentioned them in Outwitting History) but I didn't get very far. :(


Most of my book reading is in a target language, so when I let myself read something in English I tend to just inhale it... my brain can’t believe how easy it is!
Outwitting History was great, and well recommended for anyone interested in history or languages, and not just Yiddish.
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby guyome » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:29 pm

Lawyer&Mom wrote:
IronMike wrote:Have you read the Lansky book, Outwitting History, about how he created the Yiddish Book Center? Incredible story.


Just got this from the library and read it in a single sitting last night! What a great recommendation! Thank you both for the suggestion!
I'm glad you enjoyed it! It is a gripping story.
On a slightly related note, I remember that a couple of years after I started learning Yiddish, I listened to a conference where one of the speakers said something along the lines of "these guys at the Yiddish Book Center, they make a business of Yiddish books, etc". Basically some thinly veiled criticism of Lansky's greediness or something of the kind.
Now, I don't have any special insight about the YBC history, and maybe (probably?) there was some unsavory behind-the-scenes moments, I don't know. It might also be true that Lansky has earned a lot of money, again I don't know. But given his personal history and accomplishments, together with the fact that the YBC has put online more Yiddish material than anybody (for free), I've always found the criticism a strange one.
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:01 pm

guyome wrote:
Lawyer&Mom wrote:
IronMike wrote:Have you read the Lansky book, Outwitting History, about how he created the Yiddish Book Center? Incredible story.


Just got this from the library and read it in a single sitting last night! What a great recommendation! Thank you both for the suggestion!
I'm glad you enjoyed it! It is a gripping story.
On a slightly related note, I remember that a couple of years after I started learning Yiddish, I listened to a conference where one of the speakers said something along the lines of "these guys at the Yiddish Book Center, they make a business of Yiddish books, etc". Basically some thinly veiled criticism of Lansky's greediness or something of the kind.
Now, I don't have any special insight about the YBC history, and maybe (probably?) there was some unsavory behind-the-scenes moments, I don't know. It might also be true that Lansky has earned a lot of money, again I don't know. But given his personal history and accomplishments, together with the fact that the YBC has put online more Yiddish material than anybody (for free), I've always found the criticism a strange one.


There is a whole chapter in Outwitting History that deals with infighting and rivalries in the Yiddish cultural world! It was one of the best sections because it captures the reality of so many groups facing diminishing resources and generational change... I thought about the parallels with mainline Protestant denominations today as the aging congregations struggle to stay afloat... Truly universal stuff.
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby IronMike » Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:16 pm

Lawyer&Mom wrote:
IronMike wrote:
Lawyer&Mom wrote:
IronMike wrote:Have you read the Lansky book, Outwitting History, about how he created the Yiddish Book Center? Incredible story.


Just got this from the library and read it in a single sitting last night! What a great recommendation! Thank you both for the suggestion!

I tried to do this same thing but for Esperanto books (Lansky having mentioned them in Outwitting History) but I didn't get very far. :(


Most of my book reading is in a target language, so when I let myself read something in English I tend to just inhale it... my brain can’t believe how easy it is!
Outwitting History was great, and well recommended for anyone interested in history or languages, and not just Yiddish.

I mean that I've tried rescuing Esperanto books from libraries! ;)
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