POLL: Cantigas de Santa María

Ongoing language-learning challenges, and team challenge logs (but not individual logs)

Would you be interested in a this language challenge/translation project?

Poll runs till Wed Apr 05, 2023 8:46 pm

Yes, that would be really interesting
Maybe, if the time is right.
No votes
No, that doesn't interest me at all.
No votes
I don't even know what I'm going to have for dinner today...
Total votes: 7

User avatar
Orange Belt
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2022 4:54 pm
Languages: Spanish (N) Galician (N) English (B2)
x 198

POLL: Cantigas de Santa María

Postby Kullman » Sat Feb 04, 2023 8:46 pm

In an atempt of charming you, language travelers, into the adventure of learning Galician, my mother language, I have been thinking about proposing a new, difficult challenge, both for you and for me, in the form of the medieval book "Cantigas de Santa María", 427 religious songs/poems compiled in the XIII century in the court of Alfonso X "The Wise", who is usually noted as the author (some sources claim than most of the "cantigas" were written by other authors, though).

This text, which is preserved in four different codices, is written in "galaico-portugues" (galician-portuguese), which was the language spoken in the west coast of the iberian peninsula in the middle ages, and tells about different miracles (allegedly) made by the virgin Mary.

I have created this thread as a declaration of intention, and to ask you how interested would be in reading/translating this text to your home languages, in a way to, not only gain knowledge, but also sharing it with others.

There is a useful website where you can read all the "Cantigas".

1 x

User avatar
Black Belt - 4th Dan
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 7:36 pm
Location: Denmark
Languages: Monolingual travels in Danish, English, German, Dutch, Swedish, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Romanian and (part time) Esperanto
Ahem, not yet: Norwegian, Afrikaans, Platt, Scots, Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Greek, Latin, Irish, Indonesian and a few more...
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1027
x 12703

Re: POLL: Cantigas de Santa María

Postby Iversen » Sat Feb 04, 2023 9:44 pm

It would definitely be interesting (and I have bookmarked the page on my PC for later use), but also a lot of work - and if I translated those cantigas into Danish there would be few who could read the translation and probably no chances whatsoever to get them published. But I have known about those poems for a very long time (and I also have instrumental versions of some cantigas, including Madre de Deus), and besides I sometimes listened to TV Galacia while my mother's Astra receiver still functioned - when you know Portuguese and Spanish it isn't too hard. Sadly it stopped working a couple of years ago, but I may try to get it working again now that I have inherited her house.

Reading Alphonso is feasible for me if I just want to get the general meaning, but I would prefer to have a dictionary if I should do a proper translation. However just for fun I took a random poem (no.4) and made a attempt to kill it in hyperliteral English without looking anything up:

A Madre do que livrou
2 dos leões Danïél,
3 essa do fógo guardou
4 un meninno d' Irraél.

5 En Beorges un judéu
6 houve que fazer sabía
7 vidro, e un fillo séu
8 —ca el ên mais non havía,
9 per quant' end' aprendí éu— 7 c
10 ontr' os crischãos liía 7' d
11 na escól'; e éra gréu 7 c
12 a séu padre Samüél. 7 B

The mother of him who liberated
from the lions Daniel,
her from the fire guarded
a boy from Israel

In Burgos a jew
there was who knew how to make
glass, and a son of him
- as more of his (kind) not was
as far as as learned I
among the christians learned/read
in the school, and (it) was difficult
for his father Samuel..

I'm not aware of who exactly liberated Daniel (except maybe his god Jahve), and why the mother of that person should be concerned with people in Burgos (?) thousands of years later - and that hampers my understanding of the first four lines (the first of which is repeated like a refrain throughout the poem). It could also be the mother of someone whom somebody saved from the lions and the fire, though that's not how I remember the biblical tale. Nevermind. The next part (stanza 1) apparently says that there once was a Jewish man who knew how to make glass, and he had just one clever son - none like him - who studied in school among the christian boys (which already is slightly surprising), and somehow that was difficult for his father

And if I'm totally wrong about this then please tell me...

PS: Google translate comes up with this - and I don't think it is closer to the real meaning:

The Mother from whom he delivered
2 of the lions Daniel,
3 this fire saved
4 a boy from Israel.

5 In Beorges a Jew
6 houve que fazer knew
7 glass, and a son seu
8 - there was none other than him,
9 per quant' end' I learned— 7 c
10 ontr' the Christians read 7' d
11 at school'; and it was gréu 7 c
12 to his father Samuel. 7 B
2 x

User avatar
Orange Belt
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2022 4:54 pm
Languages: Spanish (N) Galician (N) English (B2)
x 198

Re: POLL: Cantigas de Santa María

Postby Kullman » Sat Feb 04, 2023 10:21 pm

Next monday, after my english B2 oral exam, I'll search the "Escuela Oficial de Idiomas" library for any content related to the Cantigas.

If I don't have luck there, I will try also the local library.
0 x

User avatar
Orange Belt
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2022 4:54 pm
Languages: Spanish (N) Galician (N) English (B2)
x 198

Re: POLL: Cantigas de Santa María

Postby Kullman » Mon Feb 06, 2023 9:05 pm

So I went to the library, and the librarian wasn't there, so i browsed by myself but didn't found anything related to the Cantigas.

I will try in the next days.

I was thinking than gutenberg.org could be a good place to publish the finished translations, if possible.

https://www.gutenberg.org/help/public_d ... ssion.html

The Babelgate website could be useful to keep track over the translation effort.

Last edited by Kullman on Mon Feb 06, 2023 11:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
0 x

User avatar
White Belt
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2022 11:17 am
Languages: Spanish (N), English (C1), Catalan/Valencian (C1), French (beginner), German (beginner)
x 53

Re: POLL: Cantigas de Santa María

Postby Rey » Mon Feb 06, 2023 11:31 pm


When I was a child, I was taught to sing two of these "Cantigas" at the Church Chorus I attended.

I still have the music sheets/scores/partituras somewhere, but in modern notation for a 'modern chorus' of children or 'girl/boy soprano'.
Last edited by Rey on Thu Feb 16, 2023 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1 x

User avatar
Orange Belt
Posts: 162
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2022 10:10 am
Location: Luxembourg
Languages: Moved around... English + German + Spanish + Dutch + French + Portuguese
used daily
Catalá Russian Serbian: struggling but improving. Bahasa..needs refreshment
x 264

Re: POLL: Cantigas de Santa María

Postby anitarrc » Tue Feb 07, 2023 10:03 am

many moons ago there was a group who sang them in Occitan. I¡'ll post a link, if possible. My disks are in Costa Rica.

A French version is here.
https://www.moyenagepassion.com/index.p ... r-le-menu/

May we could check first what is missing?
I'd never spoil them with google translate. With galician spelling switched on they are quite understandable as they are.

PS I have to get on with my Spanish to French task (manúal de conductor de locomotora). I wish it were half as beautifu l :D
0 x

Return to “Language Challenges”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest