Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 10 (General notes)

Been a bit, but now, getting back to it, let’s do Chapter 10 of The Hobbit!

Objectively speaking, not terribly much actually happens in this chapter. We’re basically talking the following chain of events:

Bilbo and dwarves: *float downriver to Laketown*
Bilbo: *gets dwarves out of barrels*
Thorin: “I am Thorin Oakenshield! KNEEL BEFORE ZOD–” (Wait, wrong movie.)
Lake-town Men and Elves: “Wut just happened? WOO HOO PARTY WITH THE DWARVES!”
Thorin: “We’re all going to go beat up on the dragon now!”
Lake-town Men: “Yeah okay, you have fun with that.”
Bilbo: *spends entire chapter with a cold*

Raise your hand if you’re imagining Martin Freeman looking miserable throughout this chapter. It does rather add an extra element of “aww your poor thing!”

General notes:

It’s going to be amusing to see the shots in the next movie of Thorin and Fili and Kili coming out of those barrels. Somehow, I suspect they’re still going to manage to look dreamy even when bedraggled. And I can see Martin Freeman looking sneezy and unimpressed during their entire visit to Lake-town, too.

The narrator tells us that “I have never heard what happened to the chief of the guards and the butler.” Which, even though I understand that this is being said for effect here, still translates to me as “I didn’t feel like bothering to fill that in”. It’s yet another little thing I’m pretty sure a modern writer would never get away with!

Noticed this actually when going through the French, but since Tolkien phrased it this way in English too, it goes up here: Thorin telling the party that “we must thank our stars and Mr. Baggins”. I note the lack of “lucky” in this phrase, but that would seem to be the intent here.

I have to wonder how trusting the folk of Lake-town are! The town Master clearly isn’t buying Thorin’s arrival for an instant, but the town at large goes pretty much batshit with Happy–and all it takes is this band of ragged-looking dwarves walking up, and the one in front going, “I’m King under the Mountain!” And *bam*, they all start singing. Either they’re very trusting, or else they’re looking for an excuse to party.

French notes in the next post!

Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 9

Well, Chapter 8 was pretty exciting with all the Bilbo being heroic and OHNOEZ SPIDERS and YAY STING and OHNOEZ THORIN and stuff.

Now, though, we get daring barrel-based escapes from cranky elves! (Because I’m kind of with Thranduil on this; if my house was infested with dwarves I’d be a bit cranky too. Unless the dwarves look like Kili. Then I’m down that. Still, though, those short hairy guys DO put a dent in the beer stash, don’t they?)

Onward to Chapter 9, “Barrels out of Bond”!

Continue reading “Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 9”

Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 8

This is the first of the Tri-lingual Hobbit Re-Read posts I’m making from angelahighland.com rather than annathepiper.org; I hope those of you who’ve been following me on the other site will pick them up again here. And for those of you who may be just recently joining me on angelahighland.com (hi, fellow Carina authors!), I hope you’ll enjoy this linguistic geekery!

Those of you who are following me from LJ or Dreamwidth, you shouldn’t see any change in these posts, except for a different site showing up in the ‘Mirrored from’ tag.

And for those of you who may just be joining me, I’m re-reading The Hobbit! But I’m doing it in three languages at once: the original English, but also German and French, since I’m interested in learning both languages and I consider this excellent practice. So join me for hobbits and dwarves and wizards and language geeking, as I dive into Chapter 8, “Flies and Spiders”.

Continue reading “Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 8”

Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 7 (third post)

Nothing quite like two viewings of the brand new Hobbit movie to get me in the mood to keep up with the Tri-lingual Re-read! Though I gotta say, people, it’s going to be difficult swinging back into Tolkien’s descriptions of the various dwarves, now that I’ve seen the movie–twice now–and have completely fallen in love with the parody Thorin Dreamboatshield: An Unexpected Hotness of Dwarves.

Because, seriously, say what you will about Jackson, love him or hate him, laud or decry his filming in 48 frames per second… the achievement for me in the new movie? Making me swoon for dwarves.

And on that merry note, let’s get back into Chapter 7, shall we? We left off with Bilbo and the dwarves taking it easy at the House of Beorn!

Continue reading “Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 7 (third post)”

Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 6 (ongoing)

Picking up again in Chapter 6 of The Hobbit, Gandalf is finishing up cluing in Bilbo on what happened while he was playing at riddles!

General notes:

Goodness, a book released today couldn’t get away with so much telling of action that the protagonist happened to miss, I must say! Much argument could be had on either side as to whether this is actually a good thing–but to be sure, it’s in keeping with the more relaxed pace of this story, as well as Tolkien’s overall style.

French notes:

First translation shift I note in this round is that in the English edition, Gandalf describes his situation of getting into the caves as “touch and go”. The French translation renders this as “une affaire très incertaine !”

Oh hey, here’s a bit that pings one of my SuperMemo vocabulary verbs: “vous vous le rappeler sans doute”. The actual English text says “as you remember”, and it’s in the bit where the narrator is reminding the reader of Gandalf’s skill with fireworks at the solstice celebrations of the Old Took. Google Translate translates the French phrase as “you probably recall”. And it pinged off of me because I was just this morning reviewing “se rappeler” as a verb, i.e., to remember/recall. The “se” bit changes appropriately to reflect the subject of the sentence, so in this case it’s pinging off of “vous”, the reader.

Here’s another good verb: “falloir”. The English text says “it took a wizard to keep his head in the tunnels and guide them in the right direction”. In French, it’s “il fallait un magicien pour garder la tête claire dans les tunnels et les guider dans la bonne direction”. “Fallait” is the conjugation I’m interested in here, because 1) it’s imperfect tense, and 2) falloir is what is apparently called an impersonal verb. So it only gets conjugated in third person, singular, indefinite! I’m going to have to keep an eye out for this one in SuperMemo. I’m sure I’ll see it sooner or later.

Ooh, here’s another verb I know from songs–gémit, appearing in this sentence: « Mais j’ai horriblement faim », gémit Bilbo. Gémir means “moan/groan”, and it’s all over the lyrics to the awesome La Volée d’Castors song “Belle embarquez”! I am deeply unsurprised to see this word showing up in the context of Bilbo bitching about how hungry he is!

“Une horrible confusion”–this is an instance of how sometimes French words do look pretty much like the English ones, except for being pronounced differently!

This post’s most awesome gigantic French word award must go to “s’épaississaient”! Spotted in the phrase “Déjà les ombres s’√©paississaient sur elles”, or “Already the shadows were deepening around them” as in the original English. That big ol’ word comes from the verb “épaissir”, and it’s imperfect tense, third person, specifically. I’m slowly getting the hanging of thinking “ongoing action” when it comes to the imperfect tense.

German notes:

This post’s award for Most Awesome Gigantic German word goes to “Mittsommergesellschaften”!

“Jetzt müssen wir weiter” is the translation provided in German for Gandalf telling everyone “Let’s get on!” Google Translate claims this comes out to “now we must continue”. I keep thinking from the rhythm of the words that I might have heard something that sounds like this before, maybe a fragment of the (admittedly badly pronounced, but hey) German in Raiders of the Lost Ark. I will have to doublecheck this!

Here’s another awesome German word: “Überbleibsel”! It means “remnant” and appears in the context of the party scrambling down the rocks that are a remnant of a landslide. But I swear, it sounds like it ought to be some sort of futuristic flying car or something!

This word, on the other hand, looks like it ought to be Japanese: “Tohuwabohu”! It means “chaos”. SWEET.

That’s it for this post, but before I go, let me share with you my amusement at the comparative thicknesses of the French and German editions of the book. The French version, as you can see, is a much slimmer volume. The German is of course written in German, so naturally one could joke about all the words being longer–but more relevant is that the German text is in a significantly larger point size!

Here’s a photo to show you the difference in book thickness!

French and German Hobbits
French and German Hobbits

Next time: dwarves and a hobbit! In trees! That are on FIRE!

ETA 10/2/2012: A few German speakers have advised me that ‘Tohuwabohu’ is in common enough use in the German language that they don’t think of it as anything but a German word. So it looks like it must have become a loan word, jumping from Hebrew over to German. Learning about this kind of thing, folks, is exactly why I’m enjoying going through the translated versions of The Hobbit so much! Vielen Dank to the German speakers who have enlightened me!