Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 4 (post 2 of 2)

And here is the rest of Chapter 4 of my Tri-lingual Hobbit Re-read!

And ooh, now that I’m done with Chapter 4, Chapter 5 will bring Gollum! FUN!

General notes:

Ooh, here I am expecting all the unusual vocabulary to come at me in the French and German translations, but Tolkien throws me for a loop and gives me “skriking” in the original English! Apparently “skrike” is Northern English dialect for “cry”. I will have to remember this for Internet Scrabble purposes! I can’t think of too many other English words that actually have two k’s in them! (Dara suggested ‘klick’, but other than that, I’m coming up blank!)

French notes:

Oh look, there’s a conjugation of “faire”! “Fit” as the third person, past tense of same. The interesting part here for me is that it’s used in this sentence: “— Hum ! fit le Grand Gobelin.” I.e., “fit” is used as a dialogue tag, where I usually see “dit”. I’ll need to check with French speakers to see if this is common usage at all, or if it is more of a sense of “the great goblin made a hum noise” rather than “the great goblin said ‘um!'”

I note the adverb “réellement”, “really”, used where the English is using “truly”.

Hee, the goblin’s nickname for Orcrist, Biter, is rendered in French as Mordeuse. Which sounds surprisingly classy for a goblin name for a sword, but hey, French!

“Étincelles” is a neat word. It means “sparks”.

“Il tomba mort”–he fell dead. And hee, this is another flashback for me to Quebecois song lyrics, as I know what “tomba mort” means from “Dans la ville de Paris”!

Glamdring is called “Batteuse” by the goblins. Again, sounds awfully classy for goblins, but these are French-speaking goblins, so there ya go.

Ooh! I actually was able to understand “Sommes-nous tous ici?” on first glance. “Are we all here?” Awesome!

And oh cool, I think I learned something that also fits in with what I’ve observed out of Quebecois lyrics. In “— Sommes-nous tous ici ? demanda-t-il”, I get that “demanda-t-il” is “he asked”. It’s a simple past tense construction. “Demanda” is “asked” and “il” is “he”. What I didn’t get is what the t was for. I am informed on Facebook that it’s to provide an easier transition between the two vowels. This seems to be the written equivalent of various songs where I’ve heard singers putting in t sounds if a word ends in a vowel sound and the next word begins in a vowel sound–such as in Le Vent du Nord’s “Cré-mardi”, in the first line “J’avais un beau chapeau”, and there’s a “t” sound snuck in between “J’avais” and “un”. Very, very cool!

German notes:

The English sentence “That was true enough!” renders, interestingly, in German as “Und das entsprach wirklich den Tatsachen.” (And that really corresponded to the facts.) An interesting difference of degree of emphasis here, and also, the word “entsprach” made me giggle and think of Treebeard.

Huh, nieces and nephews in German translate to “Neffen und Nichten”. I noticed the latter since of course I knew “nicht” as “not”. But “niece” is “Nichte”, not “Nicht”!

First awesome long German word of this stretch of reading: “unwahrscheinlicher”. “Unlikely”!

Huh, the German doesn’t have one of the driver goblins addressing the leader as “O truly tremendous one!” I wonder why the translator left that bit out.

Ah, and “Biter” in German is “Beißer”.

There’s a bit of nice linguistic rhythm when the Great Goblin flips out at the sight of Orcrist: “Zerschmettert sie, zerschlagt sie, zerbeißt sie, werft sie ins finstere Schlangenloch und lasst sie nie wieder das Tageslicht sehen!” In the original English, it’s “Slash them! Beat them! Bite them! Gnash them! Take them away to dark holes full of snakes, and never let them see the light again!” As near as I can tell from Google Translate, the German more or less comes through the same, though “zerschmettern” and “zerschlagen” appear to be very close in meaning and I’m not sure which is supposed to be “smash” and which is “crush”, or what.

And ah yes, there’s “Schläger”, for “Beater”! Amusingly, Google Translate seems to think this also means “bat”, in the “sports” sense as opposed to the “flying mammal” sense, which fits well.

To this day, it amuses me that the German word for “eleven” is “elf”.