Saturday, 21 March 2015

Translating Haiku the word break problem

Translating #Haiku
the word break problem

An example from  #Chiyo

( this applies to other #japanesepoetry too! #tanka #waka )

So you have in front of you a copy of the #Japanese text in #kana or a mixture of kana and #kanji and maybe # romaji too ?
And you have a fair idea of what it means but you go to check the exact verb form being used to add to the notes for readers and you can't find the verb form of particle or whatever?

Is it your poor knowledge of Japanese or is it just possible some editor combined two words or split up a word when they should not have?
Plus Japanese word play giving something two meanings ...

Here's an example ... a well known haiku by #Chiyo (though I have come across one writer who claims the poem pre exists her  ... however as its a well known poem)

I'm not disputing the usual translations just pointing out a couple of features

the haiku in romaji

shibu karo ka
shiranedo kaki no

Now I've seen several texts giving the first line as shibu karo ka but what if its
shibukaro ka ? A Verb? Most texts don't bother to explain this is a volitional form ... she's saying it is possible that an experience will be bitter but she does not ... shiranedo know  and  the use of the shiranedo form heightens this uncertianity!

Though shiranedo possibly should be printed shirane + do ?

Do is described by McCullough in her Bungo Manual as a concessive conjunctive particle that could be translated as even though or but

So perhaps the romaji text should be shibukaro ka shirane do hatsuchigiri ?

Whatever your choice but bear in mind while reading this haiku that there's both doubt and irony being expressed

Next time on Technozi Kaki Persimmons the first of which are appearing in Sydney's fruit stores !

Whether karo and do should be printed with a word break or as part of the verb in romaji knowing even a little bungo helps ?

Do try to get a cop of McCulloughs book if you can!

Ten Thousand Blessings to the person who gifted this to me a few years back!

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