Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nonsense animal poem with a linguistic twist

While cycling home on Tuesday I found myself getting sillier and sillier as I composed a little Edward Lear like nonsense poem about animals in my head, which I would now like to share with you.

However, with a little linguistic twist, the poem I composed in my head was in Swedish so I am going to write it in Swedish but using the Irish alphabet and its pronunciation of letters.
Some help along the way though, the Irish alphabet,which predates the English by almost a thousand years, and which is almost the same as the Latin, does not contain the following letters:

J, K, Q, V, W, X, Y, Z and of course none of the later various European accented, cedillaed or umlauted letters either.

So the English hard J sound as in James does not exist in Irish, in the same way that it doesn't exist in French either.

Instead, also like the French, S followed by an accented vowel does the job, for example Séamas is pronouned like a French person saying James i.e Shay-mass, and that "Latin/romance" pronunciation is exactly why James in Irish is Séamas.

C is always pronunced in Irish as K
Q is the same as K anyway so C is used there too.
V is sounded in Irish by the consonant pair BH
W is sounded in Irish by the consonant pair MH
X (as in max or rex) is sounded in Irish, as it is in the Norwegian KS, by the logical consonant pair CS. And sometimes by CH, which sometimes also sounds like a throaty gurgled K, as in Bach and loch.
Y is covered by several combinations.
The English Z sound is not used in Irish
RH is a soft R. some other combinations also soften the consonants. And in some only the first letter of the combination is pronounced. For exmaple the Irish word for table is exavtly the same as in Swedish bord. However, "the table" is "an mbord" which is pronounced "uh mord"

So here it is (Irish spelling and pronunciation conventions only NOT vocab or word order, which remain Swedish. Title in Swedish to get you started)

Det var en gång en svart räka

De bhar en gángh en sbhart rhaica
Som trodde sé bhara en rháca
Men en bhain sa "Chansé air du en chráca"
Och en till bhain sa "Né, inte fágel alls, men chansé air du en chraiftha fer at du air sá stora"
Men rhaican sa bara "chracs, chracs" och sen hurdes en fhlacs, fhlacs och dá bhar han bortha.

If you're up for the challenge you can post your correct translation to standard Swedish here as a comment to this post.


Slan go foill (See you later)

1 comment:

Kim Jong Il said...

Hey, that's sounds just like you speaking Swedish!