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BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation

DigiTrad:
A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD
BRAHMS' LULLABY
BUMM! BUMM!! BUMM!!!
CORPORAL SCHNAPPS
DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI
DIE GUTE KAMERAD
DIE LAPPEN HOCH
DIE MOORSOLDATEN
EDELWEISS
GORCH FOCK LIED
HANS BEIMLER
HEISE, ALL
LILI MARLEEN
MARIA DURCH EIN DORNWALD GING
ODE TO JOY (GERMAN)
YAW, YAW, YAW


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MudGuard 10 Jul 02 - 05:00 PM
CapriUni 10 Jul 02 - 08:49 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 11 Jul 02 - 01:51 AM
CapriUni 11 Jul 02 - 02:49 AM
CapriUni 11 Jul 02 - 02:49 AM
Wilfried Schaum 16 Jul 02 - 10:24 AM
CapriUni 16 Jul 02 - 01:21 PM
Wilfried Schaum 23 Jul 02 - 09:41 AM
CapriUni 23 Jul 02 - 10:26 AM
Wilfried Schaum 24 Jul 02 - 08:20 AM
CapriUni 24 Jul 02 - 10:29 AM
Wilfried Schaum 13 Jan 03 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,leeneia 13 Jan 03 - 11:01 AM
MMario 13 Jan 03 - 11:07 AM
Wilfried Schaum 14 Jan 03 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,leeneia 14 Jan 03 - 11:07 AM
Bob Bolton 14 Jan 03 - 09:53 PM
CapriUni 15 Jan 03 - 12:23 AM
Wilfried Schaum 29 Jan 03 - 07:11 AM
CapriUni 29 Jan 03 - 09:40 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MudGuard
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 05:00 PM

The moment I had hit the submit-Button I noticed something:

difficult can be translated as "schwierig" as well as "schwer".


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 08:49 PM

I figured it was something like that... languages often have double meanings for several words, and which one you choose depends on context.

But translation engines only pick one meaning per word, and they can't tell context from a hole in the ground...

So half the time (at least), the meaning they spit back at you will be the wrong choice...


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 01:51 AM

häschen to catch, to snatch Hugo Pocket Dictionary 1935....previous postings were from Collins 1975.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 02:49 AM

Interesting, Garg, Thanks!


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 02:49 AM

Interesting, Garg, Thanks!


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 16 Jul 02 - 10:24 AM

No, no, no, Garg!

Throw away your pocket dictionary!
Haschen (NOT häschen) means to snatch, to catch. It is separated ha-schen. Nowadays it also can mean to smoke hashish.
Häschen (with the umlaut, bunny) is a diminutive of Hase(rabbit)and is separated Häs-chen.

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 16 Jul 02 - 01:21 PM

Thanks for the clarification, Wilfried!

What is it about pocket dictionaries, anyway? They seem to be a low tech version of babel fish... right only about half the time, if you are lucky...


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 23 Jul 02 - 09:41 AM

A new animal to throw into the discussion; when I looked into the cage into my younger daughter's room I saw a small, furry, nosey, and cuddly little beast liking to climb everywhere. How about a hamster?
But resuming the discussion and browsing through the remarks of the native speakers, the best is not to ask about the exact name of the animal in question and to imagine any which suits the description given above.
I now remember what I imagined when I heard the tale as a child: Since it came out of a well and was called after the sea, I thought of the Meerhäschen as a wet bunny.

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 23 Jul 02 - 10:26 AM

I now remember what I imagined when I heard the tale as a child: Since it came out of a well and was called after the sea, I thought of the Meerhäschen as a wet bunny.

:::Chuckle::: That makes sense...

Certainly, nothing like a Mongoose at all...

You know, I first came across this tale in college, (in a fourth-year level course on fairy tales), and the professor who taught it was a stickler for academic standards. So when he picked a translation, I just assumed it was the most accurate available.

But now that I have easy access to other translations, I discover that the translator made arbitrary changes in at least two of the stories: substituting "Mongoose" for "sea hare", just because (it seems) it made more sense to him; and in "Hans My Hedgehog", completely changing the scene where Hans punishes the first princess -- the daughter of the false king (In the original, he rips off her gown, and cuts her with his quills... in the translation I read, Hans buys a fancy coat for himself, which he takes off in the carriage -- releasing his quills. I can see no other reason for this than the first version was too sexual and/or violent for Mr. Manheim's sensibilities).

This discovery, of course, puts the whole translation, which I studied so carefully, with highlighters and notes in the margin, into question...

:::Sigh:::


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 24 Jul 02 - 08:20 AM

I can see no other reason for this than the first version was too sexual and/or violent for Mr. Manheim's sensibilities

Don't forget that the Grimm Bros. themselves started to bowdlerize some of their tales because of this reason. A good example is Rapunzel.
She was visited during her seclusion by a prince, and gess what they did? Must have something to do with the fact that she gave birth to twins later on.
But the witch guarding her noticed those intimacies by a slip of Rapunzel's tongue! Bloody nonsense. As I told my eldest daughter: "Remember how mama looked before she gave birth to your sister? That was the way the old hag detected it!"
I'm sure there are other changes ad usum delphini in the tales, but it is too much time gone since I read them.

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 24 Jul 02 - 10:29 AM

Don't forget that the Grimm Bros. themselves started to bowdlerize some of their tales because of this reason. A good example is Rapunzel.

Oh, I know... But the interesting thing about the Grimms' retellings is that they put out seven editions of their collection between 1812 and 1857. Here is a paragraph by paragraph comparison between the 1812 version and 1857 version of Rapunzel translated by professor D. L. Ashliman.

He has the same sort of comparison for Hans my Hedgehog... and no fancy coat appears in either version. Then again, for some reason, the translation we used in class was of the 1819 edition (perhaps because that was the largest edition [?] 210 tales, total), so maybe they put the coat in, then took it out again... But I find it unlikely that they would make the story more violent in the final version when they had edited out that violence in the second version... but maybe...

In any case, they set a precedent that makes me more comfortable with making changes of my own... especially when their heroines are too much like glass figurines to be believable...


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 08:36 AM

Final solution found? Let's hope so.

Another conjecture I wanted to throw in is the marmot or woodchuck (Am.), in German: Murmeltier, but I dont do it - because today I was visited by a researcher in sagas, myths and fairy tales. He is a German, but was born in Romania and lived there in his youth in the Banat, a German speaking part of the land.
When asked whether he knew the tale of the Meerhäschen, and what sort of an animal it could be, he answered: yes, we called it so, but you call it a Meerschweinchen = guinea pig in Germany.
He saw the Meerhäschen in his youth when it was used on the markets by travelling diviners with their trade. This animal picked little papers out of a box which held the answers to the questions the diviner was asked.

Wilfried

P.S. The marmot in former times was used by hurdygurdy men for dancing to their music (there even is a song about it written by the great Goethe).


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 11:01 AM

It helps to read the story (use the link in the first post). The fox and the lad jump into a spring and are changed into a merchant and a Meerhaschen, "a sea-hare." But Meer can refer to fresh water, as well as to the salt sea, can't it?

So the lad is changed into some kind of fresh-water creature. Then he hides in the princess' hair. How could a rabbit, guinea pig or hamster hide in her hair? Couldn't. But a little slug could. After all, they hide themselves in the garden very well, as any peasant would know.

So I say that the meerhaschen is a fresh-water invertebrate, probably with feelers that look a bit like a rabbit's ears.


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MMario
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 11:07 AM

well - yes, I know from experience a guinea-pig or hamster could indeed hide in hair - or a beard. I've seen it done. A rabbit, if full grown might be difficult.


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 08:27 AM

Come on, Leeneia, be fair - I just gave a reference by a native speaker grown up in the country the fairy tale is reported to come from. And that is a stronger evidence than guesses.
A well, pool, or even a kettle containing water often stands for the place of birth and rebirth (esp. in Celtic mythology); and like the fox is transformed into a human beeing and not into a mermaid, so the lad must not be necessarily change into a slug or another slimy water animal.
Rereading the story again as you proposed, I found:
The youth had to dip himself in the water also, and was changed into a small sea-hare. The merchant went into the town, and showed the pretty little animal, and many persons gathered together to see it.
Beg your pardon, but what do you think is so pretty about a slug that the people gather together to see it?

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 11:07 AM

As for "pretty", maybe these animals have pretty shells.

But the main point of the story is how the suitor and and magician dealt with the cruel princess and her magic windows. By hiding in her hair, a part of herself that she could not see out the window, they got the better of her. Her feelings about the creature in her hair are unimportant.

It's interesting to think that if we didn't have good-quality mirrors, none of us would know what our own hair looks like.


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 09:53 PM

G'day all,

There is a recurring mention of mongoose: I might mention the the meerkat (literally "sea-cat" ... in Dutch/Afrikaans?) is a social breed of mongoose - unless you get on the wrong side of it!

A drift from "sea-hare" to "sea-cat" is quite in line with our own confusion of the two ... maybe all traceable to the Latin for "hare" = lepus ~ le pus(s). Maybe pet meerkats were popular ... no worse that pet ferrets ...

Regard(les)s,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 15 Jan 03 - 12:23 AM

Hey, wow! This thread has been revived! Cool!

Wilfried -- thank you for relaying the story from your friend... I was leaning toward "Ginea Pig" for the translation, based on our earlier discussions... It just seemed the best fit. Now I have firmer evidence for my choice... would you mind PM'ing this person's name, and where he teaches / studies folklore, so that I can credit him in the introduction to my retelling?

Leenea -- actually, how the queen feels about the creature is important; she has to be pleased with it enough to want to take in in her arms and carry it with her while she looks out the windows. I really doubt she'd want to do that with a water slug...

Bob Bolton -- perhaps the translater of the version I read in college used your theory to come up with the translation of "mongoose"... I just think it would have been more honest of him to talk a little about how he translated the stories in his introduction...


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 07:11 AM

Final solution: addition

Today I got two references from my visiting researcher:

1. In the East German edition of the Grimm Fairy Tales Meerhäschen is explained as Guinea pig. (Kinder und Hausmärchen / gesammelt durch die Brüder Grimm. - Berlin und Weimar : Aufbau, 1979. - pg. 780)

2. In the Saxon language Meerhäschen denotes the rabbit, a smaller relative of the hare. (Haltrich, Josef: Sächsische Volksmärchen aus Siebenbürgen. - [Repr. of the ed. Berlin, 1856]. - Bukarest : Kriterion, 1971. - pg. 444: sax. Miërhôsen, Miërhâsken = Kaninchen)

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 09:40 AM

Thanks, Wilfried!

This further information will be helpful...

And I know rabbits; they are more common in eastern America than hares, and because I do not try to keep "weeds" out of my lawn, like many of my neighbors do, I often have rabbits come visit my yard for a meal... :-) I feel like I'm in a Disney movie, sometimes...


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Mudcat time: 17 September 5:59 PM EDT

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