received a couple of communications touching on
language of the mind. One thing readers want to see is some of Lewis
Carroll's Jabberwocky in other languages. Glad to oblige. On the
next page is the opening verse ("'Twas brillig", etc.) —
first in a 1931 French version by F.L. Warrin, then one in German by R.
Scott that dates back to 1872, the year after the original publication
of Looking Glass.
you, all this use of "nonsense with meaning" isn't completely
esteemed everywhere. Anthony Burgess (he of Clockwork Orange
renown and the great fan of OED editor James Murray) makes the following
comment in his A Mouthful of Air:
not know what the verb "grobble" means, but we can be pretty
sure that if I grobble, he grobbles, and that, some time in the past,
several people grobbled. If "grobble" is a noun, then its
plural is probably "grobbles". There is a satisfactory
boniness about grammar that the flesh of vocabulary, or lexis, requires
before it can become vertebrate and walk the earth. But it is probably
unrealistic to stress its importance. It leads us to a world of dreams:
corkled the veriduct in morful wurtubs and, prexing the coroflock,
chonted the purpool by crerlicoking the fark, [I] wottled the duneflow
by fonking the raketoppled purnlow and then asserticled the prert (in
both slonces) through a clariform rarp of werthearkers.
good grammar. But it is not anything else.
agree myself. It's fun, and it stimulates the imagination. We need to be
reminded of the world of dreams now and then. Bandersnatch makes for
good Yuletide spirit, too, as I discovered the Christmas before last
when a card from a Bikwilian included the following words:
bradlethwig sloove jongly round the slub, and quabber blonk! Simbly
sublorginal . . .
the Jabberwocky translations I have included, at no extra cost, a
quote from Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
This is from Chapter 6, and is another fine instance of that work’s
language play to which I referred in Bikwil No. 3. From Adams’
point of view, of course, it is an example of Vogon poetry, “the third
worst in the Universe”.
too, incidentally, you will find a further paglet in the saga of Larick
and the Aratronts. Bandersnatch lives!
||Il briligue: les tôves lubricilleux
Se gyrent en vrillant dans le guave,
Enmimés sont les gougebosqueux,
Et le momerade horsgrave.
Es brillig war. Die schlichte Toven
Wirrten und wimmelten in Waben;
Und aller-mümsige Burggoven
Die mohmen Räth' ausgraben.
[As read to prisoners Arthur Dent and
Ford Prefect by Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz, while they sit strapped into
their Poetry Appreciation chairs]
||Oh freddled gruntbuggly thy
micturations are to me
As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a
Groop I implore thee my foonting
And hooptiously drangle me with
Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts
blurglecrucheon, see if I don’t!