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Translation challenge: A une Damoyselle malade, by C lément Marot

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  • Sai Emrys
    This is, of course, inspired by Douglas R. Hofstadter s book _Le Ton Beau de Marot_ (which I heartily recommend). Translate the following French poem into your
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2010
      This is, of course, inspired by Douglas R. Hofstadter's book _Le Ton
      Beau de Marot_ (which I heartily recommend).

      Translate the following French poem into your conlang:
      Ma mignonne,
      Je vous donne
      Le bon jour.
      Le sejour
      C’est prison :
      Puis ouvrez
      Vostre porte,
      Et qu’on sorte
      Vitement :
      Car Clement
      Le vous mande.
      Va friande
      De ta bouche,
      Qui se couche
      En danger
      Pour manger
      Confitures :
      Si tu dures
      Trop malade,
      Couleur fade
      Tu prendras,
      Et perdras
      Dieu te doint
      Santé bonne
      Ma mignonne.

      ... while obeying these constraints:
      1. The poem is 28 lines long.
      2. Each line consists of three syllables
      3. Each line's main stress falls on its final syllable.
      4. The poem is a string of rhyming couplets: AA, BB, CC, ...
      5. Midway, the tone changes from formal ("vous") to informal ("tu").
      6. The poem's opening line is echoed precisely at the very bottom.
      7. The poet puts their own name directly into the poem.
      8. The semantic and rhyming couplets are asynchronous.

      You may decide that some of these constraints need to be translated to
      make sense or be plausible for your language (as I did for ASL,
      below). If so, please give your translated rule and your reasoning for
      it. You're also free to add more constraints that you think are
      salient; just be sure to describe them and (if not obvious) how
      they're present in both your translation and the original.

      Please also include translation notes and any interlinear information
      (pronunciation, morphemic glosses, the usual) that's non-obvious, as
      well as a 1-paragraph description of your conlang and a link to its

      Feel free to translate into natlangs also if you like. My version in
      American Sign Language is at http://saizai.livejournal.com/850616.html

      I'm not sure yet whether it's possible to do this in gripping language
      or non-linear writing, but Alex & I will try to figure that out. ;-)

      Once activity dies down, I'll send this entire thread to Hofstadter
      for his collection, with some introductory information about
      conlanging. (Thus the request for self-contained summary information.)

      - Sai

      P.S. Some English translations to help you:

      And for amusement:
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