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Re: [mythsoc] Heaney's Beowulf or someone's Hiawatha?

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  • David S. Bratman
    ... Despite its formidable appearance, Finnish isn t a difficult language to learn to pronounce. With a copy of the Finnish text of the Kalevala, and a
    Message 1 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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      At 06:23 AM 12/3/2003 , Elizabeth Apgar Triano wrote:

      >Ooh, and how do we get to listen to it in Finnish? Then again, since I for
      >one can't understand Finnish, is that a silly exercise?

      Despite its formidable appearance, Finnish isn't a difficult language to
      learn to pronounce. With a copy of the Finnish text of the Kalevala, and a
      Finnish pronunciation guide, both of which could be findable in a good
      library and probably on the Web, you can read it aloud for yourself.

      A recording of the whole Kalevala read in Finnish might require some
      tracking down and might not be worth the trouble for the merely curious,
      but if you just want an easy way to hear some of it and get some great
      music into the bargain, may I suggest acquiring a CD of Jean Sibelius's
      choral-orchestral suite "Kullervo"? I recommend the Naxos recording
      conducted by Jorma Panula. The booklet has the original text plus translation.

      Tolkien, who was passionately interested in the sheer sound of language,
      believed that it was anything but a silly exercise to listen to a language
      you do not speak. Characters in LOTR frequently hear such languages, and
      are moved by the sound of them, or find that a meaning comes through even
      without a knowledge of the words. Tolkien himself discovered his favorite
      languages through reading their (then unknown to him) words in print.


      >2) In that, Longfellow showed good taste.
      >
      >LOL I have to admit that I like "Hiawatha" better than "Wenabozho", but
      >would one call it good taste or perhaps good judgement of his primarily
      >English-speaking audience? Taste is kind of a tricky concept don't you
      >think?

      I was being jocular, but a good judgment of the audience is essential to
      good taste. To write something that might be appropriate for another
      audience but not for the one you have (I'm thinking of things like
      off-color humor here) would not be good taste.


      >So, let me see. Hiawatha the Iroquois would have been a local figure to
      >me, as a NYer, but I would have to look him up to see if he existed, etc.
      >
      >Wenabozho, who goes with the story we know, was Ojibwe, a nation I've heard
      >of but I'm not sure where to place them geographically.

      Upper Great Lakes. Usually spelled Ojibwa (which may be why you had
      trouble turning info up on the Web) and now usually known as the Chippewa.


      >I am wondering lately, in my usual muddy way, whether a Yank interest in
      >things Native American would be a similar thing to the English interest
      >(occasionally) in things Celtic. With all the inaccuracies and
      >subjectivities of both hobbies, still it's like a searching out of the
      >earlier people.

      Why not? I live in a part of the country occupied by numerous small Native
      tribes in aboriginal days. I like to keep track of whose territory I am in
      when I travel, and I find that passing from one to another usually marks a
      vegetative or landscape boundary as well.

      - David Bratman
    • alexeik@aol.com
      In a message dated 12/3/3 3:36:08 PM, David Bratman wrote:
      Message 2 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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        In a message dated 12/3/3 3:36:08 PM, David Bratman wrote:

        <<A recording of the whole Kalevala read in Finnish might require some
        tracking down and might not be worth the trouble for the merely curious,
        but if you just want an easy way to hear some of it and get some great
        music into the bargain, may I suggest acquiring a CD of Jean Sibelius's
        choral-orchestral suite "Kullervo"? I recommend the Naxos recording
        conducted by Jorma Panula. The booklet has the original text plus
        translation.
        >>

        Another fun recording in the same vein is that of the contemporary Finnish
        composer Einojuhani Rautavaara's oratorio _Sammon ryötsö_ (The Myth of the
        Sampo), which is a setting for vocal soloists, chorus and electronic sounds of the
        section of the _Kalevala_ that deals with the three hero-brothers' expedition
        to Pohjola (Lapland) to obtain the magical object called the Sampo. The music
        is very expressive and well-suited to its legendary subject, besides giving a
        good sense of what the verses of the _Kalevala_ sound like in Finnish. It also
        comes with the original text plus translation.
        Alexei
      • Jack
        greenmanreview.com/book/book_beowulf_criticaledition.html [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        Message 3 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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          greenmanreview.com/book/book_beowulf_criticaledition.html

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • alexeik@aol.com
          In a message dated 12/3/3 3:36:08 PM, David Bratman wrote:
          Message 4 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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            In a message dated 12/3/3 3:36:08 PM, David Bratman wrote:

            << Ojibwe, a nation I've heard
            >of but I'm not sure where to place them geographically.

            Upper Great Lakes. Usually spelled Ojibwa (which may be why you had
            trouble turning info up on the Web) and now usually known as the Chippewa.
            >>

            "Chippewa" is the form most commonly used in the US, while "Ojibway" is the
            form most commonly used in Canada. Both are approximations of the native form
            _Ojibwe_. Today it's become fashionable to use the term _Anishinaabe_
            (literally "normal person"), which can be applied to a number of Algonkian-speaking
            peoples of the Great Lakes area.
            Alexei
          • alexeik@aol.com
            In a message dated 12/3/3 2:36:07 PM, you wrote:
            Message 5 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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              In a message dated 12/3/3 2:36:07 PM, you wrote:

              <<LOL I have to admit that I like "Hiawatha" better than "Wenabozho", but
              would one call it good taste or perhaps good judgement of his primarily
              English-speaking audience?>>

              Certainly "Hiawatha" (especially pronounced the familiar English way: the
              actual Iroquois pronunciation would be 'hee-ya-watt-ha") sounds far less bizarre
              to an English-speaking audience than "Wenabozho". Longfellow's choice is
              perfectly reasonable if one assumes that his audience will never have any further
              interest in the culture that serves as the background for the story. For anyone
              who does know something about it, however, the effect is as jarring as, say,
              arbitrarily giving one of the characters in a Chinese story a Japanese name.
              Alexei
            • alexeik@aol.com
              In a message dated 12/3/3 2:36:07 PM, Lizzie wrote:
              Message 6 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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                In a message dated 12/3/3 2:36:07 PM, Lizzie wrote:

                <<I am wondering lately, in my usual muddy way, whether a Yank interest in
                things Native American would be a similar thing to the English interest
                (occasionally) in things Celtic. With all the inaccuracies and
                subjectivities of both hobbies, still it's like a searching out of the
                earlier people.>>

                I've been pointing this out for a long time. The relationship is similar in
                that both involve the cultures of conquered peoples, with most of the terms
                defined by the conquerors -- who choose precisely which aspects of the conquered
                cultures are of interest to them, what their significance is, and how they are
                to be given expression in the dominant culture's art and literature.
                Alexei
              • Stolzi@aol.com
                In a message dated 12/2/2003 10:40:12 PM Central Standard Time, ... In that, Longfellow showed good taste. Well, to YOUR linguistic taste, which is formed by
                Message 7 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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                  In a message dated 12/2/2003 10:40:12 PM Central Standard Time,
                  dbratman@... writes:
                  >"Hiawatha" is actually called Wenabozho. Longfellow liked the Iroquois name
                  >better, apparently, and arbitrarily substituted it for the original name.

                  In that, Longfellow showed good taste.
                  Well, to YOUR linguistic taste, which is formed by neither of the languages
                  under discussion, or, one might grant, for a poem in English. Perhaps
                  "Wenabozho" sounds exquisite in the ears of an Ojibwa, and "Hiawatha" awkward.



                  Diamond Proudbrook


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Stolzi@aol.com
                  In a message dated 12/3/2003 1:10:05 PM Central Standard Time, ... Algonkian-speaking ... How ethnocentric of them Diamond Proudbrook [Non-text portions of
                  Message 8 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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                    In a message dated 12/3/2003 1:10:05 PM Central Standard Time,
                    alexeik@... writes:


                    >Today it's become fashionable to use the term _Anishinaabe_
                    >(literally "normal person"), which can be applied to a number of
                    Algonkian-speaking
                    >peoples of the Great Lakes area.


                    How ethnocentric of them



                    Diamond Proudbrook


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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