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Re: [norse_course] Njall 151 end + 152 beginning / Alan's Translation

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  • Brian M. Scott
    At 5:29:38 AM on Friday, October 30, 2009, AThompson wrote: I ve added Grace s translations below yours. ... Here Grace has it right: must be
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 31, 2009
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      At 5:29:38 AM on Friday, October 30, 2009, AThompson wrote:

      I've added Grace's translations below yours.

      > Flosi tók lítt á þeirra ferð og kvað þó eigi víst um hvort
      > (hvárt) hér næmi (nema, subj) staðar "er Kári engum manni
      > líkur þeim (masc dat sg, agrees with manni) sem nú er á
      > Íslandi."

      > Flósi took their conduct (see taka lítt á, Z12) ill (?)
      > (*MM&HP render it took little concern, see taka lítinn af
      > e-u) and declared still not to know

      Here Grace has it right: <víst> must be 'certain'.

      > about whether (it) would end (see nema staðar, under nema,
      > Z1) here "Kári is like to no man, that-one who now is in
      > Iceland. (no man in Iceland is Kári's equal)?

      Pretty much; Zoëga s.v. <líkr> has <Kári er øngum manni
      l[íkr]> 'K. has no match'. Fairly literally it seems to be
      'K. is like no man who is now in Iceland'.

      > Flosi made little of their journey and said still (it was)
      > not certain whether here (the feud would) stop " since
      > Kari is like no man of them who are now on Island."

      Note that <er> is singular; that makes it unlikely that
      <þeim> is 'them' rather than 'that one, him'.


      I've been thinking about the first clause. The idiom in
      Zoëga is <taka lítt á e-u>, with the dative, while <ferð>
      here is an accusative. This may or may not be significant
      -- some expressions seem to allow both cases with little or
      no change in sense -- but <þó> 'nevertheless' definitely
      makes much more sense if Flosi's reaction was relative
      indifference or unconcern than it does if he was put out, as
      does his comment. As for <ferð>, I've seen a few instances
      in which it appeared to mean not just a journey but the
      events of the journey, a sense that would be appropropriate
      here. I'm inclined to go with something like Grace's
      translation.

      For what it's worth, most of the translations that I've
      found render it here as 'showed little concern', 'said
      little about', etc. (E.g., from an old nynorsk translation:
      <Flose sa ikkje mykje um ferdi deira, men sa det var ikkje
      visst, um det var slutt med dessa>.)

      [...]

      > Nú er að segja frá Birni og Kára að þeir ríða á sand

      > Now (one) is to say about Björn and Kári that they ride to
      > (the) Sand

      > Now is to tell of Bjorn and Kari that they ride to sand

      I don't think that it's possible to tell whether <sand> here
      is a minor place-name or purely descriptive. I'm not even
      sure that it's possible to tell whether it's 'seashore' or
      'glacial outwash plain' (as for instance at Skeiðarársandr).
      Even though <sand> is singular, the MM&HP solution ('rode
      out to the sands') seems to have the right flavor.

      > Kári varð svo nærgætur að hann reið þegar í braut er þeir
      > hættu leitinni.

      > Kári became so near-(the)-truth-guessing that he rode
      > at-once away (just at the moment ) when they abandoned the
      > search.

      > Kari happened to guess so near the truth that he rode away
      > at once when they ceased the search.

      'Became' doesn't really work in English; 'turned out to be'
      has about the right sense, I think. Grace's 'happened to'
      also seems possible (cf. Zoëga's <þeim varð litit til hafs>
      'they happened to look seaward').

      [...]

      > Björn mælti þá til Kára: "Nú skalt þú vera vin minn mikill
      > fyrir húsfreyju minni því að hún mun engu orði (note: neut
      > dat sg) trúa því er eg segi en mér liggur hér nú allt við.

      > Björn spoke then to Kári: 'Now you shall be my great
      > friend before before (in the presence of?)

      That's how I read it.

      > my wife because she will believe in no word, that which I
      > say but (and) everything now lies (depends) on (it) for
      > me.

      > Bjorn spoke then to Kari, "Now you shall be my great
      > friend before my wife because she will believe no words
      > when I say them and here everything rests on (you) for me.

      Both versions convey the basic sense, but both of the
      'virtual pronouns' can be avoided if we translate <liggja
      við> as 'to lie at stake, to be at stake': 'everything is
      now at stake for me here'.

      > Launa þú mér nú góða fylgd er eg hefi þér veitta."

      > Repay (you) me now for (the) good companionship which I
      > have given to you.'

      > You repay me now with good help since I have helped you."

      Alan's got this one right. See CV s.v. <launa>: 'to reward,
      with dat. of the person, acc. of the thing for which the
      reward is given, but dat. of the gift itself'. <Goða fylgð>
      is fem. sing. acc., so it must be the thing for which the
      reward is given, not the reward itself.

      [...]

      > Húsfreyja spurði (asked I thinks fits better here, given
      > Björns answer) þá tíðinda og fagnaði þeim vel.

      Indeed; <spyrja tíðenda> is something of a set phrase, 'to
      ask tidings'.

      [...]

      > Björn svaraði: "Aukist hafa heldur vandræðin kerling."

      > Björn answered: (The) troubles have rather increased, wife
      > (see kerling, Z1)'

      > Bjorn answered, "The difficulties have rather increased,
      > old woman (now that's the way to charm her!)"

      You might be amused: I just discovered that in modern
      Icelandic <fleyta kerlingar>, literally 'to float old
      women', is 'to skip stones' ('to skim stones' in the UK), a
      pastime once known as 'making/playing ducks and drakes'.

      > Hún svarar fá og brosti að.

      > She answers little and smiles at (him).

      > She answers little and smiled at (that).

      <N. brosti at ok mælti>, with no explicit object of <at>,
      seems to be a fairly common expression; I'm inclined to
      think that it might be best to leave it at 'and smiled',
      leaving the object ambiguous.

      Brian
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