The Mysterious Case of the Missing Nadsats

Ponying the Slovos began as an attempt to define Nadsat, the invented language at the heart of Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, and then examine how translators dealt with it. We believed that by isolating and examining the translation of an invented language, which does not emerge from an organic culture, it would help to reveal translator’s various strategies for translation more obviously.

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Tiktoking Nadsat with Grammar Girl

It was really nice to get a shout out from Grammar Girl on Tiktok recently. We don’t really have a presence there, so if you made your way here via Grammar Girl’s excellent Tiktok, you’re very welcome!

There’s a lot more about Nadsat, and indeed other invented languages, on the blog, so feel free to take a spin through the archives and see what might be of interest.

If you’re new to Ponying the Slovos, here’s a post that explains what Nadsat is and how it works, and here’s an article we did on how translators deal with names in fantasy fiction, including A Clockwork Orange, Harry Potter, and the works of JRR Tolkien.

And here is our most recent post, which looks at how the translators of A Clockwork Orange translated Nadsat into French and Spanish.

But there’s lots more too. Feel free to rummage about, and do let us know what you think!

Savvying the Palaver: Nadsat and Polari

Two days before his death, David Bowie’s final album, Black Star, was released. It features a sparse, and to many listeners baffling, song entitled Girl Loves Me. Even fans who were used to Bowie’s allusive lyrics found Girl Loves Me difficult to comprehend. However, it was soon revealed that the unusual language of the song was derived in part from Nadsat, and from the gay community slang Polari.

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