In a post back in February (apologies for the rather long gap) we discussed in broad terms the situation with Turkish translations of A Clockwork Orange, Otomatik Portakal (literally “Automatic Orange”). Our initial look at the two translations suggested that Nadsat had been largely suppressed – there was no real evidence of it as a separate anti-language. This post looks at the later and more rigorous Körpe translation in more detail to examine what happened and discuss whether there even is such a thing as Turkish-Nadsat. This post is based on work we recently presented at the fascinating I-conlangs 2022 conference held at the University of Turin. [Our slides for the presentation can be seen here.]
In Cockney rhyming slang, ‘rabbit’ is the word for talking, derived from ‘rabbit and pork’. Fans of Cockney rebels Chas n’ Dave will no doubt recall their charming ditty on the matter.
Anyhow, it is currently fifty years since the publication of one of the world’s most beloved children’s books – Watership Down, by Richard Adams. To celebrate this fact, the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow is hosting an academic conference on the novel. Ponying the Slovos decided to examine the invented language, Lapine, attributed to the plucky rabbits of Adams’s creation.
What we found was inevitably very interesting. We found that Watership Down features an extensive linguistic topography, including not only the rabbit language, which features also in an extensive glossary prepared by Adams, but also a ‘hedgerow patois’ spoken as a form of common creole by all creatures, and implicitly other species-specific languages too.
We also discovered that Adams’s linguistic creation, Lapine, was not as fully realised as other seminal art-languages such as Tolkien’s languages or even Burgess’s anti-language, Nadsat. Nevertheless, like elements of Elvish or Nadsat, some terms from Lapine actually entered human popular culture briefly.
There’s a lot more too, but if you want to discover why Kehaar the gull sounds like he has German and Jamaican parentage, you’ll have to attend our paper at the conference this weekend.
As promised in a post back in May, this is the strange story of what happened when the translator Ana Quijada Vargas took on the translation of the missing 21st chapter of the Spanish version of A Clockwork Orange (ACO), La Naranja Mecanica (LNM). The analysis behind this post was largely carried out by our collaborator and good friend Niall Curry.
This post has been written to mark the publication of the edited collection Science Fiction in Translation, in which our chapter on the English, French and Spanish Nadsats appears (thanks to Ian Campbell for his support in this).Read more