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Thread: Νεράιδα (καλοκυρά)

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    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    Νεράιδα (καλοκυρά)

    In one of two wonderful and moving sonnets, which SBE referred to in Discussing anything under the sun, Lambros Porphyras writes:

    Πήραν στρατί στρατί το μονοπάτι
    βασιλοπούλες και καλοκυράδες...


    How would I translate either term in the title? I know that in the depths of the countryside in Greece there is a firm belief in "the Good People"; I have myself come across it once or twice and many Greek islanders can tell of people who have seen them.
    The author of a book printed by the Cambridge University Press in 1910, viz. J C Lawson, writes in detail of this belief and on p. 131 writes: "I myself once had a Nereid pointed out to me by my guide and there was certainly the resemblance of a female figure, draped in white and tall beyond human stature, flitting in the dusk between the gnarled and twisted boles of an old olive-yard. What that apparition was I had no leisure to investigate..."
    An old man in Glencoe, in Scotland, who believed in such things, said to me many years back said that we still believed in such apparitions but whereas he would say "there is a spirit in that cave", now we say "that cave spooks me out, that cave is haunted".
    Be that as it may, in the sonnet referred to an English translator calls the καλοκυράδες "mermaids". I understand why but could I translate it as "fairy queens", which keeps the mythic overtones and goes well with "princesses"?

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    Senior Member daeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theseus View Post
    ...but could I translate it as "fairy queens", which keeps the mythic overtones and goes well with "princesses"?
    Of course. The fair folk can have many names in Greek as in other languages. But please don't rely upon us to untangle that mess; it's a fairly hairy fairy subject.

    sugar-plum fairy = η νεράιδα Ζαχαρένια

    to be away with the fairies

    the tooth fairy

    The muses (fairies)

    Fair Folk

    changeling

    Crystal Fairy, Crystal Hairy, Hairy Fairy

    The lang, lang shadows creep


    Quote Originally Posted by daeman View Post
    ...
    Sleep weel, my bairnie, sleep. Κοιμήσου εσύ, παιδάκι μου
    Τhe lang, lang shadows creep, Τώρα οι σκιές μακραίνουν
    The fairies play on the munelicht brae Νεράιδες φεγγαρόλουστες
    An' the stars are on the deep. κάτω απ' τ' αστέρια παίζουν


    ...
    Θεωρητικά, θεωρία και πράξη είναι το ίδιο πράγμα. Στην πράξη, όμως, διαφέρουν.
    When this you see, remember me and bear me in your mind, let all the world say what they may, speak of me as you find.

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    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    Thanks, 'Man! Full of good puns as ever. But I think that "mermaids" coming along the path "slowly, oh so slow" is an odd idea: a "slippery" subject perhaps. I didn't expect you to untangle the mess: I only wished to point that mere scepticism based on modern scientific assumptions is somewhat naive and "animism", the belief that spirits live in trees, rivers, springs, nymphs and the like, is not what is meant in the literature. The tree, the nymph and the river are the spirits. The reaction of "fear" or "awe" to being alone in, say a forest or by a waterfall in a very quiet place is the spirit.
    Maybe it is our "estranged faces" and the endless chatter of city life that miss something our forbears knew intimately. Feelings of awe and spookiness (and the now ubiquitous programmes on the paranormal) may have something important to tell us even nowadays... I don't know. So no attempt at entanglement: just a suspension of the chattering mind with its non-stop refusal to be quiet is the first step. The cultivation of silence.

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    Senior Member daeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theseus View Post
    ... But I think that "mermaids" coming along the path "slowly, oh so slow" is an odd idea: ...
    Slithering along, more likely.
    Θεωρητικά, θεωρία και πράξη είναι το ίδιο πράγμα. Στην πράξη, όμως, διαφέρουν.
    When this you see, remember me and bear me in your mind, let all the world say what they may, speak of me as you find.

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    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    Ha ha ha! Ο ανπαίκταμπλ Δαέμανος...

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    Senior Member Neikos's Avatar
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    Επειδή είμαι τσίφτης και καραμπουζουκλής θα βάλω άλλη μια ερμηνεία στο τραπέζι. Καλοκυράδες εκτός από τις νεράιδες λέγονται και οι αρχόντισσες (παλιότερα δηλαδή, γιατί τώρα δυστυχώς έχουν χαθεί και οι δύο). Στο συγκεκριμένο ποίημα δεν νομίζω ότι αναφέρεται σε νεράιδες, είναι μάλλον απίθανο ανάμεσα στις βασιλοπούλες, τους βασιλιάδες και τους καβαλάρηδες να ακολουθούσε και κανένα τσούρμο νεράιδες. Για παράδειγμα, οι "Las Incantadas" της Θεσσαλονίκης, εκτός από Μαγεμένες, Γητεμένες κλπ., είχαν ονομαστεί και Καλοκυράδες της αγοράς, αν δεν κάνω λάθος. Και σύμφωνα με τον μύθο από τον οποίο πήραν το όνομα, πρέπει να ήταν η συνοδεία του βασιλιά.

    Βάζω και την πρώτη στροφή :

    "Πήραν στρατί στρατί το μονοπάτι
    βασιλοπούλες και καλοκυράδες,
    από τις ξένες χώρες βασιλιάδες
    και καβαλάρηδες απάνω στ’ άτι."

    http://greek_greek.enacademic.com/70527/καλοκυρά

  7. #7
    Senior Member Earion's Avatar
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    You have a strong point here.
    Άλλο πληροφορία, άλλο γνώση· άλλο βία, άλλο δύναμη.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Earion View Post
    You have a strong point here.
    Το λεξικό του Δημητράκου δίνει ως δεύτερη σημασία του "καλοκυρά" το αρχοντισσα, παραθέτοντας ακριβώς αυτόν τον στίχο του Πορφύρα.

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    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    Thanks to all three! I am not exactly sure what Neikos means by the words τσίφτης και καραμπουζουκλής. The dictionary doesn't give anything but vague equivalents and μάγκας is one such translation. I would like a simple explanation, since both terms are often used together, as in Neikos's comments.

    This is a translation of the sonnet by Timothy Adés:

    Along the pathway slowly, slowly,
    they came, princesses, mermaids, riders
    on horses, kings of far-off countries;

    moved round my granny’s bed and chanted,
    between a pair of pallid tapers,
    as singers do, some song or other.

    Not one there was who loved my granny
    and killed the dragon and the ogre
    to bring her the immortal water.

    Below, I saw my mother kneeling;
    and, once upon a time, above us,
    the Archangelic wings were beating.

    Are there any more corrections to his version? So αρχόντισσες means here 'retinue' or 'noblewomen'. So stanza 3 is the main fairy tale ingredient of the poem?

  10. #10
    Senior Member daeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daeman View Post
    ...
    τσίφτης ο [tsíftis] θηλ. τσίφτισσα [tsíftisa]: (λαϊκ.) 1. άνθρωπος πανέξυπνος, καπάτσος. || μάγκας2. 2. άνθρωπος άψογος: α. στην εξωτερική του εμφάνιση. β. στη συμπεριφορά του· άνθρωπος εντάξει.
    [αλβ. qift `γεράκι΄ -ης με προώθηση της άρθρ. [i > tsi] (για τη σημ. σύγκρ. σαΐνι τσίφτ(ης) -ισσα]



    Μαρίκα Νίνου & Μιχάλης Γενίτσαρης

    Απ' όλες που αγάπησα ως τώρα στη ζωή μου
    μόνο μια τσίφτισσα μικρή σκλάβωσε την ψυχή μου

    Μ' έχει η τσίφτισσα τρελάνει
    με τα κόλπα που μου κάνει
    ...
    In sense 1: eyes like a hawk (cf. γερακίσιο μάτι, e.g. Hawkeye Pierce ) > bright, clever, sharp

    compare: σαΐνι and ξεφτέρι = sparrowhawk | (μτφ.) ace, past master, expert | (πληθ.) hexapteryga

    Not like me this afternoon, when I failed to notice the context of the sonnet.



    καραμπουζουκλής @ slang.gr



    I think they're used together like many pairs of synonyms or near-synonyms, augmenting the meaning.
    See Sarant's blog about such word pairs: Στάχτη και μπούρμπερη, πομπή και γάνα και άλλα τέτοια ζευγάρια.
    Θεωρητικά, θεωρία και πράξη είναι το ίδιο πράγμα. Στην πράξη, όμως, διαφέρουν.
    When this you see, remember me and bear me in your mind, let all the world say what they may, speak of me as you find.

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