måndag, maj 17, 2010

"devrik cümle"

"I began by describing the chasm between English and Turkish, which had no verb 'to be' or a verb 'to have' and a single word for 'he', 'she' and 'it' but made a distinction between eyewitness reports and hearsay. An agglutinative language, Turkish linked root nouns to long strings of suffixes, thus dispensing with definite and indefinite articles and freestanding prepositions. Its love affair with the passive voice, its predilection for loosely linked verbal nouns, and its aversion to direct statements of fact meant that a fine Turkish sentence often obscured who did what.

There was also, I explained, a vogue among Turkey's leading writers for the devrik cümle. This was a sentence--usually a very long sentence--in which words appeared in an order different from that ordained by custom and practice, and cascading clauses created a series of expectations that were subverted by the verb at the very end. This meant that a master storyteller could offer up a string of allusive images that floated about unanchored and haiku-like until the last word pinned them down. (A translation of the first sentence of The Black Book would, if fairly faithful to the Turkish word order, read like this: 'Of-the-bed from the head to its base--the blue checked quilt--its mountain ranges, shadowy valleys, and soft blue hills--veiled with--in the soft, warm darkness-- Ruya facedown stretched-out slept.')

As the poet Murat Nemet-Nejat once remarked, Turkish was a language that could evoke 'a thought unfolding'. How might one bring that thought into English without smashing it to bits? I explained that the accepted view, especially among bilingual Turks, was that the translator should pay close attention to the sentence's 'inner logic'--the elegant way in which the various parts reflected one another and together reflected the mystery that must never be coarsened by words, the games with voice and tense and the imaginative melding of different epochs and places in sentences that were to be admired at length like pictures in a museum. For those at home inside the traditions of Turkish thought, the virtues of this approach were manifest. A translation that reflected the Turkish sentence's 'inner logic' would open up like a flower to reveal its inner truth. My own view was that poetry might allow such miracles, but the conventions of English prose did not."

- Maureen Freely, Pumaks brittiska översättare.

4 kommentarer:

Caroline sa...

Lider fn av extrem ljuskänslighet så jag läste kisande, väldigt långsamt, men kom ändå fram till att: underbart! Tack för bloggy!

Caroline sa...

PS. Även helt fantastisk bild.

Mrs. B sa...

Men jag förstorar genast texten! Och lägger till filmtiteln. Skäms på mig.

Caroline sa...

Absolut inte skäms på dig, det är jag och våren, pollen och solen och mina irisar som envisas med att vara tjuriga.