Thursday, April 22, 2010

Měla babka čtyri jabka

Every day before lunch, we say this poem in English, which I learned from my Waldorf mentor, and an equivalent in Czech. I love the way the Czech poem sounds, even if I can barely pronounce it an only have a rough idea what I am saying. I recently re-discovered a book of Czech nursery rhymes at school and I have a few that I love hearing the kids say. They just sound so magical. I tried to read them and found that I could actually understand them. Then, obviously, I needed to translate them for real. I am always in search of new hobbies--and what better than translating verses from a language I've never studied?

This is my first attempt, and my favorite Czech rhyme:
Měla babka čtyri jabka
a dědeček jen dvě.

Dej mi, babko, jedno jabko,
budeme mít stejně.

Grandma had four apples
and grandpa only two.

Give me, grandma, one apple,
and we will have the same.

But this doesn't have the same sort of ring to it. Here's what I came up with, though it clearly needs improvement:

Four apples had Grandma
Grandpa had just two.

Give an apple to poor Grandpa
Dear Grandma, won't you?

So yes, it loses lesson that 4-1 and 2+1 are the same, but it keeps the general feeling of the poem.

My second poem in Czech is:
Foukej, foukej, větřičku,
Shod' mi jednu hruštičku,
Shod' mi jednu nebo dvě,
budou sladké obě dvě.

Blow, blow, wind,
knock down one pear for me
knock down one or two for me
they will both be sweet.

This one, I'm more proud of:
Blow, wind, blow through the air
Knock me down a juicy pear
Let one or two fall from the tree
Oh how sweet they both will be!

I'd like to say that there's a practical reason for me to be translating these rhymes. I'd like to say that it's part of a plan to teach my children English using the rhymes they are familiar with. But it's not. It's simply another way to pass my time. And I'm okay with that.

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