Saturday, December 08, 2007

When Neapolitans become Indians and Pulcinella dances his raindance ...

You are wondering about that title, right? So let me tell you the story. On our group for Neapolitan language we have people from many places in the world. Not all speak Italian, most speak English, many speak or learn Neapolitan ... what a mixture, right? Well ... discussions are always a bit particular since we have to use the language which most of us can understand and write - otherwise: would it make sense to discuss just in a handful of people? Uhmmm ... Wikipedians who are about NPOV will understand that the more people are involved the better it is for any kind of project and discussion.

There was this member of the group ... he complained about us writing in English, talks about the birth (?!?) of a new language called Naplish (never heard of this ... could be some Neapolitan indigenous dialect???) and says that there are only two natives in the group????? Moment ... but ... besides the two we all know who live in Naples also he lives there ... ehmmm ... I'd say they are at least three then, right? And the rest of the many of us who live in Neapolitan speaking regions??????????

Not enough ... first we are told that we should not write in English, but then who writes in English is actually the one complaining ... uhmmm ... does he eventually believe we don't understand him when he writes his very own version of Neapolitan??? Yes, he has a very own version that does not follow the actual grammar and spelling rules ... but: considering that we know how to talk ... well: we can understand what he writes when we apply Italian spelling rules to Neapolitan pronunciation (what a mess ... right? ... well, that's Neapolitan ...).

He talks about two mayor difficulties ... let me quote out of that mail:

"On one side the complexity of a language counting infinite variations on a
rather vast territory. Very often one may find deep lexical, phonetic and
syntactic discrepancies at very short distances.
On the other side our intellectuals and institutions live isolated in their
ivory towers, out of touch with the 'indians confined in their cultural reserve'where the language is still actively used."

Wow ... are there languages that are not complex? Without variations??? As much as I know only dead languages are without variations (but still complex) ... so what? Or am I completely ... ehmmm ... no ... ?!? I mean even if you take someone speaking Italian who lives in one region and then you take another one who lives in another region ... they both speak with variations, even grammatical variations ... even different words used to talk about the same thing, but all is considered to be Italian ... so why should this be different for Neapolitan which has much older roots and therefore more influences from outside?

"Our intellectuals" ... uhm ... who are these? I mean those few people who write Neapolitan to his opinion are intellectuals? And so I would be one of them? Gosh guys ... I'm an intellectual and I did not even know that ... that is hilarious ... And then: they live isolated in ivory towers? Wow... I'd like one ... that would eventually resolve our space problems ... and again: we then would be not in touch with the Indians (that is native Neapolitans) who live in cultural reserves (cities, small places etc.?) where the language is actively used?!?

Wow ... I am married to an Indian then ... and I live in the middle of a reserve ... hardly anybody here speaks Italian (well they know how to speak it, but not with people who live here - Italian is for strangers and even if I am German: I am not considered a stranger anymore ... they speak Neapolitan with me ...) or did I then become an Indian myself? (Indians, the real ones, please don't be upset about me using this - you have a great culture, please be proud of it and help to make your language and culture survive!)

Uhmmm and Pulcinella? Imagine him dancing a rain dance in his Neapolitan reserve ... well, hopefully rain will come and wash some negative thoughts away ... and Pulcinella will make people laugh like he has done for centuries ... have to write to a theatre company ... that's really something for them.

Quoting another piece:
"To aggravate the situation, these days you may find media and techniques which may tend to transform a language into an industrial product. The best
translation software will never be able to translate the nostalgic despair of
Santa Chiara or the magic wits of A rumba ré scugnizze."

First of all don't read the last sentence - there are 4 errors in 4 words ... if you want to know why, subscribe to the Napulitano newsgroup and read the explanations.

Then again: what I don't understand is that people seem to believe that Machine Translation is used and then the text is left as it is ... that would be plain stupid. Well, probably they don't do their homework about how professionals work and believe they are just better typers using babelfish ... Instead: machine translation it is a help in order to not having to type in all that stuff - and: machine translation is not suitable for any kind of text, certainly not poems and songs ... oh ... I forgot that our dear writer believes that Neapolitan is used only in literature and music ... but then again, when you go into the computershop here in the city and you ask for what you want using the proper word and pronunciation they often don't understand you: you need to know the Neapolitan one :-) (which very often is based on English writing with Neapolitan pronunciation ... a bit like anywhere).

Next quote:
"Considering this situation, we should publish easy, basic texts with the support of available technology, thus showing the fluency of an idiom still in use and evolution."

Wow ... he is a member of the group where I posted many bits and pieces from nap.wikipedia linking to it ... and I sent in all the short and easy written articles we published on Positanonews with "easy reading" links to OmegaWiki where people can find the word explained and translated into other languages ... or are my mails invisible???? (Please note that due to time problems the last article was not tagged that way.) Well over 4800 reads of one article show me that my mails seem to be somewhat visible ... or maybe there is some kind of magic wand for certain people that does not leave certain information through and filters it out??? Or is it Pulcinella doing one of his tricks ... see Pulicnella loves it when people struggle and fight (he is a bit naughty sometimes and helps things to go in a certain funny way ;-)

Next quote (with some omissis):
"As a little start, let me follow the example of ... (anonymizing dots), adapted to my native expression:"

And then The Devine Comedy by Dante (!!!!!!!) that is really one of the easiest texts of Italian (or better not really Italian) literature:

"Italian:
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
ché la diritta via era smarrita. ....

Neapolitan:
Propie a mità ra vita mia
Ie me truvaie mmieze a na buscaglia scura,
roppe ch'eva perze a via maesta. ...."
(some attention to ortography is needed, sorry)

"English:
Half-way through my life
I found myself in a dark forest
after missing the right way. ....."

I mean calling a text by Dante (born in 1265, died in 1321) a simple text ... well ... I suppose Dante would be really upset ... I hope he will not come up during the dreams of somebody and tease and prick him ... that coud hurt ... well, he could use Pulcinella for that ... really ... and knowing how Pulcinella normally behaves :-D ...

Well let's say I prefer my Indians and Pulcinella dancing his raindance to using Dante to show simplicity of language ...
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