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Dee Erläwnisse von Alice em Wundalaund
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in Mennonite Low German

Dee Erläwnisse von Alice em Wundalaund

By Lewis Carroll, translated into Mennonite Low German by Jack Thiessen

First edition, 2010. Illustrations by John Tenniel. Cathair na Mart: Evertype. ISBN 978-1-904808-83-1 (paperback), price: €12.95, £10.95, $15.95.

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“In that direction,” the Cat said, waving its right paw around, “lives a Hatter: and in that direction,” waving the other paw, “lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.”   “Enn dee Rejchtung,” säd de Kaut, endem sie ähre rajchte Poot rommweifeld, “wohnt een Hootmoaka: enn enn dee Rejchtung,” endem see mett de aundre Poot weifeld, “doa wohnt een Moats-Hos. Kaunst dissem ooda janen beseatje: dee send beid verretjt.”
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.   “Oba etj well nich mett verretjte Mensche vetjeare,” meend Alice.
“Oh, you ca’n’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”   “Oba doafäa kaunst Du nuscht,” säd de Kaut, “wie send hiea aula verretjt. Etj sie verretjt. Du best verretjt.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.   “Woo weetst Du, daut etj verretjt sie?” fruag Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn't have come here.”   “Du mottst verretjt senne,” säd de Kaut, “sesst weascht du nich hieahäa jekohme.”
Cat Clárach
Lewis Carroll is the pen-name for Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who was a lecturer of mathematics at Christ Church, Oxford. Dodgson started the telling of this tale on July 4, 1862 during a rowing boat tour on the Thames River at Oxford. Pastor Robinson Duckworth and three girls were members of the party: Alice Liddell, the ten-year old daughter of the dean of Christ Church, and her sisters Lorina, aged thirteen, and Edith, eight years of age. The poem at the beginning of the story states that the threesome urged Dodgson to tell them a story. And so he set out to present the first version of the tale, admittedly with some initial reluctance. Now and then, within the broader tale, reference is made to all five of the boat party; the story first appeared in print in 1865.   Lewis Carroll ess dee Schriewanohme fe Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Professa fe Mathematik aum Christ Church College, Oxford. Dodgson fong aun disse Jeschijcht aum 4 Juli, 1862, too vetalle auls hee mett veea aundre toop eene Foaht oppe Lomm oppem Themes Riefa bie Oxford muak. Prädja Robinson Duckworth enn dree Mädtjes weare mett von dee Partie: Alice Liddell, dee tien­joahsche Dochta vom Dekan vonne Christ Tjoatj, enn ähre Sesta Lorina, drettien Joah oolt, enn Edith, dee jinjste Sesta mett acht Joah. Daut Jedijcht aum Aunfong vonne Jeschijcht besajcht, daut dee dree doaropp bestunde, daut Dodgson ahn eene Jeschijcht vetalle sull. Enn soo fong hee aun dee easchte Versjoon von dee Jeschijcht too vetalle, wann hee uck aunfenjlich een bät schlure deed. Han enn wada, medde mang dee lenjere Jeschijcht, ess von aule fief von dee Lommpartie dee Räd; toom easchten Mol kaum dee Jeschijcht aune 1865 too Druck.
As far as I know, this is the first translation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland into Mennonite Low German (also known as Plautdietsch in German). This language (or group of dialects of Low German) is spoken in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Honduras, Belize, Argentina, by some 300,000 Mennonites, Their numbers are increasing in Germany due to the settlement of Mennonites migrating from Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union. Mennonites are members of a religious group that originally fled from the Netherlands and Belgium in the 1500s to escape per­secution, and who eventually resettled in the areas of Lower Prussian territory in the east. Later, many Mennonites migrated to North America—especially to Canada and the United States—and Latin America—especially Paraguay and Mexico—most of them live as rural settlers and added some Spanish and Portuguese words to their own language.   Soo wiet mie bekaunt, ess dit de easchte Awasatung von Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland emm Mennonitenplaut. Disse Sproak (ooda plautdietsche Dialektgrupp) woat enn Kanada, enne Stäts, Mexiko, Brasilien, Bolivien, Paraguay, Honduras, Belize, Argentinien von ruhm 300,000 Mennoniete jerät. Disse Zohl nemmt enn Dietschlaund too, wiels väle Mennoniete von Ruβlaund kaume nohdem de Sowjet­union utenaunda foll. Mennoniete jeheare too eene relijeese Grupp, woohne uasprinjlijch von Hollaund enn Belgien enne 1500’ Joahre flijchte, wiels see relijees vefoljt worde; mette Tiet muake see sich emm nadapraiβchem Ruhm emm Ooste tusig. Nohäa waundada väle Mennoniete noh Nuadamerika ut—besondasch noh Kanada enn noh dee Stäts—-enn noh Latienamerika—besondasch noh Paraguay enn Mexico—de measchte wohne oppem Laund, habe oba atelje spohnsche Weada enn ähre eajne Sproak oppjenohme.
The Mennonite Gemeinschaft which came to be in this very home, forged their own language, the language of com­promise, Ausgleichsprache, by not only adopting the pre­vailing lingua franca but seasoning and enriching it with Dutch vocabulary from many nooks and crannies.   Dee mennonietische Jemeenschauft kaum em praiβchen Ruhm toostaund; hiea schmäde see ähre gaunz äjne Sproak; eene Sproak, dee ut Kompromiβe bestund, eene Utjlitjs­sproak, dee doarenn bestund, dee lingua franca vonne Nohbaschauft auntoonehme, enn disse Sproak dann noch mett niedalaundschet sproaklijchet Oawgoot von väle Siede enn Kaunte Jewerz bietoobrinje, enn too beritjere.
Since no standardized dialect exists, the dialect utilized in this book is a version agreed upon the makers of the Prussian dictionary, by linguistic experts in Marburg, by Dr. Heinrich Siemens of the Tweeback Publishing House, by the Prussian Dictionary lexicographers, by me, in compiling the Men­non­ite Low German Dictionary, and lastly by their counterparts at the University of Madison, Wisconsin, notably Joseph Salmons and Mark Louden, who all have, in the course of half a century, forged and fashioned this standardized version of the language in the language smithy of common endeavor. In the absence of a standard orthography, the predominant Sass orthography of Northern Germany has been followed.   Daut jefft, waut de Schriewies aunbelangt, tjeen eenheit­lijcha Konsens; dee hiea em Buak jebruckte Sproak ess dee Versjoon, woohne dee Weadabuakmoakasch vom Praiβchem Weadabuak, vonne Sproakexperte enn Marburg, von Dr. Heinrich Siemens vom Tweeback Verlag, von mie auls etj daut Mennonietische Plautdietschet Weadabuak toopstalld, enn schlieβlich von dee Experte enne selwje Sach aune Uni­versität enn Madison, Wisconsin, oabeident, beson­dasch Joseph Salmons enn Mark Louden, enn dee aulatoop äwe een haulwet Joahundat disse Sproakwies enne jemeen­saume Sproak­schmäd, sootoosaje, too eene, aulsoo disse Standard­versjoon toop jetemmat enn toopjestalt habe. Wiels daut noch emma tjeene Standardorthographie jefft, woat dee harrschende Sass Orthographie von Nuaddietsch­laund hiea aunjebroacht.
The Dehnungs h (lengthening of a vowel sound by inserting an h) applies. There is an important but convincing usage of jch as opposed to ch based on the distinct difference in pronunciation as in Dem Schlachta jintj daut Schlachte schlajcht; this applies throughout the volume. The palatalization and diminutive suffix are rendered as tj; this, too, is based on the stamp of approval and arrived at expertise resulting from competency and goodwill.   Daut Dehnungs h woat hiea enjesat. Uck jefft daut hiea een wijchtjen enn äwazeijenden Jebruck von jch em Vejlitj too ch. Dee Grund ess eenfach oba dietlijch: Dem Schlachta jeiht daut schlachte schlajcht; dit Moddel tjemmt hiea em gaunzen Buak toom Jebruck. Dee Palatalisearung enn Vetjlienerungsform (Niedlijchtjeitsform) ess tj; disse Schriew­wies tjemmt vonne Experte soo’s aul aunjefeaht, enn vom gooden Welle omm eene veninftje Leesung too finje. Aunsonsten finjt hiea dee oola Experte Sass enne Schriewwies Jebruck.
The Mennonite Low German translation in this book is based on Carroll's English original, with glances at the handling of names and wordplay in Antonio Zimmermann's German delightful translation.   Disse plautdietsche Awasatung beruht opp Carroll’s Original Enjlisch, mett een Bletj ooda uck meea nohm Wuatspell enn Antonio Zimmermann’s vetraflijche dietsche Awastung.
The book design is the standard of excellence set by Michael Everson where form and content happily merge.   Daut Design ess von Michael Everson, dee aul lang vesteiht Form enn Enhault tooptoobrinje soo’s tjeen aundra.
—Jack Thiessen   —Jack Thiessen

 
HTML Michael Everson, Evertype, Cnoc Sceichín, Leac an Anfa, Cathair na Mart, Co. Mhaigh Eo, Éire, 2012-02-01

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