List of translations
General note: unless complex unguessable derivation, nouns will be given here in the singular, and adjectives in the singular masculine. Derived adverbs won’t be given, only the adjective they derive from. Verbs will be listed in the infinitive, but the forms appearing in the text will be given in their descriptions. Words that have already been translated in the previous section are not repeated here.
ajdâre /aʒ'dar/ verb. From Latin ADIUTARE. ajdó: third person singular indicative simple past.
alhêre /a'λɛr/ adverb. Ultimately from Latin HERI.
apouès /a'pwɛ/ adverb. Ultimately from Latin POST.
attacâre /ata'kar/ verb. Ultimately from Latin ATTINGERE. attacó: third person singular indicative simple past.
attemceam /atã'sã/ fem. noun. From Latin ATTENTIO. Used mostly like its French cognate.
avvenîre /avə'nir/ verb. From Latin ADVENIRE. avvim: third person singular indicative simple past.
biemvenìt /bjɛ͂və'ni/ adj. (derived from a past participle). From Latin BENE + VENIRE. I don’t think this one will be a problem for you.
cantâre /kã'tar/ verb. From Latin CANTARE. cantó: third person singular indicative simple past.
case /'kaz/ fem. noun. From Latin CASA.
cierte /'sjɛrt/ indefinite adj. From Latin CERTUS. Often used instead of the indefinite article.
comêre /ko'mɛr/ verb. Cognate to Spanish “comer”. comé: third person singular indicative simple past.
cue /kə/ relative pronoun. From Latin QUIS. Only used when the antecedent is present and it has object function in the relative clause.
cué /ke/ relative pronoun. From Latin QUOD. The o used in front of it is just a placeholder due to the fact that a relative pronoun needs an antecedent. The neuter article is used, indicating that the antecedent is actually the whole situation.
cuêoucue /'kɛuk/ indefinite adj. From Latin QUALISQUAM. Very similar to its French cognate.
Diou /'dju/ masc. noun. From Latin DEUS.
dourmîre /dur'mir/ verb. From Latin DORMIRE. deure: second person singular imperative present.
dovve /'dɔv/ verb. From Latin DEBERE. dovvroms: first person plural indicative future.
é /e/ conjunction. From Latin ET.
fenêstre /fə'nɛstr/ fem. noun. From Latin FENESTRA.
fêre /'fɛr/ verb. From Latin FACERE. fì: third person singular indicative simple past. feroms: first person plural indicative future.
gouardâre /gwar'dar/ verb. Germanic loanword, cognate to French “garder”.
îre /'ir/ verb. From Latin IRE.
jouc /'ʒu/ masc. noun. From Latin IOCUS.
jouiâre /ʒu'jar/ verb. From Latin IOCARE.Went through the same meaning shifts as in French, Spanish and Portuguese.
lacérâre /lase'rar/ verb. Learned borrowing from Latin LACERARE that found its way in the common speech. lacéró: third person singular indicative simple past.
linde /'lɛ͂d/ fem. noun. Borrowing from Spanish “linda”, but as a noun instead of an adjective.
maidums /'mɛdœ͂/ indefinite adj. Quite transparently “mais dums”. See the entry for mais.
mais /'mɛ/ adverb. Either from Latin MAGIS or MAIUS (adverb form of MAIOR).
mâou /'mau/ adj. From Latin MALUS.
mas /ma(z)/ conjunction. From Latin MAGIS.
miêrde /'mjɛrd/ fem. noun. From Latin MERDA. Probably not a problem for you to understand!
nouem /'nwɛ͂/ masc. noun. From Latin NOMEN. Only used when referring to God.
nũ /'nœ͂/ interjection. From Latin NUNC. Used much like Dutch “nou” or French “eh bien”.
ouc /'u/ particle. From Latin HOC. Its meaning should be clear if you remember that Narbonese is a Langue d’Oc.
pêque /'pɛk/ adj. Uncertain etymology, probably cognate with Spanish “pequeño”.
perdêre /pɛr'dɛr/ verb. From Latin PERDERE. pierdé: third person singular indicative simple past.
petin /pə'tɛ͂/ masc. noun. Uncertain etymology. Might be from PITINNUS, and might be cognate from French “petit”, but is used only as a noun with a meaning close to French “enfant”.
policie /po'lisi/ fem. noun. From Latin POLITIA.
pôre /'por/ verb. From Latin POSSE. podèvt: third person singular indicative imperfect. podêvams: first person plural indicative imperfect.
pra /pra/ preposition. Probably from PER AD, and cognate to Spanish “para”.
prêout /'prɛu/ adj. Probably from Latin PRAEALTUS. Opposite of “âout” (from ALTUS).
puis /pɥi/ conjunction. Probably from Latin POST.
que /kə/ interrogative pronoun. From Latin QUID. Becomes qu’ in front of a vowel.
quesceam /kɛ'sã/ fem. noun. From Latin QUAESTIO.
sâoude /'saud/ fem. noun. Maybe from Latin SOLIDA. The context should make the meaning of the word clear.
seïur /sə'jy/ adj. From Latin SECURUS.
silencie /si'lãsi/ masc. noun. From Latin SILENTIUM.
stêre /'stɛr/ verb. From the conflation of Latin ESSE and STARE. errâvams: first person plural indicative imperfect. êt: third person singular indicative present. stariom: third person plural subjunctive future.
sus /sy(z)/ preposition. Probably from Latin SUPER.
tiems /'tjã/ masc. noun. From Latin TEMPUS.
tod /'tɔ/ indefinite pronoun. From Latin TOTUS.
venîre /və'nir/ verb. From Latin VENIRE. vim: third person singular indicative simple past.
vèr /'vɛ/ adj. From Latin VERUS.
volle /'vɔl/ verb. From Vulgar Latin VOLERE, although the form makes it look like it comes directly from Classical Latin VELLE. vol: first person singular indicative present.
Due to lack of time for checking, there may still be spelling mistakes, both in
the Narbonese text and the rest of this document. However, the grammatical
and lexical descriptions I gave are definitely correct, and should thus be what
you must trust, if you find apparently contradictory things (you shouldn’t,
but one never knows. . . ).
In any case, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have problems.
Attenceam, petin mâou !
Nouem de Diou ! Qu’avvim ?
Nũ, alhêre cierte linde vim â nouêtre case, pra cantâre ae pêque petin. Fì
tod cue podèvt fêre pra jouiâre coe petin : Fì maidums joucs lecom, li cantó :
“deure, meu pêque, deure”, é ajdó. Mas apouès, e petin l’attacó é la lacéró !
La comé puis pierdé as sâoudes apêre fenêstre. Que podêvams fêre ? Ouc,
vêremente errâvams prêoutemente na miêrde ! Que feroms ? Nũ, apouès de
cuêoucue tiems dovvroms gouardâre e silencie sus o cué avvim. Em mais,
mei ne vol cas îre ai policie ! St’êt seïur, lorrs quesceams ne stariom reim
Beware of child!
Oh my God! What happened?
Well, yesterday some good-looking girl came at our place, to sing to the
little child. She did everything she could to play with him: she played various
games with him, she sang to him: “Sleep, little boy, sleep”, and it did help.
But afterwards, the child attacked her and tore her into pieces! He ate her,
then threw the remains away through the window. What could we do? Yep,
we really were deeply in the shit! What will we do? Well, after some time
we’ll just have to stay silent about all this. Moreover, I don’t want to go to
the police! Their questions would certainly be unwelcome.
Notes on the English translation
First, a disclaimer: this is not my best translation ever (I mean from Narbonese
to English). But it does the job and doesn’t look downright alien,
while staying close to the original text.
Then, a small cultural note: the title of the text is chosen as a pun
reminding people of “beware of dog” signs. This is because the Narbonese
title does just that too. But actually, “beware of dog” signs in Francie and
Gaulhe (just like in France here) don’t say this anymore. They used to say
“attention, chien méchant”, or in Narbonese “attenceam, cam mâou”, but
people kept complaining (with some reason) that if the dog was really that
naughty, it shouldn’t be allowed roaming freely in a garden, from which it
could potentially escape. So today the usual signs are “attention au chien”
and “attenceam ae cam”. However, in this case I felt using the old version
made better sense, and made the pun nicer, despite the fact that the Limciela
text gave a title closer to the newer version. It fits better in the culture, and
I would have done the same had the translation to be done in French.
Finally, another cultural note, about the Narbonese word “linde”. This
word means “good-looking girl, young woman” and is an obvious borrowing
from Spanish “linda”, with the difference that it is only used as noun in Narbonese.
This word illustrates perfectly the peculiarities of the evolution of
the Narbonese lexicon. This word originally appeared in poems and songs
of a single “trouvour” (a modern version of the troubadour, one of the main
artistic occupations among the Gaulhóscs). It was found nice enough to be
adopted by other trouvours, and eventually found its way into the common
spoken and written language. Unlike French which is controlled by a centralising
power, the French Academy, which most people ignore most of the time,
leading to innovations in lexicon coming usually from the people on the street
themselves and having to fight their way up to ever appear in a dictionary, in
Narbonese innovations (both lexical and grammatical) come usually from the
trouvours, the “poets”, who form a sort of decentralised Academy, without
official sanction, but very effective (attending poetry recitals in Gaulhe is as
common as going to the cinema here). As a result, innovations often end up
in the common spoken language last rather than appearing there (the spoken
language is also a source of innovations, but word-play and neologism-making
is what trouvours mostly do, which is what separates them from poets and
singers in other countries and cultures. It means that a single trouvour invents
new words all the time, usually at least one or two per song or poem.
Most are quickly forgotten, but out of all this there are always a few that
stick out and come and enrich the vocabulary of everyone). Since innovations
are mostly individual rather than group inventions, it explains the numerous
quirks in the Narbonese lexicon, and the strange paths semantic shifts have
often taken in this language.
Narbonese (“Narbonósc” /narbo"nos/ in the language) is a rather run-of-the-mill
Romance language when it comes to grammar. Most of its grammatical
features can be found in French, Spanish and Portuguese too. Its peculiarities
are more to find in the vocabulary. For this reason, this section will be rather
- Two genders: masculine and feminine. As in French, gender is not
always deductible from the form of the word, although words ending
in -e are more often than not feminine.
- Two numbers: singular and plural. Plurals can be marked by an ending
-s, -es, -x or -z, generally. However, those endings are usually not
pronounced, unless phenomenon of liaison.
- Adjectival agreement: adjectives agree in gender and number with the
noun they complete. They usually follow the noun they complete, but
sometimes precede it, especially when they describe a typical characteristic
of the noun.
- Adverbs derived from adjectives formed by adding -mente to the feminine
form of the adjective: there is another construction adding -é to
the root, but you won’t see it in this text.
- Articles: as in French, nouns hardly ever appear without article. Narbonese
has full sets of indefinite and definite articles, as well as partitive
articles that don’t appear in this text and thus will be left alone. See
Table 1 for a list of those articles.
- Merging of articles and prepositions: this phenomenon, which appears
to various degrees in various Romance tongues, is particularly strong
in Narbonese. Both the indefinite and definite articles merge with the
prepositions â (to), de (of, from), em (at), im (in, into), com (with) and
pêre (by, in, on, through). Check Table 2 for a list of those mergings
(check it carefully: the text is full of them).
- Personal pronouns and adjectives: Narbonese has full sets of subject,
direct object, indirect object, emphatic and possessive pronouns,
as well as possessive adjectives (which agree in gender and number
with the noun they complete). They are pretty similar to the French
pronominal system. They also merge with prepositions (making Narbonese
a Romance tongue with “conjugated” prepositions), but fortunately
only with the same prepositions as with the articles (see Table 2
for the list). Note that unlike French, verbs aren’t often accompanied
with a subject pronoun. However, strangely enough you cannot
just omit the subject pronoun when you want to make an impersonal
construction (i.e. a construction where the verb has no true subject,
like for verbs like plouvîre: to rain). For those constructions, you are
obliged to use the pronoun ste (st’ before vowels) as placeholder for the
subject (giving thus ste pleuvet: it rains). An absent subject always
marks a personal subject. See Table 3 for the personal pronouns and
Table 4 for the possessive adjectives (they contain all you need).
- Verbs: The Narbonese verbal system is pretty similar to the one in
every Western Romance language: four definite moods (indicative,
subjunctive, conditional, imperative), four simple tenses (present, imperfect,
simple past, future), and the usual corresponding compound
tenses formed with the auxiliary avôre (to have) with the past participle
of the verb, as well as the possible passive voice formed with stêre
(to be) with the past participle. Note though that Narbonese features a
subjunctive future (but then Portuguese has it too), which can be used
in main clauses to indicate potentiality (it can mean “maybe”, but also
indicate a possible future action—rather than a certain future action—
and as such is usually translated by a conditional). Tense and mood
use is otherwise pretty similar to what can be found in Portuguese
and Spanish. Of course, verbs also feature the usual impersonal forms:
infinitive, present and past participle, and the gerund. In this text
though, you’ll meet only a few infinitives and past participles.
- Verbal negation: As in French, the negation in Narbonese is discontinuous,
formed with the unstressed ne (n’ in front of a vowel) in front of
the verb, and a second, stressed, word after it. But unlike in French,
the second word is variable, depending on the meaning of the verb.
The default term is reim, but verbs of movement commonly use pas,
verbs of speech use palavre, and verbs indicating will, ability, possibility,
desire, etc. . . often use cas.
- Written accents: as you probably have noticed, Narbonese uses a
wealth of written accents: besides the acute, grave and circumflex
accent, it uses also the tilde and the trema, and you’re lucky enough
to receive a text where all those accents are represented! You needn’t
know why they are there: accents only give pronunciation indications.
The thing you need to know, however, is that except in some commonly
used words (mainly prepositions), the grave and circumflex accents
indicate the same thing, but the grave accent is used on the last
(written) syllable of the word, while the circumflex is used otherwise.
So if a noun, adjective or verb has a grave accent on its last syllable
and through some grammatical feature, something is added (like the
feminine su_x -e) that adds a new syllable at the end, the grave accent
must become a circumflex accent. For instance: avèv: I had, avêvams:
Table 1: Narbonese articles
|masculine||e (l’ before vowel)||ès|
|feminine||a (l’ before vowel)||as|
|neuter||o (l’ before vowel)|| |
Table 2: Mergings of articles and pronouns with prepositions
|lui||â lui||de lui||nelui||lecom||lepêre|
|lei||â lei||de lei||nelei||lacom||lapêre|
|lorr||â lorr||de lorr||nelorr||locom||lopêre|
Table 3: Narbonese personal pronouns
|1st singular||iou||me (m’ before vowel) ||mi (m’ before vowel) ||mei|
|2nd singular||tu||te (t’ before vowel)||ti (t’ before vowel)||tei|
|3rd sing. masc.||ile||le (l’ before vowel)||li (l’ before vowel)||lui|
|3rd sing. fem. ||êle||la (l’ before vowel)||li (l’ before vowel)||lei|
|3rd sing. neuter|| ||lo (l’ before vowel)||li (l’ before vowel)||sei|
|1st plural ||nos||nos||noi||nós|
|2nd plural ||vos||vos||voi||vós|
|3rd pl. masc. ||iles||lès||lorr||lorr|
|3rd pl. fem. ||êles||las||lorr||lorr|
|3rd reflexive || ||se (s’ before vowel)||si (s’ before vowel)||sei|
Table 4: Narbonese possessive adjectives
|1st sing. ||meu||ma||mès||mas|
|2nd sing. ||to||ta||tous||tas|
|3rd sing. ||so||sa||sous||sas|
|1st pl. ||nouêtre||nouêtre||nouès||nouès|
|2nd pl. ||vouêtre||vouêtre||vouès||vouès|
|3rd pl. ||lorr||lorr||lorrs||lorrs|