Monday, September 19, 2011

Talk Like an Early-Modern Sea-Going Outlaw Day

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.* It got me thinking about why there's no "International Talk Like a Knight Day" or some similar equivalent.

Our sense of what it means to "Talk Like a Pirate" comes from Robert Newton's performance of Long John Silver in Disney's 1950 version of Treasure Island. You can get a sense of it from these clips:

So, in the popular imagination, what do people in the Middle Ages talk like? Having attended enough SCA events and Ren Faires, I'm thinking it's supposed to be some approximation of Early Modern courtly speech, but is there some common origin like "pirate" talk that can be traced back to some Errol Flynn movie or something? Has anyone out there done any research on this?

*Or, "Arrr, it be International Talk Like a Pirate Day."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

“Ovide moralis√©” Translation Grant

At first I thought $210k was an absurd amount for a translation of an obscure* medieval text, but then when I realized it was 72,000 lines of poetry (!) I thought, daaaaang! That's about 25 times longer than the longest thing I've ever translated (Beowulf), and no doubt will be challenging as heck -- at least I had the benefit of a century of other people translating those pesky hapax legomena in Beowulf to help me out.

So, congratulations to Dr. Sarah-Jane Murray! I'm looking forward to reading that paperback when it comes out.

*To be fair, it may be obscure because it hasn't been translated.