On The Translation Of Epic Formulas Of The Yakut "Olonkho" Into Russian

Abstract

The article is devoted to considering the translation of epic formulas of the Yakut heroic epic "olonkho", which concentrates the whole range of stylistic possibilities of the Yakut language. Epic formulas that are easy to remember and passed from one narrator to another play a fundamental role in the structure of the epic. The purpose of the study is to analyze the translation of constructions of epic formulas into Russian using the material of Yakut olonkho "Ala Bulkun" by Zakharov-Cheebiy. When developing the research topic, a continuous sampling method, descriptive, structural and comparative methods were used. The most frequent constructions with nouns in the dative case occupying a postposition in a line in translation occupy a preposition; constructions consisting of “adjective + noun + noun in the dative case” of the beginning undergo syntactic transformations; constructions consisting of “nouns + affix –laakh” with the meaning of possession are conveyed using the preposition “with”; constructions with an affix –laakh can also be conveyed by the construction “noun + pronoun”, where the pronoun acts as a rhythm-forming component; constructions with a postposition “ kurduk ” are conveyed by equivalent comparative linking words “as if”, “like”, while the linking word occupies a preposition in the translated construction; constructions with a modal particle “ ukhu ” are conveyed using the verb form “they say”, necessarily increasing the number of syllables of the line. When translating the epic formulas of the olonkho, the main requirement is the transfer of their syntactic structure without the obligatory selection of absolute equivalents.

Keywords: Yakut heroic epic olonkhoepic formulastranslationconstructionspreservation of the olonkho style

Introduction

The culture of a people includes traditions built up over centuries, transmitted from generation to generation, its knowledge, worldview, attitude, reflection of time and history. In the culture of every people, verbal folklore occupies a significant place, in which traditions are clearly expressed through linguistic forms and categories, plots and images. The historical past, perception of the surrounding reality, the spiritual and material culture of the Yakut people are reflected in the Yakut verbal folklore, in particular, in the heroic epic olonkho.

The Yakut heroic epic olonkho is recognized by UNESCO as a masterpiece of the verbal and intangible cultural heritage of mankind and is a special pride of the Yakuts. The Yakut people living in the northernmost region of the world brightened up its difficult life in extreme conditions with a dream of an epic country where good, overcoming all hardships, always defeated evil. As rightly noted by T.I. Petrova, the Sakha people developed a wise ecological culture, where the main condition for its well-being is to live in harmony with nature ( Petrova, 2010, p. 3). Emphasizing the identity of the Yakut poetic art of olonkho, Ergis ( 2008) emphasizes the enduring artistic, ideological and cognitive value of the Yakut epic. As you know, folk storytellers are not professionals, their teachers are their predecessors and the people itself, its life and culture. The people "awarded" the storytellers a high title of "olonkhosut", those who possessed the highest talent of the creator and performer. Illarionov ( 2006) a famous Yakut folklorist of our time, writes that the volume of the largest Yakut literary work is 7-10 thousand poetic lines on average, but there is also an olonkho of tens of thousands of lines, for example, the epic text “Ala Tuigun” by R.P. Alekseev consisting of 52,410 poetic lines. In the modern world mathematics helps to measure the volume, while in ancient times the olonkhosuts determined the volume of olonkho by the duration of performance, usually one night ( as cited in Illarionov, 2016, p. 99). Currently, researchers and admirers of epic texts are faced with the issue of disseminating the experience of Yakut storytellers at the world level, which determines the importance of olonkho translation into the languages of the peoples of the world.

Translation in modern translation studies is defined as the conversion of a text in one language into a text in another language, while a mandatory requirement is to preserve its content plane. According to Garbovsky ( 2016), translation is not a copy of the original, but an original in a different linguistic and cultural context, living a different life, perhaps even other than the author of the original could have supposed (p. 262). Determining the need for the choice of language units in translation, Komissarov ( 2017) notes "their interaction in ensuring the content of the text during interlanguage communication" (p. 117). When translating the Yakut olonkho into other languages, the focus is on the transfer of the stylistic originality of this genre of verbal folklore, when some cultural traditions should be accepted by other cultural traditions as far as possible. After all, as Chukovsky ( 2016) rightly noted, a person who does not feel the style should not be involved in translation: “This is a deaf person who is trying to reproduce in front of you the opera that he saw but did not hear” (p. 123).

Currently, more than two dozen Yakut epics have been translated into Russian and foreign languages, among them scientific, artistic, complete, adapted and prosaic texts of translations are emphasized. However, theoretical foundations and the style of translation of the Yakut epic texts are understudied, their principles and requirements are not defined. It is believed that the lively and rich olonkho language, expressed by the abundance of forms, cannot be fully translated into another language, they can be conveyed only descriptively ( Ergis, 2008).

Problem Statement

The specificity of translation of the epic olonkho lies in the need to convey the unique “formularity” of the epic text, its structural organization, which are a key component of the epic ( Sobakina, 2018, p. 21). In contrast to the studies of the texts of the Yakut epic that began in the first half of the 19th century, the study of the style of olonkho translation is still at an initial stage. Olonkho translation is considered in the works of P.A. Sleptsov, T.I. Petrova, Yu.V. Limorenko, A.A. Nakhodkina, A.A. Vasilyeva, I.V. Sobakina, N.S. Sivtseva, Z.V. Tarasova, etc. Various aspects of the Yakut-Russian translation of olonkho were studied in the scientific works of students of the Yakut Stylistics and Russian-Yakut Translation Department of the Institute of Languages and Culture of the Peoples of the Northeast of M.K. Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University, the results of which were published in materials of republican, all-Russian and international scientific-practical conferences. However, the stylistic features of translation are understudied

  • Epic tirades, syntactic parallelism, syntagmas, typical places, traditional poetic tropes are the elements that convey the unique epic style of the Yakut olonkho, the preservation of which is an indispensable and, at the same time, the most difficult translation requirement.

As part of typical places, researchers distinguish epic formulas that are easy to remember and traditionally transmitted from one narrator to another, from one text to another. The poetry of their artistic form is especially noted ( Illarionov, 2006, p. 28). The methods, principles and requirements of their translation into other languages have not been studied and developed, which determined the choice of the research topic.

Research Questions

Researchers of epic works note the constancy and repeatability of epic formulas, their importance in the structural design of the epic. Epic style formulas are not only constant epithets and repeating speech patterns or exclamations, but also constant formulas in descriptions ( Pogrebnaya, 2019). The formulas are studied in the works of M. Perry, A.B. Lord, P.A. Grinzer, S.P. Serebryany, A.B. Kudelin, B.N. Putilov, Ya.V. Pogrebnaya, V.V. Illarionov, N.N. Efremov, T.V. Illarionova, L.S. Gergokova and others.

Epic formulas in the Yakut heroic epic olonkho

According to Efremov ( 2013), epic formulas in the Yakut heroic epic olonkho as formulaic constructions are part of epic tirades in the form of structural-semantic and poetic components, represent one of the fundamental structural-semantic elements of the Yakut olonkho. Typical places and epic formulas in the Yakut epic are constructed using variations, parallelism and alliteration ( Illarionova, 2008).

The translation of epic formulas

To translate epic formulas, the main requirement is not only the preservation of their content, but also of the structure and style of “formularity” ( Petrova, 2010, p. 102). The main methods can be the transfer of the agreed definition to the postposition with a noun, preservation of the number of lines and syllables, pair words, order of contents of lines, structure of syntactic parallelism, position of the predicate, auxiliary verbs, modal particles ( Sobakina & Petrova, 2018).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to analyze the translation of constructions of epic formulas into Russian based on the material of the Yakut olonkho "Ala Bulkun" by Zakharov-Cheebiy.

Research Methods

When developing the research topic, the following methods were applied

  • a continuous sampling method – with the aim of collecting the research material for analysis and illustration of the proposed provisions;

  • a descriptive method – with the aim of highlighting specific linguistic phenomena, typical signs of linguistic forms, studying the epic formulas of olonkho and their translation into Russian;

  • a structural method – in order to study the functioning of forms of epic formulas in an epic text, their equivalent forms in Russian;

  • a comparative method – in order to identify common and distinctive properties and characteristics between the Yakut and Russian language forms, translation matches, equivalents.

Findings

The Yakut olonkho “Ala Bulkun Bogatyr” by T.V. Zakharov-Chaebiy was chosen as the research material, which is evaluated by folklorists as an outstanding work about the ancestors of the Uraangkhai Sakha tribe, preserving the early traditional, archaic appearance of the Yakut olonkho ( Illarionov, Illarionova, 2018, pp. 17-22). The translation was made by students of the Yakut Stylistics and Russian-Yakut Translation Department of the Institute of Languages and Culture of the Peoples of the Northeast of M.K. Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University under the author's academic supervision and general editorship.

T.V. Zakharov-Chaebiy is an olonkhosut, a representative of the most famous storytelling school, highly praised by researchers ( as cited in Illarionov, 2016, p.118). The olonkho “Ala-Bulkun” was recorded as part of the ethnographic expedition of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences in the Amginsky ulus by the famous folklorist V.N. Vasiliev in 1906. The prose text of the olonkho, prepared by E.K. Pekarsky for publishing in the series “Samples of Yakut Folk Literature”, was published only in 1994 by the Institute of Language, Literature and History of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in a poetic form according to the requirements of olonkho publication. In 1998, a prose translation by Gavriil Vasilyevich Baishev-Altan Saryn was published in the collection “Song of Nine Heavens”.

Petrova T.I., a founder of the Yakut-Russian and Russian-Yakut Translation Private Theory School, rightly noted the main difficulty of olonkho translation as "a conflict of epic content with a non-epic translation form" ( Petrova, 2010, p. 76). In addition to the form, the Yakut epic is replete with realities, specific phraseological combinations, proper names, interjections, onomatopoeic, figurative words and other expressive means of the Yakut language, which are referred to culture-specific vocabulary in modern translation studies. All this makes it difficult to translate olonkho in general.

The author of the article agrees with Limorenko (2017) that the rhythm of translation of the epic text contributes to its perception, adequate reflection of the poetic structure, elements of epic poetics. In the studied olonkho, as noted by Efremov ( 2018), epic formulas are expressed by structures of the nominal and verb type, testifying to the peculiarities of the storytelling art of T.V. Zakharova-Chaebiy. When translating epic formulas, the main requirement is to transfer their syntactic structure without the obligatory selection of absolute equivalents. The most frequent constructions shall be considered:

  • Constructions with nouns in the dative case occupying a postposition in a line in translation occupy a preposition: Bylyrgy byralyibyt bydan d'yl myndaatygar, / Urukku ullaryibyt obo d'yl uorbatygar, Aaspyt aidaannaakh d'yl arbaatygar, – From the top of the past old years, / From the distant lands of the ancient times / From the noisy distant past years.

  • Constructions “adjective + noun + noun in the dative case” of the beginning of olonkho undergo syntactic transformations – displacement according to the syntactic structure of the Russian language “preposition + noun + noun + adjective”, in which affixes are expressed by prepositions: Bylyrgy d'yl myndaatygar, / Urukku d'yl uorbatygar, / Aaspyt d'yl arbaatygar,/ Erge d'yl eneeriger, / Nunuu d'yl tumuger, / Chieres d'yl timeber, – Beyond the peaks of the ancient years, / Beyond the ridges of those old years, / Beyond the distant past years, / Beyond the breadth of the old years, / At the end of the years to come, / At the edge of the nearest years.

  • Constructions with “nouns + affix –laakh” with the meaning of possession are conveyed using the preposition "from", while the meaning of the noun is conveyed by the adjective in some cases: Tylygar chymyrbannaakh, / Syraiygar ynyryktaakh,/ Turar beiete kuttallaakh / Kustur d'uһune suostaakh, / Kurur mursuune d'ulaannaakh, / Ulakhan aba uuһa – With a creepy tongue, / With a terrifying face, / With a terrifying look, / With a harsh appearance, / With a menacing look, / Of the renowed family. Oiuun-udaban olokhtookh,/ Omolun-chomolun aartyktaakh,/ Sai samaan saiylyktaakh, / Kyrya kyd'ymakh kystyktaakh, / Yһar kumakh ychchattaakh,/ Kutar kumakh noruottaakh, / Oiokh ylbakh oiobumsakh kur d'urabai uollaakh, / Erge barbat erimsekh baitaһyn kyystaakh, – With a shelter of a shaman-udagan / With a bumpy-damned path, / With a hot summer-sayylyk nomad camp, / With a frosty winter-kystyk road, / With descendants like the sand scattered, / With peoples like the sand piled up, / With women-loving bachelors, / With men-loving lonely maidens.

  • Constructions with an affix –laakh can also be conveyed by the construction “noun + pronoun”, where the pronoun acts as a rhythm-forming component: Uiduun, d'uһuleen kurun turdakhkha – / Orguiar muora ulabalaakh, / D'alkyiar muora d'aiynnaakh, / Ergiier muora erkinneekh, / Ala Mandai balyk atakhtaakh – If you carefully consider – / The boiling sea – its edge, / The stormy sea – the end of it, / The noisy sea – its walls, / Ala Mandai fish – its supports.

  • Constructions with the postposition “kurduk” are expressed by equivalent comparative linking words “as if”, “like”, and the linking word occupies a preposition in the translated structure: Ytyryyk yt kurduk yrd'ygynaata, / Syrban eһe kurduk chaskyida, / Torbon buru kurduk uһuutaata. – Grinned like an angry dog, / Growled like a fierce bear, / Howled like a hungry fierce wolf. Uluu uus kystygyn kurduk / Uiullaakh kukhaban n'uurdaakh kiһi. / Saakh khonnoror saastyk khoruur kurduk / D'ebinneekh tiisteekh, / Chancharyyn d'akhtar syal'atyn buutun kurduk / Khallyr kharaarbyt tanyylaakh ebit. / Suut d'ie suluuda tun'ugun kurduk / Suuһun ortotugar uuskeebit / Arylyy chelgien kharakhtaakh ebit. – Like the anvil of a noble blacksmith / He's got an ugly unsmooth face, / Like a big shovel for manure / With rusty teeth, / Like an untidy woman's trouser leg / With black nostrils, it turns out. / Like a mica window at home, / With an eye in the middle of the forehead / Sparkling one, it turns out.

  • Constructions with a modal particle “ukhu”, where “ukhu” expresses a reference to someone else’s speech, are conveyed by the verb form “they say”, necessarily increasing the number of syllables of the line of the translated text: Budun yryalaakh kiһi ebite ukhu, / Ulakhan sanalaakh kiһi ebite ukhu, / Kien kuolastaakh kiһi ebite ukhu. – It turned out to be a man with a vibrant song, they say, / It turned out to be a man with impressive speech, they say, / It turned out to be a man with the loud voice, they say.

Conclusion

Currently, the researchers of the Yakut-Russian translation of the heroic epic olonkho are faced with the task of a detailed analysis of translation matches of epic formulas. In this article an attempt was made to consider the ways of translating the epic formulas of the Yakut olonkho into Russian.

  • The epic formula as the main syntactic component of the Yakut heroic epic olonkho is its rhythmic and structure-forming component that forms the epic style.

In olonkho “Ala Bulkun Bogatyr” by T.V. Zakharova-Chaebiy, the most frequent constructions of epic formulas are constructions with nouns in the dative case, nouns with the affix “laakh”, the postposition “kurduk”, the modal particle “ukhu”, the main requirement for their translation is to preserve their formality and style.

References

Copyright information

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

About this article

Cite this paper as:

Click here to view the available options for cite this article.

Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

03.08.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.08.151

Online ISSN

2357-1330