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Now for Something Completely Different....

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With the upcoming Holiday Season, I thought I would take this opportunity (while it’s still allowed – and you can take that any way you’d like) to post a Lënape version of Clement Moore’s most well known work – ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

 This version is done in the Northern Unami dialect  - this is the one the OA borrowed all its nomenclature from.

 The left side is the Lenape, the right side the literal translation to English.

 This was translated by one of my Lenape language contacts, Ray Whritenour (a/k/a/ Schkaak). Mr. Whritenour is one of the foremost authorities on Northern Unami.

 As a linguist myself, I would like to just point out the phenomenal difficulty in translating verse from one language to another – yes, with great difficulty it can be done, but to also get it to rhyme in the target language requires true mastery of the language.

Notice the names of the reindeer - they are literally translated: Prancer = "Fancy Walker", Vixen = "Fox", Comet = "Star", Cupid = "Little Archer," Donner and Blitzen = "Thunder and Lightning". 

There is a link at the bottom of the poem. If you copy it into your browser, it should open up a sound file where you can hear Mr. Whritenour recite the poem. AS far as he knows, this is the longest piece of recorded Northern Unami ever done (beats my translations of simple meals graces by a mile).  



Celischmassinkpanne allamigawan                 {when-it-was-Christmas inside-the-house}
ta auween ktschukquiwi nachpene poques      {not a-person he-does-not-move even a-mouse}
kakunall hattepannil wscheyiskte                   {stockings they-were-there by-the-fire}
eli geschiechsit Nick pecho a pat                     {for Saint Nick soon would he-come}

amemensak chansonink achpopannik            {children in-bed they-were-there}
kendisall wuntschi laschimuinewo                 {candies of-they they-dream}
wikimak woak ni ndachansonunanink            {my-wife and I in-our-bed}       
nschengiechineen wentschi a gauwijenk        {we-lie-down so-that could we-sleep}

auwijewi quatschemunk ganschhittaquot        {however outside there-is-a-terrible-noise}
lachpi ndamui nemen elekup                          {quickly I-arise to-see-it what-happened}
eheschandekink ngeschamehhella                  {to-the-window I-run-fast}
nanne ndauwunna woak nemen elek               {then I-open-it and I-see-it what-it-is}

nipahwi gischuch nentsitasu kunink                     {of-night the-luminary he-appears on-the-snow}
woaselenemen elemamek hakink                         {to-illuminate-it all-over on-the-ground}
enda kschiechi nentsitawichtit neschgink              {when clearly they-appear-to-me in-my-eyes}
tangtatask woak chaasch achtschuhuwunschak     {a-little-sled and eight little-deer}

tataskwunk mihillusis allumskuseu                     {in-the-sled an-old-man he-drives}
schawi nennawa geschiechsit Nicolaus               {immediately I-recognize-him Saint Nicholas}
taat woapalannewak lachpi pepannik                 {like bald-eagles quickly they-come}
woak schipuweu woak wuntschimawall lueu       {and he-whistles and he-summons-them he-says}

"Keschihillat! Kendkat! Wilawochweet! Woakus!"     {Dasher! Dancer! Fancy-Walker! Fox!"
"Alank! Teengpommwet! Pedhakquonk! Sapiak!"     {Star! Little-Archer! Thunder! Lightning!}
awossenachke li wochgitaque li"                           {over-the-fence to on-top-of-the-house to"}
kschihillak! kschihillak! kschihillak! wemi!"             {go-quickly! go-quickly! go-quickly! all!"}

taat combachkwall talli wawujallachsu                 {like leaves in a-whirlwind}
pommihillewall li pemmapannik                           {they-fly toward the-sky}
nanne wochgitaque nawahhellewak                     {then on-top-of-the-house they-alight}
witschi cheli pechpapitonk woak Nick.                  {with many a-toy and Nick.}

nanne spanquewoaganink mbendawanep      {then in-the-wink-of-an-eye I-heard-them}
amangitinkhattachgihhillepannik                   {they-were-stomping-hard}
nachk ngettenemenep woak ngwelpihilla       {my-hand I-pulled-it-away and I-turn-around}
ehelinguatekink Nicolaus niechiu                   {in-the-chimney-pipe Nicholas he-comes-down}

miechhekenink pegiu wil li wsit                       {in-fur he-is-dressed his-head to his-foot}
equit niskewall untschi wipelachteu                 {his-clothes they-are-dirty from chimney-soot}
wiwasch wunajundamen menotesink               {a-bundle he-bears-on-his-back in-a-sack}
linaxu pepamchit enda tauwunnenk                 {he-looks-like a-trader when he-opens-it}

wuschgink waseleu woak klakelendam            {his-eye it-is-bright and he-is-merry}
wonanno woak w'hickiwon machkewall            {his-cheek and his-nose they-are-red}
spwetonechin taat gechpilgussowoagan           {he-has-his-lips-pursed like a-knot}
wittoney woapsu taat kuhn woapelechin          {his-beard it-is-white like snow it-is-white-and-shiny}

hopoakan wipitink wtschitaninin                         {a-pipe in-his-teeth he-holds-it-tightly}
queschhattek wuntschi wikhen woakawi wil         {smoke from-he builds-a-house around his-head}   
neka chinktelinqueu woak machaskutscheu         {he he-has-a-large-face and he-is-big-bellied}               
ktschukquihilleu enda kekeleksit                         {he-shakes when he-laughs}

manittotit wisu woak wingelendam                      {a-little-spirit he-is-fat and he-is-happy}
woak ngekeleksihump enda newake                    {and I-laughed when when-I-see-him}
nanne mboakinquehelluk woak gluphokqueu        {then he-winks-at-me and he-turns-his-head}
metschimi woatellit ta wischasiwun                      {soon he-makes-it-known-to-me not to-not-fear}

ta wteliechsiwi schuk mikemossu                        {not he-does-not-speak but he-works}
otschuwiechtonall kakunall nanne eu                    {he-fills-them the-stockings then he-goes}
lohikan wtaton whikiwonink                               {an-index-finger he-places-it on-his-nose}
tatandachgokwehelleu na allumsu                        {he-nods-his-head then he-goes-away}

tatask pusu wschipuwe achtuhwunk                  {the-sled he-boards he-whistles to-the-deer}
palli kendhuwak taat wochganim nimchok          {away they-fly like seed which-wind-blows-away}
amangiechsu eli echquineichgussit                     {he-shouts as he-disappears
meli Celischmass!  wawullamallessik!"              {Merry Christmas!  Fare-ye-well-always!"}

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gesd0z1ymucpe … 1.WAV?dl=0


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