Friday, December 28, 2012

Cuidoient li losengier

My latest bardic project was to work on a song I wanted to sing. The song name is Cuidoient li losengier, written by Guillebert de Berneville from the 13th Century (from the Oxford Anthology of Music: Medieval Music, page 73). There is just one major problem. I don't know early or even middle French. Gracious, I don't even know modern French.

So I worked on my number one fall back when it comes to languages: IPA. The International Phonetic Alphabet. Of course, this took a little research and a lot of varied steps. IPA is something I had learned in college and took an immediate liking to. I found I could easily notate people's accents, so certainly it had to be useful as well in trying to learn how to pronounce things in French.

I am only going to talk about the first verse. It is easier than going through the whole thing (which I will do at some point in the near future). The first verse, written as it is in the book, is:

Cuidoient li losengier
Por ce se il ont menti
Que je me doie esloignier
D'amors et de mon ami
E non Dieu, je l'amerai
Et bone amor servirai
Nuit et jor
Sans fere folor
Et g'iere envoisie
Chantant et jolie

Not speaking French at all, I didn't even know where to go with the words, so I asked my teacher to write it out in some sort of phonetics to give me a stepping stone in starting on the IPA free hand. The first draft of phonetics I was given I will not be posting here as I have not been given permission. Needless to say, it was ingenious and the kind of thing I needed to kick me into starting this project.

Sitting at home with my text books in front of me, I began sounding out each word as it was written. The problem is, it is written in Americanized phonetics. Reading this with my American mind, I wasn't able to form the gentle nuances of French phonemes. Because of that, my first draft looked much like this:

kwidwaɛnt li losɛnʤiɛr
pɔr keɪ seɪ il oʊnt mɛnti
keɪ ʤʌ mɛ dwa ɛslwaŋʤiɛr
damɔrs ɛt dɛ mɔn ami
ɛ nɔn diʊ ʤɛ lamɛreɪ
ɛt bɔnɛ amɔr sɛrviɛreɪ
nʊit ɛt ʤɔr
sans fɛrɛ foʊlɔr
ɛ ʤiɛrɛ ɛnvwazi
ʃantant ɛt ʤoʊli

Now, when I had this read out loud to me later, I noticed many many mistakes. One being that I mistook that French would be anything at all like English with its phonemes. It is not. In fact, there are some consonants, such as /r/, that French doesn't even have. All of their /r/s are, in fact, a voiced uvular fricative as opposed to our alveolar trill, defined by the symbol ʁ. Other differences are with their nasalized vowels, which are denoted as such:/ã/, /ɛ̃/, /ɔ̃/, and /æ̃/. So there were some extreme differences that I just hadn't even thought of. After studying how things were pronounced for me and then looking through my IPA textbook as well as a French/English dictionary that the phonetics were written in IPA, I felt more confident. My second rendition of the same verse is as follows:

kwidwaɛ̃t li lɔzɛ̃ʒiʁ
pɔʁ sə sə il mɛ̃ti
kə ʒə mə dwa ɛslwãʒiʁ
damuʁz e də mɔ̃ ami
ø nɔ̃ djø ʒə lamɛʁe
e bɔ̃ɛ amuʁ sɛʁviʁe
nɥi e ʒɔʁ
sã feʁe fɔloʁ
ø ʒiʁe ãvwazi
ʃãtã e ʒɔli

You will notice quite a few differences between the first and the second renditions of the verse. The first had a lot of 'n's in it. The second, most of them are dropped because a vowel before an 'n' usually creates a nasalized vowel. I am still having some questions whether, like in the first word, the final 't' in cuidoient should be pronounced or dropped. It is noted that the affricates /ts/, /dz/, /tʃ/, /dʒ/ became fricatives ([s], [z], [ʃ], [ʒ]) in Middle French.

There is also, from looking at the music, moments where two words are supposed to blend together. Taking that into account, it appears the third rendition of the verse is:

kwidwaɛ̃t li lɔzɛ̃ʒiʁ
pɔʁ sə sə il mɛ̃ti
kə ʒə mə dwaslwãʒiʁ
damuʁz e də mɔ̃ ami
ø nɔ̃ djø ʒə lamɛʁe
e bɔ̃amuʁ sɛʁviʁe
nɥi e ʒɔʁ
sã feʁe fɔloʁ
ø ʒiʁãvwazi
ʃãtãt e ʒɔli

I am certainly open to comments and thoughts as I'm not particularly certain how some of these words would have been pronounced.

Cuidoient Part 2
Cuidoient Part 3 

Berneville, Guillebert de. “Cuidoient li losengier.” The Oxford Anthology of Music: Medieval Music. Ed. W Thomas Marrocco and Nicholas Sandon. Oxford: University Press. 1977. 73.

Handbook of International Phonetic Association: A Guide to the Use of the International Phonetic Alphabet. Cambridge: Univeristy Press. 1999. 78-81.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

SCA Questionaire

 There is a website that has questions you should think about and try to answer for your persona. I fell in love with this website long ago and swore, someday, I would be able to answer all of the questions. Today I sat down to see how many I could answer and was happily surprised by the result as well as being able to say 'I know exactly which book to go to to show documentation for each of these answers!'

It is still my goal to eventually be able to fully answer all of these questions. But at least now I know which ones I should be looking more into. Why is this important to me? These are just the things I strive for.

Here is the website: SCA Persona Questionaire

1.    What is your persona’s name?
Katrusha Karpova Doch'Negadiev Skomorokh
 2.    What year was your persona born?
 3.    What is your persona’s native country?
Karachev, Russia
 4.    What is your persona’s current country?
Novgorod, Russia
 5.    What are the climates of your persona's native and current countries?
 6.    What are the terrains of your persona's native and current countries?
Plains, mountains, forests... oh the forests....
 7.    In what city/town/barn was your persona born?
 8.    What city does your persona currently claim as "home"?
 9.    What are/were your persona’s parents’ names?
10.     What are/were your persona’s parents’ occupation(s)?
Mother died when young. Father was a tanner.
11.     Does your persona have any siblings, and if so, are any still alive?
Two brothers. Both alive. One in the army, one working farm land in our hometown.
12.     Is your persona married?
Was married
13.     What are the marriage customs and typical age of marriage for your persona's culture/time-frame?
Typical marriage age for women is about 11 years old. Customs include dowry and parents each inspecting both of the children when they are very young and approving the marriage. They are then not allowed to see each other until the day they are married, which is why the woman becomes known as the unknown woman.
14.     What type of building does your persona currently live in?
She runs an inn/restaurant and lives in one of the rooms at the inn.
15.     With whom does your persona live?
Alone with just her son.
16.    Are there members of your persona's household that are not related to your persons
        (servants/retainers, wards/fosterlings, guests, etc.)?
Sometimes guests for various lengths of staying.
17.     Were pets kept during your persona’s culture/time-frame? If so, what kind, if any, does your persona have?
18.     What is your persona’s occupation?
A restauranteur and a smokorokh
19.     How old is your persona?
20.     How long do people like your persona tend to live?
40 is when you make your death parcel and prepare for the inevitability that you will die soon.
21.     What is your persona’s ethnicity?
22.     Who is your persona’s current employer?
23.     Would your persona have been literate in your chosen culture/time-frame?
24.     What level of education does your persona have?
Enough schooling to run the finances, write many things... there were girl schools where they were taught many many things.
25.     Where was your persona educated?
Her home town of Karachev as she had no mother and her father wanted to make sure she would know enough to marry.
26.     What languages does your persona speak?
Russian, Greek, Latin, and a a few words from various other surrounding countries.
27.     What units of measure were used by your persona’s culture/time-frame?
Spoons, glasses, poods...
28.     What type of money did people of your persona’s culture/time-frame use?
This was when the Mongols finished attacking, so they no longer had the coins they made only for the Mongols to steal. But they did have coin money.
29.     What kind of legal system exists in your persona’s culture/time-frame, and who make the laws?
The laws were very fair for women, which is slightly unique. Because women could be judge, jury, and executioner, they didn't make laws that were unfair for women. But there were courts and juries and a judge, which has been documented by written birch bark like papers that have been found.
30.    What is the status of women among your persona’s culture/time-frame, and can they own property or conduct business?
They can own a business, conduct business, own land... When/if their husband died, they inherited his property and did not have to use it as dowry if she got married again. When she died, she decided how her things were split among her children. Although folk tale stories say that women were much less than men and had to keep their proper place as silent and submissive towards her husband or father, there are documents that show that the women were who kept the household finances running and took care of many other subtle nuances. Females in a position of power even had their own wax seal stamps made so they could sign documents.
31.    What major events have occurred during your persona’s lifetime?
        (Natural catastrophes, wars, revolutions, discoveries, etc.?)
Ivan the Terrible. Nuff said!
32.     Does your persona fight? If so, where did your persona learn to fight?
She does not fight, but she does shoot a bow in order to hunt for food on her own land. She was taught that by her father.
33     What type of armour and weapons were used by fighters in your persona’s culture/time-frame?
        And how were such obtained?
Bows that looked similar to Mongolian horse bows. I do not know many of the other weapons and armor though.
34.     List your persona’s skills and hobbies. For each, write down where your persona learned them.
Most of her hobbies (cooking/baking, sewing, spinning, art) were taught to her in school. When she moved to Novgorod, she fell in love with the Skomorokh and became a quick student to their ways. Other things she enjoys she learned from her father, such as archery and metal working. Some stranger techniques she has been taught by foreign travelers through Novgorod who trade their knowledge for her wares.
35.     What "class" is your persona? (I.e., royalty, nobility, merchant, middle, artisan, slave, etc.)
36.     How widely has your persona traveled?
She has never traveled beyond her birth home and Novgorod, but she is worldly from where all her clients come from as they bring stories from the spice and silk trails.
37.     In what capacity has your persona traveled? (I.e., military, sailor, rich person’s hobby, etc.)
38.     Who is your persona’s current monarch?
Ivan the Terrible
39.     Who is the current Pope during your persona time?
40.    What religion is your persona?
Most people in the cities were Christian, but the Skomoroks were decidedly Pagan, or so the Christians said. Katrusha practices bits from all she has sen.
41.    What kind of religious duties would be required of your persona?
At home, keeping the icon area well groomed and the candles always lit. For a Skomorokh, they sang and performed wedding rituals and sang the songs that changed the seasons and gave the towns and villages good fortune. They were the ceremonial warlocks, the pagan preists.
42.    How did people of your persona’s culture/time-frame deal with trade?
She lived on along the slik road and the spice routes... but I haven't read much about actual trade. Other than I know they traded for furs often.
43.    With respect to international relations, does your persona favor colonization, isolationism, conquest/conversion,
        open trade, etc.?
44.     How does your persona personally obtain goods (food, drink, clothes, etc.)?
She eithers makes them, purchases them, or trades for them... depending on what she wants.
45.     How did people of your persona’s culture/time-frame tell time?
46.     How did people of your persona’s culture/time-frame keep track of days?
47.     What type of clothes does your persona normally wear?
48.     What type of clothes does your persona wear for special occasions?
Also layers. Only with more embroidery and pearling.
49.     Are there any (sumptuary) laws restricting what your persona can wear?
I can not have my hair seen. Once married, you are a woman and your hair has to be covered.
50.     What does your persona eat in a normal day?
Many root vegetables. Grains. On lucky occassions, meat.
51.     How is food prepared and preserved in your persona’s culture/time-frame?
The central part of every house is an oven. There was always bread. And whatever was left of bread would make kvas since it was hearty. And if your oven wasn't big enough for bread, you could make your dough and drop it off at the local bread baker and they would bake it for you. There were many root vegetables which, by the end of the winter months, would be the big things you would be eating. Fresh fruit was rare as it had to come from other places, so they would pickle it or make cordials with it so they still had the fruits.
52.     What spices were available to your persona and how expensive were they?
Being on the spice road, many spices were available. Like most places, they were expensive.
53.     What were the eating habits of people of your persona’s culture/time-frame?
Festivals and lots of food were big. It was common for tables to be littered with food when guests would be around. Weddings were times of huge feasts that fed the whole village.
54.     What are the cleaning/bathing habits of your persona’s culture/time-frame?
They had bath houses and expected visitors to bathe before entering the home. Even baba yaga stories are big on bathing as she would give children a sieve and tell them to fill her bath. There are many stories in the folk tales that have something to do with the bath houses.
55.     What types of wildlife live in your persona's area?
56.     Name your persona’s favorite musicians/artists/dances.
57.     What political figure/party/movement does your persona support?
58.     Who is the most significant thinker of your persona’s time?
59.     What does your persona consider to be the greatest social problem their country?
60.     What is most likely to cause your persona’s death?
Since it wasn't childbirth... I would have to think about that.
61.     What type of medical aid is available in your persona’s culture/time-frame, and does your persona have access to it?
62.    List at least three of your persona’s goals in life. (Learn to write, become apprenticed to a craftsman, visit the "big city",
        take over the family business, go to the Holy Land, usurp the crown, etc.)
63.    What does your persona know of history/science/medicine/geography?
64.    What’s the most striking scientific achievement of which your persona is aware?
65.    Does your persona consider the Earth to be flat, round, or hollow?
66.    Does your persona believe that the Earth revolves around the Sun, or vice-versa?
67.    What does your persona consider to be the causes of criminal behavior?
Evil spirits invading the body.
68.    What does your persona consider to be the true measure of a man?
69.    Who has most influenced your persona’s thoughts on these questions?
Society and religion.
70.    Did your persona’s culture/time-frame have heraldry?