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字母表是怎么造出来的(下)  

2015-11-27 15:50:33|  分类: 译著 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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          字母表是怎么造出来的(下)

 

【英】鲁迪亚德·吉卜林著

原作者 插图

熊威廉 译


   
“哦,真好看!比一只瘦青蛙好看多了。继续画吧!”塔菲挥动她手中的鲨鱼齿,说道。

她呆爹继续画着,手因激动而颤抖。他一直坚持着把它画完。(图十三)

 

“别往上看,塔菲,”他说道。“试试看你是否能发现这个图在忒古麦语里的含义。如果能,我们就发现了大秘密。”

“蛇—晒杆—破蛋—鲤鱼尾和鲤鱼嘴,”塔菲说道。“舒—呀。天—水,意思就是‘天下雨了’。”这时一滴水珠儿掉在她手上,因为那天的天空乌云密布。“嘿,呆爹,下雨了。这就是你想要告诉我的事儿吗?”

“那是当然啰,”她呆爹说道。“而我没说一个字,就把这件事告诉你了,你说是吗?”

“是啊,我觉得我很快就明白了它的,可是那滴雨水让我深信不疑了。我再也不会忘了, ‘舒—呀’的意思就是‘雨’,或者是‘要下雨了’。太好啦,呆爹!”她站了起来,围着她呆爹一边跳舞一边说:“假设早上你外出时我还没有醒,你在墙上画了舒—呀,我一看就知道要下雨了,赶忙带上河狸皮雨帽。妈咪看见了岂不也要大吃一惊了!”

忒古麦听罢,猛地站起来和宝贝女儿一块儿跳舞。古时候,父女们在一块儿跳舞是不足为奇的事情。他一边跳舞一边说道:“远非如此!远非如此!假设我想告诉你雨不会下大,你一定要到河边来,我们该怎么画呢?塔菲,你先用我们忒古麦部落的口语把这个意思说一遍看看。”

“舒—呀—拉撕,呀吗如。这意思就是雨将停,到河边来。这么多的新声音耶,我真不知道怎么画了!”

“可是我能行,我能行!”忒古麦说道,“仔细再想想看,塔菲!今天我们不要再画别的了。我们已经画成功了‘舒—呀’,对不对?可是‘拉撕’这个音倒是挺难画的。拉—拉—拉!”他一边连连念叨一边用鲨鱼齿比划着。

“末尾有条发声的蛇‘咝’,在蛇的前面有个鲤鱼嘴‘啊’,呵咝—呵咝—呵咝。可我们只需要最前面的‘拉—拉’,”塔菲说道。

“这个我知道的,可是我们必须画出‘拉—拉’这个音。塔菲麦我的宝贝女儿呀,我们是世上最先致力于这项发明的人!”

“说得好,”塔菲说道,由于太疲倦,她打了个哈欠。“‘拉撕’的意思就是中断,或停止,或结束,是不是呀,呆爹?”

“应该是的,”忒古麦说道,“ ‘沋—拉撕’意思是说水槽里没有妈咪烧饭的水了,我也正要去打猎了。”

“ ‘咝—拉撕’意思是说你的渔叉断了。要是我早想到这一点,我就不会为那个陌生人画可笑的河狸画了!”

“拉!拉!拉!”忒古麦一边连声叨念着,一边在挥动着棍子皱着眉头冥思苦想。“噢,真可恼!”

“我已经可以轻而易举地画出渔叉‘咝’了,”塔菲接着说道。“那么我也就能画你那断了的渔叉,瞧,就这个样子!”于是她画了出来。(图十四)

 

“对,就是这个样子,”忒古麦说道,“这正是‘拉’的样子。好,这与我们画出的其它符号也不相同。”说罢,他画出了这个。(图十五)

 

“现在来画‘呀’吧。哦,‘呀’我们早已画过了,现在就来画‘吗如’吧。吗姆—吗姆—吗姆。发‘吗姆’这个音时,先要闭上嘴巴,对怒对?那我们就画一片闭着的嘴来表示。”说着,他就画了出来。(图十六)

 

“好极了,后面紧跟张开着的鲤鱼嘴‘啊’,就发出了吗—吗—吗的音!可是这个‘如—如—如’音怎么画呢,塔菲?”

“这个音听起来尖粗尖粗的,很象你用鲨鱼齿锯木板造木船时发出的声音。”塔菲说道。

“你的意思是说象鲨鱼齿尖锋,这个样子?”忒古麦一边说一边画了出来。(图十七)

 

“正是这个样子,”塔菲说道,“可是我们不需要那么多齿锋,只画两个就可以了。”

“我想只画一个,”忒古麦说道,“要是我们的这项发明真能够如愿以偿的话,那么我们画的发音图越简单,就越容易被大家所理解。”他说着画出了这个。(图十八)

 

“现在,我们已经画出了这句话的全部发音图,”忒古麦说道,摆了一个金鸡独立的姿势。“我要把这些发音图画成象晒干鱼那样的一串。”

“呆爹,我们最好在每个词之间画一根短线或其它什么东西,以免它们象鱼阵那样挤在一堆,相互摩擦,你说好吗?”

“哦,这个我会留出些空来的,”她呆爹说道。他太兴奋了,在一大块新桦树皮上把这句话一口气画了出来。(图十九)

 

Shu-ya-las ya-maru,”塔菲一声一声地读出了整句话。

“今天就到此为止吧,”忒古麦说道,“而且你也累了,塔菲。没关系,亲爱的,我们明天就能画完所有的发音图,我们会被后人一代一代地记住,直到你能看见的那些大树全被砍去做柴烧了也不会忘记。”

于是他们回家了。整个晚上,忒古麦坐在火堆的一边,塔菲坐在另一边,不停地在烟尘墙上一边画着‘呀’,‘哟’,‘舒’,‘噬’,一边忍不住咯咯笑着。她妈咪看见了,说道,“真是的,忒古麦,你简直比我们的小塔菲还淘气。”

“别介意呀,亲爱的妈咪!”塔菲说道,“这只是我们的一个惊人的秘密。我们一完成这个秘密,就会立即告诉你这一切的。可你现在不要问我,否则真害怕我会和盘托出了。”

她妈咪果真不再追问了。第二天大清早,忒古麦就来到河边,思索着如何画出新的发音图来。塔菲起床时,就看见岩洞外大石水槽的边上,用石灰画着‘呀—拉咝’,意思是水停止了,或水用完了。

“嗯,”塔菲说道,“这些发音图真神了!简直就象呆爹来到我身边,亲口对我说,要我去提点水来给妈咪烧饭。”她马上走到屋后的泉水边,用桦树皮桶提水把水槽灌满。然后她跑到河边,揪住了她呆爹的左耳朵。古时候,如果宝贝女儿乖巧听话,就可以揪住呆爹的左耳朵。

“我请你过来,是因为我们今天要把剩下的发音图全部画出来,”她呆爹说道,他们父女两在河边度过了非常激动的一天,午餐很丰盛,玩得很开心。当他们谈到“特”音时,塔菲说她的名字,她呆爹和她妈咪的名字都以那个音开头,所以应该画一幅全家人手拉手的发音图来表示。开始他们画得还好,可是画到六七次时,塔菲和忒古麦就越画越草率了,最后这个“特”音只剩下一个瘦长的忒古麦伸出手去抱着塔菲和忒姝麦了。可爱的宝贝孩子们,你们从下面三幅画部分,可以大概看出她们是怎画的了。(图二十,二十一,二十二)

他们那天画的许多发音图开始时大都画得很漂亮,尤其在午饭前。可是后来他们在桦树皮上一次又一次地反复画时,就越画越得心应手了,最后连忒古麦都说他也找不出什么毛病。他们把蛇的“咝”音反过来就代表“吱”音,以显示蛇柔软温和地向后发出了“吱”音(图二十三)。他们只用了一根拐弯的线条来代表“呓”音,因为它在画中经常出现(图二十四)。他们用忒古麦人神圣的河狸来代表“比”音(图二十五,二十六,二十七,二十八)。由于“嗯”音发出一种太令人讨厌的轰响,他们就画了个鼻子来代替,直画得他们精疲力竭(图二十九)。他们画了一个大湖里的梭子鱼嘴巴来代表贪吃的“基”音(图三十)。接着他们在梭子鱼口的后面画了张湖里的,它的插了一根渔叉代表被刺伤的“开”音(图三十一)。他们画出蜿蜒的瓦盖河的一小段来代表美妙的弯弯曲曲的“大步流”音(图三十二,三十三)等等。就这样,他们画出了他们想要画的所有发音图,最原始的字母表就大功告成了。

千千万万年过去了,经过象形文字,德莫提式,尼罗提式,克里普提式,古阿拉伯式,古代北欧式,多里式,爱奥尼式,还有其它各种式样的字母表,因为伍恩斯人,尼古斯人,还有阿克胡恩兹人,以及传统知识的继承人决不会看到好东西而置之不理的。于是,经过不断的改进完善,就形成了精美古老,形式适当,使用方便,易读易懂的字母表——ABCDE,等等,可爱的宝贝孩子们,这就是为你们长大了学习提供便利的字母表。

可是今天,我们还记得忒古麦·博苏莱,塔菲麦·米塔卢麦和忒姝麦·特温德洛,她亲爱的妈咪,以及他们所度过的日子。这就是,就是这样,很久以前发生在瓦盖河畔的故事!

 

附录:原文

 

How the Alphabet Was Made III

 

Written by Rudyard Kipling

Illustrated by the Author

Translated by William Xiong

 

‘Oh, that’s lovely! Much better than a thin frog. Go on,’ said Taffy, using her shark’s tooth. Her Daddy went on drawing, and his hand shook with incitement. He went on till he had drawn this. (13.)

 

‘Don’t look up, Taffy,’ he said. ‘Try if you can make out what that means in the Tegumai language. If you can, we’ve found the Secret.’

‘Snake — pole — broken — egg — carp — tail and carp-mouth,’ said Taffy. ‘Shu-ya. Sky-water (rain).’ Just then a drop fell on her hand, for the day had clouded over. ‘Why, Daddy, it’s raining. Was that what you meant to tell me?’

‘Of course,’ said her Daddy. ‘And I told it you without saying a word, didn’t I?’

‘Well, I think I would have known it in a minute, but that raindrop made me quite sure. I’ll always remember now. Shu-ya means rain, or “it is going to rain.”

Why, Daddy!’ She got up and danced round him. ‘S’pose you went out before I was awake, and drawed shu-ya in the smoke on the wall, I’d know it was going to rain and I’d take my beaver-skin hood. Wouldn’t Mummy be surprised?’

Tegumai got up and danced. (Daddies didn’t mind doing those things in those days.) ‘More than that! More than that!’he said. ‘S’pose I wanted to tell you it wasn’t going to rain much and you must come down to the river, what would we draw? Say the words in Tegumai-talk first.’

‘Shu-ya-las, ya maru. (Sky-water ending. River come to.) what a lot of new sounds! I don’t see how we can draw them.’

‘But I do — but I do!’ said Tegumai. ‘Just attend a minute, Taffy, and we won’t do any more today. We’ve got shu-ya all right, haven’t we? But this las is a teaser. La-la-la’ and he waved his shark-tooth.

‘There’s the hissy-snake at the end and the carp-mouth before the snake — as-as-as. We only want la-la,’ said Taffy.

‘I know it, but we have to make la-la. And we’re the first people in all the world who’ve ever tried to do it, Taffimai!’

‘Well,’ said Taffy, yawning, for she was rather tired. ‘Las means breaking or finishing as well as ending, doesn’t it?’

‘So it does,’ said Tegumai. ‘To-las means that there’s no water in the tank for Mummy to cook with — just when I’m going hunting, too.’

‘And shi-las means that your spear is broken. If I’d only thought of that instead of drawing silly beaver pictures for the Stranger!’

‘La! La! La!’ said Tegumai, waiving his stick and frowning. ‘Oh bother!’

‘I could have drawn shi quite easily,’ Taffy went on. ‘Then I’d have drawn your spear all broken — this way!’ And she drew. (14.)

 

‘The very thing,’ said Tegumai. ‘That’s la all over. It isn’t like any of the other marks either.’ And he drew this. (15.)

 

‘Now for ya. Oh, we’ve done that before. Now for maru. Mum-mum-mum. Mum shuts one’s mouth up, doesn’t it? We’ll draw a shut mouth like this.’ And he drew. (16.)

 

‘Then the carp-mouth open. That makes Ma-ma-ma! But what about this rrrrr-thing, Taffy?’

‘It sounds all rough and edgy, like your shark-tooth saw when you’re cutting out a plank for the canoe,’ said Taffy.

‘You mean all sharp at the edges, like this?’ said Tegumai. And he drew. (17.)

 

‘‘Xactly,’ said Taffy. ‘But we don’t want all those teeth: only put two.’

‘I’ll only put in one,’ said Tegumai. ‘If this game of ours is going to be what I think it will, the easier we make our sound-pictures the better for everybody.’ And he drew. (18.)

 

‘Now, we’ve got it,’ said Tegumai, standing on one leg. ‘I’ll draw ’em all in a string like fish.’

‘Hadn’t we better put a little bit of stick or something between each word, so’s they won’t rub up against each other and jostle, same as if they were carps?’

‘Oh, I’ll leave a space for that,’ said her Daddy. And very incitedly he drew them all without stopping, on a big new bit of birch-bark. (19.)

  

‘Shu-ya-las ya-maru,’ said Taffy, reading it out sound by sound.

‘That’s enough for today,’ said Tegumai. ‘Besides, you’re getting tired, Taffy.

Never mind, dear. We’ll finish it all tomorrow, and then we’ll be remembered for years and years after the biggest trees you can see are all chopped up for firewood.’

So they went home, and all that evening Tegumai sat on one side of the fire and Taffy on the other, drawing ya’s and yo’s and shu’s and shi’s in the smoke on the wall and giggling together till her Mummy said, ‘Really, Tegumai, you’re worse than my Taffy.’

‘Please don’t mind,’ said Taffy. ‘It’s only our secret-s’prise, Mummy dear, and we’ll tell you all about it the very minute it’s done; but please don’t ask me what it is now, or else I’ll have to tell.’

So her Mummy most carefully didn’t; and bright and early next morning Tegumai went down to the river to think about new sound pictures, and when Taffy got up she saw Ya-las (water is ending or running out) chalked on the side of the big stone water-tank, outside the Cave.

‘Um,’ said Taffy. ‘These picture-sounds are rather a bother! Daddy’s just as good as come here himself and told me to get more water for Mummy to cook with.’ She went to the spring at the back of the house and filled the tank from a bark bucket, and then she ran down to the river and pulled her Daddy’s left ear — the one that belonged to her to pull when she was good.

‘Now come along and we’ll draw all the left-over sound-pictures,’ said her Daddy, and they had a most inciting day of it, and a beautiful lunch in the middle, and two games of romps. When they came to T, Taffy said that as her name, and her Daddy’s, and her Mummy’s all began with that sound, they should draw a sort of family group of themselves holding hands. That was all very well to draw once or twice; but when it came to drawing it six or seven times, Taffy and Tegumai drew it scratchier and scratchier, till at last the T-sound was only a thin long Tegumai with his arms out to hold Taffy and Teshumai. You can see from these three pictures partly how it happened. (20, 21, 22.)

 

Many of the other pictures were much too beautiful to begin with, especially before lunch, but as they were drawn over and over again on birch-bark, they became plainer and easier, till at last even Tegumai said he could find no fault with them. They turned the hissy-snake the other way round for the Z-sound, to show it was hissing backwards in a soft and gentle way (23); and they just made a twiddle for E, because it came into the pictures so often (24); and they drew pictures of the sacred Beaver of the Tegumais for the B-sound (25, 26, 27, 28); and because it was a nasty, nosy noise, they just drew noses for the N-sound, till they were tired (29); and they drew a picture of the big lake-pike’s mouth for the greedy Ga-sound (30); and they drew the pike’s mouth again with a spear behind it for the scratchy, hurty Ka-sound (31); and they drew pictures of a little bit of the winding Wagai river for the nice windy-windy Wa-sound (32, 33); and so on and so forth and so following till they had done and drawn all the sound-pictures that they wanted, and there was the Alphabet, all complete.

And after thousands and thousands and thousands of years, and after Hieroglyphics and Demotics, and Nilotics, and Cryptics, and Cufics, and Runics, and Dorics, and Ionics, and all sorts of other ricks and tricks (because the Woons, and the Neguses, and the Akhoonds, and the Repositories of Tradition would never leave a good thing alone when they saw it), the fine old easy, understandable Alphabet — A, B, C, D, E, and the rest of ’em — got back into its proper shape again for all Best Beloveds to learn when they are old enough.

But I remember Tegumai Bopsulai, and Taffimai Metallumai and Teshumai Tewindrow, her dear Mummy, and all the days gone by. And it was so — just so — a little time ago — on the banks of the big Wagai!

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