More on Magid

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Wed May 14 17:38:34 EDT 2003


Bettina wrote:

>Just poor people trying to figure it out... I read DS in the German
>translation, and I pronouced Magid with a hard "g" - a soft g would be
>very unusual
>in German. The hard g runs parallel with the German magic - Magie, with a hard
>g. So - is this wrong? ;-) Anyhow, as I already wrote in a different
>context, the German "pronouciation guide" for Chrestomanci gets a differen
>result
>than the English original. I wonder if they even asked DWJ about that bit.

I don't think she knew it existed.  :-)

Wouldn't her opinion only be useful if she spoke fluent German?
Translation is a whole different field; translators have a very
*interesting* time with authors who operate in a world of cunning puns and
play-on-words stuff, and my hat has been off for years to the translators
of the Asterix books, for example.   :-)

I doubt the words sound even slightly as they do in English when the
translation is into Japanese or Finnish or Polish (I think some DWJ is
available in each of those).  Any word-based jokes would need to be done in
a quite different way, wouldn't they?  'Magid' in Japanese would presumably
need to be some word related to whatever the Japanese for 'magic' is, and
thereby it would lose any pun on 'maggid', and the same for any
non-Romance/Germanic-European language, or any with no Hebrew/Arab input.

I wonder what a Hebrew translation of DS or Merl would have for 'magid'.
I'd tend to assume it would be some word based on whatever the Hebrew now
is for 'magic', rather than being a word related to (checks back-posts)
that for 'a (usually itinerant) Jewish preacher or teacher', which was what
Ros said 'maggid' means.  I'd cheerfully accept that, and the Arabic boys'
name, as coming from some common root related to Simon Magus and the Magi
and wisdom/knowledge, but the languages have drifted far enough apart for
that no longer to be especially helpful -- the English relates to esoteric
or arcane lore, and the maggid of the Hebrew presumably exoteric, if it's a
preacher or teacher.

Even if DWJ did base the idea of the 'magid' in her books on the word for
(I am quoting) "the spiritual tutor/advisor/mentor of a kabalist" (spelt
thus) "who does not necessarily have to be alive" (as Stan is not, during
DS) "and is not one of the thirty-six Good Men, who are different" (there
are 72 of the Upper Room) that's still not relevant to the pronunciation of
the word.  As with eg the word 'Paris', which in English is not pronounced
as it is in French, just like I'll bet the English word 'bungalow' sounds
different in whichever language it was we nicked it from.

In other words, I still don't see that any of this makes any particular
difference to how it is sensible to regard magid's pronunciation in English
-- not in any other language, just English.  Given a large variety of
possible pronunciations, why not use Occam's razor and go with the one
that's used by the person who coined the word, rather than hunt about
looking for complications?

Minnow


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