Thursday, August 9, 2012

Kleider machen Leute - the title

First things first: my aim with these posts is to go on a voyage of discovery with Te Reo Māori through the medium of translating Gottfried Keller's German novelle Kleider Machen Leute [lit.: clothes make people]. The idea is to explore the different sentence constructions in this way and make lots of mistakes that I can learn from. So the title:
Kleider machen Leute
The key here is that it is a reversal of Leute machen Kleider [people make clothes]. Hence, it is best to start off with translating that.

Verb: auaha
Subject: ngā tāngata
Object: ngā kākahu
Ka auaha ngā tāngata i ngā kākahu
I used Ka as the verbal particle because there is no real tense or aspect implied by the German. Now if we reverse it we get:
Ka auaha ngā kākahu i ngā tāngata
Any thoughts?

Addendum 15 Aug 2012: What I should have commented more fully on was my choice of verb. The German word machen, like the English verb 'to make', is quite versatile and the Te Reo Māori/English dictionaries I checked don't give much guidance. So I tried to select a verb that gives the idea of creation/construction. I may have picked the wrong verb entirely, of course. Another option for the title would be to use a proverb with the same meaning as the English "the clothes make the man" or "you are what you wear". There may be such a proverb — I don't know.

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