Thursday, March 12, 2009

Land Below The Wind

I've been waiting for a blog entry by a team member of Hunters "R" Us on a particular task during the recent KK City Tourism Treasure Hunt which they won. I had the impression that he had intended to make an entry about this hunt, but perhaps he decided not to do so in the end. So I am blogging about it now.

Of the many tasks we had to perform that day was to collect a stamp from a marshal at the Gaya Street in KK City. However, before we can qualify for that stamp, we had to verbally translate an English sentence into Kadazan.

The sentence read something like this:

I love Sabah, land below the wind.

A very simple and straightforward sentence which would appear very easy to translate. I grew up in a Kadazan neighbourhood and I can speak quite a bit of the language too. But I found myself lost for words for the above translation! So I decided to call up my step-mother to seek her help. My step-mother is a pure Kadazan woman—Kadazan (Penampang dialect) is her first language and she still speaks it on a daily basis with her family members, friends and neighbours. I myself learned the language mainly from her, though I have lost some of it, having been out of practice for some years now.

The funny thing was that she was lost too! Isn't it very strange? A pure Kadazan, who speaks the language fluently on a daily basis, can't translate a sentence into that language! After she considered that sentence for some minutes, she gave something like this:

Guminavo zou tinau id siibo do tongus.

But she seemed uncertain. So I called up some other Kadazan friends for second and third opinions. I got something like this:

Guminavo zou Sabah.


Guminavo zou tana id siibo do tongus.

In the end, I settled for the one by my step-mother for two reasons. Firstly, from the little that I know about the language, it sounded like the most accurate. Secondly, some other Kadazan friends gave something very close to her version.

When that translation was given to the marshal, it was accepted and we were duly given the precious stamp. But I am not fully satisfied; I have since been asking some other Kadazan friends for the most accurate translation, and believe it or not, nobody dared to claim to have given me the perfect translation so far!

I suppose it's OK to translate "wind" to "tongus". However, "wind" in this sentence is intended to mean "bayu" in Malay, which is slightly different from "angin". I am not very happy to equate "bayu" to "tongus", but I may be wrong.

One of these days I am bound to bump into a tourist in the street who may want to ask for the same translation.

And so I'm asking any of you Kadazan readers out there who might be able to help us all with the translation. Once again, the sentence:

I love Sabah, land below the wind.


Jimmy Lee said...

lol....guess wat i got in forum replies somewhere....i asked for kadazan translation i got a dusun one instead

Oupus oku sabah, pogun id soriba do tongus

I guess they also using tongus as the traslation for "bayu"...but i think the "land" is referring to "negeri" instead of "tanah" also.....we all know Sabah as Negeri di bawah Bayu.

Cornelius said...

Yes, Slasher, that sounds more like Dusun. But on the other hand, the Dusun dialect is very close to the Kadazan. Most people who speak Kadazan would be able to understand Dusun and vice versa.

I have since received another version of the translation by one of my Kadazan readers:

Oupus zou Sabah, pogun id siibo do tongus

This latest version looks very sound to me. Let's see if anyone else can come up with something even better!

Anonymous said...

This happens because the question setter does not know the answer himself.

Cornelius said...

lateral line,

How true! But on the other hand, I think that Kadazan thing was not really intended to be the decisive anyway. It was merely an excuse to bring the participants to the Gaya Street. A couple other stamps brought the participants elsewhere without the need to do anything other than to actually reach those places.

I found it somewhat devilish of the setter to arrange the sequence of the places to go to, i.e. the Mari-Mari waterfall was mentioned last on the list, when it was obvious that it was most efficient to go to Mari-Mari first before all the others! And amazingly, some regular hunters fell for that trick!