Wattle gate

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Stefan Krasowski, who graduated from the Wharton School of Penn in 2002, and has visited every country in the world, just wrote this note to the e-Mair list:

Wattleseed milkshake

This Australian milkshake brought to mind a VHM Classical Sinitic class where I first encountered the word "wattle" in translating a Du Fu (712-770) poem.

Here's the poem to which Stefan is referring:

kè zhì

shè nán shè běi jiē chūn shuǐ,

dàn jiàn qún ōu rì rì lái.

huā jìng bù céng yuán kè sǎo,

péng mén jīn shǐ wèi jūn kāi.

pán sūn shì yuǎn wú jiān wèi,

zūn jiǔ jiā pín zhǐ jiù pēi.

kěn yǔ lín wēng xiāng duì yǐn,

gé lí hū qǔ jìn yú bēi.











A Guest Arrives

North and South of my cottage, spring waters everywhere –

All I can see are a flock of terns that come day after day;

The flowery path has not been swept for any guests,

Only today do I finally open my gate for you.

The market is far, so our supper platter lacks variety,

Our family is poor, so the wine flask holds but old home-brew;

If you’re willing to sing with the gaffer next door,

I’ll call across the fence for him to finish the last cup.

That's my own translation, as given in Victor H. Mair, ed. The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), p. 208.

In the more than forty years that I've been teaching this poem, I've never failed to tell my students that péng mén 蓬門 in l. 4 means "wattle gate", a gate made of wattle.  Although Penn students are smart and knowledgeable, few of them have ever heard of the word "wattle", and those that have know it with a completely different meaning:  "fleshy appendage below the neck of certain birds".  So, when I say "wattle gate", the students invariably perk up and ask me what I mean by that.  I tell them that it means a gate made of interwoven sticks and twigs (sometimes accompanied by a picture drawn on the blackboard), then they understand quickly what it signifies.  When I mention "wattle and daub" construction, the picture becomes even clearer.

Now, why didn't I use that beautiful, precise word in my published translation?  There are two main reasons:

  1. If even my smart Penn students were stymied by the idea of a "wattle gate", I was worried that most readers would draw a blank on it, and that would bring their reading of the poem to a temporary halt.  At the very least, I decided that "wattle gate" would call attention to itself and not contribute to the atmosphere of the poem.
  2. If I had included "wattle" before "gate", the poem wouldn't scan well; the prosody would be off, the rhythm would be too insistently trochaic, at least for my ears, whereas the rest of the translation adopts a freer rhythm.

So, on the one hand, I've always had a lingering regret that I passed up a semantically perfect rendering for péng mén 蓬門, but in the end and on balance, I think that I did the right thing by omitting "wattle" in my published translation, yet I always do my duty as professor in the classroom.

Relying on this convenient compilation, here are the renderings of péng mén 蓬門 by two dozen different translators:

  1. Wai-lim Yip            thatch door
  2. anon.                      rough gate
  3. Florence Ayscough  over-grown door 
  4. "bafooz"                  bamboo gate   
  5. Ray Brownrigg (I)     wicker gate
  6. Ray Brownrigg (II)    wicker gate
  7. Witter Bynner           thatch gate
  8. Arthur Cooper          wattle gate
  9. "Dongbo"                 gate
  10. W. J. B. Fletcher      bower's door
  11. Henry H. Hart         wicker gate
  12. David Hawkes         wicker-gate
  13. William Hung          rustic gate
  14. A. S. Kline               willow gate
  15. Robert Kotewall and Norman L. Smith    wicker gate
  16. Shih Shun Liu           thatched door
  17. Victor Mair               gate
  18. James R. Murphy      hedge gate
  19. Stephen Owen          wicker gate
  20. Victor Purves            old gate 
  21. Burton Watson          thatch gate
  22. Wai-lim Yip              thatched gate
  23. anon.                        rough gate
  24. unknown                   wicket door (!)

While I'm at it, I should mention that, if I were to redo the translation now, I would omit the "wine" before "flask".  I also should note that "sing" in the penultimate line is an editorial lapse for "drink".


  1. Scott P. said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 11:20 am

    There's also the Python version:

    This here's the wattle
    The emblem of our land
    You can stick it in a bottle
    You can hold it in your hand.

  2. Jerry Friedman said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 11:24 am

    I assume the milkshake contained powdered seeds from an Australian acacia, known as "wattle" because the branches were used for that purpose?

    When I was in college, many of my friends and I knew the Australian "wattle" from a Monty Python sketch, though I'm not going to say we all knew exactly what it meant. (My three roommates and I and another friend were all nicknamed Bruce.)

    I'm curious, Prof. Mair, about why you didn't correct the "lapse" in your translation.

  3. Victor Mair said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 11:33 am

    @Jerry Friedman


    In the process of publishing such a huge book as that, with editors, typesetters, and others putting their hands on one's work, strange things are bound to happen.

    Much to my shock and chagrin, I just noticed it this morning, 26 years after the book was published. I suppose I never was aware of it before because I never really looked at that poem in English translation, but was always teaching it from the Chinese text.

  4. john burke said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 11:56 am

    "I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
    And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;"

    W. B. Yeats, The Lake Isle of Innisfree

  5. Jerry Friedman said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 11:58 am

    I'll bet that was shock and chagrin! (Though I kind of like "sing".) But the question I meant to ask was why you posted the published version here instead of changing that word and maybe adding a note that the new version was different from the published version. Not that it's a big deal, but I've been publishing some poems on line lately and have had a couple small problems like this.

  6. Richard John Lynn said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 12:23 pm

    Wicker is best for 蓬門–as a lesson in the old Harold Shadick/Ch'iao Chien, A First Course in Literary Chinese, I taught the Du Fu poem umpteen times over the years, and I always rendered it this way. "Wattle" does not work for it either prompts the turkey association or, for the cognoscenti who delight in tricky words,means not just "wattle" but "wattle-and-daub"; I think mud had no place in Du Fu's poem. And then, by the time I began teaching this poem many years ago, I had lived several years in Japan, in Kyoto mostly, where rustic wicker gates probably similar to the one in Du Fu's poem were all over the place–temple grounds, public parks, and private gardens. I thought of them then as "wicker gates" and still do now. I now live on Gabriola Island, British Columbia (off the West Coast of the BC Mainland with its mild winter climate, The Canadian Tropics), and such wicker gates and fences are commonplace here (made from vines and "runners" [not the British/Canadian English for "sneakers" but the long slender shoots of some trees, ours are plum and hickory–also called "suckers")–the climate and topography so like that of Japan. We had wicker for both gates and fences for a while until they fell apart (as wicker is wont to do), and now have cedar board gates and fences.

  7. Bob Ladd said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 12:59 pm

    @Richard John Lynn: somewhat off-topic, but I don't think "runners" is used in the UK as an equivalent for US "sneakers". When I was growing up in Canada we called them "running shoes", and I had to remember to use "sneakers" with my American cousins. On the basis of many years residence in the UK, my impression is that the most common UK equivalent is "trainers" (though that term also covers up-market shoes that Americans probably wouldn't call "sneakers"). I've read in various sources that the UK equivalent of US "sneakers" is "plimsolls", but I've almost never heard that. The Wikipedia article on "Plimsoll shoes" gives lots of equivalent names across the English-speaking world, and also asserts a difference between plimsolls and trainers.

  8. Victor Mair said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 1:09 pm

    "wattle" does not mean "wattle and daub".

    "wattle" = A construction of branches and twigs woven together to form a wall, barrier, fence, or roof.

    From Middle English wattel, watel, from Old English watel, watul (“hurdle”). Ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *wey- (“to turn, wind, bend”).

    "wicker" = A flexible branch or twig of a plant such as willow, used in weaving baskets and furniture.

    From Middle English wiker, cognate with Swedish vikker (“willow”), Old Norse veikr (“weak”), English weak.

    My wife loved wicker furniture and baskets, so we used to go to wicker stores to buy it and I still have a lot of wicker furniture and basketware in my home.

    In contrast, péng 蓬 gives the idea of "tangled; disheveled"; wicker is not that.

  9. Victor Mair said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 1:14 pm

    @Jerry Friedman

    That's the way it appeared on the website where I found those two dozen English versions, so I had to go with that in the context of this discussion. If I were reissuing the Columbia Anthology or publishing the poem anew elsewhere, you can be sure that I would correct the "sing" to "drink".

  10. Richard Lynn said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 2:17 pm

    my Canadian-born wife, Professor Soja Arntzen, says she only knows "runners" for "sneakers" in Canadian usage. (Growing up in Binghamton NY I only know the designation as "sneakers"); and, I do stand corrected, in the UK it is "trainers" never "runners" And I found various references where "wattle" is used as a short form for "wattle-and-daub."

  11. Richard John Lynn said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 2:17 pm

    AH! Sonja!

  12. David Cameron Staples said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 3:18 pm

    And here was me thinking, when I saw the post title, that it was referring to some political controversy involving an Australian.

  13. Philip Taylor said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 4:00 pm

    Bob — "plim[p]soles|plim[p]solls" — certainly what I wore for gym lessons at school, and what I still wear if I play table-tennis. I suspect that the intrusive "p" is a hyper-correction, as the OED does not admit of its existence in this context.

  14. Bloix said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 5:11 pm

    Plimsolls (one p, and soll not not sole) are named for Samuel Plimsoll (1824–1898), a British MP who advocated a law (eventually passed) requiring ships to be painted around with a line that would disappear below the water if the ship was overloaded. Ships today are still painted with a Plimsoll line.

    Old-fashioned canvas sneakers with rubber soles often have a horizontal line around the sides where the canvas is attached to the rubber. The English thought the line resembled the Plimsoll line on ocean-going ships, hence the nickname.

    Here's a pic of a pair of white Converse Chuck Taylor low rise sneakers.

  15. Ray O'Leary said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 6:03 pm

    On "runners", that term was the common one when I was in my teens in Ireland (late 70s on) but seemed to be replaced by "trainers" from the mid 80s, although it also had an air of being more grown up. I have the impression that runners replaced plimsolls/"plimsoles" in the preceding decades.

  16. Victor Mair said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 7:24 pm

    From a friend who's been living in Madison, Wisconsin for the last fifty years:

    I never heard sneakers until I lived in New Jersey in the 1950s. I write this with several pairs of tennis shoes at hand. Turns out my living experience is backed up by "research" on regional varieties:


  17. Terpomo said,

    November 10, 2020 @ 11:21 pm

    I am (I'd like to think) a fairly well-educated native English speaker but I'm fairly sure I'd never heard of 'gaffer' as an informal term for 'old man'. That said, 'thatch(ed)' seems like a reasonable choice for describing the gate in question.

    Why's the pinyin have spaces between every syllable rather than every word, though? I'm pretty sure there at least a few things that should be joined together by pinyin orthographic rules.

  18. Jerry Friedman said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 12:00 am

    Thanks for answering my question, Prof. Mair.

    Terpomo: "Gaffer" in that sense is probably best known from The Lord of the Rings, and of course a native English speaker can be well educated without having read it.

  19. Scott P. said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 1:08 am


    As the saying goes, there are two kinds of people: Those who have read The Lord of the Rings, and those who are going to read it.

  20. Terpomo said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 2:20 am

    I have a copy at home, in Esperanto of all languages (William Auld's translation, I believe, he's known to be good) and I should probably get around to it some time.

  21. Andreas Johansson said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 3:53 am

    Swedish vikker (“willow”)

    Hm? Sw. vicker means "vetch", while "willow" is pil or vide.

    The sequence -kk- only occurs in unassimilated loans, or across a morpheme boundary in compounds; like in English, -ck- is otherwise used where a double k might be expected.

  22. Anthea Fleming said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 4:40 am

    As a child in Australia, (1940s-50s) what we wore for all forms of sport were tennis shoes. The soles were quite thin and there were next to no heels. Boys got to wear football boots, but tennis shoes for cricket.
    I was told that the UK usage 'plimsolls' for the same shoes was because they were invented by the ingenious deviser of the Plimsoll line.

  23. Victor Mair said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 5:47 am

    If you read The Lord of the Rings in Esperanto translation (the whole thing?), do you thing it's going to have English "gaffer" in it?

  24. Victor Mair said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 5:56 am


    Straw, rushes, or similar, used for making or covering the roofs of buildings, or of stacks of hay or grain.

    Variant of thack, from Middle English thache, thach, from Old English þæc (“roof-covering”), from Proto-Germanic *þaką (“covering”), from (o-grade of) Proto-Indo-European *(s)teg- (“cover”). Cognate with Icelandic þak, Dutch dak, German Dach, Norwegian tak, Swedish tak, Danish tag; and with Latin toga, Albanian thak (“awn, beard, pin, peg, tassel, fringe”), Lithuanian stogas (“roof”). Related to Ancient Greek τέγος (tégos, “roof”) and στέγη (stégē, “roof”). See also English deech, deck.

    ∴ "thatch(ed)" is not "a reasonable choice for describing the gate in question."

    (source: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/thatch)

  25. Victor Mair said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 6:37 am

    From Alan Kennedy:

    "Brushwood gate" is the English translation for the name of a motif that appears in Japanese works of art, but the Japanese characters are different from those in the Du Fu poem. Such a gate would likely be the Japanese equivalent to what Du Fu was referring to.

  26. Victor Mair said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 8:15 am

    "brushwood gate"

    ahhhh, so nice ~~ thanks, Alan

    Here's a really rough, disheveled brushwood gate:


    I don't regard my life
    as insufficient.
    Inside the brushwood gate
    there is a moon;
    there are flowers.

    ~ Ryokan
    from Sky Above, Great Wind
    by Kazuaki Tanahashi

    I'm especially charmed by the connection between snails and brushwood gates, established in this famous haiku by Issa (1763-1828):

    The brushwood gate;
    Instead of a lock,
    A snail.

    (remembering my beloved Arnold [(before 2013-August 13, 2018])


    Images, books, references for "brushwood gate" here.

    The allusion to "brushwood gate" goes back to this famous poem by the Tang poet, Wang Wei (699-759):


    yǐ zhàng cháimén wài, línfēng tīng mùchán

    "Leaning on my cane outside the brushwood gate, I face the wind and listen to the evening cicadas."

    Oh, and what is chái 柴?

    faggot; bundle of sticks bound together (as fuel)
    firewood; brushwood;

    As we know from art and archeological evidence, from historical records, and from contemporary structures, people have been using brushwood to make rough gates, fences, corrals, and even flimsy forts from Neolithic times to the present.

  27. Victor Mair said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 8:19 am

    "Why's the pinyin have spaces between every syllable rather than every word, though? I'm pretty sure there at least a few things that should be joined together by pinyin orthographic rules."

    The rules for Hanyu Pinyin Orthography (Hànyǔ pīnyīn zhèngcí fǎ 漢語拼音正詞法) are fundamentally designed to be applied to Modern Standard Mandarin (MSM). In my treatment of the Romanized transcription of the syllables in Du Fu's "A Guest Arrives" in the o.p., I wished to emphasize the syllabicity of the poem, so I separated all of the syllables. At other times, when I want to take account of the morphology, syntax, or grammar of Literary Sinitic, I do join up the syllables of lexical items (as in the previous comment).

  28. Victor Mair said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 9:22 am

    Now, if you want to make your wattle construction, whatever it might be, stronger, then you get into daub. However, as I mentioned above, wattle by itself is not the same thing as wattle and daub. The sticky material that you daub onto the wattle is "usually made of some combination of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung and straw" (source).


    Patrick Carland kindly did some research on such construction techniques in Japan and sent me these valuable notes:


    I don't find 蓬門 very frequently referenced in Japanese, but wattle walls surrounding temples called tsujibei (築地塀) are quite common in the literature.

    I found this tidbit on the subject from an article in the International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment on wattle architecture in Japan:

    "Mud walls are of great importance in traditional Japanese architecture. They are used for town houses, temples and shrines, particularly in Kyoto-style houses (Kyomachi-ya), which are among the most traditional and ancient style of housing in Japan. Their manufacture includes natural materials and no chemicals, providing a healthy dwelling environment (Saijo et al., 2004, Yokobayashi and Sato, 2007). The mud used in tsuchikabe is a mixture of clay, earth, sand, and rice straw. Clay acts as a binder and holds the mixture together. Aggregates like earth and sand provide bulk and dimensional stability. The mixture is allowed to age over a period of months until maturation. When used for wall construction, the straw remaining after this process strengthens the wall (Shimase et al., 2007), controls shrinkage, and provides long-term flexibility. Moreover, a bamboo skeleton adds the necessary tensile and out-of-plane strength." More here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212609013000253


  29. Alexander Pruss said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 12:04 pm

    While "wattle gate" conjured up a clear and I assume correct image (though "thatch" or "wicker" would have been easier), "gaffer" actually confused me, because it made me think of gaffer's tape and technicians.

    I learned the word "trainer" about a year ago when prior to high table at an Oxford college the butler looked down at my running shoes (which I was wearing due to a foot or knee problem) and uttered the single word "trainers" full of Jeeves-like disapproval (though Jeeves himself could have achieved the same effect with just a look). I had grown up calling them "adidasy" in Polish and "running shoes" in Canadian English.

  30. Philip Taylor said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 12:21 pm

    I do like :

    The brushwood gate;
    Instead of a lock,
    A snail.

    but for me the first line should end with a colon, not a semi-colon.

  31. Victor Mair said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 12:22 pm

    Didn't anyone call them "gym shoes"? Of course, gym shoes today look very different from what they did when I wore them 60-70 years ago.

  32. Jerry Friedman said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 2:51 pm

    Victor Mair: I called them "tennis shoes" in my youth in suburban Cleveland, but other people called them "gym shoes", and I often do now.

    Philip Taylor: If you look at modern haiku written in English, you'll see you were lucky to get any punctuation, and capital letters.

  33. Victor Mair said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 3:49 pm

    More from Alan Kennedy:

    Excellent guess, pronounced "saimon" in Japanese. Could be taken
    from Wang Wei, but I would imagine that the word for brushwood in
    Japanese predates the Tang dynasty.

    Brushwood fences and gates appear as design motifs on Japanese kosode
    (the forerunner of the kimono) made for the samurai class during the
    Edo period. The larger context for these motifs are landscapes with rustic
    cabins, streams, flowers, etc.

  34. Julian said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 3:58 pm

    60yo Australian here: for me the dominant meaning of 'wattle' has always been 'a plant of genus acacia.'
    For another curious example of how a derived meaning can be the personal dominant meaning, depending on its place in your experience: plants of genus callistemon are called 'bottlebrush' –
    Once in my mid-20s, walking in the bush with acquaintances who included a foreign backpacker. one of the party pointed to the flower of the callistemon and said, 'This one's called a bottlebrush – you can see why.'
    I looked at the flower long and a hard, and suddenly thought: 'bottlebrush …. bottle – brush … brush for bottles … of course!'
    For my whole life up to that moment it had never occurred to me that a 'bottle-brush' could be something other than a type of plant.

  35. Julian said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 4:16 pm

    Concerning thin-soled tennis shoes: Just curious: does anyone outside Australia use the term 'sandshoes'?
    'Sandshoe' pretty much means the dominant brand, Dunlop Volleys –
    The have the distinction of being virtually unchanged in design for at least 60 years (there have been minor cosmetic tweaks in a misguided attempt to be fashionable, but bah humbug I say).
    They're quite tough, though I admit that after two weeks on volleys on the South Coast track in Tasmania my ankles were getting a bit sore.
    You may get a new pair when your partner shames you into it, but you must not throw out the old pair as long as they're still useful-
    Thus you will accumulate a stable of volleys in all stages of decrepitude, with something suitable for all occasions.

  36. Philip Taylor said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 4:34 pm

    I am forced to admit, Jerry, that I can find no haiku there, modern or otherwise. Does not a haiku have to have a 5-7-5 pattern ?

  37. Terpomo said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 5:30 pm

    If you read The Lord of the Rings in Esperanto translation (the whole thing?), do you thing it's going to have English "gaffer" in it?

    Well, no but that's not why I'd want to read it anyway. (What do you mean 'the whole thing'? Are you expressing surprise that the whole thing has been translated or that I'd read the whole thing?)

  38. Philip Anderson said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 6:35 pm

    I’m familiar with wattle from archaeology and conservation work – the branches are thicker and less densely-packed than wicker. Daub would added for building walls to keep them warm, but not for fences.

    I used plimsolls at school before I ever heard of trainers, and my son still has them. They are thinner-soled than trainers, and not a fashion statement. Although ‘daps’ was the term in Wales and the West Country (of England).

    Gaffer (probably from godfather) still means an old man, but came to mean a boss particularly in practical trades and specifically the chief electrician on a film.

  39. Philip Anderson said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 6:37 pm

    So how was ‘gaffer’ translated into Esperanto? Or any language out of interest.

  40. Jerry Friedman said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 8:36 pm

    Philip Taylor: Japanese haiku do have a pattern of 5-7-5 on, but the belief in the modern haiku community appears to be that nothing in English is an equivalent to that. Also Japanese haiku in unpadded English translation usually come out to fewer than 17 syllables, like the example in this thread. So if you want to write a poem in English that's as much like a Japanese haiku as possible, it should be shorter than 17 syllables. You can see more here if you want.

    (Second time I've linked to that page today. Could it be because I'm just learning about this?)

  41. Jerry Friedman said,

    November 11, 2020 @ 8:52 pm

    Philip Anderson: According to fan sites, the Gaffer is

    German: Hamfast Gamdschie, der alter Ohm

    Spanish: Hamfast Gamyi, el Tío

    French: Hamfast Gamgie, L'Ancien (première traduction), L'Ancêtre (seconde traduction)

    I'm leaving the rest to others. "Samwise" comes out different in different languages, by the way.

  42. Deborah Pickett said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 4:25 am

    I’ve been an Australian for 45 years and it was only a week ago that I learned that “wattle” (meaning acacia) derives from “wattle” (woven sticks). I had always assumed that the words had separate etymologies. You’re not alone, Julian.

  43. Frank Clements said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 7:09 am

    This isn't exactly an academic reference, but the first time I remember hearing the word wattle was in this monologue by the villain in Halloween 3: Season of the Witch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0aZaeF7odg . He uses the term "houses of wattle and clay" in his not especially accurate description of the ancient celebration of Halloween in Celtic lands. Halloween 3 wasn't popular at first because it doesn't feature the series' signature slasher villain Michael Myers (the original Halloween is playing on the tv in this clip, so they're not even set in the same universe). It was a failed attempt to turn the franchise into a vehicle for stand-alone stories based around the theme of Halloween, but it didn't take, and they brought Michael back in Halloween 4. Halloween 3 has been reevaluated on its own merits since then and is now considered a cult classic. It's interesting that term wicker has also come up, since it brings to mind the folk horror classic The Wicker Man starring Christopher Lee. An interesting coincidence between folk horror and poetry translation.

    Also, the video may not make it clear, but all the Halloween masks Conal Cochran sells are rigged so that when he plays a special Halloween tune on tv at a certain time, they'll kill the wearers.This somehow involves tiny pieces of Stonehenge and makes their heads spew insects and rattlesnakes and such. That's why he leaves the mask on Tom Atkins' when he leaves. It's an odd movie, but there are few horror sequels that are more creative.

  44. Victor Mair said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 7:43 am

    @Deborah, Julian, and others

    That "wattle" (woven sticks) also references the polyphyletic genus of shrubs and brushwood known as acacia gets us close to the notion of péng 蓬 ("tumbleweed; bitter fleabane; etc.) in Chinese.

  45. Victor Mair said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 7:46 am

    I would find it remarkable if the entire Lord of the Rings were translated into Esperanto, but would not be surprised if an Esperanto enthusiast would read the whole of it.

  46. Philip Taylor said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 8:32 am

    La mastro de l' ringoj

    Author J.R.R. Tolkien
    Publisher Ekaterinburg: Sezonoj
    Released 1995, 1997; 2nd ed. 2007
    Format Hardback (Paperback, 2nd ed.; 200 cm x 140 cm)
    Pages 464+368+328

    La mastro de l' ringoj ("The Lord of the Rings") is a translation of The Lord of the Rings to Esperanto, made by William Auld. It consists of three volumes: La kunularo de l' ringo (1995; The Fellowship of the Ring), La du turegoj (1995; The Two Towers) and La reveno de la reĝo (1997; The Return of the King). A new edition of the three volumes appeared in 2007.

    The first volume, La kunularo de l' ringo (both editions), includes a reprint of J.R.R. Tolkien's "A Philologist on Esperanto".[1]
    [edit] From the retailer

    J. R. R. TOLKIEN – Trans. by William Auld. 2nd edition. The English fantasy trilogy that triggered the current global enthusiasm for fantasy. In three volumes (La kunularo de l' ringo, La du turegoj and La reveno de la reĝo) the story recounts the adventure of two young hobbits setting out to destroy a ring of power which will, if allowed to fall into the wrong hands (and all hands are wrong hands, as the story shows), lead to the enslavement of Middle Earth. This new edition has been shorn of typos and some mistranslations have been corrected.[2]


    ↑ Kunularo de l' Ringo. 1995, Kunularo de l' Ringo. 2007 at Tolkienbooks.net (accessed 30 October 2011)
    ↑ MASTRO DE L' RINGOJ, LA at Esperanto-USA Retbutiko (accessed 30 October 2011)

  47. stephen l said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 1:29 pm

    “ On "runners", that term was the common one when I was in my teens in Ireland (late 70s on) but seemed to be replaced by "trainers" from the mid 80s, although it also had an air of being more grown up.”

    In my teens in the 90s in west Ireland we still said runners FWIW.

  48. Jerry Friedman said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 3:21 pm

    On the subject of complete translations of The Lord of the Rings, I might mention that at least the Spanish translation was first published without the appendices (which, for those who haven't read it, are quite long and provide a good deal of enjoyment for some readers). That's according to the Spanish Wikipedia. So even a three-volume translation with the right titles might not be complete.

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