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darkriver BS: Dolphins and Humans: Partners (38) RE: BS: Dolphins and Humans: Partners 01 Dec 04


For Amos & Peter T. and suchlike, I offer the following brief article that originally appeared in the Esperanto magazine VORTPUNOJ, Jurnalo de nenecessaj lingvoj, for Feb '92.

Many people wrote us to ask about the "Dolphin Poetry" mentioned by F. Foceno in the last issue of Vortpunoj. So we turned to Professor Mifaras Bontrompon of the Dolphin Linguistics Institute. He responded:

In recent email with the Editorial staff of Vortpunoj, I received the following message which is purported to be poetry written by a dolphin.
My assignment was to produce a translation of the meaning of the poem, with the understanding that the poetic nature of the original might be
lost.

This task was considerably more difficult than the usual run-of-the-mill assignment translating geckos or cockroaches. Although non-standard transliterations are quite common, in this case the choice of transliteration scheme nearly rendered the task impossible.

Representing dolphin speech entirely with the characters "E" and "e"
meant that much of the nuance of the individual words was lost.

However, I believe I have accomplished the task. Standard
representation of porpoise speech, which consists of a
pitch/volume/duration triplet for each squeak. Of course, the original is lacking in all three of those values. However, we made the simplifying assumption that the number of "e" characters correspond to a duration, we also assumed that the capital "E" characters indicated a higher volume than the "e" characters. We created for each squeak an estimated *range* of possible values, based on our simplifying assumptions. Then, we ran a computer matching program that generated every possible word that the might be indicated. In several cases there was only one possible word. Based on these we could eliminate some of the possibilities for other words, in some cases due to grammatical impossibility and in others on consistancy in meaning.

Here are the results of our efforts:

Glossary
--------

E               I-see-it [via echo-location]
                seaweed
                tentacle
Ee             good-luck!
EeEeEeEe       right [correct, exclamation of agreement]
Eee             thermocline
Eeee            behold or to-bite-the-flukes of
EeeeEeeeE       underneath-and-to-the-right
EeeeeEeeeeE    go-for-it [exhortation to strive, whatever the odds]
Eeeeeeee       so-near-and-yet-so-far [exclamation on the unatanable]
                you've-almost-got-it
                you're-almost-there
Eeeeee          look-out [exhortation to take care]

Translation
-----------

> Eeee! Eee! EeeeEeeeE?
  Behold! Look underneath that thermocline and to the right!

> EeEeEeEe.... E E E!
  Right.... I see it! There's [seaweed or tentacle] there!

> Eeeeeeee. Eeeeeeee.
  So near and yet so far!

> Eee! Eeee! EeEeEeEe! E!
 At the termocline! Look! You can get it! The [seaweed or tentacle]!

> EeeeeEeeeeE? Ee!
  Go for it! Good luck!

> Eeeeeee. Eeeeee. E! E!
  You're almost there! Look out! I see it! The [seaweed or tentacle]!

> E! E!
  I see it! The [seaweed or tentacle]!

> E E E!
  I see it! The [seaweed or tentacle]! I see it!


Hope you have enjoyed it.

doug


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