Laughton McCry: Gilgamesh Page One

Aug 2, 2012

artwork by Laugton McCry, toki pona translation by jan Ote

Gilgamesh by Laughton McCry

I can’t say how excited I was when I got a link to this image in an email. Not only is jan Ote’s translation of Gilgamesh into toki pona probably my favorite toki pona text to date, but this adaptation of my sitelen sitelen by Laughton McCry is just absolutely beautiful.

You can see jan Ote’s full translation here, or at least the most recent one I know of. And this is the majority of the first paragraph that is reproduced in this artwork:

ma tomo Uluku li lon. sinpin pi ma tomo Uluku li sewi li suli. sinpin ni li kiwen. tomo Enana li tomo pi jan sewi meli Inana. sinpin pi tomo Enana li kiwen. sinpin ni li walo sama suno. o tawa tomo pi jan sewi Inana! o lukin! jan ante li pali ala e tomo sama. jan lawa ante li pali ala e tomo sama. jan seme li kama pali e ijo ali ni? jan Kikamesi li jan lawa pi ma tomo Uluku.

One interesting thing to note is how Laughton has broken the sentences into discrete groupings in order to create a rhythmic grid. Sometimes they seem to be based on natural gramatical pauses but more often is seems the main logic is visual spacing. So verbs in a li container are often separate, since they are distinct units, as are some proper names in their containers.

This is not far from how much of the Mayan writing is also broken down. Compare to this sample page from the Dresden Codex (click on the illustration to the right to enlarge). The zig-zag reading order is also the same as what you find in the Maya Hieroglyphics Study Guide Compiled by Inga Calvin.

Also notice how well the punctuation works as a bar attached to the right side. Something to think about as I work out a linear version of the sitelen sitelen.

See this original post in the archives, including comments, here.