Are most of the stories we've been translated written in a sort of
historical present? If so, then when I am trying to figure out the verbs, is
it a safe bet to be thinking of the present tense to start?
From: Old-Irish-L [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2008 12:41 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [OLD-IRISH-L] Aided Cheit maic Mágach - 9a
Liz Gabay wrote:
> 'Dún in tech!' ar Conall fri Bélcoin. Téit sair & fácaid in tech
> 'Close the house,' said Conall to Bélchú. He goes ahead and leaves
> the house open.
A minor point of translation: rather than "he goes ahead and", I would
choose "he goes over and..." This is the sort of minimalist "stage
direction" that we find so often in OI story telling, here indicating
that Bélchú moves away from Conall, who is in bed, toward the door.
In the more prolix style we use today, an author might write:
"Bélchú went over as if to lock the door, but returned without doing
so, leaving the house wide open."
The OI author typically gives us just enough information to connect
the dots of the plot, and it's up to us to fill in the blanks using
deduction and imagination, which I rather like. It's sometimes a bit
like "prose as haiku".