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Syldavian and learning Marols or Marollian

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Mustafa Umut Sarac
Member
#1 · Posted: 15 Apr 2009 03:12
Hello , I researched Syldavian and found Hergé was influenced by his grandmother's use of Marols, plus some Hungarian and some Czech.
I want to learn Marols, but I found out there are 3 or more varieties in Brussels.
I'd like to learn the correct one, and I need a guide book for complete beginner.
Best ,
Mustafa Umut Sarac
Istanbul
Mikael Uhlin
Member
#2 · Posted: 15 Apr 2009 10:43
Mustafa, have you seen http://www.zompist.com/syldavian.html ?
jock123
Moderator
#3 · Posted: 29 Apr 2009 09:58 · Edited by: jock123
I think you are unlikely to come across a language course in Marollian, although there might be an academic linguistics paper on it, so try a university library perhaps.

However, I have just come across a reference to a book called Kuifje: Een Brussels Ketje, by Daniel Justens and Alain Preaux, published by Casterman [ISBN: 978-9-03032-738-7]; it is (apparently - I have no personal knowledge of the book) a guide to all the Brussels references and in-jokes in the albums, and that includes things like the Arumbaya language, so the Syldavian may be explained in terms of Marollian. It might be what you are after, although it is in Flemish...
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#4 · Posted: 29 Apr 2009 10:37
There's also a French/Marollian dictionary published in 1988 ("Dictionnaire Marollien-Francais Francais-Marollien" - Oscar Starck - ISBN-10: 2872630074 / ISBN-13: 978-2872630073). I just did searches at abe books and antiqbook where there were a couple for sale.

Another good way to learn would be to buy a Tintin book in Marollian. I know at least one has been translated fairly recently, but I can't remember which. Actually, I've found reading Tintin in another language is a very useful learning tool.
Why do Birds
Member
#5 · Posted: 29 Apr 2009 17:45
Marollian is based on Brussels Flemish, with Walloon French and Spanish influences.

I think finding a course will be very difficult. Apparently the language is dead, I'm afraid to say! There are small groups who meet in cafés in the Marolles, to recite stories and sing songs in the old dialect, and a puppet theatre which puts on shows in Marollian.

Dictionaries do exist, as mentioned, including Dictionnaire du Dialiecte Bruxellois, by Louis Quievreux. This book includes many of the creative insults that the Marolliens came up with, which are very amusing. Moderators: can I post any of them on this thread (all in the name of scholarship)?

In his book Brussels, a Cultural and Literary History, André de Vries writes that:

'Words related to food often appear in Brussels expressions, thus être chocolat (to be at a loss); to turn someone into kipkap (to make mincemeat out of them); calichesap (vanished, literally liquorice juice. Herge uses the latter expression in The Land of Black Gold for the ruler Ben Kalish Ezab.'

Some tasty morsels there!
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#6 · Posted: 29 Apr 2009 18:12
Why do Birds:
Some tasty morsels there!

Thanks for the info Why do Birds. That goes some way to explaining Hergé's repeated use of culinary-related names, like Bohlwinkel (confectioner's shop), Ben Mulfrid (not Marols, I know, but still mussels and chips), Ben Salaad, Ba Baoro'm, etc

Would love to hear some other examples of Marollian insults if you have any more.
Why do Birds
Member
#7 · Posted: 29 Apr 2009 19:46
OK.

Well, if you didn’t like someone, you might call them a loïesenderm (bag of lice), or even afkrabsel van mettekouwskluûte (scrapings of a monkey’s testicles).

If you couldn’t stand someone being pretentious, you could call them a spekscheeter (bacon–sh***er).

One of the rudest things you could be called in the Marolles is, funnily enough, an ‘architect’! This can be traced back to the time that the Palais de Justice, Belgium’s main courthouse, was built during the nineteenth century by Joseph Poelaert, King Leopold II’s favourite architect. At the time it was built, the Palais de Justice was the world’s biggest building project, costing around $1 billion in today’s money.

The courthouse was built in an imposing position overlooking the Marolles, somewhat intended to intimidate the rebellious residents. A large part of the Marolles (around 3,000 houses) was demolished to make way for the building.

“The architect went mad before the project could be finished, supposedly cursed by a witch from the Marolles. The term architek or schieven architek (twisted architect) became a serious term of abuse in the Marolles thereafter…”

Just to let you know, I learned all this in the book (by André de Vries) I mentioned in my last post, which I would recommend to anyone who wants to know about the history of Brussels. The author also gives over a few pages to Hergé and Belgian comic strips/authors generally.

I would love to know enough Flemish to be able to at least try to understand the dialect. Speaking a bit of French is sadly not enough!
jock123
Moderator
#8 · Posted: 29 Apr 2009 23:43 · Edited by: jock123
Harrock n roll:
Would love to hear some other examples of Marollian insults if you have any more.

You don't set the bar very high when it comes to conversational gambits, do you? ;-)

Seriously, this is really interesting stuff, Why do Birds, so thank you for the info; the only bit that I'd heard before, but had forgotten, was the architek insult. I think it was in the BD-themed pocket walking-guide which you can get at the Tourist Office and comic-shops in Brussels (and in English-language as well as French and Flemish editions!).
If you have ever walked through what is left of the Marolles (it is very picturesque, now gentrified, and there are some lovely shops and squares), you can see why: the Palais is just massive, and sitting on what amounts to a ledge looming over the houses now situated at the bottom of a masonry cliff.
To be fair, the Palais de Justice is quite a remarkable structure in its own right, even when only seen from the train as you enter the city, but more so close to. I don't have the guide to hand at the moment to furnish their names, but the building has been a great favourite with B.D. artists, and features in several albums.

But I would have been pretty annoyed with it going up if I lived below (or worse, in the bit they flattened...).

A visit to the puppet theatre is something I have always meant to do, so you have given me a reminder of that. Sadly my Dutch only runs to buying trying train tickets, food, and the odd drink when actually talking, but I can sort of follow conversations, and Flemish is about the same; still I wouldn't be up to following dialect...! Good luck if you try to learn it!
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#9 · Posted: 30 Apr 2009 18:44
Why do Birds:
spekscheeter (bacon–sh***er).

Heh heh, thanks for that! Rather similar to the English bullsh***er, also often used for a conceited person. Dutch is similar to English in a lot of ways. Some of the Hergé-isms are easily understandable, like Wadesdah (what is that) and Bab-el-ehr (babbler).

jock123:
You don't set the bar very high when it comes to conversational gambits, do you? ;-)

Swear words and insults are usually the first thing I learn in a new language, so no, I like to travel fully armed! ;-)

I just came across this list of insults in 'Brusseleer', which I assume is just Brussels slang. It even mentions the author is compiling a dictionary of Brussels insults. There's 'sewage emptier', 'greasy rag' and even 'house painter' (which probably has some odd story like 'architect' behind it, no doubt.) They are quite Haddock-esque, aren't they?
Mustafa Umut Sarac
Member
#10 · Posted: 9 Dec 2010 11:46
As many of Tin tin Fans well aware of this site .
I want to ask that is that language information complete and prepare a person to speak Syldavian?
Is there any one who speak Syldavian?
Or any fan who adds more words, more complete grammar?
Is there any linguist Tintin fan out there who wants to work on that?
Any other site , research article or thesis?
Thank you for your time ,
Mustafa Umut Sarac
Istanbul

Moderator Note: Welcome back, Mustafa. As you can see, your message has been moved to the thread you started before, and it would appear that the sum total of what we know about Syldavian is contained in this thread, but even more so on the Zompist web-site, which you know about already. It looks like a quite thorough summation of the situation (provided you only need to speak about, cars, goats and sceptres, that is!).
The Tintinologist Team

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