Saturday, December 28, 2013

'n Duim is 'n duim, but is an inch a thumb?

Hans Christian Andersen as photographed by Thora Hallager (1869)
In the library in Emdrupborg, I discovered 
The Complete Fairy Tales & Stories.

A treasure of 156 freshly re-translated fairy tales
from the original Danish manuscripts into English
 by Erik Christian Haugaard. 

"Thumbelina" (Danish: Tommelise) was first published by C. A. Reitzel on 16 December 1835 in Copenhagen. "Thumbelina" is about a tiny girl and her adventures with appearance.

The earliest English translation of Thumbelina dates back to 1846.
Haugaard made changes to bring the text closer to the original.

Thumbelina became Inchelina.
The Danish Tommelise was derivated from tomme meaning inch,
and not tommeltot meaning thumb:
. . . an inch long, therefor she was called Incelina.
. . . entomme lang, og defor Kaldtes hun Tommelise.

In Afrikaans is hierdie vertaalfout maklik verstaanbaar:

'n duim is 'n mate (2,54 com),
maar 'n duim is ook die eerste vinger van 'n hand.

Tommelise (1835)
llustration by Vilhelm Pedersen, 

Andersen's first illustrator