Posted By SandChigger on March 12, 2010
Askaris de DAR sent me a link over on Facebook to this post on the Science Fiction Observer blog from the end of February: “Dune: Did Frank Herbert grok Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian?”
The author (Razvigor) points out that the chant in this passage from Dune
Deep within the cave, someone began chanting:
“Ima trava okolo!
I korenja okolo!”
Jessica translated silently: “These are ashes! And these are roots!”
The funeral ceremony for Jamis was beginning.
is actually in Serbo-Croatian. He decides that the “translation is deeply flawed” and offers three possible alternatives as to why.
1. Lady Jessica made an error
2. Frank Herbert made an error
3. Nobody’s fault
I’ve already answered him over there, so I won’t bother repeating it here (unless my comment there should disappear at some point), but note that this subject was already brought up nearly a year ago on the DuneNovels forum by a Miss Kazan:
“Where did Frank get his Serbian from?”
And she did it in a much more informative and diplomatic manner. (Do have a look at the DN thread: Byron demonstrates his amazing Dune gongfu there yet again: “because we’re talking about 10,000 years in the future”. Same mistake Razvigor makes.)Tweet