Homophonic Poetry

Julian Tuwim

Julian Tuwim

Julian Tuwim is perhaps most famous for his children’s poetry. His works, such as Lokomotywa and Murzynek Bambo, are the staple of every Polish child and most of his poems can be recited by thousands. He was born in Łódź in 1894 and is regarded by many as a literary genius who produced not only poetry but was also a writer of literature, songs and sketches. Tuwim was an accomplished translator translating Latin, German, Russian and French poetry into Polish. He is also known for his experimental work and involvement with the ‘Skamander’ poetry group. One of the most interesting pieces of poetry from this monumental creative talent is his attempt at homophonic translation, two poems which sound almost identical but are written in two different languages.

Polish Version French Version
Oko trę, że mam ból
Taki los komu żal ?
oko trę, pali sól
O madame, kulą wal
Ile trosk, ile burz,
a krew kipi, wre ,
O madame, oto nóż
O, madame, oto mrę
O, contrain je m’emboulle,
Taquilosse, comme ou jalle?
O, cotrain, polissoule
O madame, coulon valle!
Il est trosque, il est bouge,
A ma creve qui pis vrai
O, madame, o tonuche
O madame, o tome rain

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One Response to “Homophonic Poetry”

  1. Paweł H-J Says:

    Julian Tuwim proved one of a common aspect of every language that is homophonic similarities. Namely, every word in every language consists of sounds that can apply to the pronounciation of the words in any other language. As a result, he attained an interesting effect of creating a French “translation” of the Polish poem that sounds like Polish sentences despite the fact that in French these are just random and meaningless words.


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