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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

& Kajiurese

As I was watching Madlax, I couldn't help but notice one really pretty song in the soundtrack. In addition to a really pretty (though quiet) melody, the lyrics were really poetic in their rhyming and meter (the chorus actually made me think of some passages in The Highwayman: another of my mom's favorites that I'd become familiar with, over the years). Some looking online revealed that the name of the song was Lost Command, on the Madlax soundtrack 2. Having identified the song, I wanted to know what the lyrics meant; boy, did that end up being more than I bargained for.

The first candidate for locating the lyrics was the insert booklet with the soundtrack; this, however, proved to be no help, as the booklet only contains the lyrics of several Madlax tracks. The next place to look was Google; this also ended in failure.

Finally, I decided I'd transcribe the lyrics and try to find somebody to translate it, myself; that was when things got really ugly. As I transcribed the lyrics, it became apparent that it was not Japanese, like some of the other songs on the Madlax soundtrack (the ones whose lyrics were included in the soundtrack booklet). So, I sent the songs to more than a dozen people I knew who spoke various languages. While I got several "that sounds kinda like [insert language that person doesn't speak, here]" ultimately all of them proved incorrect. Native speakers attested to the fact that it was not Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Russian, Vietnamese, Hebrew, Armenian, or Czech. Second-hand speakers told me that it probably wasn't Italian, Latin, Greek, Arabic, Chinese, or any Slavic language.

So, that ruled out pretty much all major world languages, and exhausted my list of acquaintances. Now what? Well, I decided to go posting on language newsgroups. While this did not bring an answer to the question, it did bring a few clues. One person found a Japanese site which thought the lyrics were not any actual language; it was about this time that I started referring to the language as 'Kajiurese' (named after the composer, Yuki Kajiura). Another poster suggested that it might be a Creole language, or a cross between Japanese and some African language.

That was about as far as I got, and the true identify of Kajiurese (if there is one) remains unknown. However, we can do some characterization of the language. It definitely bears a resemblance to Japanese in the structure of its syllables. Each syllable is composed of a vowel, sometimes preceded by an initial consonant, and sometimes succeeded by a terminal consonant. Unlike English, where you can expect almost any ordering of letters which can be pronounced, only a handful of consonants can act as terminal consonants (this is like Japanese, where only 'n' and 's' can come without a succeeding vowel). Additionally, despite several consonants that do not occur in Japanese, Kajiurese has only 5 vowels (and a sixth which is a diphthong of the 'o' and 'u' sounds) - the very same set in Japanese. It should also be noted that the manner in which some of the terminal consonants are voiced (with both the vowel and terminating consonant sustained for a period before the next syllable) resembles how terminal consonants are pronounced in Japanese, although as some are not pronounced this way, I'm assuming that this is simply due to the Japanese accent of the singer.

After Lost Command, several other tracks in the Madlax soundtrack were identified as probably being Kajiurese (although Margaret features two sounds not seen in any of the other songs). From these songs, the following list of sounds in Kajiurese was constructed (* indicates rare sounds):

Initial Consonant Vowel Terminating Consonant
b
ch*
d
h
k
l
m
n
r
s
sh*
st*
s
t
th
v
y
z
a
e
i
o
ou*
u
n
r*

Finally, the songs themselves. Syllables are delimited by apostrophes. Word breaks are not certain; they are merely my best guess where the breaks occur.

Lost Command:
Chorus:
kou ma're'a tan ba're di'tha
ko ba're'a san ma're di'tha
ha ba'ri'e'a ha ba'ri'e i di'tha
kou ma're'a tan ba're di'tha
so ba'ri'e'a sa'ba di'tha
e ba'de i'a'ra vi'da ya'ra

vi'do'ri men'ta
ha'va'na ya'ri'a
vi'do'ri men'ta ar o'o'ga

vi'de'ri men'ta
ar ka'di've'ta
de'sta'ri ven'to o'o'ga

Chorus

Madlax:
Chorus:
ka'ma'ni'a ma'di'a e'de'mi'ne'a ma'ri'a
ka'ma'ni'a so'di'a e'da'za
ke'ze sa'ma'ni'a ma'di'a e'ke'ze'na a'do'ri'a
kar ma'la'mi
sar ma'la'mi

kar'da me'a ho'za
se'ra vi'a di'a kio'za
e'ya me'a vi'a pe'za
ke'ze sar ma'la'mi
kar ma'la'mi

so'ri vi'a to'za
ve'a vi'da di'a ka'za
e'ra me'a vi'a to'za
e'ye sar ma'la'mi
ar'ka di'sa

Chorus

ka'ma'ni'a ma'di'a e'de'mi'ne'a ma'ri'a
e'ka'za
sa'ma'ni'a ma'di'a e'ke'ze'na a'do'ri'a
e'ka'za

Elanore:
Chorus:
e'sto'ra vi'tha e'ka'na'e ma
ha'vi'sta di i'kan'ta
a'do'o'ra e'ya i'sa'ma e'ra
i'vi'sa di e'ka'n'ta

Chorus

i'me'a de'ta a'no'o'ra
a'sto'ri de'tu a'do'o'ga
mi'i'da me'a a'mi'i'to
i'no'te'di no'te'di e'ya
(2 times)

Chorus

Margaret:
ko ko me'i'ta
ke'sta're go'shi'mi'o'is
i'vi'tha e'ya du'vi'a
no no che'i'ta
ke'da're no'me'ni'ta
i've'tha i'ya na'di'a
(2 times)

1 comment:

Elvensen said...

Al fin he podido encontrar la letra de la cancion que buscaba desesperadamente. Gracias por tenerla.