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Posted by Li, Cheng(Charles Vineland) ( on 15:01:57 03/08/03

Hi, i'm Cheng Li for P.R.C.
now i'm translating forster's 'the longest jouney' into Chinese. It should be the first time that this book will be translated into Chinese, but i've face many problems. I've asked many scholars in our country, and majority of 'em r solved, but still i have some problems. One of them is the word 'Ocharoon' in chapter 12, i guess it's a kinda instrument, but i cannot get any explains on the dictionary that i can check here. So i ask for help to anyone who can help me! Also if u r a researcher of forster, can i get your e-mail address and ask some questions further more? In the near future, i may also translate 'Where angels fear to thread' and 'Howard's end' into Chinese. Thanks a lot!


Posted by Laura (board editor) on 18:41:43 12/08/03


What an interesting project that must be! It's great to know The Longest Journey is indeed translated into Chinese.

It's funny, but on searching for 'Ocharoon' through the Google search engine on the net, only two matches came up: this here question of yours and a hypertext of The Longest Journey. So it must indeed be a rare word. Maybe Forster had a Shakespearian mood and invented the word himself?

The Abinger Edition of The Longest Journey (which might be of interest to you as it features a scholarly 'definite' text and has a lot of footnotes) does not have a note on the word and also spells it 'ocharoon'. What is strange however, is that the word isn't in a pronunciation dictionary - which usually list also the rarest and most outlandish words. From the context it does seem a musical instrument, phonetically it does seem (well, by a long chalk) to have some similarity to 'accordion'. I've become quite as curious as you now. I will keep on searching and will ask a classical musician friend if she knows more.

Feel free to email your other questions!



Posted by Li, Cheng(Charles Vineland) ( on 14:57:46 14/08/03

Dear Laura,
i should show my respect to u for your helpful reply. first i should say something 'bout the Chinese translations of Forster's work. 'A room with a view' had been translated and published several years ago and soon a new version of it will be published. 'A passage to India' was translated 13 years ago and recently been collated and republished. 'Maurice' is recently publishded 2, translated by Mrs. Wen Jieruo, the wife of Mr. Xiao Qian, who've been died several years ago and used to be a friend of Forster when he's alive.
As Forster only have six long novels and several short stories, i think it's very important to translate all his works into Chinese, so our Chinese may know more 'bout this great master of literature as me. During this time, i get many persons', here or aboard, agreement or encouragement, this give me strength to carry on and now more than half of it has been finished, i hope it will be published in the coming year, so by that time i can begin with 'Howards Ends'.
For this strange word Ocharoon, many friends of mine have check many dictionaries, websites and books of instruments and music, but found none, if u can get some useful information, it may benefit many Chinese readers, who can get a more authority version of 'the longest jouney' in the near future.
Thanks again,
Li, Cheng
as Charles Vineland


Posted by Maxiford ( on :19:34:13 15/08/03

Just a wild guess here, but could the "ocharoon" be in any way related to the "ocarina"?


They are egg-shaped, earthenware wind instruments, ancient in origin. One site I found said that the Chinese version of the instrument is called the "Xun".

In the late 1800's, the ocarina became very popular in Italy, and after one of the famous ocarina makers settled in England and began producing the instrument there, ocarina playing spread in Britain.

I may be totally off-base here, but it's a possibility.


Posted by Heiko (editor) on 10:37:30 16/08/03

This is a good idea. I first thought that it had to do with the number eight (or an octave).

But this seems to be plausible. The ocrina started its career round about 1860 in Italy. Plus: It was used foremostly in carnival and by children.

Now, chapter twelve is in Cambridge already. But the part where it is about the ocharoon is before the narrator tells us that "Stephen was a child no longer" (cf. Penguin 1989: 119). Therefore, I think, as Forster often adapts to the mental situation of his characters, he is presenting us here with the name children would give to the respective instrument. A kind of late baby-talk maybe?

'bout ocarina

Posted by Li, Cheng(Charles Vineland) ( on 16:58:06 17/08/03

first i should say thanks to Maxiford and Heiko(also Laura). But i'm agree with Heiko that it's does not like an ocarina, 'cause i am a Chinese myself, and i've seen and touched an ocarina once, even tried to make it sounds. But although i don't know much when and how it was transfered to the west world, i still believe there few British men have or had the chance to play an ocarina, as Stephen himself was just a villiage boy from Cadover. and i also heard the ocarina is a kinda insturment that is very hard to learn and play( at least not easy as guitar or piano). When i first saw this word, i thought it maybe kinda of traditional British instrument, the word Ocharoon itself may come from Scottish or Welsh word and Forster may spell it wrong(as in the passage to india he spell some wrong Indies native words).
the question is remain unsolved, but i believe we've come closer to the truth, thanks again to every one who've concerned my questions.


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