<oo><dh><translate> Characterizing Linguistic Divergences in Machine Translation
Persian CentaurThis is an illustration from Al-Qazwīnī’s Ajā’īb al-makhlūqāt wa gharā’ib al-mawjūdāt, a Persian translation published in 19th century India. A centaur named Firenze eludes to Voldemort's return in Book 1, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

The Indo-European Language Family

Exploring world languages by cultural figures in common mythologies

Map of Indo-European Languages
   Hellenic: Greek
   Balto-Slavic: Baltic
   Balto-Slavic: Slavic
   Non Indo-European
This page is intended to be an informal introduction the fact that there are thousands of languages, and even more dialects, spoken throughout the globe. Explore a segment of the world languages according to the key above and descriptions below.
In our project, we attempt to discover which languages - from a sampling of languages across the Indo-European language family - Google Translate processes most successfully and why in the context of Harry Potter texts.
The Indo-European languages correspond with a myriad of cultures, each heir to inter-related legacies of mythology and folklore. Is Harry Potter, currently available in 67 different languages, modern folklore on a mass scale? In creating her series, J.K. Rowling derived the characters from ancient literary cannons, Indo-European and beyond. Phoenixes, centaurs, ghouls, and more manifest throughout world history in hundreds of linguistic and cultural forms.
The Hellenic Branch
CerberusCerberus is a three headed dog with the tail of a serpent. Guardian of the underworld, the dog keeps over the underworld, and by having an appetite for only living meat, Cerberus keeps the dead from escaping and the living from entering. In the Cerberus, the hero Orphesus puts Cerberus to sleep with music to ensure passage into the underworld. Cerberus also appears throughout Roman mythology.
PegasusThe celestial stallion Pegasus was sent to fetch lighting and thunder for the god Zeus. Beyond Greek mythology, the figure of a winged, white horse is a recognizable symbol throughout modern, cross cultural iconography. As a character, he's been reimagined in stories young and old. Most popularly, he is a revisioned by disney in the movie Herculues.
Languages: Ancient Greek, Ancient Macedonian, Modern Greek, Tsakonian
The Indo-Iranian Branch
The Indic Languages
Naga"Nāga" is the Sanskrit word for an entity which takes the form of a serpent, though sometimes it may be used generally as simply "cobra" or "snake" The typical Sanskrit for snake is "sarpa," and in Hindi and Marathi, languages spoken today, the word is "sarp." Nagas are prominent characters through the Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata, and are often villains though occasionally benevolent. "Nāginī" is the female word for "Nāga."
GarudaAn ancient analogue of the phoneix and a parallel of the Persian Simurgh, the Garuda is a grand and benevolent Hindu divinity. In the Mahabharata, he bursts from a fiery egg with enough power the end the world and plunge all life into a new age. He is the traditional enemy of the Nāga. Garuda appears in other ancient Indian texts including the Vedas and the Bhagavad-Gita
The Iranian Languages
SimurghIn ancient Iranian stories, the simurgh is a divine, female eagle, and so ancient, legend says, that she possesses all knowledge from all time. One story recounts that the simurgh dies and remerges from fire every 1,000. The simurgh has analogues across time and cultures. Ferdowsi Shahnameh is a Iranian epic still read and loved by Persians today. In the story, the Simurgh rescues and raises an abandoned prince. Analogues of the Simurgh, for instance, the phonex, exist across time and cultures.
Languages: Avestan, Old Persian, Middle Persian, Farsi, Dari, Pashto, Balochi, Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Punjabi, Nepali, Romani
The Italic Branch
Hippogriff The Hippogriff is mythological figure that appears throughout European literature. Analogus to Pegasus and the Griffen in several ways, it has the front body a giant eagle and the back body of a winged horse. It is depicted as swift and benevolent, the mount of valiant knights and sorcerers
RemusIn Roman mythology, Romulus and Remus are born illegitemately to the gods and are left as infants to be raised by a wolf. The boys realize their heritage later in life and become founders of Rome.
Minerva Minerva was the Roman goddess of war, the arts, and, most predominantly, wisdom. Her name is derived from the Pro-Indo-European root, "men-," which relates to the modern English word "mind. Minerva's influence as a symbol and icon went beyond the Roman empire, throughout Europe and even as far as Britain.
Languages: Latin, French, Italian, Sicilian, Spanish, Portuguese
The Celtic Branch
Leprechaun In Irish folkore, leprechauns are fairy like creatures who hoard gold. They are associated with magic and mischief. If caught by a human, myths say they are obliged to grant their capturer three wishes.
Grove In celtic mythology, sacred trees are envisioned as refugees for fairies and other mythological spirits. They possess supernatural powers. For instance, elder trees are often imagined to be haunted. Yew is associated with immortality.
Languages: Welsh, Irish, Scottish Gaelic
The Germanic Branch
Invisibility Cloak A cloak of invisibility is a common element in European folklore. There are notable mentions of it in English, Welsh, German, and other cultural literature. The German opera Das Rheingold features shows a cloak as shown in this illustration by Arthur Rackham.
Mermaid The German Nixie is analogous to a mermaid. A shapeshifting water spirit, these entities exist in Germanic and also Nowegian and Scandinavian folklore. Particularly in German literature, this figure is often conceptualized as a sprite who lures people into water with dubious intentions.
Languages: Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, German, English, Danish, Scots, Icelandic
The Armenian Branch
Vishap"Vishap" is an Armenian word for "dragon" or "serpent." The image depicts a vishap stone. Sources describe how in Armenian mythology, these creatures are thought to originate from the mountains. They are associated with fire, wickedness, and also keen intelligence.
Languages: Old Armenian, Middle Armenian, Armenian
The Baltic Branch
WerewolfThe Iron Wolf appears in the Lithuanian myth regarding the founding of Vilnius, the country's capital today. The legend goes that a Duke was on a hunt and went to sleep in the woods for the night. He dreamt of a wolf howling as if there were thousands. Upon awakening, he determined the wolf represented a castle, and he was being calle upon to build Vilnius. Wolves are common figures across all types of mythology throughout Europe.
Languages: Latvian, Lithuanian
The Slavic Branch
Firebird Folklorist Alexander Afanasyev included the story"Tsarevitch Ivan, the Fired Bird, and the Gray Wolf" in his anthology Narodnye russkie skazki. The fire bird is an elusive and regal creature who steals golden apples from a king. The king sends his sends on a quest to reclaim the lost treasure.
VeelaThe illustration is of European nymphs. Analogous to these entities, veela, or samodiva, or lele in Romania are Slavic woodland fairies, often depicted as pale, celestial maidens. Upon being angered, however, they can turn into ferocious birds. They are associated with fire and vindictiveness.
Languages: Old East Slavic, Old Church Slavonic, Russian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Slovenian
The Albanian Branch
EagleThe Tale of the Eagle is an origin tale of the Albanian people. It recalls how an eagle mistakenly offers an undead serpent to her eaglet. A young man sees and kills the serpent with his bow. Having saved the eaglet, the young boy takes him away as a prize. Distraught, the eaglet's mother promises her power, cunning, and name to the boy if he returns her child. The young boy agrees and his kingdom became known as the Land of the Eagles.
Languages: Albanian
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