Utcoozhoo and I discussed the Utd’mbts language
I managed to make it to the caves, and speak to Utcoozhoo. If you missed the first part of my adventure, it’s here.
Well, it wasn’t exactly a discussion. It was more like an embarrassment because I never actually learned Upper Utd’mbts and only spoke a little Utd’mbts which is considered the primitive babble of children. So, I suppose, it did seem silly to be proposing to translate Utd’mbts into English when I’m barely fluent in either, you might say.
Geez, I wasn’t sure what I should do if Utcoozhoo, in the middle of a verbal discussion, said “Uayi!”. I remember how perplexing it was when Zawmb’yee and I were in the middle of a playful water-gun fight in a hallway of our building when she heard Uayi.
“What ?” I had said.
She said, “Uayi means: ‘If I may have your permission to fuse and join into the node of your beingness, I would wish to impart to you, with deference and respect, the essence of my cognizance that I fervently believe is an element of truth which I believe will be to your benefit and which I offer with benign intention.’ ”
“Um,” she had said, “it means that he says ‘hi’, may I speak to you telepathically for a moment please.”
So, anyway, Utcoozhoo was waiting for me when I stepped off the secret subway car. I was startled because he seemed to pop up out of nowhere.
His appearance was almost as surprising as the time I had been sitting on the bank of an underground river called the K’ut’mbletaw’i at the particular spot where it twists called the Nipeiskwari (Place of Meandering Thought) and Utcoozhoo leapt out of the water like a dolphin with gray hair. From Zawmb’yee’s description (when she was his apprentice), I had thought he was a wise old Guru, who might sit by a jagged rock face like his own face, impenetrable, not likely to float, let alone swim, but I soon found out that this wise one could chuckle like the water splashes.
“Welcome,” he said.
“I see that you want to turn around and go back because you feel ashamed that you have not brought anything important.”
“Uh well, so…”
“You are free to go, but might I suggest we make the best of it. I promise you that we will learn something even if it’s a fiasco. Or we could just have an empty chat and I can tell you that I’m just glad to see you again. OK, so tell me anything and I won’t mind.”
“Yes, OK. Can we go to Zawmb’yee’s private library?”
“The kngacev, OK. Hmm, an odd request, but I suppose you want maximum secrecy. But anyway, sure, this way.”
We walked down the sacred corridor and I felt such warm feelings looking at Zawmb’yee’s paintings displayed on the walls. We entered the Royal quarters almost casually. The kngacev is a simple library with a royal meditation room or bedroom. The back of the kngacev held the secrets. Yeah, I know, it sounds silly, like in an old movie, but I knew which shelf of books was important. I slid a ladder over and climbed to the top shelf in the corner. I gathered myself for a moment and readied my athletic skills.
I pulled a purple book half way out, jumped off the ladder to the floor and jumped back. There was a loud mechanical noise like a precursor to an Earthquake.
The shelf slid to the side, revealing a security room with huge screens, computer consoles, and a large conference table. We walked to the table as the shelf closed behind us.
Utcoozhoo said, “Well, that was dramatic. Don’t worry, it’s just show business. So, what’s on your mind?”
“I come to show my last agony and project because I don’t know what else to do. But it’s stupid because I’m totally unqualified to do this.”
“Well, on the surface, you are spectacularly unqualifed because you have Eokxavexa disease, but maybe you’re motivated to take a different approach to saving the Utd’mbts language at least as a curiosity for English speakers. Even though Zawmb’yee was my apprentice and she did well, she’s not really interested in being a translator. Over the years, most of the Ojdispekib have migrated to the up-top world and are not fluent in Utd’mbts anymore. Well, actually, they’re totally ignorant. At best, they know a few sayings, but don’t speak it in any original context; it’s sort of like English speakers who know a few Latin quotes but don’t actually speak Latin.”
“Well,” I said, “then, I think the problem is that in English a word has a very limited purpose, and so the amount of information contained in it is low: A noun as a thing or subject, a verb as an action, various intensifiers and modifiers, and objects. In contrast I’d say that an Utd’mbts “word” element is more like a label for a movie and its information content is the whole movie itself. Is that it?
Utcoozhoo smiled. “Ubemuwx,” he said.
“Um, uh, Ubemuwx means ‘that’s not exactly it’ ?”
“Um, uh, it’s not exactly true that it’s not exactly it?”
“A concept or a story with a theme and a purpose?”
I had an uncomfortable feeling that I knew what was coming next. Rather than panic, I said, “Can we break for lunch or something?”
“Sure. Maybe you should do the ‘or something’. Go out to the Royal bedroom, lie down and take a nap.”
“… and then… nevermind. Relax. We’ll talk more.”
“Should I meditate or something?” I said.
“If you like. But you don’t have to see the pfambuuisen and the spiral tunnel — that’ll be for another time. A simple body relaxation will do, and I’ll have the chef make a Fauci Lasagna in the meantime.”
A while ago I talked about the Fauci Lasagna I knew about: Fauci Lasagna .
Utcoozhoo’s version of Fauci Lasagna was better. I think it had something to do with where he got the fruit bats.
[Part 3 is coming soon.]
In the meantime I’m working on a version of the Fauci Eggplant Parmesan. I’m going to use a puréed carrot and beet mixture plus puréed banana and blueberries instead of tomato sauce. I’m not sure about the amounts of basil, oregano, and garlic. But anyway, in a future “Journals of Procrastination” volume I’ll figure it out.