Anne of Green Gables

Discussion in 'English Only' started by komxxxx, May 29, 2018.

  1. komxxxx Senior Member

    Polish - Poland
    Hello.

    "Anne of Green Gables" - the title of the known book of Lucy Maud Montgomery.

    I wonder what does 'gable' mean in this title?

    In Polish translation of this book 'gable' was translated as 'hill'.
     
  2. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Senior Member

    Cumbria, UK
    British English
    A gable is the wall of a building below the end of a pitched roof. Here is a picture of the actual house. There are two gables shown in the picture (the two parts where the roof forms a triangle):

    [​IMG]
     
  3. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    As Uncle J says (see English definitions). But titles are very often not translated word-for-word.
     
  4. komxxxx Senior Member

    Polish - Poland
    Thank you for all answers.
     
  5. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    Perhaps this Polish word meaning "hill" has another meaning in an architectural context.

    When I was a schoolgirl, I had no idea what a "gable" was, much less a green one. :)
     
  6. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    Was the title of Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables translated into The House of the Seven Hills in Polish?
     
  7. Trochfa

    Trochfa Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    I think the answer may come from the Polish for gable. Google translate shows the Polish word for gable has multiple meanings "peak, summit, top, mount (presumably as in mountain or hill) and knap (the crest of a hill)" as well as others relating to "apex, height, apogee" including "gable". Green in conjunction with the general impression of these type of words which imply something high up doesn't conjure up the image of mountains so much, but it does perhaps convey the idea of hills or a hill. Therefore Green Gables in English accidentally becomes Green Hill in Polish. (i.e. The translator just picked the wrong word meaning based on the overall idea of height/peak/top/mount/knap in conjunction with "green" and missed the one specific word tucked away in the definition which relates to the architectural feature of a gable.)
    Google Translate
    Google Translate

    Anyway, I don't know anything about Polish, including how the plural "gables" ultimately became the singular "hill" in Polish. Unless perhaps they thought that the farm building itself could only be located on one hill.

    Perhaps Komxxxx can comment on whether that general idea might make sense as to how the mistranslation might have occurred.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  8. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Senior Member

    Cumbria, UK
    British English
    Perhaps, given I live in this part of England, I should add that "Green Gable" is a hill in Cumbria, but is completely unrelated to Anne of Green Gables. Although it does have something of a gable-like quality in itself, it takes its name from "Great Gable" next to it, which from one viewpoint in particular does look like a pitched roof (but perhaps not like a gable as the word is now used). Green Gable (the hill) is notably green.

    Green Gable (on the left). Great Gable is in the clouds:
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Edinburgher Senior Member

    Scotland
    German/English bilingual
    This is how accidents happen. There is the (possibly apocryphal) story where "hydraulic ram" was translated into Russian and became "wet sheep".
     
  10. Trochfa

    Trochfa Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    :D
     
  11. Trochfa

    Trochfa Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    :thumbsup:

    Very interesting Jack. That's what I love about this forum. There are still things to learn or discover, even about our own small country.
     
  12. komxxxx Senior Member

    Polish - Poland
    It was translated right I mean 'The House of the Seven Gables' ('Dom o siedmiu szczytach', gable = szczyt).

    So
    I wonder why the book of Lucy Maud Montgomery was translated so strange. Maybe in the novel were some green hills.
     
  13. komxxxx Senior Member

    Polish - Poland
    I don't think so.
     
  14. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    No. There are no hills.
    He probably translated the title first, without referring to the whole story, which would have given him some helpful context:
    :D

    "Green Gables" is a name - it is a mistake to translate names. If we think of the Italian composer "Giuseppe Verdi", nobody calls him "Joe Green" or "Jozef Zielony"
     
  15. Trochfa

    Trochfa Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    :thumbsup:

    I agree Paul.

    I know this bit will be removed for having a Polish word in it but Google translate shows:
    Gable = szczyt

    But when you look up translations of szczyt you get:
    peak
    heyday
    top
    summit

    pinnacle
    height
    meridian
    gable
    climax
    apex
    mount
    apogee
    knap
    essence
    consummation

    All of the highlighted words can relate to hills or mountains. Some of the others refer to the top or high point of something. I think the translator read the title, and as Paul said translated it first. If you look at what a "knap" is it is "the crest of a hill", so it's quite easy to see how perhaps the translator accidentally chose something "high up" which seemed to fit with "green". i.e. Green Hill/s. The house itself does seem to be situated on a small rise. A map showing the topography of that part of Prince Edward Island certainly seems to show that there are hills nearby.

    [​IMG]

    This is the view from the farm itself.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
  16. komxxxx Senior Member

    Polish - Poland
    I read a Polish version of the novel (one page:). According to the Polish translation 'Green Gables' is a name of house where Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived. The house was situated on a small raise. I wouldn't call the small raise a hill, but in Polish 'Green Hills' sounds better - more graphic than 'Green Gables', that's why the translator used 'hill' instead of 'gable'. Of course that's all only my opinion.
     

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