mater misericordiæ

tsoapm

Senior Member
🇬🇧 English (England)
Hello,

Probably a simple query for those in the know, but I'm not…

Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiæ,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.

I wanted a fairly literal translation of the Salve Regina to put on my blog, and it wasn't hard to find one, but the translation of “mater misericordiae” leaves me a little perplexed. This is traditionally rendered as “Mother of Mercy”, but the translation I found has “mother merciful” (but I can swap the words round fine on my own…) – does this mean that the traditional rendering is off?

Many thanks,
Mark
 
  • Agró

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Navarre
    “Mother of Mercy” is the literal translation: Mater, nominative; misericordiæ, genitive.
    “Mother merciful” would correspond to Latin Mater misericordis. Mater, nominative noun; misericordis, nominative feminine singular adjective.
     

    XiaoRoel

    Senior Member
    galego, español
    Misericordiae es un substantivo transcategorizado en adjetivo por el morfema -i (-a-e = -a-i). Por tanto su significado es 'madre misericordiosa'. Si traduces madre de misericordia conservas la construcción latina (de = -i) en su forma romance: de misericordia es, sintácticamente, un complemento del nombre (CN), un substantivo transcategorizado en adjetivo (sintagmático) por el morfema-preposición de; la traducción por madre misericordiosa, en que misericordiosa es el núcleo de un sintagma adjetivo(con sólo el núcleo) que concuerda con un núcleo substantivo de un sintagma nominal del que es adyacente, es lo que llamo un adjetivo léxico (los que pertenecen a la categoría nominal de palabras llamada adjetivo).
    Lo natural es traducir Madre de misericordia, vida, dulzura, esperanza nuestra que en italiano sería Madre de misericordia, vita, dolcezza, la nostra speranza.
    Este hermoso poema mariano es obra de un obispo (interino) de Compostela, Pedro Mezonzo, gallego como yo y que ya hablaba en romance, que la compuso tras la razzia de Almanzor sobre Compostela y su hinterland que quedó asolado, de ahí esa potente realidad triste, in hac lacrymarum valle, en este valle de lágrimas (in questo val di lacrime).
    Hermosa obra, señera en la literatura latina medieval, con un ritmo ya no latino, sino romance (gallego), y todavía cantada y rezada en muchísimas lenguas y en su original latino. Espléndida poesía.
     

    tsoapm

    Senior Member
    🇬🇧 English (England)
    Ah. I don’t speak Spanish, but I do speak Italian so I think I understood some of that; I believe you said that the meaning is “merciful mother” but translated as “mother of mercy” to correspond to the Latin structure. Perhaps that’s an acceptable ambiguity in Spanish, but in English I think it changes, or at least obscures, the meaning.
     

    Agró

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Navarre
    Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
    our life, our sweetness and our hope.


    (from Wiki)

    My more literal version would go like this:

    Hail, Queen, Merciful Mother
    Our life, our Sweetness and our Hope, Hail.

    Regina has no adjective "holy".

    In Spanish "madre misericordiosa" (the usual translation) and "madre de misericordia" are both acceptable and pretty much mean the same: merciful mother and mother (fountain/source/origin) of mercy.
     

    In Vino Veritas

    New Member
    italiano
    Sometimes you can transform the genitive into an adjective...The Wizard of Oz = The Ozian (???) Wizard ...maybe it is not the best example .This is why you find 2 translations for the same sentence.
     

    tsoapm

    Senior Member
    🇬🇧 English (England)
    Yes, but not, I think, in this case. “Mother of mercy” in English (contemporary English at least) is practically impossible to read in any way other than “she who generates/gives birth to mercy”; with “merciful Mother” however, mercy is a quality of the Mother, but it doesn’t imply that she is a/the source of mercy.

    Reminds me of the Protestant controversy over the translation of “full of grace”, but that’s another story, obviously.
     

    In Vino Veritas

    New Member
    italiano
    “Mother of mercy” in English (contemporary English at least) is practically impossible to read in any way other than “she who generates/gives birth to mercy”; with “merciful Mother” however, mercy is a quality of the Mother, but it doesn’t imply that she is a/the source of mercy.
    Capito...Then it is “Mother of mercy” if we underline the concept =>“she who generates/gives birth to mercy”.
     
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