Text languages: Kinyarwanda, English, German
In 1922 Eugène Hurel (1878-1936) published a collection of Rwandan folktales and proverbs with French translation. Now, about hundred years later, the editors present a new trilingual edition of his book. They have transcribed Hurel’s old-fashioned Rwandan texts into modern scientific Kinyarwanda which marks the lengths and heights of vowel tones, and translated all 40 folktales into English and German. The proverbs have been omitted here, because there already exists an abundant literature in many languages – both in book form and in the internet – of Rwandan proverbs. They also abstained from reproducing Hurel’s original French translation of the tales, which was of a rudimentary word-to-word character. They have left out Hurel’s own introduction which reflects the racist attitude that was quite common not only to colonialists but, unfortunately, also to missionaries about hundred years ago; that attitude should not be publicized any more today.
Undoubtedly, the folk tales contained herein belong amongst the most valuable treasures of the Rwandan culture, which definitely should be preserved for posterity. With this trilingual edition of Hurel’s book, Rwandan folktales shall made available to a wider, not only Francophone audience.
The Kinyarwanda and English versions of the tales are presented in a two-paged layout (left pages: Kinyarwanda, right pages: English), arranged into small numbered paragraphs appearing at the same height on both sides. In the second part of the book, the German translations of the tales follow in single-paged layout, using the same numbering of paragraphs to enable the reader to look up the Rwandan source of the text.
Many footnotes give not only linguistic, but also cultural, ethnographical and historical information and explain the meanings of most Rwandan names. In this form, the editors hope that the present book will serve not only students of the language Kinyarwanda in the Western world, but also those Rwandans who are interested in the classical literature of their own country.
In another text edition 20 Ruandan folktales have been published, together with a German translation. Furthermore, a large dictionary Kinyarwanda-German has appeared in our programme: