Saturday, March 3 2012

Goofy Mecab error

When I ran the third Louie book through my custom-reader scripts (being nearly halfway through book 2…), it warned me about a conjugation pattern it didn’t know how to handle. This happens occasionally, since my de-conjugator is based on a limited sample of Mecab output, but the word it was complaining about was a real surprise: the yodan verb 戦ふ (written “tatakafu”, but pronounced “tatakau”), conjugated into 戦はない.

The sentence was “人の死なない戦はない”, which should be read as “Hito no shinanai ikusa wa nai”. For some reason, the context matcher did not correctly determine that “人の死なない” was a clause modifying the noun “戦”, and instead fell back all the way to a pre-1946 classical conjugation of the modern verb 戦う, which would have translated into the nonsensical “person’s won’t die won’t fight”. One of the many reasons human translators still have jobs!

(the sentence actually means “this is not a battle in which no one dies”, or perhaps “there are no wars where no one dies”; I’ll have to look at the context when I get there)