NABOKV-L post 0011124, Mon, 28 Feb 2005 10:06:27 -0800

Fw: Help to translate "lapping at Van´s rock" ...??
ED. See bottom

----- Original Message -----
From: Jansy Berndt de Souza Mello
To: don barton johnson
Sent: Monday, February 28, 2005 8:59 AM
Subject: Help to translate "lapping at Van´s rock" ...

Dear Don and list,

I would like to ask help in order to understand VN´s meaning in a particular sentence ( related to Dorothy´s, née Vinelander, unceasing chatter "lapping at Van´s rock" ).

I had already tried to investigate its various contrasting uses (lapse, relapse,colapse, even lap and laprobe ) to get the feeling for this special verb as employed by VN, but found no way to translate it to Portuguese.

After I mailed the lines dealing with Aqua´s instructions in "Russian-lapped German", I decided to take up the matter again.

Here are some examples:

1. "garrulously pour hateful instructions in Russian-lapped German into her hateful bidet, she decided to stop turning on tap water altogether".

2 ."A large boiled strawberry, still very hot. He sucked it in as far as it would go. He held her close and lapped her palate"

3. "he spoke little, especially since his sister's sonorous soliloquy (lapping at Van's rock) mesmerized and childishly engrossed him".

As a verb we find: "to overtake by one or more laps; coil, fold or wrap round; enfold caressingly or encircle protectively; surround a person with influence".

There is also a Middle English sense: "to polish a gem with a lap", i.e, a rotating wheel which could be applied to boring Dora´s rotating insistence at "Van´s rock", but it still makes no sense.
There is a Van rock in Armenia, and it is close to a " LakeVan" ( as pointed out by B.Boyd) where there are ruins of a chapel dedicated to Queen Ada. But VN was not referring to items in a landscape!

Could a rendering in another language, like "... his sister´s sonorous soliloquy ( dying at the rock of Van´s impassivity ) ..." be considered satisfactory?

ED. Judging by own experience the most common senses are "water lapping the shore" and "the cat laps up the milk." The No. 1 usage above is distinctly odd. I wonder if Dr Lapiner (lapochka) is the "Cavalcanti quoter"" I-3, p. 24 and echoed in Aqua's word-salad.