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Author Topic: Does Anyone Know the Meaning of the Name "Ker Karraje" from "Facing the Flag"?  (Read 930 times)
GCCC
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« on: July 15, 2015, 06:58:57 am »

I have scoured the English translation of Verne's Facing the Flag that is available to me, and I cannot find what the name of the antagonist, Ker Karraje means. He is supposed to be a Malay pirate, but there doesn't appear to be any equivalent in the Malay language.

Is "Ker" a name or a title or a descriptive? Is "Karraje" a name or a noun (I've played with variations of "The Pirate" and "The Leader/Boss" to no avail). Verne is usually fairly tight with his nomenclature, be it people or machines, but is it possible that this time he just pulled a name out of his (your choice of nouns)?

Is it possible the name is explained in the original French?

This is about as far as I've been able to get on my own:

These words are in the Malay language and contain the prefix "ker":
keras – hard
berkuasa – powerful
kerusi – chair
kertas – paper

"Ker" might, therefore, mean something like "wood", but then again, I don't actually speak Malay nor do I know its grammar rules.

The name Karajan shows up in Austrian/German, and based on its etymology I'm guessing the name means "Black John". Of course this does not mean that (a) this is where Verne borrowed the name or (b) I've translated it correctly.

Now, the following came up, but it's a bit more NSFW:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I am reasonably certain that the meager leads I've been able to find are all absolutely wrong and worthless.

So, does anyone who reads French or speaks Malay or who has Verne's brain in a jar hooked up to a voice synthesizer so you can ask him what he intended able to help? (I will, of course, also accept help from anyone who does not fit one of those three categories...)
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GCCC
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2015, 02:48:27 am »

Ohhhh-kay.

It's been five days, and no nibbles. No Vernians, no French-speakers, no etymologists, no onomatologists...?

I'm still going to dangle this out there; I figure if anyone can answer this question, they're somewhere on this forum.

Peeps, don't fail me now!
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GCCC
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2015, 04:43:04 pm »

Still nothing, eh?
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Don Quixos
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2015, 01:08:50 am »

Ker may be from mythology pointing at at death:

http://www.britannica.com/topic/Ker

Karraje, is another thing.

Bear with me:

I have been interested in tryong to reconcile 20,000 Leagues and Mysterious Island chronological issues w/ regards to Captain nemo, and since Facing the Flag contains a Malaysian Submarine captain I had thought that maybe a connection could be drawn. A few years ago I thought of a Spanish work, 'Carajo' which tends to be uses in this form:

Vete al Carajo, which is used  to mean go to hell. I looked up Carajo, which messing with the spelling lead me to Saint Brandon (Cargados Carajos), and island in the Indian Ocean, close to Madagascar. Not too far from Malaysia.

While it is a jump, you could imply that Ker Karraje, is just a convenient alliteration that Verne used. And that this pirate has probably a 'real' name, but he uses a title, sort of Death God of the island of his birth.

All just a free association idea.  And if you use it, give me some credit.

Paz!
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GCCC
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2015, 01:27:43 am »

Well, that's just as good as anything I've been able to find on my own. Heck, even Jess Nevins' sites have let me down.

Don't worry about making leaps; that's how I arrived at (warning:  next two sentences are NSFW)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
So you see I was making some pretty free associations myself.

Your word associations do have the benefit of being more "family friendly" than what I came up with. Are either of us close? Maybe, maybe not. But, you've given me an avenue of research I hadn't thought of earlier.

If you are able to come up with something more substantial, or even come up with another theory, please do not hesitate to share it/them. And of course, if I use any of your ideas I will gladly give you the props.

So, what say you, BG community; has Don Quixos solved it, or is he at least close? Or, do you have your own ideas but have been too bashful to share them before now?
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Don Quixos
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2015, 04:12:23 pm »

I'm familiar with Jess Nevins. I got to him via his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen annotations, which got me to his Wold Newton stuff, and eventually I bought his amazing Fantastic Victoriana book.  Jess is a walking tome of info.

I'm curious as why you want to know the meaning of Ker Karraje.  Depending on your goal, the name could be 'lead' to mean anything.

I would think tha tyou have tried Malaysian language translators and such. As I have, which yielded nothing.

There are a few Verne e-mailing lists with scholars and linguists from all over the world that discuss his books.

The benefit of my ideas would be the death connection and placing him in an island environment, and by extrapolation, no stranger to the oceans.

As with Captain Nemo/Prince Dakkar maybe Count d'Artigas/Ker Karraje could be one an enigmatic alias and the other an actual name with a honorific title. Also, Verne was no stranger to Dumas' work, note the similarities with Count of Monte Cristo (just the Count title) and the name d'Artagnan.

Good luck!
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GCCC
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2015, 07:15:16 pm »

...I'm curious as why you want to know the meaning of Ker Karraje... 

I'm looking for a compatible kidney donor.  Wink

...I would think that you have tried Malaysian language translators and such. As I have, which yielded nothing...

I used the Google translator and some online dictionaries. As with you, no luck there, except to speculate on ker having the meaning of "hard" or "of/as wood".

...There are a few Verne e-mailing lists with scholars and linguists from all over the world that discuss his books...

See, that's what I love about this forum:  that is such an obvious and elegant solution...and one I had never considered. I will have to locate a few of those and give them a try.

...The benefit of my ideas would be the death connection and placing him in an island environment, and by extrapolation, no stranger to the oceans...

Which is pretty genius, if you ask me. I'll be very interested in reading whatever you come up based on your premise. Whether or not it suits me, however, I've yet to ascertain. I'm still pursuing the idea that, Verne having specifically made him a Malay pirate, the name should, in some weird word-twisting manner, have some relevance in Malaysia.

...As with Captain Nemo/Prince Dakkar maybe Count d'Artigas/Ker Karraje could be one an enigmatic alias and the other an actual name with a honorific title...

Yes, but "Nemo" specifically meant something:  "No one", referencing the fact that Prince Dakkar now considered his old life dead and himself, not a non-entity by any stretch of the imagination, not with his ego, as some alien "other" who had no identity other than the one he'd created for himself. I'd always figured Count d'Artigas for the "real" name, but, following the Dakkar/Nemo precedent, I'm just curious as all get-out as to what the alias is supposed to signify.

...Also, Verne was no stranger to Dumas' work, note the similarities with Count of Monte Cristo (just the Count title) and the name d'Artagnan...

An homage? I had not considered that, and it is certainly well within the realm of possibility.

I'm familiar with Jess Nevins. I got to him via his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen annotations, which got me to his Wold Newton stuff, and eventually I bought his amazing Fantastic Victoriana book.  Jess is a walking tome of info...

How long ago did you get his book? The last time I checked the Monkey Brains website it was out of print, and looking on Amazon and Barnes & Noble I could only find copies priced as though they were college textbooks (and, to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if that reference tome is being used in literature classes), and therefore out of my reach. (I remember the book originally cost about $50, which I'm willing to pay, but the mark-ups I've been seeing are obscene.)

...Good luck!

Thanks, and same to you! Keep us posted on whatever it is you're working on, and if you uncover any more clues as to our Malay pirate's name, don't hesitate to share them.
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Don Quixos
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2015, 09:23:12 pm »

Kidney donor? Wow, nice one.  Wink

Another thing, if Ker has to do with Greek mythology, and Nemo refers back to Greek mythology and to the Odyssey, then there you have a further
naming similarity.

Maybe submarine capitains must adopt a Greek mythology based name. A 'nom de guerre' if you will. If I was to make/force an 'supposed association' of these people.

This is the Vernian e-mail list I belong to:

http://jv.gilead.org.il/forum/

Very nice and highly educated folks. Many Verne scholars and translators will be found there.

Regarding the name: Nemo. I do understand its meaning, and how it relates to Dakkar's history. After Mysterious Island it gives it further weight. I do like the idea that besides the No-One meaning actually Odysseus outsmarted a larger foe. Dakkar can be seen as doing so with either Englad or the world at large.

BTW, keep in mind Sandokan (the Malaysian Hero-Pirate) who also 'existed' around them times.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandokan

If you are not aware of the fantastic page by Bianca Gerlich re: Sandokan and his historical basis, check it:

http://www.mompracem.de/?q=en/node/18

I make a Sandokan/Nemo connection in the thing I'm working on. Including Ker Karraje.

I was able to get Fantastic Victoriana as it came out. I think it is priced at above 300 dollars now. It's a good but, but c'mon!
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MWBailey
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2015, 11:39:05 pm »

I was certain that I had run across "Kerraje" somewhere, but was unable to recall it; then, I remembered the smattering of Peruvian, Portuguese and Spanish slang that I picked up several years ago from doing some Language Center (semi-related to ESL) work with a couple of Peruvian transfer students. The words that I remembered are/were

1. Cerrajeria
2. cerrajos

I could not remember their meaning clearly; I seemed to recall it had something to do with doors and security, but I had to look them up to be sure. according to a computer-translated wikipedia page, A Cerrajeria is a locksmith's shop, and a cerrajero is apparently a locksmith.

The root would most likely be something like "cerraje," but unfortunately I have so far been unable to find that word defined beyond unelaborated mentions in online Spanish and Portuguese diccionarios (those most likely being simple machine-generated kneejerk regurgitations, caused by the use of the word in the search string).

Sorry for the vagueness, but I still hope this helps.
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GCCC
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2015, 11:56:53 pm »

Due to the paucity of information on this topic, everything helps.

Plus, my pursuit of the name Artigas pointed me to an early 19th c. Bolivian, so, who knows? A locked door would certainly fit the mold established with Nemo, who is no one and thus a locked door to anyone trying to pry into his past and identity.
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Don Quixos
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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2015, 12:41:30 am »

Here is a bit I 'found'  Wink

http://leeor4.math.technion.ac.il/pipermail/jvf/2014-September/000804.html

More info on Kaw-djer:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Survivors_of_the_%22Jonathan%22

For what is worth . . .

See, no responses for a month, now a veritable deluge.  Yet, rather empty of a clear answer.

The translators I've been using for Ker, Karraje, Ebba, ans Sirko tend to lead me to nordic, germanic tongues, even Ukranian.    Not much help I'm afraid.

Still, i love this stuff, so thanks for the opportunity to revisit these subjects.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2015, 09:23:26 am »

I was certain that I had run across "Kerraje" somewhere, but was unable to recall it; then, I remembered the smattering of Peruvian, Portuguese and Spanish slang that I picked up several years ago from doing some Language Center (semi-related to ESL) work with a couple of Peruvian transfer students. The words that I remembered are/were

1. Cerrajeria
2. cerrajos

I could not remember their meaning clearly; I seemed to recall it had something to do with doors and security, but I had to look them up to be sure. according to a computer-translated wikipedia page, A Cerrajeria is a locksmith's shop, and a cerrajero is apparently a locksmith.

The root would most likely be something like "cerraje," but unfortunately I have so far been unable to find that word defined beyond unelaborated mentions in online Spanish and Portuguese diccionarios (those most likely being simple machine-generated kneejerk regurgitations, caused by the use of the word in the search string).

Sorry for the vagueness, but I still hope this helps.

Cerraje = lock, simple as that...  Grin
Cerrar = verb, "to close"
Cerrajero = locksmith

In all instances, the letter C is pronounced as an "S" in Mexican Spanish" or a very soft "Th" in any of the Iberian dialects, including Castillian.

I only knew of the maning of Carajo = "Heck."  I have never heard any association of "carajo" with genitalia .

My proficiency is that of Mexican Modern Castillian and Iberian Modern Castillian, as a 1st language at the 12th grade level.  Some level of Mid and Old Castillian, enough to read the works of Cervantes (1500s) and Juaan Ruiz a/k/a Archpriest of Hita (1300s) and the anonimous work of El Cantar de Mio Cid a/k/a Poem of mio Cid (1140)
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GCCC
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« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2015, 02:02:23 pm »

...I have never heard any association of "carajo" with genitalia...

I'll have to try to find that reference online again.

...My proficiency is that of Mexican Modern Castillian and Iberian Modern Castillian, as a 1st language at the 12th grade level.  Some level of Mid and Old Castillian, enough to read the works of Cervantes (1500s) and Juaan Ruiz a/k/a Archpriest of Hita (1300s) and the anonymous work of El Cantar de Mio Cid a/k/a Poem of mio Cid (1140)

Well, I am envious of you, then. It took me eight semesters to earn the four semesters I needed to satisfy my college requirements*. But, having also learned a bit about the formation of language skills in the developing brain, I don't feel quite as stupid as I used to. Having learned that tidbit, I am especially envious of people who learn new languages as adults. Schools here need to make second languages a core requirement beginning at 1st Grade, so the students are gaining the knowledge during the brain's language acquisition period.

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