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language list

euskara {basque}
magyar {hungarian}
nederlands/vlaams {dutch}
sami
suomi

other links : i ii iii

Can you translate the next 300 words into Hindi, or Korean?; if so, please contact me and there will be rejoicing.

2002 Q1 & Q2
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February 29th; 3-coffee day. I jangle like a bunch of keys.
February 28th; Miklos mentions civil unrest in Slovakia.

February 27th; Don't these Johnson solids look lovely?
February 26th; Wonderful bug invasion timeline.

February 25th; Ryan explains some career plans.
February 24th; After dinner with Mihaly and another detailed discussion of his beetle collection, Mariann takes me to the converted attic complex of Balazs, Gyula, Miroslav. Jens & Margo were also there. After tabletop Santa-Sumo between Balazs & Gyula's 3-inch-high clockwork Father Christmases, we get down to playing Memoria with rather odd Hungarian folklore cards (the tale of the bellringing peach definitely worth checking out), followed by pick-up-sticks and quick bursts of 'Grease' and Napalm Death on video before M & I left. Excellent craic. 'Grease' recalled Harriet & Jessica's curious ritual evenings Cressida told of years ago.

February 23rd; First class went reasonably well.
February 22nd; Didn't get much done today.

February 21st; Cappuccino with Mariann at cakeshop round corner. Thrilling tale of mewling but unharmed kitten lost in space at bottom of liftshaft for 24 hours.
February 20th; Popping into IBS, I meet two delightful teachers. Glittering winter sunshine everywhere.

February 19th; After an early breakfast in the petrol station where we slept, the fuel line bursts a few miles before the border into Austria. Robin fixes it as brilliant sunlight bounces off melting snow and trucks welly past. Later, within sight of the border in Hungary, we get a puncture and Robin is again struggling while I stand around being a bit useless. Something stops him getting the old wheel off to change the tyre. After an hour of banging with brooms and hammers, he fixes this too. Back in Budapest for a cup of tea by half-past eight.
February 18th; Slept in the car somewhere near the German-Austrian border across the front seats. Got some kip between 1 and 3.

February 17th; Robin picks me up from Nigel's in Catford and we hit the South Circular, driving down through Kent by 8am. Nuel & Christian's in Cologne decorated for this week's Carnival. Nuel shows us more of Johannes Schlichting's drawings. No news of WolfGirl.
Nuel, Robin & I watch 'The Taking of Pelham 123' on television dubbed into German. Of course, when the NY subway cop negotiator Walter Matthau says "Gezundheit" in German over the intercom to the hijacker who keeps sneezing (Mr Green?), the dubbers left it in German in the German-language version. I was waiting for them to make Walter say "Bless you" in English.
February 16th; Foyles has the best stock in London.
While these people didn't have the French book I wanted, were very keen on closing time, and had an odd system where customers find prices off photocopied lists on the wall arranged by code and publisher [lacking the publishers of lots of books in their stock]. Just putting prices on each book would be too much like hard work, would it? Like so many things 'European', their books are mainly French, plus Spanish & German material. French staff, quelle surprise. At least eight European languages with ten-million+ speakers represented by no more than a couple of grammars each. Perhaps change the pompous name? Grant & Cutler much better.

February 15th; Fiona & Nigel back from Valentine.
February 14th; Listened to music by 'Normal'.

February 13th; In the mood to read a copy of McVicar by himself lying around. Striking to see the three sections, each written at different times and each shorter than the one before. The first, a taut, wirily written tale of action and emotion, the second far more introspective but still angry, the third wearier and wiser as he slowly gains more distance from his lifelong nightmare and builds his new self through books. The first part [his first two escapes from prison] shows his shrewd, clear intelligence, but the later parts, as one-time thug McVicar moves deeper into academic sociology, shows remarkable self-understanding and painful honesty. Intelligence tested. Apart from the obvious and thought-provoking points about crime and prison, I immediately wondered how many of us strip away our own illusions as methodically and coolly as McVicar the longterm convict eventually did. Quite early he identifies machismo and male defiance as a kind of culture of self-delusion which makes criminals more criminal the more they are isolated. Step by step he unpicks his own misunderstandings about his father, mother, and sister and how he hid from himself the suffering he caused them. He spots the weaknesses and self-deceptions of prisoners and warders, and then applies this analytical lens to himself. The effect of a small prison riot at Durham, where inmates occupy an office and read their own files, is particularly interesting. Although McVicar comes over as an already reflective and sharp-minded prisoner, it is hard not to see this as a turning point: bland, inaccurate, shallow assessments in their decade-old records amaze him. Realising he is a mystery to the penal system seems to start him wondering if he is a mystery to himself.
Oddly, this made me want to read some of Nigel's Greek epics and myths: is McVicar someone who somehow finds his way back out of the cage of male pride and rage to help heal our own anger? He sees his son's mother's part in leading him out of his emotional labyrinth. He praises Laurie Taylor, [he of Radio 4's 1970s 'Stop the Week' discussions] as a good sociology teacher.
February 12th; Book shopping. Later, Rigo & Fiona join us for vodka.

February 11th; On a mission of mercy Nigel takes me to Bromley by bus, where we drink two coffees each at Nero's as darkness falls. Later Danny Fletcher comes round - first meeting in a decade. The 3 of us go for a noodle meal.
February 10th; Juno gets two walks in one day. By day, two small boys in the park ask me if Juno is a Staffordshire something dog [she is half Rottweiler, half Great Dane, but friendlier than that sounds]. By night, Nigel & I take Juno on a big walk through some south London suburbs as far as Honor Oak. We go up a hill through a churchyard, rest on a bench, look out over the city lights, and share some vodka.

February 9th; Nigel & I visit the supermarket.
February 8th; Nigel kindly invites Fiona & me out for a curry at the quiet, crisply-table-clothed Sri Lankan restaurant 'Taste of Eelam', whose italic blue neon sign looks from outside on Lewisham High Street a lot like 'Taste of Edam'. Fiona cheerily asks us what we boys actually did with our weekend.

February 7th; Nigel brings back some Saturday papers - slightly better than the Sunday papers I bought last week. As many as 5 or 6 quite readable articles.
February 6th; Coach journey down from north to south, into those postal districts packed like wheat. A brisk walk after dark from Victoria to Charing Cross across some kind of royal park. Train from Charing Cross to Nigel's in Catford. I sat across carriage from two criminal-looking males chatting quietly in Polish.

February 5th; Train to Bradford to buy coach ticket. Walk with mother outdoors.
February 4th; Shopping in Halifax in the rain. Doodled indoors.

February 3rd; That drink in the Shoulder of Mutton with Ed a few days ago was relaxing. Perhaps my talent is about to be 'captured'?
February 2nd; I find her a book by Harold Bloom she'll enjoy.

February 1st; I buy Mama four Sunday n e w s papers, complete with vast supplements on houses, holidays etc. The full-page 1950s Punch cartoon about there being nothing in the papers swims eerily to mind, because now there really isn't. Not a joke any more. One quite good article about stem-cell research, two funny television reviews, and a couple of mildly interesting book reviews, and that really is all that 4 'quality' broadsheets have to show for themselves out of a total of at least two hundred pages. ?
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Mark Griffith, site administrator / contact at otherlanguages.org

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