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

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.


June 30th; Back in Erd, 50 weeks on.
June 29th; Tom's new office again. Because there's a gym upstairs and the building was probably a school once, the cool cement staircase smells of training-shoe rubber & squash-court walls - strangely soothing. The other week in Langenzensdorf, the cool fake-marble corridors of the hotel (60s/70s-style white walls, dark woodwork) had a smoked-ham-&-kippers scent (somehow left by black Balkan cigarettes?), evoking every Continental hotel in summer.

June 28th; Back at Nyugati station my evening train pulls in. A mellow Istvan strolls over. I hand him a bagful of the mangold he's having Robin grow for him in the puszta.
June 27th; I wake up at Robin's at lunchtime having slept almost ten hours. We visit a boatmaker in Tiszaug to look at his partly-built csonak (punt/skiff). I fall asleep again for a couple of hours in the late afternoon.

June 26th; 3rd & last trade fair day. {Met ||| ||| ||| ||| ||| ||| ||| |}
On the afternoon train out of town, sunset casts long shadows of the train over biscuit-coloured acres of wheat. My silhouette, framed in a train window of shadow, waves back at me as it ripples over fields & gardens.
June 25th; 2nd day of TV & film market. 2nd boat event.

June 24th; 1st day of DISCOP. Party at Lilla's later.
June 23rd; Gosh. Bilingualism found to be healthy?

June 22nd; Shoulder pain-relief gels have drugs in. Wooo!
June 21st; Rather fun longest day. Better than 03 or 02.

June 20th; A lingo numbers page on SitKom's site.
June 19th; Text messages on my phone demand I get up and visit Kalman's haunted house - the place in Buda with the friendly Alsation dog I am going to live in for the peppercorn rent. I text back that I am in a lot of pain (true), am having trouble getting off my floor, and what's the rush? They ring me, saying there are urgent things to discuss, like the contract, and I must come over right away. I stagger into a standing position and wash. Their needs must take precedence.
Walking like a zombie unable to turn my head either way, I make it an hour later up the Buda hill, sweating and stiff. Seeing me again, the friendly dog charges over and bites my leg - the first time in my life a dog has bitten me. I get in and Agi starts showing me cupboards, how radiators work, where the fridge is - apparently unaware she did this a month ago and that I know how to operate a radiator. I ask where the contract is that I must look at in such a hurry? Oh... they haven't got the contract. Gritting my teeth against saying "you nagged me over here, on a day when I can hardly move, to show me some cupboards?" I show myself out and the dog goes for my crotch. The mulberry-heads stand round berating the dog instead of holding its chain so I can walk past. Kind Kalman thoughtfully sees me out as I hobble down the garden stairs to the street, but yes, the others needed to have something that obvious - holding a mad dog's chain - explained to them.
Back in Pest, I buy some muscle-soothing gel recommended by Lilla in a chemist's where a rude, fat tourist I help out takes me rather for granted, snapping at me to "Tell him this, ask him that" as if hanging around in shops interpreting for cocky monolinguals is my life purpose. Relaxing beer later with Rob, and again later still with Carolyn, who is back in town starting a new life.

June 18th; Longish day. 6 a.m. Roll off hotel bedroom floor with crick in neck partly cured. Pack before breakfast. 8 a.m. In front of class, realise that I left my watch on breakfast table in hotel five miles away we already booked out of. Leeann sweetly agrees to drive us all back to Langenzersdorf after we finish so I can pick up watch. Now just 3 and a half hours of rehearsing increasingly bored & restive 12-year-olds to get through. 11.45 a.m. I feel myself relaxing as I introduce the first act in the end-of-week school performance. 1 p.m. After all four groups do their poems and sketches (including an excellent quiz show in which we teachers were questioned, and my ignorance of European Cup football and Lord-of-the-Rings films were cruelly exposed) my group vaguely begin to grasp that all the drilling I put them through was actually worthwhile. Children crowd round and realise they actually quite enjoyed us being there, and that we are leaving now. We get chocolate gift packages from a child's mother who is Hungarian, so I pop over and gush our thanks to her in Hungarian, urging her to encourage her bright son to persist with English. Downstairs the bubbly headmistress asks what I said to the woman, who is apparently not Hungarian at all, and nonplussed by my bizarre 'English'. 4 p.m. Leeann detours us all to pick up my watch. Back at the post office to pick up our money, she gets fined by a pompous Austrian policeman for stopping in a parking space reserved for cops. We get caught in rush-hour traffic outside Vienna, Catherine gets panicky about missing the train, but we make it. On the train, pleasant conversations with Marek and Neill take us through 3 hours. 7.30 p.m. Back in flat, surprise dinner invitation from Jake prompts me to jump, warm and sweaty, into the refreshing cold shower. Painful muscle spasm across my shoulders. I stagger off, clutching lemon liqueur, to catch 91 bus to Buda. 8.30 p.m. Jake cooks wholesome macrobiotic meal while updating me on that faster-than-light spaceship (apparently USAAF, not NSA), engines running on water, Mormon marriage, Fraser's screenplay about the early days of the Soviet space programme, and a recent book suggesting that around 300 years got mistakenly accounted into mediaeval history in retrospect, so that we are really in about 1720 AD right now. While his 4-year-old Eldar snores on the sofa, Jake massages my shoulders, which hurts, but seems to help a bit. I miss the last bus, so walk to the river. 12.30 a.m. I roll painfully onto my floor, wondering how I am going to get up again without pulling those muscles.
June 17th; Grumpy cooking by my group. Neck hurts: hot bedding + cold draughts.

June 16th; Delicious banana bread appears.
June 15th; 2nd day in Gerasdorf. Susan & I visit Vienna. 2nd day I drink iced coffee.

June 14th; 1st day in Gerasdorf. Hot & sticky. After, Susan & I try a zip line, children's slides and a lakeside cafe. Susan teaches me a few words of Filipino.
June 13th; Restful train journey west to Vienna, and then Langenzensdorf.

June 12th; I swim 3/4 mile on Margit Island, a long way for me. Then, later, a firm telling off from Lilla over pink wine.
June 11th; Scott & I visit OK Italia. (ravioli al burro) Turns out that phone text was for me. He thought I was the yellow-tied buffoon on posters round town. Oh dear.

June 10th; Mariann recalls the MDF election poster, where Ibolya David and her party call "for a normal Hungary!" Rousing stuff.
June 9th; Is that Zita's simper on every tram-shelter poster site in town? A phone text for her Scott sends me by mistake suggests yes.

June 8th; Lilla & I spiral the 7th district looking for a lime tree.
June 7th; Eva fills tooth. Train back to town.

June 6th; An artist friend of Robin's, Erzsebet, a Hungarian woman who lived 30 years in Holland, came round to show us a film about building an installation of hers on a windy, desolate Dutch beach in the late 1980s. Lines of poles showing yellow, red, or blue facets at different camera angles. Rather well-filmed. Whole project took a week, she explained.
June 5th; Wake up in Robin's spare bedroom with the clean scent of linseed oil, and the garden full of birds all swearing, as Mariann put it once. The house is ringed by thick belts of purple larkspur and red poppies that have sprung up like weeds in tens of thousands. Last night on the train out of Pest, three girls sitting separately were all losing their looks as the beginnings of scowling bitterness began to mark their faces. One opposite me read a book with her still-pretty mouth clamped into an old woman's sulk, while the other two kept looking angrily at their silent mobile phones. Needless to say, both refused to make a phone call out, and both were very cross that someone was not ringing them.
A fourth girl was serene by comparison, holding a musical score in her right hand, silently moving her left hand in violin or viola bow movements as she read it through. Once or twice, she shifted the score to her left hand and made plucking motions with her right. Odd. Doesn't the bow hand pluck?

June 4th; Help Tom move office. New place's walls banana-yoghourt-coloured, doorframes red, doors orange, lino flooring green & off-white. We put the purple sofa in the room with the burgundy & blue carpet.
June 3rd; Indian meal with Franc & a sleepy Csilla.

June 2nd; Please no - I'm hearing a Boney M medley??
June 1st; Impromptu gathering at Miklos's. Macedonian interpreter Olivia back from Brazil, somehow changed. Lilla tells me of her proud Kun spirit. Like the crisp pear/plum/cherry palinka blend Miklos's brother distilled.


Mark Griffith, site administrator / contact@otherlanguages.org

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