Name a CD you own that no one else on your friends list does.
The Orthodox Celts: “The Celts Strike Again” and “Green Roses”.
Name a book you own that no one else on your friends list does.
Thanks to Library Thing this one becomes much easier. Anyone else got What does Joan say? my seven years as White House astrologer to Nancy and Ronald Reagan by Joan Quigley?
Name a movie you own on DVD/VHS/whatever that no one else on your friends list does.
Much the most difficult and I suspect whatever I say I am doomed to failure. But, what the heck. Anyone else out there own The Making of the Dark Side of the Moon?
Name a place that you have visited that no one else on your friends list has.
This I think may be a bit easier. Anyone else been to Prčanj in Montenegro?
And another more showoffy meme from
Which languages do you know? How did you learn them (e.g. natively, from classes, by immersion)?
Native English speaker
Lived in the Netherlands for a year when I was 13 and went to a Dutch school, still retain pretty decent fluency
Did German at school up to A-level under the genial guidance of Mrs Owens at Rathmore, then worked on an archaeology site near Heilbronn for a few months, so that’s not too bad
French at school to O-level (yes, kids, I am that old), and can manage casual conversations for day-to-day purposes in Brussels and struggle through business conversations with native speakers
Did Latin O-level as well for what that’s worth
Have dabbled in New Testament Greek, but not in the real thing
Absorbed a certain amount of Serbo-Croat through osmosis while living in Bosnia and Croatia, similarly Macedonian though less exposure means less expertise – the former gets you a bit less than half-way into Slovenian and the latter a bit more than half-way into Bulgarian
Started a Russian course but haven’t finished it
Can struggle in tourist Italian, Spanish and Romanian though deeply conscious of making it up as I go along
Odd other phrases – Hyvää päivää! Falemenderit! გამარჯობა! Köszönöm!
No Irish at all, sadly.
Which language would you most like to learn? Why?
It’s a toss-up between Italian and Finnish, because they sound so beautiful, and Russian/Arabic/Chinese, because they would actually be useful for communicating with people. I guess at the moment Russian is at the top of the list.
Have you visited any places where you did not know the predominant language? If so, which ones? Was it hard to manage?
Well, just in 2005 I visited Albania, Ukraine and Georgia (and indeed South Ossetia). Fortunately I was with colleagues or friends in all cases so it wasn’t such a big deal. Last time I was more or less on my own in such circumstances was in Moldova in September 2004, but my vestigial Russian and Romanian was just about enough to get through.
Which language do you most enjoy hearing, seeing, or expressing? Why?
I just love the sound of both Italian and Finnish. Italian hardly needs explanation. Finnish – well, just listen to some of Koskenniemi’s lyrics to Sibelius’ music (these are the official lyrics for Finlandia):
Oi Suomi, katso, Sinun päiväs koittaa,
yön uhka karkoitettu on jo pois,
ja aamun kiuru kirkkaudessa soittaa
kuin itse taivahan kansi sois.
Yön vallat aamun valkeus jo voittaa
sun päiväs koittaa, oi synnyinmaa.
Oi nouse, Suomi, nosta korkealle
pääs seppelöimä suurten muistojen,
oi nouse, Suomi, näytit maailmalle
sa että karkoitit orjuuden
ja ettet taipunut sa sorron alle,
on aamus alkanut, synnyinmaa.
I love the look of Georgian, even though I can’t read it:
დილასა ადრე მოვიდა იგი ნაზარდი სოსანი,
ძოწეულითა მოსილი, პირად ბროლ-ბადახშოსანი,
პირ-ოქრო რიდე ეხვია, შვენოდა ქარქაშოსანი,
მეფესა გასლვად აწვევდა, მოდგა თეთრ-ტაიჭოსანი.
(Note how the last four syllables of each line rhyme. Obvious now I point it out, isn’t it.)
I like speaking Dutch. Not something I do very often, but normally rather shocks native speakers – especially here in Flanders, where they assume I must actually be Dutch (ie from the hated North).
Which languages, other than the one(s) you know, are you exposed to your daily life?
I get bits and pieces of many languages. Even at McDonald’s.