Language test

OK, one of my favourite subjects: i hope there’s someone here who understands Russian. Compare the sites of the president of Bulgaria and the president of Ukraine. Which one do you understand better?

According to linguists, Ukrainian is supposed to be more closely related to Russian than Bulgarian — both Russian and Ukrainian are Eastern-Slavonic, while Bulgarian is Southern-Slavonic. The closeness of languages is usually explained by grammar, and indeed, the Ukrainian grammar — cases (падежи), word formation, verb tenses etc. – is nearly identical to the Russian, while the Bulgarian is considedrably different – the verb tenses are more archaic, and there are no cases at all. Despite that, when i read the Bulgarian text i understand it more easily than the Ukrainian (i am not fluent in either of these languages and i have never learnt any of them). How can it be explained?

  1. In the Ukrainian alphabet there are letters which are not present in Russian, such as ї, і, є; in Bulgarian, however, there are no additional letters. I know how to pronounce the “strange” Ukrainian letters, but it seems to me that on some more subconscious level they interrupt my thought.
  2. There seem to be more words in Bulgarian which are identical to Russian. Not similar — 100% identical. Of course it can be proven only by a thorough philological-statistical analysis, but that’s the feeling i get. The possible reason? Bulgarian is a direct descendant of Old Church Slavonic, in fact “Old Church Slavonic” is just a fancy name for “Old Bulgarian” or “Old Souther Slavonic”. Linguistically, Russian is not a descendant of Old Church Slavonic, but it was heavily influenced by it through, well, the church. Literary Ukrainian, however, is, at least in part, a fruit of political intervention that favoured non-Russian but rather Polish or dialectal Ukrainian forms when literary Ukrainian was standartized. Bulgarians, who never had to prove their national identity and uniqueness to anyone, did not need such political adjustments to their language.

The observations above are not very scientific, i never studied the subject academically. These are just “hunches”. I want to study the subject thouroughly some time in the future.


Screaming in the Lift

Snap quietly and wreck all,
But first let them know,
You’re just too nice, you won’t just surprise,
Scream in the lift so they don’t hear,

Stand quietly as you reach your floor,
Walk out, business as usual,
Eat your lunch, pay and be happy,
Then go back, snap and wreck all,

You screamed, they must know now,
Though you hope they can’t hear,
Now it’s the time to wreck all:
The cupboards, the PC’s,
The flippers on the wall,

They they they know all,
They’ve nothing to do,
They are to blame when you
Snap and wreck all,

You’re in the middle,
Not righteous, not evil,
And they’ll have no use for the flippers on the wall
The moment you snap and then wreck, wreck, wreck them all.

Punish Me

Strong feelings for the wrong reason,
Wrong reactions to silly decisions,
Silly musings on obvious subjects,
Punish me, please, don’t let it get worse,

I could come Sundays, but i come everyday
I’m sad to admit i don’t know the better way,
Everyone does it, i’m not better of course,
Punish me, please, don’t let it get worse…

(to be finished)

Confused Materialistic Philosophy musings

Random thoughts about my lost camera:

  • I don’t know where i lost it. I know i had it in the bus and i think that i picked it up when i headed towards the exit, but then what? Maybe i forgot it on the seat. Maybe i put it aside when i sat down to pick the big yellow bag from the luggage compartment. Aside — where? On the pavement or maybe inside the luggage compartment? If i put in the luggage, then it should have reached the airport or the C.B.S. in Jerusalem, but the airport security didn’t hear anything about it and neither did Egged. Maybe i forgot it on the pavement. Maybe i put it on the bench of the bus stop when i waited for Hadar, then when she arrived, i was so happy to see her, that i took the two bags and forgot the camera there on the bench.
  • Whoever found it — what would he do? Does he understand anything about digital photography? Would he see that there are pictures inside it? That it belongs to an actual person, that may want the camera back and make a decent effort to find the owner? Or maybe he just saw something fancy and expensive, and sold it to cover his debts?
  • It is even possible that no-one actually found it — if i left it on the pavement, a car could have ran over it and that’s it.
  • The Israeli Police doesn’t mean to do anything to find it; the whole lost and found department in the Police is not intended for finding lost things, but giving people documents that prove that the article was actually lost — to give the insurance company. The policewoman to whom i spoke was surprised that when i told her that i want to leave them my phone number. What for??
  • Now the more philosophical part: the same morning i lost it, i was very impolite to my mom, particularly when she asked me about the camera bag. She couldn’t tell the difference between it and the discman bag. I was very bad and i’m genuinely sorry about it. I called her the next day and told her that i’m sorry, and she told me that she thinks that i’m crazy and then i told her that i lost the camera, which obviously made her sadder and more dedpressed than myself. Very awkward, but did i have a choice?
  • The general feeling is “What is wrong with me?” Is there something radical about myself that i should change? Or should i just be more careful and make a better effort not to lose expensive things? The modern world of 2004 — the world of electronic gadgets and cool stylish and expensive stuff — how we should cope with it? With care, insurance and protective bags — or something more deeply moral? Afterall, we definitely don’t need these things, and how happy they make us is a tough question; the possibility of loss is never treated in the advertising and the fancy websites. Hard, hard questions. It makes my poor head all squeamous.

Ying xiong A.K.A Hero

Very similar to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon — the familiar themes of stubborn and idedalistic Chinese pride and very similar flying battles, but i enjoyed this movie much more. It is known to be somewhat more westernized, but i didn’t notice how exactly; in that sense it was not very different from Crouching Tiger, except it was somewhat more stylish and post-modern. The main difference is that the plot and the message were a lot more clear. The message was very political and pragmatic, applicable in the political situation of today, although i don’t know how exactly. Recommended.

Two albums that i should’ve hated, but i’m falling in love with them instead

Blackfield—Aviv Geffen with Steven Wilson. When i first heard about it, i just couldn’t believe that Steven was actually interested in Aviv’s Isra-teen-Rock, but listening to these clips i realize that they sound good and that there’s a good songwriter buried somewhere inside Aviv’s gimmicks. The album is out soon, and there’s a chance that i’ll buy it.

The Dub Side of the Moon—The name says it all, it’s a reggae version of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side. It’s not the first attempt to do this, i know that there’s a trance version and a novelty version (although i didn’t hear them), but this one sounds dead serious. First of all, there seems to be a very serious reworking of On the Run, and it sounds as it should have sounded in the first place — futuristic (that is, it would be futuristic in 1973). Pink Floyd’s musings with the famous VCS3 in 1973 were actually not as interesting as King Crimson’s and this jungle version of the “song” really makes it up. Hell, i would do it one day, but now i don’t need to. The sax solo in Money rivals the original! There’s a fat chance that i’ll buy it.

Lahit Mic’adim Toem Galgalac (Ma dafuk ecli)

Hishtamesh vetaharos
Plisha el avaryanutenu
Hashlayot shel hauma
Gov’ot bli mafteakh hashladim

Ohev otakh al ma sheani lo’
Lo roce et ma sheyesh li
Smikha m’khuchkenet misigaryot srufa
Daber miyad hamten letorkha

Ma dafuk ecli
Ma ani carikh
Ma ani makhshiv

Ze lo’ kashur l’ma sh’ta khoshev
Im ata khoshev bikhlal
Nigudim du-kotviim
Yardu li hamayim behaftaa

Ma dafuk ecli
Ma ani carikh
Ma ani makhshiv

Sna, sna et oyveykha,
Shmor, shmor et khavereykha,
Mca, mca et mekomkha,
Daber, daber emet.

(K. Cobain, 1993)