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  • hardie karges 12:44 am on October 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Baltic, , , , Russia, Soviet Union,   

    E-stonia: lotta’ hard work, still not Finnish… 

    With origins on the far northern Uralic steppes, first cousins with the Finns and Sami, and distant relations with Ugric Hungarians, these groups of Finno-Ugric speakers are the exception to the rest of the Indo-European-speaking European continent… (More …)

  • hardie karges 11:33 pm on May 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cyrillic, , , Russia   

    If you walk down the streets of Moscow window-shopping, you might get the mistaken idea that vagabond wear is all the rage. After all, window after window has signs in it that read ;HOBO’, ‘HOBO’, ‘HOBO’. But no, ‘HOBO’ in Cyrillic alphabet is pronounced ‘novo’, meaning–you guessed it–‘new’. Seems they got as many words from Greek as we did, though Latin usually gets the credit. They usually get it straight from the Greek, though ‘novo/hobo’ may be the exception.

    Once I cracked the code for Greek Alphabet, words just starting popping out at me as I walked up and down the streets of Athens. every dual language street-sign a little Rosetta Stone, one way in which you can truly ‘pick up’ a foreign language, despite grandiose claims by some language learners about their abilities to absorb language like a new sponge. Such claims typically fall into one of the 3-B categories: bluff, bluster, or pure BS. I’ve busted a few.

    Written language is purer, mathematical equations without all the torch and twang, personalities and politics. It works with Russian, too, though it seems the alphabet that Cyril and his brother what’s-his-name so methodically codified gets progressively more complex and difficult in direct proportion to the distance from the Greek source. I hope to master Old Church Slavonic one day, about the same time as Cakchikel.

  • hardie karges 9:10 pm on February 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Moscow, Russia   

    There Is No Cow in Moscow 

    St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square

    St. Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square

    MOSCOW is the heart of the Russian beast, of course, documented from at least the mid-12th century and prominent since the 1300’s as the Grand Duchy of Moscow.  Before that it was just a village on the river Moskva.  It lost some prominence in the 1700’s with the founding of Saint Petersburg, but regained it in the Soviet era.  It withstood the onslaught and sieges of Napoleon in the early 1800’s, ditto Hitler in WWII, so naturally became a little bit defensive about the challenge laid down by the US during the Cold War.   Already the head of a 15-nation USSR with a strong buffer zone in Europe’s own Warsaw Pact, Moscow increasingly found itself at the center of an empire spreading (ideologically at least) all over the world, first China and Mongolia then North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, with more to come, increasingly more totalitarian dictatorships than economic socialists—Angola, Ethiopia, Libya, Syria, Nicaragua, Afghanistan (sound of needle scratching long and hard over vinyl)—and the rest is history. (More …)

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