Monday, 26 December 2011

Sambahsa and Uropi

So there exists a text which is available in both Sambahsa and Uropi. What is special about these two languages is that instead of being based on a particular group - like Interlingua is on Romance languages and Slovianski on the Slavic group - they are based on the world's largest language family - the Indo-European (IE) languages. Take out the Sinosphere, the Middle East, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Turkey and a couple of other small countries and everywhere an IE language is spoken. In 2007, more than 2.7 billion people had an IE language as their mother tongue, not to mention others who speak an IE language, particularly English and French, as a second language.

Coming back to Sambahsa and Uropi, Uropi doesn't look as antiquated as Sambahsa and it is phonetic! Sambahsa, on the other hand, in its attempt to preserve the orthography of words from West European languages has an "elaborated" (difficult) orthography. Here it's worth mentioning that you may have to make a few changes (not a big deal today for Linux users) to type the Uropi letter ʒ.
 
Where as written Sambahsa looks similar to Turkish, Albanian; Uropi's orthography makes it look more like a creole.

In Sambahsa, like in Russian, Hindi/Urdu and French, present tense is conjugated for person. As a consequence you don't have to use pronouns as often as in Uropi which has opted for a simpler approach (like in English and Norwegian).

Further compared to four definite articles in Sambahsa (German has three), Uropi (like English) has only one.

Both languages have aspects unique to them. Sambahsa uses demonstrative pronouns as articles and they are declined according to the gender, number and case. At the same time noun declination has been kept optional! In Uropi, there is only a genitive case and it is used to form adjectives!

I'm not competent so say anything more so here is a snippet from The Little Prince (Chapter Four, paragraphs two and three):

DE MIKI PRINS (Uropi)

Da mozì ne stono ma mol. I zavì ʒe te usim de gren planete wim Ter, Jupiter, Mars, Venus we av nome, je ste suntade planete we se ekvos sa miki te un moz nerim ne vizo la ki u teleskòp. Wan un astronomìst diskròv un od la, he dav jo u numar po nom. He nom ja po samp “asteròid 3251”. [sic]

I av serios motive po kreo te de planet od wo de Miki Prins venì se asteròid B612. Di asteròid vidì solem vizen unvos teleskopim in 1909, pa u Turki astronomìst.

IS LYTIL PRINCE (Sambahsa)

To khiek staunihes me maung. Ioghi woid od exter ia piwon planetes kam id Ardh, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, quibs nams hieb esen dahn, eent centens alyen qua eent yando tem smulkaquem eet baygh difficil dyehrce ia med un telescope. Quan un astronom aunstohg oin ex ia, el ei dahsit ka nam un adadh. El kiel id mathalan : « asteroido 325 ».

Ho serieusa sababs os credihes od id planete quetos gwohm is lytil prince est asteroid B612. Tod asteroid buit dyohrcto tik oins, in 1909, ab un tyrk astronom.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Arcaicam Esperantom, Esperanto, Ido, Reformed Esperanto, Tomale Lingve and Romániço

It turns out if Esperanto is too other to be compared with Romance-based auxlangs, it is not very different from Ido and the other reform "projects" based on the language. Wikipedia alone lists more than half a dozen such "projects".

Of all of Esperanto derivatives (including Esperanto), Old Esperanto (Arcaicam Esperanto) is the most, well, "archaic!" It has got four cases and the appearance is commanding.

I sincerely doubt if Romániço really belongs to this group. It is the odd case out. It is beautiful and unlike Esperanto and other derivatives, it is, at least to some extent, recognisable at first sight. Perhaps we always need an odd case out, last time it was LFN, now it is Romániço. 

Here is a snippet from a lecture The Spirit of Japan by Rabindranath Tagore, translated from English into Arcaicam Esperantom, Esperanto, Reformed Esperanto (1894), Ido, Tomale Lingve and Romániço.

These aren't the only esperantidoj, there are many more but I didn't translate into others because I couldn't find grammars and dictionaries for them. 
 
ANIMOM YAPANES (Arcaicam Esperantom)
 
Woyaghims multnatzioyn ed rencontrims homoyn cheyuyeys claseys, sed nemyahem in woyagheys mihes, sentims prezentescam homes ityohem clarœ, cuyohem in isityu landom. In altrigrandnatzioym, signoym potentzes homes regait... ityœ, paradom ed extrawagatzom, per westoym, per meblarom, estait ectimigantaym.

...Sed, in Japanom, exposom potentzes, aù richesces, ned estat precipam elementom. Onwidat cheyœ emblemoym ames ed admires, ed ned tzephœ ambitzies ed awidesces.

LA ANIMO DE JAPANUJO (Esperanto)

Mi veturis multajn naciojn kaj renkontis homojn el ĉiuj klasoj, sed neniam dum miaj vojaĝoj, mi sentis la ĉeeston de homoj tiom klare, kiom en tiu ĉi lando. En aliaj grandaj nacioj, signoj de forto de homoj regas ĉie... tie, parado kaj ekstravaganco, per vestoj, per meblaro, estas ektimigantaj.

...Sed, en Japanujo, parado de forto, aŭ riĉeco ne estas la precipa eco. Ĉie oni vidas emblemojn de amo kaj admiro, kaj ne de ĉefe ambicioj kaj avideco.

LU ANIMO DE JAPANIO (Reformed Esperanto of 1894)

Mi vojagin in multe nazii e renkontrin al homi el omni klasi, sed nunkvam dum mie vojagi, mi sentin lu prezentito de homi tantu klare, kvantu in hik paeso. In ali grande nazii, signi de forto de homi regen partutu... ibu, parado e extravangazo, per vesti, per meblaro, esten ektimigente.

...Sed, in Japanio, parado de forto, u ricito ne esten lu precipe ito. Partutu on viden emblemi de amo e admiro, e ne de chefe ambicii e avidito.

LA ANIMO DE JAPANIO (Ido, 1907)

Mi voyajis en multa nacioni e renkontris a homi de omna klasi, ma nulatempe dum mea voyagi, mi sentis la presenteso de homi tale klare, quale in ica naciono. En altra granda nacioni, signi de forto de homi regas omnaloke... ibe, parado ed extravago, per vesti, per moblaro, esas tresayiganti.

...Ma, en Japanio, parado de forto, o richeso ne esas la principua elemento. Omnaloke on vidas emblemi de amo e admiro, e ne de ambicii e avideso.

LE SPIRITE OF JAPANUIO (Tomale Lingve)

Mi vojagjis en multice nacies kai renkontis a homes of chiu klases, sed neniam dum meues vojagjes, mi sentis le prezenteske of homes tiom klarice, kiom en tiu chi lande. En alieske grandeskes nacies, signes of potence of homes regi chie... tie, multmontreske kai ekztravaganeske, per vestes, per meblare, estas ektimiganteskes.

...Sed, en Japanuio, multmontreske of forto, au richeske ne estas le precipeske elemente. Chie oni vidas emblemes of ame kai admire, e ne of ambicieskes kai avidesekes.

LI SPÍRITO DI JAPANO (Romániço)

Mi viagin in multa nationos et incontrin a humanos di omna clasos, mas jamás dum mea viajos, mi sentin li presenta di humanos tanta clare, cuanta clare in ecuista paeso. In áltera granda nationos, signos di potentitio di humanos gubernen omnube... ilác, exposo et extravago, per tucos, per moblado, es mirabilioso.

...Mas, in Japano, exposo de potentitio, aut richitio, ne es li çhefa elemento. Omnube vu viden emblématos di amo et admiro, et ne di ambitiono et aviditio.

THE SPIRIT OF JAPAN (English)

I have travelled in many countries and have met with men of all classes, but never in my travels did I feel the presence of the human so distinctly as in this land. In other great countries, signs of man's power loomed large... There, display and extravagance, in dress, in furniture, in costly entertainments, are startling.

...But, in Japan, it is not the display of power, or wealth, that is the predominating element. You see everywhere emblems of love and admiration, and not mostly of ambition and greed.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Mondial, Interlingua, Lingua Franca Nova and Occidental

Mondial, Interlingua, Lingua Franca Nova (LFN) and Occidental are all based on Romance languages. No wonder they (except LFN) are so similar and yet each comes with a different flavour. 

Interlingua is so much Italian and French and Spanish at the same time. It is so erudite and cultured.

Mondial is the Romance spirit liberated somewhat from the chains of tradition. It is like a gentle breeze on your face on a hot and sunny day.

The use of so many consonants gives Occidental an English feel; Germanic with a lot of Romance influence.

Despite its Romance origins LFN is so 'other' that you are inclined to discard it as ugly. But then you think of creoles and the vibrant culture many creole speaking societies have and suddenly it starts making sense and what was earlier 'ugly' now becomes 'exotic.'

Here is the part one of the short story The Fairy which I found in Mondial here and translated into Interlingua, Occidental and Lingua Franca Nova (I've never studied Occidental and LFN so kindly let me know if you find a mistake.); and, of course, English.

LE FEA (Mondial)

Un vidua havi du filias. Le plu viel evi si simil al matre per su caracter i face, que chascun, que vidavi lei, povavi pensar, que il vida le matre; li ambe evi si desagreable i si fier, que on non povavi vivar con les.

Le plu jun filia, que evi le plen portrete de su patre selon su bontá i honestitá, evi ultre lo un del mas bel filies, le queles on povavi trovar.

LE FEE (Interlingua)

Un vidua habeva duo filias. Le plus vetere era assi simile al matre per su character e facie, que alicuno, qui videva la, poteva pensar, que illes vide le matre; illes ambe era assi disagradabile e assi fer, que on non poteva viver con les.

Le plus juvene filia, qui era le plen portrait su patre secundo su bonitate e honestitate, era ultra illo un del maxime belle filias, le quales on poteva trovar.

LE FEA (Occidental)
(Corrected by friend Olivier)

Un vidua havet du filias. Li plu etosa esset talmen simil al matre pro su carácter e facie, que chascun, qui videt la, posset pensar, que il videt li matre; li ambas esset talmen desagreabil e talmen fier, que on non posset viver con les.

Li plu yun filia, qui esset li plen portrete de su patre secun su bontá e honestitá, esset ultra to un del maxim bell filias,  queles on posset trovar.

LA FE (Lingua Franca Nova)

Un vidua ia ave du fias. La plu vea ia tal simile a la madre a causa de caracter e fas de el, ce cada un, ci ia vide el, ia pote pensa, ce el vide la madre; los ambos ia tal desplasente e tal orgulos, ce on ia no pote vive con los.

El plu joven fia, ci ia la plen portreta de padre de el seguente bontia e onestasia de el, ia plu un de la plu bela fias, ci on ia pote trova.

THE FAIRY (English)

A widow had two daughters. The disposition and face of the older daughter was so similar to her mother that any one who saw her could think he/she was seeing the mother; they were both so rude and puffed up to live with.

The younger daughter whose kindness and honesty made her a complete portrait of her father was, besides, one of the most beautiful daughters you could find.

Is Punjabi going the Hindustani way?

Summario in Interlingua

Panjabi es le lingua del populo del region Panjab que es dividite inter India e Pakistan. Plus que 100 million personas parla le lingua ma le situation currente del linguage non es ben. Il ha duo graphias e parlatores de duo Panjabes non comprende le graphias de le un le altere. Anque il ha un problema de excessive persianisation o sanskritisation. Si le curso non cambia le lingua serea devenir duo separate linguas, como occurreva al hindustani ante 100 annos (hindi e urdu). Ancora religion joca un importante parte. Malgrado le facto que plus que un medio de parlatores es islamic, le lingua es frequentemente ligate a sikhes.

Resumo en Esperanto

La panĝaba estas la lingvo de l'lonĝantoj de l'regiono Panĝabio,  kiu dividiĝas inter Barato kaj Pakistano. Pli ol 100 miliono personoj parolas la lingvon sed la nuntempa situacio de l'lingvo ne estas bona. Ekzistas du skribsistemoj kaj parolantoj de du Panĝaboj ne komprenas la skribsistemojn de l'unu la alian. Ankaŭ estas problemo de uzi neogolismojn el aŭ la persa aŭ la sanskrita. Se la tendenco ne ŝanĝas, la lingvo devenos du apartaj lingvoj, kiel okazis al la hindustana antaŭ 100 jaroj (la hinda kaj la urdua). Ankaŭ religio ludas gravan rolon. Malgraŭ la fakto ke pli ol duono da parolantoj estas islamanoj, oni ofte rilatas la lingvon al siĥoj.

=========================================

A hundred years ago Hindustani was the lingua franca in South Asia. Then surfaced religious tensions and the language was spilt into two. Now depending on which side of the border you are Hindustani is now Hindi or Urdu. A hundred years later, history seems to be repeating itself with Punjabi.

Of the 100 million or more Punjabi speakers, more than 70% live in Pakistan and for most of the remaining India is their home. A Punjabi from Eastern Punjab (India) is more likely to communicate well with a fellow Punjabi from Western Punjab (Pakistan) if he/she has lived most of his life in his/her village and has very little formal education than a "cultured" Punjabi. 

Here a "cultured" Punjabi is generally understood in the cities as someone who doesn't know his language well and talks in Hindi/Urdu or English much of the time. It is these people who have the most difficulty in talking with fellow Punjabis from the across the border in Punjabi.

This is an interesting phenomenon. Because in contrast to European languages, where much of the learned vocabulary is more or less similar even though the colloquial speech may have nothing in common with each other, we fight over the issue of learned vocabulary even though the colloquial speech is virtually indistinguishable.

This is as much true of Punjabi (Western and Eastern) and it is of Hindustani (Hindi and Urdu). Unfortunately I don't speak other Indian languages to comment on what is their situation.

In case of Punjabi the list of issues facing the language is long, but chief among them, from linguistic point of view, are:

1. Use of two Different Scripts

The use of two different scripts to write Punjabi isn't unique to the language and the solution isn't to discard one script in favour of another or adopt a Latin characters based script as I had suggested in an earlier post. We can learn from the Serbians and teach people both scripts on the both sides of the border. If the Japanese can handle three different scripts simultaneously we shouldn't have much of a problem especially when the task of learning Shahmukhi (37 letters) and Gurumukhi (41 letters) is nothing compared to the astronomical amount of effort required to learn Kanji (>2,000 characters).

2. The Issue of Excessive Persianisation or Sanskritisation

When I was a child I used to write a 'student' sṭudenṭ in Punjabi. Now nowadays vidyārthī (Sanskrit/Hindi influence) is more popular on this side of the border and if I'm not wrong the Pakistani Punjabis use tālib-e-ilm (Persian/Urdu influence). I find vidyārthī ugly and tālib-e-ilm is an unnecessary inconvenience. We have borrowed words from English in the past and have successfully indigenised them. No one considers botal (bottle) and haspatāl (hosptial) as foreign. The upshot is when it comes to learned vocabulary we can either get the Western scientific vocabulary adapted or can create new words from existing roots. There is no harm is borrowing from Sanskrit or Persian but the process should be natural.

3. Linking the Language with Religion

Up until the 1930s all Punjabis spoke their tongue. Then a man called Master Tara Singh started promoting Punjabi as the language of Sikhs. This exacerbated the already heightened religious sentiments. As a results Hindus increasingly started identifying themselves with Hindi and Muslims with Urdu. It's just like Bosnians insisting their language is not Serbian. How this tendency can be overcome, I have no idea. But the language will certainly get an impetus if we stopped viewing Punjabi as the language of Sikhs. We must understand they haven't got a copyright!

If the fate of Hindustani befalls Punjabi will depend on factors - politics and religion - that aren't mentioned here. But one thing is for sure: accept the laissez faire and we will have two mutually incomprehensible Punjabies in the coming decades.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਰੂਸੀ (ਕਿਰੀਲਿਕ) ਲਿਪੀ ਵਿਚ

ਪਿਛਲੀ ਦਫ਼ਾ ਅਸੀ ਇੱਕ ਛੋਟਾ ਜਿਹਾ ਖਿਆਲੀ ਤਜਰਬਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਸੀ ਕਿ ਜੇ ਅਸੀ ਅੰਗ੍ਰੇਜ਼ਾਂ ਦੇ ਨਹੀ ਬਲਕਿ ਫਰਾਂਸੀਸੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਗੁਲਾਮ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਤਾਂ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਨੂੰ ਗ਼ੈਰਰਸਮੀ (informal) ਤਰੀਕੇ ਨਾਲ ਰੋਮਨ ਅੱਖਰਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਲਿੱਖਣ ਦੀ ਤਰਕੀਬ ਕੀ ਹੁੰਦੀ । ਇਸ ਵਾਰ ਅਸੀ ਖਿਆਲ ਕਰਦੇ ਹਾਂ ਕਿ ਜੇ ਅਸੀ ਸੋਵਿਅਤ ਯੂਨਿਅਨ ਦਾ ਇੱਕ ਹਿੱਸਾ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਤਾਂ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਦੀ ਗ਼ੈਰਰਸਮੀ ਲਿਪੀ ਕਿਸ ਤਰ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੀ ਹੁੰਦੀ । ਸੋਵਿਅਤ ਯੂਨਿਅਨ ਵਿਚ ਲੋਕ ਬਹੁਤ ਸਾਰੀਆਂ ਜ਼ੁਬਾਨਾਂ ਬੋਲਦੇ ਸਨ ਪਰ ਰੂਸੀ ਸਬ ਤੋਂ ਜ਼ਰੂਰੀ ਬੋਲੀ ਸੀ । ਕਿਉਂ ਕਿ ਰੂਸੀ ਬੋਲੀ ਰੋਮਨ ਨਹੀ ਬਲਕਿ ਕਿਰੀਲਿਕ ਅੱਖਰਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਲਿੱਖੀ ਜਾਂਦੀ ਹੈ, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਨੂੰ ਵੀ ਅਸੀ ਕਿਰੀਲਿਕ ਲਿਪੀ ਦੀ ਰੂਸੀ ਕਿਸਮ ਵਿਚ ਲਿੱਖਣਾ ਸੀ ਅਤੇ ਉਹ ਫ਼ਿਰ ਕੁਝ ਅਜਿਹੀ ਲੱਗਣੀ ਸੀਃ

Икк вари икк факир ну киси не савал кита: "Баба! Ки тере мазхаб вич шараб ди манаги наи ай? Фир ви тун шараб пи реха ен?"
Факир не агге тон джаваб дитта: "Му вич джан вали чиз уни бури наи гунди, джини ус тон бар ан вали гунди ай!"

(ਇੱਕ ਵਾਰੀ‌ ਇੱਕ ਫ਼ਕੀਰ ਨੂੰ ਕਿਸੀ ਨੇ ਸਵਾਲ ਕੀਤਾ: "ਬਾਬਾ ! ਕੀ ਤੇਰੇ ਮਜ਼ਹਬ ਵਿਚ ਸ਼ਰਾਬ ਦੀ ਮਨਾਹੀ ਨਹੀ ਹੈ? ਫਿਰ ਵੀ ਤੂੰ ਸ਼ਰਾਬ ਪੀ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੈਂ?
ਫ਼ਕੀਰ ਨੇ ਅੱਗੇ ਤੋਂ ਜਵਾਬ ਦਿੱਤਾ: "ਮੂੰਹ ਵਿਚ ਜਾਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਚੀਜ਼ ਉਨ੍ਹੀ ਬੁਰੀ ਨਹੀ ਹੁੰਦੀ, ਜਿਨ੍ਹੀ ਉਸ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਹਰ ਆਉਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ । ")

PUNJABI IN RUSSIAN (CYRILLIC) SCRIPT

Last time we had a little thought experiment where we imagined being colonised by the French instead of the English for over two centuries and how it would have affected our informal way of transliterating Punjabi. This time we try to picture Punjab as a Soviet Republic. How it would have affected our informal transliteration schemes of Punjabi? If we were indeed a republic in the USSR and if the USSR were still a single country, we would have been informally writing Punjabi in Cyrillic and it would have looked something like this:

Икк вари икк факир ну киси не савал кита: "Баба! Ки тере мазхаб вич шараб ди манаги наи ай? Фир ви тун шараб пи реха ен?"
Факир не агге тон джаваб дитта: "Му вич джан вали чиз уни бури наи гунди, джини ус тон бар ан вали гунди ай!"

(Once a person asked a fakir: "Baba! Is wine permitted in your religion? And still you are drinking?
Fakir responded: "It's not what goes into the mouth that is bad, it is what comes out.")

Thursday, 15 December 2011

What makes Esperanto special among auxlangs?

Summario

Que face esperanto unic inter omne linguas auxiliar?

Il ha sex factores lo que io pote pensar in iste momento e illes son:

* le amonta del litteratura disponibilie,
* demographia de parlatores,
* phenomenos unic a esperanto,
* su rolo como un lingua auxliar inter auxliaristes,
* cognoscentia que existe esperanto in qualque governamentos,
* e su uso practic.

===========================================

Esperantists often proudly talk of their language as "the language of peace and harmony." A bridge that aims to break linguistic barriers and end "linguistic imperialism." Impressive as this may seem this isn't what makes Esperanto special. There are at least a hundred auxlangs that aspire for the same. These "projects" occasionally only to disappear into oblivion a little later but Esperanto has somehow survived for more than a century and can today be classified as a minority language. So what it is that makes Esperanto stand out?

1. Materials available:

Of the thousand or so auxiliary languages in the world only a few will have a whole book translated into them. Most of the time these books are novella-size. To my knowledge Esperanto and Interlingua are the only auxiliary languages that can boast of more than a dozen translated or original books that run into hundreds of pages. Even among these Esperanto books far outnumber the books available in Interlingua. Whereas you can find a book on virtually any subject in Esperanto, fiction is perhaps the only genre where Interlingua has a respectable presence and there too European works dominate. That means even the most serious competitor falls far short in terms of the amount of works present in the language.

2. Demography of its speakers:

Esperanto speakers are spread throughout the world and their occupations are varied. This makes the community extremely vibrant. The same can not be said of other auxlangs. With most of its speakers coming from the Scandinavian countries I doubt if there are even 100 speakers of Interlingua in Africa and Asia combined. Talking of other languages - leaving for a few exceptions like Babm and Afrihili - most speakers of other auxlangs are white men (no racism intended) from First World countries. With Esperanto, I believe there is a significant proportion of speakers outside the First World countries (40,000 in China alone).

3. Phenomena unique to Esperanto:

There is an interesting phenomenon in Esperanto called eternaj komencantoj (eternal beginners). That means a lot of people start learning Esperanto with a lot of excitement but sooner than later give up. Then they either look for another auxlang or create one. A lot of new projects never get off ground and many kabeists (deserters) come back and remain eternal beginners for the rest of their lives. I have yet to meet or read about a person who started off with an auxlang other than Esperanto has turned to Esperanto, become a kabeist or eterna komencanto.

I guess there is something in the grammar of Esperanto that makes it usable despite its many "flaws" and the significant effort that has to be put into learning it.

4. The lingua-franca among auxlangers:

There isn't perhaps an auxlanger or auxlang speaker who hasn't studied Esperanto at one point in his/her life. No other auxlang can claim the same and this is what makes Esperanto special.

5. Awareness among several governments:

In China there is an Esperanto version of the website of a national broadcaster (Chinese equivalent of BBC) CRI. Radio Havana broadcasts news in Esperanto and in Hungary it is an optional second language in schools. It may soon be introduced in Brazil as an optional second language. No other auxlang enjoys similar official status. Interlingua forms an anomaly here as a student of linguistics can take it as a subject at a Spanish university. Unfortunately the name of the university has slipped out of my mind.

6. Practical use:

Unlike most other auxlangs you can immediately put Esperanto to some practical use after learning it. You can talk to people outside the Anglosphere, use Pasporta Servo to save money and make friends while travelling and do all sorts of interesting things. That is currently only possible with a handful of auxlangs.

FINALLY

It is possible that the last four features could be only the consequences of its popularity(2) and the amount of literature available(1). But that will not be proved unless we have another auxlang that is at least as successful.

Also, I didn't write it as pro-Esperanto propaganda. I only wanted to objectively list some of the features that make this language so unique. In fact my favourite language is INTERLINGUA! Just that I am not yet proficient at it.

Friday, 2 December 2011

On the Linguist Skills of the Communist Party of India (Maoist)

Resumo en Esperanto (Abstract in Esperanto)

Tie ĉi en Barato, oni taksas komunismajn partiojn kiel la plej edukaj. Mi ankaŭ pensis same antaŭ mi legis dokumenton, kiu estas nekrologo pri Mallojula Koteswara RAO (pli fama kiel Kishen JI) per la Komunisma Partio de Barato (Maoisma) aŭ KPB-Maoisma. La dokumento ne eĉ sciigas leganton kiam naskiĝis Kishen JI kaj gramatike, ĝi estas erarplena. 

========================================

I once read in The Sunday Express that for all their shortcomings, the Indian left, especially the CPI (Maoist), had at least a long term plan for the country and were more educated than most of our ministers. That article was by Tavleen Singh, unfortunately I don't remember what Sunday it was.

Recently the Indian security forces killed Mallojula Koteswara Rao, a senior member in the party.  Better known by his nom de guerre Kishanji, he was the person who would talk to media. Because he was a politburo member, you would expect at least an obituary from the party and they did publish one here.

The left is not famous for telling things as they are, they have a penchant for exaggerating some facts and playing down others. Therefore you have got to be careful while reading what they "officially" have to say. But the least you can expect is, what they are saying would be grammatically correct. And if they can't even come up with grammatically correct official statements, it suggests either they aren't studying of late or there aren't many intellectuals left in their ranks.

Okay, so let's begin!


 They should have written:

Condemn the brutal murder of Comrade Mallojula Koteswara Rao,
the beloved leader of the oppressed masses,
the leader of the Indian revolution and a CPI (Maoist) Politburo member!
Observe a protest week from 29 November to 5 December
and a 48-hour ''Bharat Bandh''* on 4 and 5 December. 

*Bharat Bandh = a nationwide shutdown strike

They have got the definite and indefinite articles missing (red) in the first place. And why are they following the US pattern of mm/dd/yy (blue)? I don't like that and we don't speak basterdised English here.

I can understand why they would refer to Mamata Banerjee as 'it' but it's outrageous when the "most educated political force (left) in the country" fails to even write a press release mourning the death of a veteran comrade correctly!

The tireless warrior who never rested his gun while fighting for the liberation of the oppressed masses since (for) the past 37 years and who has laid down (sacrificed?) his life for the sake of the ideology he believed in, was born in 1954 in the Peddapally town of Karimnagar district Karimnagar of (in) North Telangana, Andhra Pradesh. Raised by his father Late Venkataiah who was a freedom fighter and his mother Madhuramma, who has been (is) of progressive views, Koteswara Rao imbibed love (developed a love?) for his country and its oppressed masses since childhood (when he was still a child?).

So many mistakes and I haven't yet spoken a word about stylistic issues and where is the date of birth? They could have shown some respect by including that. But perhaps they have given up the habit of reading.

If they are such idiots, I fear they would turn India into another Cambodia if they ever came to power.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Unu plian fojon, unu plian ŝancon


Kiom pli devas mi perdi, antaŭ mia koro estas pardonita?
Kiom pli da doloro, devas mi suferi, por renkonti al vi ree?
Unu plian fojon, ho sezonoj! Ne malaperu!
Unu plian fojon, la tempoj, dume ni kune ĝuis.

Kiam ni kverelis, mi ĉiam diris ke mi malvenkas.
Via egoisma naturo kialigis ke mi amu vin eĉ plie
Unu plian fojon, la memoroj ne permesas ke miaj gamboj moviĝu,
Unu plian fojon, mi ne povas decidi, kien mi volas iri!

Ie mi iras, mi ĉiam provas trovi vin
Mi provas trovi vin apud la vagonaroj, kaj ĉe la fenestroj de aleoj,
Kvankam mi scias, ke mi ne trovus vin tie

Se mia volo realiĝus, mi estus kun vi tiun ĉi momenton.
Tiam, estos nenio, kion mi ne riskos,
Por ke vi ĉiam restu kun mi.

Se mi nur volus esti kun iu,
Iu povus helpi min forgesi mian solecon,
Hodiaŭ nokte, ŝajnas al mi, ke la steloj falus
Tial, nur estas vi!

Nur unu plian fojon, se nur la iro kaj foriro de sezonoj haltus,
Nur unu plian fojon, mi volus iri al tiuj nestreĉaj tempoj
Ie mi iras, mi ĉiam provas trovi vin
Sur vojokunĝioj, kaj eĉ en miaj sonĝoj,
Kvankam mi scias, ke mi ne trovus vin tie

Se mi povus esperi miraklon,
Mi volus montri al vi novan tagiĝon, kiu estos mi de nun,
Kaj la vortoj “Mi amas vin!”
Kiujn neniam mi povis diri...

Memoroj de la somero marŝas ene mi,
Mia koro subite haltas,
Ie mi iras, mi ĉiam provas trovi vin
Matene, sur la stratoj de tiu ĉi urbo de Sakuragi,
Mi provas trovi vin,
Kvankam, mi scias ke vi neniam iros tie

Se mia volo realiĝus, mi estus kun vi tiun ĉi momenton
Tiam, estos nenio, kion mi ne riskos,
Por ke vi ĉiam restu kun mi.

Ie mi iras, mi trovas viajn signojn,
En vendejoj dum miaj vojaĝoj, kaj en la vendejegoj,
Kvankam mi scias, ke mi neniam trovos vin tie

Se mi povus esperi miraklon,
Mi volus montri al vi novan tagiĝon, kiu estos mi de nun,
Kaj la vortoj “Mi amas vin!”
Kiujn neniam mi povis diri...

Ie mi iras, mi ĉiam provas trovi vian ridetantan vizaĝon,
Ĉe la kuniĝo, atendante preteriron de vagonaroj,
Kvankam mi scias, ke mi neniam trovus vin tie

Se mi povus revivi mian tutan vivon,
Mi ĉiam volus esti kun vi
Por estas nenio, kion mi volas en tiu ĉi mondo,
Pri nenio mi zorgas tiom, kiom mi zorgas pri vi...


=========================

That's an Esperanto translation of Masayoshi Yamazaki's 'One more time, one more chance.' The song is in Japanese and I don't know the language therefore I consulted two English translations. In rendering the song into Esperanto, I've been more faithful to myself (it may sound selfish but it's true) than any translation. That's because she told me on 23 November, 2011 at 22:20 that she was committed. Yes, she is committed to another guy... ;(

Sunday, 13 November 2011

An Indian Interlingua - Antarbhasa

I have a confession here. To my knowledge, there doesn't exist any Interlingua equivalent of Indian languages. But that doesn't mean it isn't possible. The languages of India are sufficiently close so that a common vocabulary can be extracted and joined together by a simple grammar.

So, what's the language situation like in India?

Well, there are 103 languages spoken in the country and the speakers of the 12 major languages account for 90 per cent of the population. That's a major relief because instead of more than hundred languages, we can safely limit ourselves to the Big 12 and assume at least 9 out of 10 people will be able to relate to it.

These Big 12 are: 

1. Hindi (40%)
2. Bengali (8-9%)
3. Telegu (8-9%)
4. Marathi (6-7%)
5. Tamil (5-6%)
6. Urdu (5-6%)
7. Gujarati (4-5%)
8. Kannada (3-4%)
9. Malyalam (3-4%)
10. Oriya (3-4%)
11. Punjabi (2-3%)
12. Assamese (1-2%)

Of the Big 12, eight (in bold) are direct descendants from Sanskrit and the remaining four belong to the Dravidian family of languages. Let's deal with them one at a time: 

Sanskrit Descendants:

Those descended from Sanskrit have similar vocabulary and almost identical grammars. For an analogy, you can think of Sanskrit as Latin and its descendants as Romance languages.

Also, Hindi and Urdu have so much in common that it is impossible to distinguish the colloquial speech. 

The learned vocabulary is derived from Sanskrit; Urdu is the sole exception here. It prefers to borrow from Persian and Arabic.

Each of these languages, Marathi being an exception, has a script of its own and they are mutually incomprehensible.

On the plus side we have more or less a common word stock and similar grammars to begin with.

Dravidian Family: 

I haven't got much to say here because I don't speak any Dravidian language. But I do know that their grammars have nothing in common with the first group. 

Fortunately, they have borrowed from Sanskrit. I read a couple of years ago in The Tribune that 90% of words in Malyalam have Sanskrit origin. Tamil is the farthest you can get in terms of non-Sanskrit vocabulary. Still, I read that in a dictionary, 40% of its vocabulary comes from Sanskrit. 

Using the same analogy, you can think of the Dravidian group as English that has borrowed a lot from Latin but has kept its grammatical features intact.

Now that we have a word stock to start with, we can start registering and standardising a pan-Indian vocabulary. But how are we to go about it?

A way forward is to pick up a word as see how it appears in all the languages of the Big 12. If it has a similar form and meaning in 7 languages, it is accepted into Antarbhasa. A downside of this approach is that we will not have many Dravidian words because there are only four of them in the list. Also, it is not wise to give Hindi and Assamese equal voting power. Hindi is understood by more than half of the Indians but Assamese, on the other hand, is hardly spoken outside the tiny state of Assam. To overcome this, here is my proposal: 

Divide these languages into three groups. The first group will include Hindi and Urdu; Oriya, Bengali, Marathi, Assamese, Punjabi and Gujarati will be in the second Group and the Dravidian languages are put in the third group. 

After assigning the languages separate groups, we treat each group as a single entity and only when a word is common in at least two of them, does it become a part of Antarbhasa. English and Persian will be referred if there isn't a common ground. That's because these two languages, at different times, have been the official languages of the country since 1400 or 1500 AD. And if even that doesn't help, let Sanskrit come to rescue.

That's only my idea. I may be way off the mark. But it would be interesting to work on such a project. I don't know if Nikhil wants to work on something like this.

Once we have the vocabulary at our disposal we can start thinking of grammar. And given that there are eleven different scripts for these Big 12, the question of an official script is going to cause much heated debate.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Three Useful Artifical Languages to Learn

There are perhaps as many artificial languages (auxlangs) in the world as natural languages. Unfortunately, only a few of these languages have more than a dozen speakers. With perhaps more speakers than all the other auxlangs combined, Esperanto has been the queen of the field for the past 100 years. 

Other than Esperanto there are many exciting auxlangs and conlangs. For instance, one of them (Toki Pona) doesn't have more than 123 words to talk about everything in the world, while the vocabulary of another (Sambahsa) is inspired from proto-Indo-European (a language believed to be the mother of all Indo-European languages) and still there is a third (Lojban) that claims to have the most logical grammar. 

Exciting as these languages are, I wonder if an ordinary guy on the street has much use of them. To my knowledge there exist only three languages, that you can put to some practical use after learning and these are: 

1. Interlingua

It's my personal favourite. If you are reading this, you will find Interlingua the most familiar. It has its vocabulary extracted from the five major world languages namely English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Add to that occasional sprinkling of words from German and Russian and you get a language that, with the exception of the Middle East and the Far East, can be used everywhere. 

It is common to hear that there are exceptions and irregularities in Interlingua. Fortunately, you won't even notice them if you speak any of the source languages. How many of you would raise eyebrows on reading that Interlingua es is 'is' and son is 'are'? This is perfectly natural, isn't it?

There are two major advantages of learning Interlingua: 

  • You get an insight into how Romance languages work and after spending a few months you begin to get the gist of texts in source languages (except English).
  • Your English vocabulary takes a boost.

2. Slovianski

They call it the Slavic counterpart of Interlingua. The methodology of extracting vocabulary is more of less the same but there are more source languages - Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, Slovene, Bularian and Macedonian - and all of them are Slavic. A grammar of the language is available on this website but I haven't found any lessons yet. Therefore, I don't know how much it will help you in the understanding of Slavic languages. However, when I showed a few Slovianski sentences to a Russian friend, he understood almost everything.

Just like Interlingua, there are irregularities and exceptions. The difference is: we will feel the pinch this time!

And it should give you a taste of writing and reading in Slavic languages within a few months of study.

3. Esperanto

Esperanto doesn't help you understand any language. It looks ugly. The Chinese, Japanese and Koreans don't find it easy. Most speakers of the language prefer to talk about Esperanto than any other topic and they look down on other artificial languages, often calling it a "waste" of time and energy. Still, it among the three and the reason it the strength of its speakers. They are spread all over the globe and by even the most conservative estimates, there are at least 10,000 of them.

There are lots of books in Esperanto and if your dream is to see the world but you are tight on cash, Pasporta Servo (Passport Service) can help you. Through Esperanto, I have talked to people from China, Lithuania, Romania and the Democratic Republic of Congo and have learned how similar we are. But again, even here discussion about Esperanto takes at least 10% of the time.

Therefore if you are looking for a way so that you can start talking to people from all over the world without using Google Translate, Esperanto is the way to go.

===================================================

I wanted to add Frenkisch too but I don't think it's ready yet and I don't know a non-English Germanic language speaker who can tell me how effective the language is.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Why is learning auxlangs a hobby?

A language is much more than beads of words tied together by the string of grammar. Earlier I used to think, I could learn any language if only I could get my hands on its grammar and a dictionary. I was naive. Because that's not how things work when it comes to languages. 

A language is like a jungle. A grammar, like a map, can give you a rough idea of what to expect when you are going inside. By the same analogy you can think of the dictionary of a language as a catalogue of all the plant and animal species in the jungle. Both are useful but never sufficient because there will always be surprises. You may suddenly come across a dilapidated track that's nowhere on the map. Or you may find new species that are yet to be catalogued. There is vegetation that you can smell, touch and taste but your grammar book doesn't explain how it came to be. And if you have come into the jungle of your own will, you think of all this as an exciting adventure.

An auxlang is also like a jungle, albeit a small one. Another difference lies in the fact that each tree is planted by hand and the tracks are carefully designed for a purpose. You won't find them leading to nowhere. This careful plantation takes out the surprise element. And because the whole forest is often the work of one man (or a team in some cases), these little forests are more like a garden when you compare them in size. Perhaps that's why learning auxlangs is 'a hobby', after all going to the Amazon isn't the same thing as going to the Baradari Gardens here in Patiala.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

On Mainstream Media

Yesterday afternoon I got a telephone call from some Vxxxxr Singh of the Punjab Cyber Crime Cell, Mohali. He told me some Mxxxr Singh had filed a complaint against me and I needed to appear before them on Monday at 11:00 am. I know who Mxxxr Singh is. He is a former client. I worked for him once and he not only not paid me but also threated me. Angry, I created a blog where I wrote about the whole incident and mentioned his real name, his phone number and his website in the post. This enraged the guy. A couple of months ago, the police phoned me. I went there and I was not even allowed to speak. In the end, I had to sign an apology letter written by someone else. So when I got the call, it frightened me to death.

The police system is so corrupt here that we have a special term for people who are taken by the police for interrogation but never reappear or get killed in encounters (extra judicial killings). I don't think that they would treat me that bad. But again, who knows? This is India and here, as long as you have money, law doesn't apply to you. Anyways, that's not what I want to talk about right now. The purpose of this post is to show how media is only nominally free in many countries. 

When I am typing this sentence, there is a protest going on the Wall Street. Thousands of people there are protesting against the corrupt system. Strangely, there is no word about the incident on the Homepage of my favourite news website the BBC. I thought VoA could be doing a better job. To my surprise, there was no mention of the protest in which more than 10,000 people participated according to Democracy Now. Perhaps, some are better at pretending they have a free media.

Here are the screenshots of the Homepages of these three webistes on 9 October, 2011 (for future reference):

Democracy Now:


BBC (five top news stories): 




And here is the VoA:


 
I did that because a friend suggested me to go to media. I couldn't explain it to him that I'm no celebrity and media wants masala (sensational stories) and not true stories. It is the same story everywhere, I believe. Feeling bad but not disappointed.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Interlingua Wikipedia - Unethically raising the Article Count?

There is something queer happening on the Interlingua Wikipedia. I remember until the beginning of this month, there were about 5,500 (give or take a hundred) articles on the Interlingua version of the Wikipedia. The number today, only three weeks later, stands slightly above 9,100. Roughly speaking, this is an increase of 3,500 articles in less than three weeks. This sounds impressive. Perhaps there is a sudden interest in the language. But wait a minute. 

When you look at the number of active users, who have made at least one edit in the past 30 days, it is only 65 according to the data on the Statisticas page (Esperanto Wikipedia has 468, for comparison) and 50 of them are automated computer programmes or bots. It means either the remaining 15 people wrote all of the 3,500 or so articles (approximately 233 articles per head) or the lovers of the language have turned to playing the same game Volapukists played a couple of years ago. Back then a series of automated computer programmes had created articles on the Volapuk Wikpedia at a breathtaking speed. It now has over 100,000 articles. Of these two possibilities, the second one sounds more plausible.

Almost all the articles created in the past few weeks are one or two line articles and most of them are about cities, towns and villages in Spain and Vietnam. It is unlikely that 15 people suddenly developed an interest for geography and none of them wrote more than one or two sentences.

I believe these bot created articles will add little, if any, value to the Interlingua Wikipedia. The move could indeed backfire as new students may get discouraged on finding these stubs most of the time they look for something on the Interlingua Wikipedia. The editors, or whoever is behind this, should better concentrate on creating a few but quality articles, like these ones. (I wrote them!) ;)

Here is a screen shot of the Statisticas page on 21 September, 2011:


Saturday, 3 September 2011

Romanised Hindi / Urdu - Roesjil's Transliteration Scheme

The use of the both romanised Hindi and Urdu is widespread in South-Asia. For Hindi alone there are already over half a dozen transliteration schemes devised. The main trouble with most of these romanisation methods is that they either use diatrics or look ugly. Here you see for yourself:

kal jab unho~n ne mujhe ye batAyA ke vo sa.nskrit bhAshA kA gyAn rakhte hai~n to mai~n ulajha geyA (ITRANS)

Kal jab unhoṅ ne mujhe ye batāyā ke vo saṃskrit bhāśā kā gyān rakhte haiṅ to maiṅ ulajha geyā. (IAST)

I was shocked when he told me yesterday he knew Sanskrit.

The second is more beautiful. On the downside, it is not easy to type these diatrics while texting - the preferred mode of communication in India and Pakistan. For this reason many turn to anglicised romanisation. The main disadvantage of this system is that it doesn't differentiate between retroflex and dental consonants and both nasalised 'n' and regular 'n' are represented by 'n'. Therefore 'tota' could mean 'a parrot' or 'a splinter' and 'man' could be inferred as either 'pride' or 'mother'. Most of the time the meaning is clear from the context but that's not always the case. To overcome these drawbacks, here I propose a new romanisation scheme which doesn't use diatrics and is more aesthetically pleasing to look at than ITRANS.

Vowels:

The vowels are a, e, i, o and u

A, i and u can be either short long.

patta = leaf (not pattaa)
Abhijit = a Hindu name (not Abhijeet)
Kulu-Manali = a mountain resort town in North India (not Kuloo-Manaalee)

In case of e and o, these diphthongs are used:

kaid = imprisonment (not ked)
fauran = immediately (not foran)

Consontants:

With these few exceptions, the consonants have been left untouched:
T = त,ت   
Tz = ट, ٹ
Th = थ, تھا
Tzh = ठ, ٹھا
D = द, د
Dh = ध, دھا
Dz = ढ, ڈ
N = न, ن
N' = nasalised न, ن
Nh = ण, ن
R = र, ر
Rh = ड, ڑ

Therefore the above sentence in this new scheme would be:

Kal jab unhon' ne mujhe bataya ke vo sanskrit ka geyan rakhte hain' to main' ulajh geya.

====================================================

Here is a sample text in Hindi/Urdu in Roesjil's transliteration scheme:

Dr. Manmohan Singh Bharat ke vartaman pradhanmantri hain'. Ve ek kushal rajneta ke sath-sath ek acce vidvan, arath-shashtri aur vicharak bhi hain'. (Hindi)

Dr. Manmohan Singh Bharat ke chalte vazir-e-azam hain'. Vo ek hunarmand syasatdan ke sath-sath ek umda skolar, ekonomistz aur makul bhi hain'. (Urdu)

Dr. Manmohan Singh is the current prime minister of India. Besides being a skilled politician, he is also a scholar, economist and intellectual.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Theory and Practice



==============
Esperanto Version
==============

Teorie kaj praktike




Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Set Theory and Colours of love

==============
Esperanto version
=============

Teorio de Aroj kaj Koloroj de Amo





Monday, 8 August 2011

Liberation and Terrorism

Finally we met

I don't know if writing about this would be appropriate but I can't help. I am unable to concentrate on either studies or work. Perhaps writing about it would help, albeit I will do that in the briefest manner possible. So here it is:

We finally met on Friday, after a whole three-and-a-half years. It was a wonderful experience. I wasn't expecting to be with her for more than ten to fifteen minutes but we kept on talking from 19:30 to 22:15. I was not sure if she would like flowers but she did! It was all unplanned and perhaps that's what made it so amazing. We went to Lake Sukhna and then had spring rolls. It is Monday today and my heart is still beating at a rate what you would call above normal. Wondering if she would be feeling the same?

I damn love her!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Happiness in a relationship


===============
Later additions:
===============

Here are Esperanto, Interlingua and Sambahsa versions of the strip:

Feliĉeco je koramikeco: 


Felicitate in un amoretto:


Noroc in un samband:




Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Mad Man or Terrorist - Anders Behring Breivik

How the media corrected itself when it turned out the attacker wasn't a Muslim but a blonde Norwegian.


And here's the same strip in Esperanto: Frenezulo aŭ Teroristo - Anders Behring Breivik



Saturday, 30 July 2011

Philosophy of life

A new strip on philosophy. I don't know if I'm right in taking this view but I couldn't help. It shows my current impression of philosophy. I am damn confused!


Sunday, 24 July 2011

Driving Tests in India

Here is my third attempt. This time I try give a reason to why people in the Indian subcontinent drive so badly.



This is an Esperanto version. I had some trouble translating it. It turned out to be more difficult than I had imagined! ;)


Thursday, 21 July 2011

Auxlangers Today


This is my second attempt at creating comic strips. This one is an adaptation of How Standards Proliferate on xkcd.

Here is the Esperanto version of the same strip:


NOTE: These are later additions. :)

Here is the Interlingua version, translated by Martijn! :)


Here is a version (corrected by Dimitrij) in Lingwa de Planeta (LdP):



I have dabbled in LdP for less than an hour and have translated this using a dictionary on the LdP's website. Therefore it may contain a few mistakes. Kindly let me know if you find any. I would be glad to make corrections. :)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Happiness Curve


I lie somewhere near the right end of the curve... ;

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Subconscious affect of Mission Civilisatrice on the designing of IALs

Summario

Il es un commun conception inter creatores de linguas auxiliar que cambios minor o major in linguages west-european pote provider un lingua ideal pro tote le mundo. Le conception es basate sur le credentia erronee, subconsciente que le Mission Civilisatrice esseva un successo e multitudes jam cognosce le orthographia latin e paroles west-european e istes non es estranie a les.

===================================================

The European colonisation was never a calm affair. It involved wars in which the Europeans were killed too. To convince their public at home why colonisation was necessary a theory was devised. They called it Mission Civilisatrice the Civilising Mission. On surface, it sounds good. The Europeans leaving the comfort of their home countries and wandering in the tropics to educate Asians and Africans and bringing prosperity to them. But that's not the true definition. According to this Wikipedia article, here 'to civilise' means to make the natives more "like" their Western masters. What has it to do with the attempts to create an IAL? Most creators of auxlangs subconsciously believe the Civilising Mission was a success.

Most of the IALs proposed so far use Roman characters, some with a few tweaks such as the use of diatrics or a couple of non-latin letters. I have no issue with the use of Roman characters. I find them beautiful, or I found them beautiful until I read somewhere that a Chinese views these alphabet the same way we view Morse code or Greek letters. Imagine what it would be like if we are told some day that the UN has decided to make Greek letters the official writing system for some IAL. I wonder if I would ever be able to relate to a language written like this:

Γενική επισκόπηση και ιστορία των μαθηματικών

Orthography aside, most of the grammars and vocabularies are modeled on West European languages. This is more of an inconvenience for the uneducated and poor masses in Asia and Africa whose knowledge of European languages is usually not more than being able to say 'Hello!' or 'Bonjour!. To justify this stand an argument is often made. It says that adding non-European features to an IAL would hardly increase its learnability for non-Europeans but it would make the language significantly out of reach of ordinary Europeans. I agree with the argument but at the same time I also think that a way out is possible if a team of renowned linguists is asked to work out a solution.
The Civilising Mission was not a big success anywhere so I think it would be great if auxlangers came up with languages which shattered old conceptions and made one rethink about the world around him. I may find nothing abnormal with this sentence but now I know to the eyes of most Chinese and Japanese it is at least as foreign as this font to us.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Watched Delhi Belly on Parmod's Birthday

It was Parmod's birthday on 7 July and we went to cinema to watch Delhi Belly. There were six of us - Parmod, Ravi, Ajey, Jasmeet, Mr. Chámpa (uninvited and unwanted) and I. I got a call from Parmod at around 11am telling me they were going out for a movie and wanted me to join them. We were outside Mini Tagore (the cinema hall) before noon but the show wouldn't began until 12:40pm.

Unlike most Indian movies, Delhi Belly winds up in a little over 90 minutes. The movie is about an incident in the usual-going lives of three friends - a journalist, his photographer and a cartoonist - which threatens to kill them. There are two actresses: one is engaged to the journalist and the other feels for him. I can't name any of them because the names have slipped out of my memory.

The film begins when the journalist's fiance hands him a parcel to deliver to some address. The parcel contains diamonds worth INR 18 million and neither the journalist nor his fiance are aware of this.

The journalist passes on the parcel to his photographer friend who then tells the cartoonist to take it to the mentioned address. The cartoonist accidentally mixes the parcel containing diamonds with the one containing the fecal matter of the photographer.

On receiving the wrong package, the villain is enraged and then follows the action. The bad guys kidnap the journalist's fiance. In the end, however, the three friends manage to save her. Then the journalist and his fiance break up and the movie ends with he kissing his fellow worker, the second actress.

After the movie ends, Mr. Chámpa, who was sitting in the seat next to mine, says, "One can't watch this movie in family. Such vulgar dialogues it has." I responded with a smile.

The movie is unorthodox in the sense that the good guys are shown using swear words and making love. A big controversy has erupted over both. My view is that an issue is being created for no reason because there is no one I know who doesn't use them and as far as making love is concerned, I think that's an expression of love. Anyways, I think the filmmakers tried to depict reality and I found it entertaining.

Moreover, the heroes don't have any supernatural powers nor do they profess to die or kill for a greater cause. This makes it easier for at least me to relate to them. They are just ordinary guys who, as luck would have it, are caught up in unusual circumstances. 

Monday, 20 June 2011

Kolkata Books - A Documentary about the changing College Street, Kolkata

It's been a long time since I wrote on this blog. I can't decide if it was due to my habit of procrastination or I really didn't have anything to write. Anyways, today's topic is a wonderful documentary film by AlJazeera. The documentary film Kolkata Books tells the story of change that is coming to the College Street - the largest books market in the world - in Kolkata through the eyes of three persons: a bookshop owner, a magazine collector and a student.

Sandeep's story is the most interesting. He is a collector of "little magazines" in Kolkata. Over the years he has accumulated over 60,000 titles. Now he is old and worries what would happen to his collection after his death.

Arabinda DasGupta is the owner of a bookshop on College Street which has recently been declared the first heritage bookshop in India.

Then there is Chalita Gosh. She is a student of literature at the Kolkata University. She loves to read books and has a "very good acquaintance", in her own words, with DasGupta.

They are all worried about a new mall which is under construction on College Street. All three of them express their reservations about the damage to the book reading culture that the opening of the mall will cause. In spite of their fears, all three of them hope that the mall may give them a chance to read books and magazines from other countries.

Here is a link to the documentary: Kolkata Books

Friday, 15 April 2011

Ghato mien prientin hoyd!!!!

Note: Scripim in Sambahsa. Ho paur! Ia maght sayge no! Olivier, ne tarjem!

Som masrour hoyd. Ghatim mien prientin hoyd. Ia est bell ed wey ghietam in id autobus station os mien urb Patiala. Wey ghietam pos quar yars. Meg lieubho iam. Mien nov prient Rishabh dahit mi courage. Is est un jamile anghen.

Hoyd, eiskwo sayge, aun paur:

Ho Prientin,
Iam meist bell gwen,
In ia mund ed universe,
Meg lieubho te!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Easy Russian and Sambaha Texts (1)

I have begun learning Russian again and have almost completed the first 13 chapters of Learning Russian by Nina Potapova. I have got an old edition (1967) and it works great for me. As part of my revision, I'm posting here the Russian texts from the first five chapters in the book.

Also, because there aren't to be found any easy Russian texts online for beginners, I hope this will help them too. What's more, it is hard to find this amazing book. It appears to me Amazon offers only one of the four volumes the book was published in and there is only a single review on Open Library, which is written my none other than me.

As far as Sambahsa is concerned. My experience with constructed languages tells me you can learn them better when you get actively engaged with the language. So I've attempted to translate the same Russian texts into Sambahsa.

Lesson 1

Вот дом. Дом тут?
Her est un dom. Est her un dom?

Да, дом тут. Да, он тут.
Ya, id dom est her. Ya, id est her.

Вот мост. Мост там?
Her est un brigv. Est un brigv her?

Да, мост там. Да, он там.
Ya, id brigv est her. Ya, id est her.

Lesson 2

Вот дом и двор.
Her sont dom ed aula.

Вот дом, двор и забор.
Her sont dom, aula ed kagh.

Вот двор. Тут трава. Там ива.
Her est un aula. Her est trav. Ter est un salk.

Порт там? Да, он там.
Est id port ter? Ya, id est ter.

Мост тут? Да, он тут.
Est id brigv her? Ya, id est her.

Вот стол. Ваза и роза там.
Her est un meja. Vase ed rose sont ter.

Lesson 3

Вот фабрика. Вот станок.
Her est un fabric. Her est un jihase.

Вот комната. У нас тут урок.
Her est un kamer. Habmos un lection her.

У вас тут урок? Да, у нас тут урок. Вот карта СССР.
Habte yu un lection her? Ya, habmos un lection her. Her est id map os Soviet Union.

Вот бумага. Вот буква к и буква х. Вот буква х и буква г.
Her est papier. Her sont buksteiv к ed buksteiv х. Her sont buksteiv х ed buksteiv г

Там хор.
Id khor est ter.

Lesson 4 
Карта тут? Да, она тут.
Est her id map? Ya, id est her.

Это карта СССР? Да, это карта СССР.
Est tod un map os Soviet Union? Ya, tod est un map os Soviet Union.


Это Москва? Да, это Москва.
Est tod Moskva? Ya, tod est Moskva.

Вот двор. Фонтан там? Да, он там, направо.
Her est un aula. Est id fontan ter? Ya, id est ter, levtro.

Lesson 5


Вот мой брат Юрий.
Her est mien brater Yuri.

Я иду домой.
Gwahm kyant dom.

Вот мой дом.
Her est mien dom.

Направо моё окно.
Dextro est mien fenster.

Там моя комната.
Ter est mien kamer.

Я даю урок.
Dahm un lectionum.

Вот карта: это моя страна.
Her est un map: tod est mien land.

Твой брат поёт, и я пою.
Tien brater kant, ed ego kano.

Я еду домой.
Wehgho kyant dom.

Я знаю это.
Gnohm tod.

I faced two problems with translation.
  1. Russian has two words for Sambahsa her(here): вот and тут.
  2. I don't know how to translate Russian это (this), so I've used Sambahsa so.