Posts

A Perfect Spy by John LeCarre

Image
I've got a thing for LeCarre books. Smiley or otherwise. This one, A Perfect Spy, was very interesting. Written quite oddly, took me a dozen or three pages before I caught the gist. Spoilers follow.


This is not a Smiley book. There's nothing wrong about that. This isn't the first non-Smiley book of his I've read. I just read a month or so ago A Small Town in Germany. Others include The Little Drummer Girl, The Looking Glass War, and the Honourable Schoolboy. All great. LDG took a bit to get going, but once it did, it flew. Same with this.

In A Perfect Spy, we learn that Pym is committing espionage against his own country, the UK. But the way we learn it is through Pym himself writing down his life history, variably changing from first person singular, to third person, addressing his son then his mentor.

We are occasionally brought back to the present with narrative on his mentor trying to find him, as our man Pym, nom de guerre in hiding Canterbury, has disappeared him…

Esperanto as lingua franca for minority languages

A good blog post at the European Studies blog of the British Library, discussing the use of Esperanto as a language of translation for minority languages, like Provencal, in the case of this blog post.

Esperanto is one of my languages. I'm not too bad at it, as far as reading goes. C1 is along the lines of 3 on the DLPT. I took the KER exam in Moscow back in 2017. The skriba ekzameno covers the modalities of reading and writing. The Moscow Esperanto club didn't offer the parola; in order to do that, the club must agree to pay the travel and lodging of two Esperanto speakers/testers. No matter. I probably wouldn't have taken the C1 parola exam. B2 would have been more at my speaking/listening level in 2017.

I love the language. So many opportunities to read stories in languages I'd never learn or have the time to learn. That is one of the best parts of Esperanto.

The European Studies blog, which I stumbled upon years ago but just went back to today, writes about transla…

Russian class complete; Russian study, not so much

Image
I had to stop my Russian class prematurely, for professional reasons. More on that in a month or so.

But that doesn't mean I've stopped studying Russian. I'm continuing my L-R of Пробуждение Левиафана/Leviathan Wakes, by James SA Corey. I love this book, and the tv series (The Expanse). As is necessary for L-R study, I know the first book well. I've read it in English. I've listened while reading to it in Russian. Now I'm listening in Russian while reading in English. This is the first real step in L-R. And it is interesting.


It is difficult. Mostly because I read English faster than I "hear" Russian. So I have to stop myself from reading ahead. Additionally, the Russian audiobook doesn't necessarily jive always with the book. I've had complete sentences missing in the Russian. Also, weird translations. For instance, one of the characters, a detective (Miller, if you've read the book or watched the series), has been working for 30 years. B…

Book review: How to Learn Any Language by Barry Farber

Image
How to Learn Any Language: Quickly, Easily and on your own, by Barry Farber.


This book pops up often on language blogs and forums, thought I'd finally read it. Especially since I found a good copy for less than three bucks. This version is a bit dated (cassette tape courses), but the info is still worth it.

I've been following a multi-track approach for some time now (hat tip: Ron H), incorporating native materials in my language learning. This book advocates this approach as well. Pretty much this is how I took on Italian. Started with an actual class, which turned out to be too slow, so worked my way through a beginner text. Then dove in on Italian newspaper twitter accounts and even an actual Italian book (Dino Buzzati's Sessanta Racconti), albeit just the first story. Worked well enough to get me a 2 on the DLPT Reading test!

If you find this book cheap, or at the library, I would recommend leafing through it. His use of mnemonics to remember words is interesting, as i…

Coptic lesson one, but week three

This week in the Coptic course we have to turn in the first 10 questions for lesson one. So far, I think, so good.

ϩⲓ ⲧⲉϩⲓⲏ  on the road
ϩⲓ ⲡⲧⲟⲟⲩ  on the mountain
ϩⲛ̅ ⲧⲉϩⲓⲏ  in the path
ϩⲙ̅ ⲡⲏⲓ  in the house, etc.

I'll turn my answers in in a few days; they're due Sunday and I want to review them and actually re-do them a couple times between now and then.

The course is going to be loooong, with 3-4 weeks per lesson for 30 lessons, with some breaks I think every 5 lessons. But it will be fun to be able to speak/read the last vestiges of the ancient Egyptian language.

Someone in the Glyphstudy group shared a Youtuber who speaks Coptic, so I listened to it last night. Sounds very cool, and different from how I'd been imagining it, based on the Lambdin text's explanation of the sounds. Always helpful to hear what the language you're studying sounds like!

20 Books of Summer

Image
I'm at about 33 books for the year so far. My speed has improved over the years, pages-per-hour that is. But I just saw a challenge come up on some of the book blogs, the 20 Books of Summer. Can I read 20 books from 1 June to 1 September? Hmm...


One can "just" read 10 or 15 books, and can change their challenge through the challenge, so maybe I'll only read 15. We'll see.

As for what books I'm going to read? These are definite:


Harry Potter i kamen mudraca, the first Harry Potter in Croatian.


Death of a Dissident, because Russia Soviet Union.


The Girl on the Boat, because I somehow have two copies of this. I'll read one and donate it, keeping the other in my Collector's Wodehouse shelf.


The Makioka Sisters, because this was a March read-along among the book blogs, and I had it on reserve at our library for weeks. Then COVID happened and I never got to read it. I believe our library will open soon, so when I get this book I'm gonna read it. #MakiokaSis…

Economics

My Russian teacher has me doing work on the subject of economics, not one of my favs. But, this subject is a favorite of DLPT writers, thus, I gotta get my vocab down.

конъюнктура на рынке: market conditions
активы: assets
котировка: quotation
сделка: deal
отскок: rebound
ратовать: to advocate
сырьевые цены: commodity prices

Good words, all. Already some of these from my first reading have popped up in the second reading assigned. (She's a great teacher!)

I'm currently with family though, celebrating a couple university graduations and an engagement, so have had very little time to study. More than likely I'll ask my teacher today to simply give me some аудирование (listening passages) to do during class today, and save the two readings and listenings on economics for this coming Friday. I'll be home tomorrow, so that'll give me plenty of time to cram for the class. Then after that I believe there is only one class left, the 29th, as next Monday is a holiday. I'm sure…