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Brown Belt
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:12 pm

More studying of Basque. Normal TV shows go far too quickly for me to understand everything, although I do catch snippets, and of course if there are subtitles or transcriptions, I can understand a lot more. Objectively speaking, I think that I am at A0. This is merely the start of a long, long road, but I enjoy every moment of it so far. I believe it will take years before I feel as comfortable in Basque as I am in Spanish.

I went to the Basque cultural house with my family. There were two Basque native speakers, one was from Navarra, from Pamplona, the other from Bilbao. What I liked was that the one from Pamplona simply didn't care. She replied back to me in Basque, took my orders in Basque, no fuss no muss.

The other cook, we talked in Basque and she gave me her number when I told her that I lived in a different city. She said I could Skype her. The point is that she doesn't want me to give up on Basque. It's nice to see that native speakers have a vested interest in spreading their language.

I watched Errementari on Netflix, with Basque subtitles. Great little film. I really need to learn hiketa, it's far more utilised than I was led to believe.
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:32 am

Just a bit of an update on my Italian.

I joined an Italian literature group. Meets weekly at the local library. I didn't know anything about it beforehand so I showed up. Went upstairs, saw a father and his two children at the table. I went downstairs, asked the library attendant where the Italian literature group was. Apparently was upstairs already. Went up again. The father waved me over.

Ah, it turns out that the group is made up of the father (Italian) and his two kids, one girl and one boy, I'd say they might have been 10 and 8 years old. The mother is Sri Lankan. Their Italian was very good, especially the daughter's, I imagine they speak Tamil or Sinhala at home as well as Italian, but as they were kids, the father would periodically stop and explain some vocabulary in less literary Italian to them (which helped me as well!).

Some minutes later, another person came in, I'd seen her around my university before some months ago carrying Italian authors around under her arm. I was sure at the time she was a foreigner, maybe a European.

Anyway, we were reading Italo Calvino's Palomar. It was two hours. We'd start with one story, read it out loud, stop and ask questions, make commentaries, and move on. Ah, this is important, all the meta-discussion was strictly in Italian, no English. It was amusing because one of the stories of the novel we read together was Il seno nudo, a humorous (well I found it funny) look into the mindset of a passerby who sees a woman sunbathing topless and overthinks about it. I wondered how the kids would handle the subject matter, but they handled it like a champion. The son was very bored, and would play with his Rubik's Cube. The daughter on the other hand loved reading. Both were far brighter than I was at that age...and smarter than I am now for that matter!

At the end we read some Italian poetry, listened to some music and promised to meet again next week. Also, each member has to bring in poetry that they like for everyone to read: it can be in any language they want. As I speak Spanish, I was told to bring in some Spanish poetry (from America or Spain). Gladly!

The other woman used to bring in French poetry...ah, so you're French? I asked her. No, actually, Australian, but she lived in France for ten years.

We were feeling hungry so after saying goodbye to the father and kids, we went out for some phở soup. We talked in French, Italian and finally English. Her parents are Sicilian and came over after the war. They spoke Sicilian, Italian and English at home. We bonded over our shared immigrant experiences, or being the sons and daughters of immigrants. Her dad still makes wine at home, from the wine making grapes that other Italian immigrants sell on the side of the road in Melbourne. The signs 'l'uva per il vino' were only written in Italian of course, for Italians. When her father sells the persimmons he collects from his backyard, he advertises in Italian. Anglo-Australians were not interested or particularly targeted. Life for Italian immigrants was hard when they immigrated, they were treated badly for not being white, which is hard to imagine today, as they are just another immigrant community. She commented sarcastically that Anglos didn't even use garlic in their food when her parents came over. What was Australian cuisine like before Italian immigrants brought their cuisine to Australia? Even worse than now I suppose.

What will happen though, when the generation of her parents passes away? She forsees the death of the Italian community in Australia, and those are her words. Italian immigration to Australia has ebbed. The Italian language local radio has to now share its radio space with the Lebanese local radio, in order to split the costs. This was not the case a couple of decades ago. The generation after her often speaks very little Italian.

Have I mentioned how much I really love the sound of Sicilian? Sicilian is a must-learn language for me...I have to go to Sicily.
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:14 pm

My sister sent this video to me. It's an episode of the show 어서와 한국은 처음이지 (Hurry on over, it's your first time in Korea isn't it?). It's about foreigners in Korea who get their family to visit them.

I'll be honest, I don't watch these kinds of shows too often, but I did find it funny to see SK through the eyes of an Australian family...through the eyes of a Korean audience.

It does make me want to revisit Seoul though. I think it's been over 5 years since I went back last and that was only for my grandparents' funerals. I imagine the country will have changed completely, again.

세계테마기행 (World Theme Travel) was one of my grandma's favourite shows. She loved travelling, she travelled quite a lot.

Here is one on the Basque Country and Asturias.

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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:24 am

Lingua e dialettu
una poesia di Ignazio Buttitta in siciliano:

Un populu
mittitilu a catina
attuppatici a vucca
è ancora libiru.

Livatici u travagghiu
u passaportu
a tavula unnu mancia
u lettu unnu dormi,
è ancora riccu.

Un populo
diventa poviru e servu
quannu ci arrubbano a lingua
addutata di patri:
è persu pi sempri.

Diventa poviru e servu
quannu i paroli non figghianu paroli
e si mancianu tra d’iddi.
Mi n’addugnu ora,
mentri accordu la chitarra du dialetto
ca perdi na corda lu jornu.

Mentre arripezzu
a tila camuluta
ca tissiru i nostri avi
cu lana di pecuri siciliani.

E sugnu poviru:
haiu i dinari
e non li pozzu spènniri;
i giuielli
e non li pozzu rigalari;
u cantu
nta gaggia
cu l’ali tagghiati.

Un poviru
c’addatta nte minni strippi
da matri putativa
chi u chiama figghiu
pi nciuria.

Nuatri l’avevamu a matri,
nni l’arrubbaru;
aveva i minni a funtana di latti
e ci vìppiru tutti,
ora ci sputanu.

Nni ristò a vuci d’idda,
a cadenza,
a nota vascia
du sonu e du lamentu:
chissi no nni ponnu rubari.

Non nni ponnu rubari,
ma ristamu poveri
e orfani u stissu.

Traduzzione in italiano:

Un popolo
mettetelo in catene
tappategli la bocca
è ancora libero.

Levategli il lavoro
il passaporto
la tavola dove mangia
il letto dove dorme,
è ancora ricco.

Un popolo
diventa povero e servo
quando gli rubano la lingua
ricevuta dai padri:
è perso per sempre.

Diventa povero e servo
quando le parole non figliano parole
e si mangiano tra di loro.
Me ne accorgo ora,
mentre accordo la chitarra del dialetto
che perde una corda al giorno.

Mentre rappezzo
la tela tarmata
che tesserono i nostri avi
con la lana di pecore siciliane.

E sono povero:
ho i danari
e non li posso spendere;
i gioielli
e non li posso regalare;
il canto
nella gabbia
con le ali tagliate

Un povero
che allatta dalle mammelle aride
della madre putativa,
che lo chiama figlio
per scherno.

Noialtri l’avevamo, la madre,
ce la rubarono;
aveva le mammelle a fontana di latte
e ci bevvero tutti,
ora ci sputano.

Ci restò la voce di lei,
la cadenza,
la nota bassa
del suono e del lamento:
queste non ce le possono rubare.

Non ce le possono rubare,
ma restiamo poveri
e orfani lo stesso.
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:26 pm

Huntza taldearen beste kanta bat ateratu da eta hauxe ikusgarria da, benetan. Ez dakit nola hain ezkontza ona duten musika eta erritmoaren arteko, baina oso oso politta da egindakoa emaitza!

Noizbait, iratxo bat
sorbalda gainean eseri zitzaidan ta
belarrira esan zidan:
ez det bi aldiz pentsatzerik nahi!
Bihotzetik bihotzera
esan zidan:
batera aspertuko gera lasai, lasai...
Presa arerio,
minutuak momentu bilakatu eta
zuhaitzak dantzan ikusi,
dauden alfonbra ederrenetan.
Erlojuak ezkutatuz zelaietan,
batera aspertuko gera
lasai, lasai...
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:03 am

One of my favourite Basque poets, Gabriel Aresti.

In many ways, he was the founder of modern Basque poetry. He wrote during the Franco dictatorship.

Egia bat esateagatik,
hil behar bazaizkit,
bortxatu behar badidate,
berdindu behar bazait;
Egia bat esateagatik,
ebaki behar badidate
nik eskribitzen
nik kantatzen
Egia bat esateagatik,
nire izena
kenduko badute
euskal literaturaren

If they must kill
my daughters
For telling a truth
If they must rape
My wife
My house
From the ground up
For telling a truth
If they must cut
The hand
I use to write
The tongue
I use to sing
For telling a truth
If they were to tear
My name
From the golden pages
of Basque literature
Will I stay silent
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:18 pm

Xalbadorrek bere euskalkia, behe-nafarrera, erabiliz egin zituen bertso hauek. Ez da ikasten ari naizen euskara batua bezalakoa, baina ez da ezberdinegia. Gaineran hitzera aldatzen nuen entzulearen arabera. Beraz, gipuzkeraz ere sortzen nuen.

Xalbador wrote these verses using his own dialect, the Low Navarran dialect. It is not like the Basque that I'm learning at the moment, but it isn't too different. He would change the way he sang as well, depending on the audience. So he would even compose in the dialect of Guipuzkoa.

Herria eta Hitzkuntza
Land and Language

Iragan egun batez, ostatu batean
bi lagun ari ziren ez ta ba betean;
biak ziren euskaldun zintzoak ustean,
hala ere ezin adi elgarren artean;
entzuten egona naiz omore tristean.

A few days ago, I was in a bar
Two men were having an argument
Both seemed to be good Basques
But they were unable to understand each other
I listened to them in a sad mood

Ez dut osorik hartu baten parabola,
erderaz mintza baitzen, berak jakin nola:
gure herri maiteaz zuela axola,
hau, bere gain baharra, bertzen men dagola,
"Gora euskal-herria", frantsesez ziola.

I didn't completely get what the other one said
He was speaking in a foreign tongue, he will know how exactly he said it
He said that to our beloved country, he was committed.
And that, although presently under the rule of others,
It should be under our charge.
“Long live the Basque Country” said he in French.

Bertzea oldartu zen euskera garbian:
"Gure hizkuntza ez da galduko agian!
Hori dugu berexik guk Euskal-herrian,
Gainerakotan gaude bertzen negurrian;
frantses eginak gira joan den aspaldian!"

The other one jumped in, in clear Basque:
Our language will not be lost!
We have only this as our difference in the Basque Country
We became French otherwise, a long time ago.

Bi gizon horietan, zugaitz onekoa
batek ondoan zuen, bertzeak ostoa;
gauza arrado hori ez dut gustokoa,
mendian bizi arren, dut ikustekoa
gaztainaren aldaxkez jantzirik pagoa.

Of these two men, one came from a stout tree
And at his side, the other man, who were the leaves.
This strange sight was not to my liking.
Although I have lived in the mountains
I have yet to see a beech,
Clad in the leaves of a chestnut tree.

Bat herria goratzen arrotz baten gisa,
arrotz nahiak berriz herriaren hitza;
gureak ja egin du, gaiten garbi mintza,
lano pean bezala galduak gabiltza,
ez daizke bi nagusi batean zerbiltza!

One hurrah-ed the country, but in the manner of a foreigner
The other supported foreign interests, using the words of our country.
Let us speak clearly,
We wander lost as if we were in fog
One cannot serve two masters at once.

Elgarri direlakotz bi gizon jazarri,
gauza bat bera dute bi pusketan zarri;
gauza bat bera dute bi pusketan zarri;
erakatxi nahi dut nik puskak elgarri,
gure hizkuntza eta gure Euskal-herria.

The two men, in attacking each other,
They have the same one thing, broken into two pieces
They have the same one thing, broken into two pieces
I want to show them the pieces together.
Our language and our Basque Country.

Konparatzen baitut izaite bateri.
Anai-arrebak, entzun ene aho-otsa:
izaite bat ez daike hezur hutsez osa;
herria da gorputza, hizkuntza bihotza;
bertzetik berextean bitarik bakotxa,
izaite horrendako segurra hil hotza.

Because I compare them to a single being.
Brothers and sisters, heed my voice.
A human being cannot be completed with empty bones.
The land is the body, the language its heart.
If you separate them,
You kill assuredly this thing that is alive.

Batzu herriaz orroit, euskeraz ahantzi
bertzek euskera maite, herria gaitzetsi;
hizkuntza ta herria berex ez doatzi,
berek nahi daukute konpreniarazi
bata bertzea gabe daizkela bizi.

Some remember the country, forgetting the language
Others love the language, and reject the country
The language and the country, the one does not go without the other
They both want to make us understand
That one cannot live without the other.

Mikel Laboa put these words of the famous bertsolari into music:

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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:10 pm

Eusko-gudariak = Basque Soldiers

A song that dates back from the Spanish Civil War, when the Basque government fought against the Franquist forces with its own newly created Basque Army. This song, which the soldiers would sing, would become the anthem for independentist and nationalist forces. Most notably used by the terrorist group ETA. Nowadays, it is still sung and commonly associated with abertzale groups, especially left-wing nationalists. I really like the tune, it's quite sad and solemn.

Listen to how the women in the manifestation scream when the lyrics get to 'an irrintzi is heard'. The irrintzi is a high pitched ululating scream. There are full on irrintzi competitions. Here is one for kids:

This video is taken from a march in 2007.

Eusko Gudariak gara
Euskadi askatzeko.
Gerturik daukagu odola
bere aldez emateko.

Irrintzi bat entzun da
mendi tontorrean,
goazen gudari danok
Ikurriñan atzean

We are the Basque soldiers
Going to free the Basque Country
We have our blood ready
To spill for it.

An irrintzi has been heard
On the mountain top
Let's go, soldiers
Behind the ikurriña flag.

At the end, the person says:

Gora Euskal Herria askatuta!
Long live the free Basque Country
Gora Euskal Herria sozialista!
Long live the socialist Basque Country!
Gora gu ta gutarrak!
Long live us and our people!
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:27 am

Something I noticed about Tashelhit and Basque (and Moroccan Arabic).

All three use a similar construction for the reflexive. Namely, they use the word for head in a more or less grammaticalised fashion.


Galdetzen diot nere buruari
I ask myself, lit. I ask my head

Moroccan Arabic:

كانسوال رسي
Kansuwwal rasi.
I ask my head.


Arsaqsaħ agayyunu
I ask my head.

Which sent me on a hunt to see which other languages use the head as part of the reflexive construction. I found a paper which explained that the Kartvelian languages and many African languages, as well as many creoles do this as well.

I need to get back to my Tashelhit, which unfortunately I've been neglecting in favour of my Italian and Basque. I have a native speaker to talk to here, he works in the Moroccan Embassy.
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:40 pm


Lehen jarri dudan bideoa nere lagun euskaldunari erakutsi diot eta bai harrigarria dela esan dit! Berak abeslari nagusia ezagutzen ote du. Horren laguna da! Flipatuta gelditu naiz. Oso mundu txikia da, ezta? Abeslariak izena du Josune Arakistain. Gipuzkoarra da, horregatik erabiltzen ditu honelako formak: dut -> det. zara -> zera eta abar. Gaineran /j/ soinua gaztelaniaz bezala ahoskatzen da.


Before put I-which video-the my friend Basque-to showed it-to her-I and wow surprising is-that told she-to-me. She singer main-the knows claims does. Of her friend is! Shocked remained I am. Very world small is, no? Singer-the name has Josune Arakistain. Guipuzkoa native is, this-because of use it-plural marker-she, such forms: dut -> det, zara -> zera and branches. On top, /j/ sound-the Castillian like pronounce is.


The video that I posted before, I showed it to my Basque friend and she said that it's surprising because she says that she knows the main singer. She's a friend of hers! I was shocked. The world is very small no? The singer's name is Josune Arakistain. She is from Guipuzkoa and for this reason she uses these forms in her songs: dut -> det, zara -> zera and so forth. As well, the /j/ sound is pronounced like in Castillian.

I am not working on my speech with the natives at the moment. I don't feel I'm ready, it would be a very limited kind of conversation. Every day, I'm speaking to myself and trying to create on the fly sentences. If I don't have the vocabulary, I look it up later.

For example yesterday night I was walking home at night. I didn't know the word for streetlight, so I just used the Spanish word farola, and I said: kalea iluna da, ez dago argirik. Hor, badago farola. Farolak disdiratzen du. Iluntasun asko dago. Ez, iluntasun HANDIA dago. Zuhaitz altuak niren ondoan daude. Niren ondoan daude. Kalea etxeraino irisiten da.

Now I don't know if I'm saying things incorrectly. It's very possible I am. If I'm unsure, I write it down and ask my native speakers later. But I like this exercise of describing things because I learn a vast amount of vocabulary. All the rest - morphology and syntax, I suppose will come with time and a lot of practice. But vocabulary I can learn right now, in the immediate present. The trouble is retaining this vocabulary. Presently, I just write it down on my computer and I look it up later. This doesn't work very well as I think the best way to learn vocabulary is for me to be constantly using these words.

BTW I found out later that to say street lamp, you CAN use farola, or use the word kale-argi.

Now I also try to read articles everyday in Basque, as well as Twitter and Instagram. For the articles, a lot of the vocabulary I don't recognise so it can get quite tough going. This is why I prefer following twitter feeds and instagram feeds, because at least it is in small doses, so I feel more motivated .

Here is a little poem I found on someone's photo album from like ten years ago. I will highlight in bold all the words I immediately knew the meaning of. The rest I looked up in a dictionary:

Ta Egunero galdetzen diot nere buruari
noiz agertuko zaren, noiz izango ote den
une egokiena.
bitartean, itsasoari eskatzen diot babesa,
indarra eta olatuen
Fereka hoien gazitasuna zurearen antzekoa baita...

And everyday I ask myself
When you will appear, when will it be
The most appropriate moment
Meanwhile, it is to the sea that I ask for protection
For strength and for the caresses of the waves.
The saltiness of these caresses, very much like the saltiness of yours.
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